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12 days of Nevada mulie hunting

Frank M Needham

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Joined
Mar 24, 2018
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895
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Las Vegas
My son and I got NV tags in two units. His is in 11 and mine is in 22. Season for me is 10/5 - 10/6, for his junior tag it runs 10/5 - 11/3. I'll be leaving 9/30 to set up camp in my area and do some additional scouting prior to opening day. I've decided to focus on Mount Grafton Wilderness, west side of the mountains. This is after 4 scouting visits, talking with 1 biologist and 1 game warden.

We've only seen deer of any significance on the west side. The east side is covered in elk and sign. We glassed for deer, again, over the weekend and, wouldn't you know it, we had an elk encounter. We sat down to glass, and not more than 5 mins in, Gage spots a bull about 1500 yards off in a classic bowl setup on the side of the mountain. About 30 mins later, he says, "Dad! There's a bull rubbing over the hill behind us!". To which I respond "can't you see I'm glassing for deer here?". Lol, sometimes he cries wolf so I thought it was another case of doing so.

Later, I found out otherwise when I went to glass over the hill and promptly found sign that still so fresh it practically had steam coming off it. All the while, there was an elk rutfest going on up the drainage from us. Bear in mind, neither of us had ever even seen a bull elk while scouting until that point in time. It was a lot to take in. We left later that morning since we didn't see any deer except a doe scooting into a treeline from the burn we were glassing. Pretty much wherever we went on that side of the mountain we saw rubs and other sign. One rub was so fresh the green tipped branches of the juniper were laying about where the bull had thrashed it.

The plan is to fill my tag and then roll over into his unit to fill his and then back to work on 10/12. We'll be doing so from a baja style popup we use as a base camp. It's very mobile and we've dragged it into all sorts of iffy situations without mishap, so far. I'll be hunting on day backpack trips up into the 9-10K elevations. It's still really warm here so the bucks aren't coming down as of yet. For those who aren't familiar with the area, it is very remote, not even cell service there....yay!
 

Frank M Needham

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
895
Location
Las Vegas
Just unsuccessfully completed my trip and wanted to put down a few thoughts about it while things are still fresh.

I'm not entirely a newb to hunting, having been on 2 hunts very long ago, one of which was also in 22. The difference between what I saw over the last 35 years in 22 is startlingly bad, at least for deer. First time I was there the numbers of deer I observed over the 2 days there was huge. One could casually hike in about any direction and see deer, no exaggeration. This time, over 11 days of scouting/hunting, only 2 mature bucks were observed, one of which was marginal. Saw them on the day before opening but there was so much pressure from ATVs on opening day they got spooked and took off, never to be seen again.

I backpacked into the wilderness area to at least 4 drainages where there was water. On those treks only 4 does where jumped, no bucks whatsoever. Saw none glassing either. However, elk numbers where the opposite. Even though it was hot and dry, I walked the foothills a bit and saw tracks, but no deer.

Overall, it was a great experience even though it was tag soup for dinner. Don't expect a wilderness area to hold the critters you are hunting just because. If a do-over was on the table, I would have backpack hunted the area by starting at one end of the wilderness in the high country through to the opposite end, staying high and dropping into drainages along the way as I'm sure the few deer that are there stay up there.
 
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