2023 NM muzzleloader mule deer Unit 13

QELKhunter

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Nov 22, 2020
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South Central CO
The time is fast approaching for my 2023 NM mule deer hunt. After 9 years of applying I finally drew a NM deer tag, not my first choice hunt, but I am extremely happy to have a tag in my pocket. The last time I hunted this unit was in 2008, crazy to think that was 15 years ago! As you can easily guess from the title this is in the heart of NM, unit 13, Socorro County. When I last hunted this unit I had the benefit of being a resident who covered a lot of ground year round on horse back. I had the deer migration patterns nailed down and all the active water sources mapped.

Well this year I am starting from scatch, I still have the benefit of historical knowledge of the area, but a lot can change and has changed in 15 years. This past weekend I put boots on the ground and started scouring all the areas I remember from my youth. Unfortunately I did not lay eyes on a single deer, male or female. The first rain collection station I checked had not been maintained and was no longer a viable water source. I was rather peeved to have found that to be the case as of course I checked my primary target location first, the only other water I was able to find in the area was a stock well 3 miles away and about 200 yards onto private. There was very old deer sign along the game/cattle trail headed to the stock well, but nothing new or fresh.

The second location I checked was also a rain collection sight, luckily this one is still active and had a lot of fresh sign, but only that of elk, coyote and maybe bobcat. I also saw a herd of 5 cow elk here and heard a faint bugle just after sunset.

The 3rd spot I went to had a youth muzzleloader elk hunter sitting it, so I backed out and let them be. I spent the remaining time searching new areas and studying OnEx for possible scouting trips this coming weekend. I am trying to be respectful of those currently hunting while still putting in my due diligence in scouting for my own hunt.

I am hopeful this thread will be filled with many pictures of prospective target bucks and one hell of a fun hunt recap, but only time will tell.
 
Just got back from my second weekend scouting unit 13. Pulled some trail camera cards but they only got pictures of elk, two bulls and several cows with calves. I was fortunate this time to find 3 does, but nothing with antlers.

There were plenty of ATV's buzzing around all weekend. Kinda find it disappointing with how many people just spend all day driving the 2 track roads and county roads on Atv's and side by side. Wether you are hunting or not I do not see the thrill of hauling ass and raising dust all day. Why don't people just slow down and enjoy the scenery, put some time and energy into truly experiencing the outdoors in its most natural form.

BLM and forest service put up signs and obstacles to prevent the destruction of the landscape and these yahoo's just creat a new route around the barrier and ignore the signs. It's no wonder the wildlife of New Mexico stay to private land. If it was truly a fair chase, boots on the ground hunting experience, these animals wouldn't be pressured so hard and be forced to find refuge on private.

The ignorance and destruction caused by by the self entitled hurts everyone. I am still enjoying my adventure, but can't help to think how things would be different if everyone played by the rules and the places that are supposed to be wild and foot traffic only were intact still that.

Well there it is, my rant for second weekend scouting. Till next week.
 
Well that's a wrap for 2023! I am all out of tags for 2023 and will be moving on to predators, waterfowl and maybe pheasants.

I will do a writeup to close this threaded our tomorrow, but now it's time to get some rest and let my legs recover!

Check back tomorrow for a fun story and some awesome pictures!
 
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