Mule Deer Suggestions CO

enbhunts

FNG
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
31
Hey all-
Wife and I are gonna be hunting a 4th rifle buck tag in the South Central region of CO more than likely this fall. First time hunting a buck in a 4th season.

I'd like any suggestions on how to try and pattern rutting mule deer. I've hunted mostly late season does before. Most of the research I've seen is find the does and you can find bucks. Just looking for any tid bits or any suggestions anyone would be willing to share.

As I live here in CO, and am extremely familiar with the hunting pressure, to go along with the pressure here on the forums lol, I definitely am not looking for anyone's secrets or anything. Just trying to upgrade knowledge then put it to use in the field.

Will be speaking with the game warden on the particular unit we will be hunting to get some general info as well.

If anyone wants to share more details please feel free to send a PM.

Thanks!
 
Joined
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Colorado
Not sure you'll have much luck patterning an individual buck that time of year. One might be in an area with does for a few days and then vanish. The "find the does find the bucks" saying should work that time of year for finding rut activity though. Look at migration routes and winter concentration areas for wherever you hunt, somewhere along that path you should be able to find where the most action is fairly quickly. Since it's a short hunt, this is where getting there a few days early will help you the most. Good luck.
 

sndmn11

WKR
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
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9,567
Location
Morrison, Colorado
I agree with the EMM @Nickofthewoods on "patterning". A buck is going to think 1) Sex 2) Security. If it is an exclusive enough unit to be posting about on the internet, #1 shouldn't be an issue at all.

Your best bet is to get out of the truck, get your optics on a tripod, and see what you can find in #2 within 100 yards of #1. In talking with people, I think they believe bucks should be mixed with does and they bail when they don't see bucks out in the open. Don't bail, find the dude who is nearby but hidden because he has lived long enough not being in the open.
 

WCB

WKR
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Jun 12, 2019
Messages
3,392
When I hunt rutting mule deer I check doe groups....move from group to group. As stated above the buck might not be right with them but holed up close. At least the spot in MT I like to hunt we see lone bucks cruising miles looking for does...just running ridges, across sage flats, etc. Sometimes there are bucks right with or close to a doe group other times we watch mature bucks come from the horizon...spend 15-20 minutes pushing does around...lose interest and move on only time find them later in the day or week with another group a couple miles away.

Small bucks were always with the does but the larger/mature bucks could pop up anywhere at anytime. Some doe groups we never say a mature buck with in 10 days. A couple groups every other day a different "mature" buck would show up just no what we wanted to shoot.
 
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enbhunts

FNG
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
31
Not sure you'll have much luck patterning an individual buck that time of year. One might be in an area with does for a few days and then vanish. The "find the does find the bucks" saying should work that time of year for finding rut activity though. Look at migration routes and winter concentration areas for wherever you hunt, somewhere along that path you should be able to find where the most action is fairly quickly. Since it's a short hunt, this is where getting there a few days early will help you the most. Good luck.
Didn't think about looking at the migration routes, thanks for the suggestion.
 
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enbhunts

FNG
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
31
I agree with the EMM @Nickofthewoods on "patterning". A buck is going to think 1) Sex 2) Security. If it is an exclusive enough unit to be posting about on the internet, #1 shouldn't be an issue at all.

Your best bet is to get out of the truck, get your optics on a tripod, and see what you can find in #2 within 100 yards of #1. In talking with people, I think they believe bucks should be mixed with does and they bail when they don't see bucks out in the open. Don't bail, find the dude who is nearby but hidden because he has lived long enough not being in the open.
That's a good point to remember, they may be hiding around the does just not completely in the open. We'll see if I have self control enough to not shoot the first forky I see with the does!
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2021
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Just like all these folks have already stated, I've learned to find the doe groups and keep a very close eye on them. A big deer may not be with them at that moment, but they will put some miles on looking for hot does. Typically, a mature deer will turn up with the doe group you're watching at some point during the rut. I like to have a few groups of does found so I have options to keep eyes on. Oh... and if you're the praying type, ask God for a little snow! Generally, it makes them move more and easier to pick out of the sage.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
1,798
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Colorado
Late season I like to hunt the edges. Edges of cover near does, and edges of legal light. The does seem to stand around most of the morning and get up earlier in the evenings than the big bucks. Also keep an eye out on the little bucks. They often will give up the location of a bigger buck by watching them closely.
 
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enbhunts

FNG
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
31
Just like all these folks have already stated, I've learned to find the doe groups and keep a very close eye on them. A big deer may not be with them at that moment, but they will put some miles on looking for hot does. Typically, a mature deer will turn up with the doe group you're watching at some point during the rut. I like to have a few groups of does found so I have options to keep eyes on. Oh... and if you're the praying type, ask God for a little snow! Generally, it makes them move more and easier to pick out of the sage.
Definitely will be hoping for some snow
 

mpb21

FNG
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
29
Location
MT
Cover as much a country as you can, burn up that fuel and glass looking for groups of does.

I've always had great luck with game wardens being good guys to talk to in the field but as far as calling them for hunting info, I've really only ever gotten very generic info.
 
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enbhunts

FNG
Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
31
Cover as much a country as you can, burn up that fuel and glass looking for groups of does.

I've always had great luck with game wardens being good guys to talk to in the field but as far as calling them for hunting info, I've really only ever gotten very generic info.
Yea the warden convo I was just looking for some general info the unit. Overall, helpful
 

hunterjmj

WKR
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
1,206
Location
Montana
When I hunt rutting mule deer I check doe groups....move from group to group. As stated above the buck might not be right with them but holed up close. At least the spot in MT I like to hunt we see lone bucks cruising miles looking for does...just running ridges, across sage flats, etc. Sometimes there are bucks right with or close to a doe group other times we watch mature bucks come from the horizon...spend 15-20 minutes pushing does around...lose interest and move on only time find them later in the day or week with another group a couple miles away.

Small bucks were always with the does but the larger/mature bucks could pop up anywhere at anytime. Some doe groups we never say a mature buck with in 10 days. A couple groups every other day a different "mature" buck would show up just no what we wanted to shoot.
This. At least what I've seen as well. I've seen so many shooter bucks cruising and checking a group of does then moving on if they aren't ready. Being at the right place at the right time, intercepting a cruising buck, or finding one that's interested in some does and hangs around. I've killed them each way. Just get out there and don't give up.
 
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