All of you guys who pack in for muleys...


Active member
Jan 13, 2002
Salmon, ID
Just wondering how those of you who pack in without horses found your spots. I have really got interested in packing into an area to hunt big muleys but don't know how to find the places to start. I've looked at TOPO maps and have found spots that look good. Just wondering how all of you first found the spots where you hike into, to set up your camp.

Don't go looking for deer. I suggest that you start backpacking for the pure fun of backpacking, because you want to be outdoors, gaze at distant vistas, smell the desert in the morning after it rained, climb a mountain, fish an alpine lake, watch a beaver build his dam or a marmot stock his larder. Go be outdoors because it's good for your soul and because you love with a passion everything you see. Allow yourself to be awed by the power of close thunder, by the still peace of a cool shady hollow, by a blood red sunset. Go to the hills for those reasons and you will find your deer spot.

Well put KC...
That was very good!!!
Yep!!!Tk..That is how it is done...
Unless some one happens to point you in the right direction to start. Just a little add in. If some one gives you a general area clue, then take the walk and find them for yourself!!! :D :D :D
Most of my muley hunting is of the backpack variety. A few things that really helped me find my spots are: a) I climb 14ers during the summer which allows me to see tons of timberline country, b) I'm a map fiend. I spend dozens and dozens of hours looking at maps searching for the remotest places I can find without trails or roads. I hate seeing other hunters in the field so the more remote the better. c) stay in great shape. Then strap on the backpack , follow your hunches. Don't get in a rush, plan on spending some extensive time out there and thoroughly check the place out. There is no better way to hunt.....
TK, when I first moved out west, about the only help I got when asked where to go or try was to try the National Forest. Some said north of town. It was then that I started hiking everywhere. It took me 6 years to find my elk spot, and that was six years on foot. Now I do have a horse and every weekend I try to ride into a new area and check it out.

To sum it up, I pretty much did what KC has said.
That is the same attitude when I first moved here. I would ask people where elk may be and I would get two responces. The ones in the know would send me to no mans land and the rest would just wave their arms in a big circle as if they were under every rock and behind every tree....We know that isn't really the way it works. In the last four years since I started hunting here, I have logged hundreds and hundreds of miles on my shoes and I suppose will do so some more as the years go on. It is a hike of love and the sence of adventure that there has to be something new over the next hill and another old cabin or some thing in the next draw...Lots of history around this country to explore and find...My next thing to start to look for is pretty rocks. So I will get a metal detector and this will give me one more excuse to check out new elk country.. :D
Well...I guess you could do the whole "become one with nature" theme....if you have the time. But I rather choose to narrow down an area, or mountain, to those places hardest to get to, then look for what they need, food, cover, water and mostly lack of hunting pressure. It is there that you will find the best hunting. Easier said than done, which brings us to your question.....

.....I have found most of my places by trial and error. Hunting different locations only once unless they are "da bomb". I am ever on the move looking for "that right spot" more hill, one more mountain..deeper and deeper in. You hear of guys hunting the same area for 5 or 6 years without success...that is just plain nuts!

Find you an area on the map off the roads and trails....hike in for a'll see what you want or not.....if not....repeat process! :D

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 11-20-2002 10:44: Message edited by: Deerslayer ]</font>
You guys are really making me miss the mountains. While the deer hunting here is better than anywhere I've ever hunted there is a special allure the mountains (especially the Rocky's) have that I can't find anywhere else.
What are you guys all related to Ralph Waldo Emerson? There has to be at least one guy out there besides me that is wondering wheather or not KC is straight after that lame ass post. That post about made me sick. If you want to find a good mule deer spot I would really suggest not spending all day watching a damn beaver. Looking for deer is a better idea. I don't see how watching a damn varmit or a sunset is going to lead you to a big mule deer.
Hey Yetti.. I'm all for watching beaver all day long. Are you straight? :D

Mule deer in the mountains... The secret is the rocket pack and the 10,000,000 candlepower portable spotlight.
HAHAHA I have to agree with Yetti. The last time I found a good muley spot I was looking for deer, water, food, shelter, deer sign and deer sign, and also deer sign. Last time I watched beavers building a dam I fell asleep. And screw watching the sunset you should be looking for deer because thats a high activity time, the only blood red you should be thinking of is the color of your hands after you gut your buck. To everyone his own I guess but if you want to find deer you look for deer. If you want to find a good area to practice yoga and be a hippie maybe those other ideas would work. LMAO ;)
For those that prefer watching all the wonders of nature and seeing deer is secondary might I suggest deer hunting in Utah in the non-trophy units. You will see all kinds of trees, rocks, sunsets, snakes, ants, and a rabbit now and then. However it's very unlikely a mule deer with antlers bigger than your little finger will disturb the beauty of it all. I lost count of all the hunters down there that said they don't care as much about finding game as they did about experiencing being in the great out doors. Then why buy a @#$@ing license, you can camp anytime. The reason is, there wasn't anything else better to do down there during deer season, shooting certainly wasn't an activity one had to worry about. Well unless a skunk or a Kalifornian was trying to get in your cooler. I still love the mountains, love them even more if a big old muley buck is included in the package.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 11-20-2002 13:18: Message edited by: Big Sky ]</font>
The best way to find a great mule deer place is to buddy up with some goofy bastard like Greenhorn. You have to weed through all the guys you meet until you find one that has his garage and living room completely saturated with horns. Pretend to be friends with him even if he is so wierd you can barely stand to be around him. It will eventually pay off as he gains your trust and tells you all of his best hunting spots. Then actually finding and killing a really big one is a different story.
Comon guys don't be shy tell us what you really think :D

I'm trying to line up a trip or 2 next fall and I can't even decide what state to start in, from a distance TK is probably just looking for a bit of basic (general) guidence. He would never ask for the GPS coodorinates of your Honey Hole

Like what features on TOPO to look for like a saddle or WATER.
Don't most folks who plan on backpacking actually leave the truck? ;)

Here is a laugh for yall>>>>
SERIOUSLY, I bet over half the "hunters" in the south, do not walk over 300yards from a truck or quad. I have taken guys (not overweight) with me that bitch because I walk them 2 or 3 miles from the truck.. ...Our counties topo would make you laugh, the elevation change is less than 300' TOTAL :D
Hey TK.

Do you want the real secret to finding the big ones? Just wait until the day after deer season, go back out to some of the spots you just spents days walking without seeing a damn thing; then and there you'll find your monster.

A picture says a thousand words, and that pic says get off your 'arse', leave the beaver watching for the night time, and head for the high country thats in front of you! :D

Good pic KC.

Yes I took the picture, Saturday, at dawn looking towards the Never Summer Range.


P.S. BTW, while I was at it, I got permission to hunt on private land where I can try to fill my extended season PLO cow elk tag.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 11-25-2002 07:02: Message edited by: KC ]</font>
There is alot of aspects of this whole cross country thing that make it exciting and enjoyable..No matter what some might say..
If you are looking over an area, looking for that big buck, or bull for that matter. It doesnt hurt a thing, nor does it take any of your precious time, to look around and notice the wonders that are all around. If you are hiking thru a wet area and there is a beaver swimming across or building a dam, how much effort does it take to stop for a minute. If the sun is setting, just like the photo above, how long does it take to glance at the beauty right in front of you. It isnt a hard thing and you guy's can make all the fun you want. But when a young man asks an honest question, there should be a little respect. Hunting is a great past time, but there is so much more to learn and see. Some people don't have the opertunities that some of you guy's have. This is a great time to teach some of the younger ones that there are a lot of way's to do hunt this way, not that just because they don't hunt your way, or end up with a house full of "horns" that there are not other way's. Then they can make up their minds on how they want to hunt. Don't shame them into thinking your way is the only way and that the rest are a bunch of what ever you want to call them. We are all in this for the long haul...
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