Montana Big Game Combo Hunt- Is it feasible?

young7.3

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How feasible is it to shoot an elk and a mule deer in the same unit on this tag? It would be on public land self guided. My father and myself should draw the combo tag if we apply in 23. Id really like to get a mule deer but am not sure how realistic it is to hunt mule deer and elk in the same unit on the same hunt. I have to be back in Indiana Nov 11-18 for a different hunt, but other than that i can hunt whenever. And my dad is retired. I also have a camper that I can work remotely from so time off isnt an issue. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance!


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Pony Soldier

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Depends on the district. I know some that a squirrel would be a challenge. I haven't seen a legal mule deer in 5 years in the districts I hunt.
 

t_carlson

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Montana
Feasible? Yes.

Worth the price? Maybe....

I've noticed a pretty common pattern around the state. In most places where there is decent general tag elk hunting, you will RARELY see a mature mule deer buck. I think the reason for this is that hunters go to the area for elk, don't get one (<10% success rate), and then see a forkhorn or 3pt mule deer close to the road and blast it so they "have some meat in the freezer." Dang near all of Region 3 and a good portion of Region 4 suffers from this disease.

Personally, I would not pay NR tag prices for the class of mule deer that are in most of the good elk hunting areas. Apparently, many disagree though...
 

Turkeygetpwnd38

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Florida
Have you hunted elk and mule deer successfully? Consistently find both while hunting? Without alot of experience or local knowledge, it’s highly unlikely. I agree with thinking of it as two different hunts. You could always get lucky though, people do every year!
 

mthuntr

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SW MT
Guys do it every year. Be honest about what you want and how much time you have. It would be awesome to have both but shooting a dink to fill your tag isn't going to help the rapidly declining mule deer population for the sake of filling the freezer.
 

John Henry1

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Apr 30, 2020
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Feasible? Yes.

Worth the price? Maybe....

I've noticed a pretty common pattern around the state. In most places where there is decent general tag elk hunting, you will RARELY see a mature mule deer buck. I think the reason for this is that hunters go to the area for elk, don't get one (<10% success rate), and then see a forkhorn or 3pt mule deer close to the road and blast it so they "have some meat in the freezer." Dang near all of Region 3 and a good portion of Region 4 suffers from this disease.

Personally, I would not pay NR tag prices for the class of mule deer that are in most of the good elk hunting areas. Apparently, many disagree though...
This!! It’s possible, but the quality may suffer if you aren’t picky about what you shoot.
 

hobbes

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Montana
Are you planning rifle, bow, or combination of the two? If I were going rifle, I'd plan elk during last week of October in western half of Montana then deer in eastern half of Montana the first week of November. I'd know the regs where I hunted elk and keep an eye out for a good buck (if it's legal) just in case I ran into one. That'll put you back by the 11th.
 

CAElkhunter

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Oct 3, 2019
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Depends on the District but I have done it 75% of the time in the Southwest corner of MT.
Elk is the priority but if I see a buck that needs to be in my freezer he goes down first. It also
depends on whether you are early season or late. The later the more likely the bucks will be down rutting.
The only real issue is Elk and Deer tend to hang out in a little different terrain. It is always worth having extra fun tickets...
 

Dos Perros

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Lenexa, KS
I've noticed a pretty common pattern around the state. In most places where there is decent general tag elk hunting, you will RARELY see a mature mule deer buck.

This has been my experience. It messes up my brain enough that I don't even equate good elk country to good mule deer country, although that's what you see in places like western Wyoming.

I'll see mule deer in the lower ag country below the mountains, but get up into the mountains where I hunt elk and I rarely even see a deer.
 

yoopshoot

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UP of Michigan
The few times I’ve elk hunted in MT I will echo what has been said already here , I’ve seen deer, however usually down low and not while hunting elk. With that being said I’ve had far more opportunities on black bears while elk hunting. ( This is during archery season)


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Wapiti1

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Indiana
I did it this year. Shot a great muley about 2 miles from where I shot a raghorn bull one day apart. This was the week before Thanksgiving. The deer were in the sage and bitterbrush. The elk were tucked into the timber patches near windblown open slopes. I let my glass do the walking.

Here is the deer verse elk issue. During archery, the elk are lower than the big bucks in Montana. You'll have to hunt ridge tops for the bucks and typically mid-mountain or lower for the elk. Unless you are fine with a forky, then you'll see them with the does down lower.

Once you get into the general season, the deer are a crap shoot, but will be upper to mid mountain, and the elk will still be mid to lower. As general moves on the bucks follow the does, and the bulls move up while the cows move down (mature bulls, not rags). Last two weeks, the deer are low, and the elk are too. Then you focus on food. Deer like brush and shrubs. Elk eat grass. Hope for snow and stupid cold.

Jeremy
 
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young7.3

young7.3

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Thanks for all the suggestions/replys.
For elk, when during the general season would you say is the best week to hunt? We both prefer rifle hunting but I have heard elk rifle opener is a zoo.
Same question above for deer?


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willfrye027

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Did it this year on the combo tag, first time hunting Montana. Shot a cow and a small buck in a week. Probably can’t expect to shoot a decent bull and a decent buck…but a small elk and a small buck? Totally doable.
 

Indian Summer

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Thanks for all the suggestions/replys.
For elk, when during the general season would you say is the best week to hunt? We both prefer rifle hunting but I have heard elk rifle opener is a zoo.
Same question above for deer?


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It gets good when you have to leave. From about 11/15 to the end of the month the best time for mulies. The rut.

I’ll ask what others have: Have you ever killed an elk? Have you ever hunted mountain mule deer? If not and you’re depending on luck it’s going to be hard to punch both tags. ESPECIALLY not knowing your area and the habits of the animals there.

Pick a species, I’ll say elk, and focus. If you punch your tags relocate for deer.
 

Preston

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May 12, 2020
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I think it would be fairly tough the harvest a bull and a buck on the same trip. I have only did it once and it was a limited elk tag and I happened to see a nice buck while elk hunting. Like others have said where I elk hunt at, deer sightings are pretty rare.
 

Rogue Bay

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Oregon coast
I’ll echo what’s already been said. I used to live in Montana and while it’s definitely possible, I feel that when hunting for both I never did justice to either. I’d pick one to focus on and be willing to let the other tag go if need be. Best of luck.
 
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young7.3

young7.3

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It gets good when you have to leave. From about 11/15 to the end of the month the best time for mulies. The rut.

I’ll ask what others have: Have you ever killed an elk? Have you ever hunted mountain mule deer? If not and you’re depending on luck it’s going to be hard to punch both tags. ESPECIALLY not knowing your area and the habits of the animals there.

Pick a species, I’ll say elk, and focus. If you punch your tags relocate for deer.

I didn’t see anyone ask if I’ve killed an elk. But yes I have, 4 actually. My dad has killed 10-15. We are well versed on elk, but not mule deer, hence my questions.

Thanks for everyone’s advice. Sounds like we should plan on hunting separate areas for the two species and possibly separate trips. If anyone else has any advise or tips they are more than welcome, thanks!


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