So given the chance.
Most everyone here would choose the the buck with more mass.....at least that's what I'm hearing.
My dad has a nice Mulie from Old Mexico and even though its "thin air" measurement
is 28" and the tines are long, It really lacks any mass so is not as impressive as the ones with larger diameters. His buddies both took mature heavy horned deer that appeared huge in comparison.
I have only hunted Mule Deer once
and the mature deer had a way of slipping away (not unlike a mature Whitetail)
But many of them seemed to hold still to elude danger and that is probably the weak point in thier defense as most of predators are more likley to spot something with movement.
Anyway, given the choice, who would not choose the heavy beamed deer?
I never said I would choose a heavy horned deer JB........I only am saying give me the buck Big Sky describes...........heavy and wide! I realize spread is a meager part of the scoring, but I never said anything about score.......only that I will always seek out the widest spread ( ) in animals of course, that I can find........and the more mass the better!
Bigger is better when it comes to my hunting philosophy........abnd part of bigger is width.......
So tell me this.....how wide are mule deer ears???
Is spread pretty easy to judge (say +/- 2")
Or is the normal range so great that you see them at that it makes it hard to gage?
On the one mule deer hunt I've been on,
I saw a lot of decent bucks but only 2 with good mass and one of those had like beer can size bases and a lotta height, but was only a 3X3. The other was no way over 24" but
had good mass and 5x5. I just rushed the stalk a little and blew it.
Ended up shooting a puppy size deer, but I had a HECK of a good time looking at those jokers! Anyway is was kind of all gravy after getting a good Elk (for the area) on the first evening. Ya'll, before that, I bet I had'nt seen that much Antler on all the whitetails from down here COMBINED!!!
Is is normal to see a ratio like 1 buck for 25 does out west?
JB........there are easier to judge for me when they are with other bucks, same as Prongys.........because I haven't had enough experience yet to be very good a judging them from a distance. So I always try and pick out the big 'un!
.......every muley buck I see by itself I swear is a 24incher! .......I'm a lousy judge of spread, but am getting a little better with it.
I have guided muley hunts here for the last couple of years, and would tell you that if you use the standard of 22" ears that you could usually meet your goal of +/- 2". If your buck is running with other bucks of similiar size, the mass and height really tend to stick out. Lately clients are putting as much emphasis on heigth as width. I prefer a very symetrical heavy antlered deer myself. Width is an added bonus, but as long as they are outside the ears you have a decent deer.
Yes JB, I hear you and know exactly what your talking about.........
......my best stands were in the thickest stuff I could find.......one time I took a climber up a smallish tree, was only about 12 feet up and could only see 20 yards square........but I was in the right spot and knew it........aand after only 20 minutes on stand, right after daybreak, I took a real nice buck as he worked his scarpe line......and to think just before he appeared, I wondered what the hell I was doing sitting in a place where I couldn't see......then he answered my question......
Really enjoy readin the diffs in the mulie/whitey huntin.Never hunted west of woodville Maine,where I've lived my whole life.Got 4 kids and wont be able to afford to hunt anywhere but here for years to come either. And I aint complainin bout much.The big whitetail bucks we got around here are born in these overgrown farm plots that aint been farmed in yrs.Thick cover aint the word for it.They run all over the fields eatin apples and clover till bird/rabbit season starts and than when they hear gunshots,they get real smart,real quick.Not really nocturnal,but they limit their movin.Like DS says,you gotta get in their zone,where they are on the lookout the MOST.Makes for some interestin hunts and lots of grief to the guy who cant sit still and has to see game everytime out.I've been a firm believer of watchin mature,adult does,and let them show me where the big boys are.Snow is a bonus here as it prolly is anywhere.Least you can tell where they were.
By all means keep telling stories like this. Reading experiences like this is the closest I'll ever get to hunting mulies. Even if I would get out where they live, I doubt I could scramble up and down the rough country. Gettin too old and decrepeted!
Wisconsin whitetails are almost impossible to pattern for the rifle season. Our traditional 9 day season is so hectic, the deer dig a hole and crawl in for the duration. The archery season lasts forever and the opportunity is there to pattern bucks if you have the time. Problem is having the needed land. It's pretty hard to be able to pattern deer on a 20 acre chunk you own.
Snuffy......you make a very valid point.............some of us sometimes take for granted when we get to hunt the South's liberal season's........about 4 months in my state, and that would rank only about 4th best in the south. South Catolina actually has an August rifle season! .........Alabama is a deer a day for the length of their long season........allowing over 100 deer to be taken bt one hunter leagally!
I could not imagine only getting a week to hunt a mature whitetail.....that would make it tough as hell! I've killed a ton of big ones.......but most took weeks to get a pattern on.......
Mainiac......something tells me that you have done quite well in Maine. Reading your post, I gathered you are a patient man, and that is a requirement for harvesting mature whitetails!............many of mine fell in the middle of the day. Listening to you describe your hunting doesn't sound much unlike my whitetail hunting back in Louisiana........and I do miss it.
Wow DS...if I went as far away as CO to hunt,I'd plan on takin at least 600$ wortha beer,might fall in love with the place and never come back. Yup,patience is definitly a virtue when it comes to huntin the big guys.When I was a teeny bopper I used to think the only way to shoot the big ones was trackin on snow.I killed a few,but I also walked the equivalent of 4 times around the earth thru THE thickest chit there is,and usually ended up seein the big white flag and hearin a snort or 2.Trappin,huntin with hounds,and bein a old man to 4 kids has taught me patience beyond belief.I can usually sit for longer periods of time and seem to go at weird hours and I dont know why,but that has helped me out some.I've spent all my 38 yrs in the woods right here locally,from the time I was big enuff to foller the old man right up thru.Only missed 4 deer seasons and spent them in germany with my Uncle Sam.This one was the weirdest far as I'm concerned,warm and lots of wind.Deer didnt move that good.I'm told the kill was off near 50%,which will leave plenty for next year. As you can tell,I like talkin bout deers.Gonna get with some buddies tomorrow at work,tell we young men oughta "go west".Hell,most of em are all pissed cause they never seen a deer this year
DS you're gonna make me cry, tellin me I could hunt for 4 months and take more than one deer! Our DNR is so screwed up, they listen to the insurance cos. that whine they're paying too much for deer/car collisions and schedule liberal "T" zone hunts for herd reduction. These are doe only and extra tags are available for 9$. These 4 day seasons in late october and early december sure do thin the herd allright. I never even had the safety off this year. Locals around our lease say the herd is at it's lowest level since the 60's, when we had some really bad winters back to back.
The DNR does a herd count every year from the air. They say they see a lot of deer and schedule the "T" zone hunts for the next season. I say the counter should get his eyes checked and get new glasses!
There are some state forests in the northern part of the state that have enough land to allow a guy to pattern some bucks. Problem is thats a 150 mile trip one way, so there isn't any way I could spend enough time to do it right. It's public land for hunting, so you can't build a stand or leave a stand in the woods. Do you hunt mainly from the ground?