DIY High Country Archery Mule Deer Hunts

fowl_minded

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Aug 28, 2014
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I live in Montana, a dream trip for me is to do a High Country Archery Mule Deer hunt with my bow in August. Looking to see what you guys have to say as far as options, tags, state, location, price. It doesn't have to be the cheapest hunt or a tag a guy has to put in for 20 years to get. Just looking for something with some awesome experiences that i can do with a couple buddies for a decent price. Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona?
30th Birthday is coming up in a couple years and I am planning to get myself a "to me love me present" so im trying to decide on a hunt to do. I have never hunted out of state, but I wouldn't mind giving it a try. Looking for a DIY option not guided. High country Mule Deer hunt is one that is at the top of my list along with BC Moose, Mountain Goat or Mountain Caribou! Thanks
 

JLS

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I think you'd be hard pressed to top Nevada, although I admittedly don't have any experience in the other three states you listed. I doubt you could go wrong with Colorado either.
 

fowl_minded

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JLS i came across a thread and you posted something about the Ruby Mountains? Care to share anymore? Also i guess i dont know much about any of the states i mentioned as far as draws vs. general tags and areas ill look into some regs and read some stories. thanks guys
 

wdkrings

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Jun 12, 2014
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Unless you are going for a buck in velvet, why not hunt for a MT mule deer the first couple weeks of September? It is my opinion that high country mule deer in MT are rarely sought after, and opportunity exists in a number of mountain ranges.
 

fowl_minded

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Should have put in my post High Country Velvet Muley ....... I have hunted some mountain bucks in Montana, and some eastern Montana prarie bucks. Never really sought after them though, i usually just put in a stalk or two on them when i was elk hunting. Your right though you never really do hear about guys going into some of these high country areas looking for bucks very often. I don't know why maybe because in a lot of cases genetics aren't there or because of some permits? I hunt the Bridgers a lot for elk and i used to see some ok deer never any monsters though. I have hunted all over in there and been with a buddy who had that tag to the top and never did come across a real bruiser. Not saying the Bridgers are the only spot to go but they are a highly talked about area because of the permit for them.
 

wdkrings

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Well if velvet is what you are after, by all means look elsewhere, but big mountain mule deer are definitely attainable in MT. I have hunted the Bridgers a fair amount, and not seen much for size either. Good luck in your endeavor.
 

Duck-Slayer

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great state of Idaho....
I will say CO is probably ur best bet, some good ones in Idaho too, but the velvet tags are draw, general opens Aug 30, so you have a chance at getting a velvet still at that time, good luck,
Matt
 

Gr8bawana

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I think you'd be hard pressed to top Nevada, although I admittedly don't have any experience in the other three states you listed. I doubt you could go wrong with Colorado either.

Nevada has decent odds for drawing a non res archery tag in the Ruby's. For 2014 they were 2 to 1.
Bucks are definately in velvet in August. Just be aware the big boys are to be found in the most rugged, steepest stuff you can find. Far away from roads. One of the bad things is how hot is is during this hunt. The success rate was 21%.
 

MT.PERCHMAN

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Jan 3, 2015
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Kalispell , Montana
I drew the Bridgers buck tags in 2006 . I only seen one shooter buck on thanksgiving day .
It a 7 pt. I never had it scored but im thinking a 150" ish. So guess the tags avalible are down now . I never put in again .
I can help out a little if somebody draws this year.
Thats some tough country to hunt ...which i found out very fast .
Good luck to all that put in !!!

MT.PERCHMAN
 

cmc

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Oct 24, 2002
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266
Location
AZ
I've been to CO three times for backpack archery deer in the high country. I can't wait to get back.

A few words of wisdom -
- You can never be in too good of shape for lugging around a 50lb pack at 13,000 ft for a week.
- Invest in high quality rain gear. On the 9th day of wearing it - you'll thank yourself every hour.
- Get use to disappointment.
- Take extra SD cards and batteries for your camera. The views are breathtaking!
- If you're deathly afraid of lightening then a high country hunt is not for you.

Lastly - pick a unit, pick a spot on the map about 3-5mils away from the trail head and go! If it turns out to be a bust try a new spot the following year, but I bet you won't be disappointed with the first spot.

cmc
 

hk_willow

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Jun 18, 2013
Messages
90
Second for the Rubys my inlaws live at the base of them and I've been to the top of the dome. They are steep and sometimes water can be a challenge to find. But for the scenery and the quality of deer I think it'd be hard to beat an archery hunt in the Rubys!
 

Lorenzo_goHUNT

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Mar 10, 2015
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9
I am biased being that I am a Nevada resident, but as mentioned before - I think it would be hard to beat the Ruby's! We had a guy in the office (Brady Miller) hunt it last year and he had a blast. He killed a great buck too.

Reasons for the Ruby's (in my opinion) -
-Ease of drawing the tag (plenty of leftover tags last year for the archery hunt)
-quality of the bucks
-scenery and style of hunt
-If you hike in far enough, you can be hunting away from the crowds.

The Ruby's can be pretty rugged though… and some of the closer bowls and hunting areas can get crowded due to the increase in tags there. Attached is the five year breakdown on tag quota and harvest success to give you an idea -

Colorado is also something to look into, although the tags will be harder to draw especially if you are wanting to go with a group of friends. The high country CO hunts do have less hunting pressure and higher success rates, attached is an example of CO unit 55 tag quota and harvest success. Also - in my opinion, the top end buck potential is better in CO, but NV can definitely produce too.

(Note - The first image is the Ruby's. and 2015 dates are not available for Nevada yet, but Nevada doesn't change dates too often so there is a 99% chance the 2015 dates will be Aug 10 - Sept 9. The second image is CO unit 55 for comparison. Also - 2014 success rates have not been published yet for CO but for Nevada to 2014 success rate was - 12% for residents and 20% for non-residents for an average success rate of 16%.)

PM me if you have any specific questions - Thanks!
 

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