Expert level where’s Waldo

Addicting

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SW Michigan
I’m down here in Arizona hunting mule deer. Most of this area burned and its deadfall and standing poles. Most all of them are missing the bark and are the exact same color as a mule deer.

Now let’s mix in the aspen regrowth patches.

Even with Leupold HD optics this is a game I seem to not excel at.

I have glassed over huge drainages and yet to find a buck.

The does I find seem to melt away if you take your eyes off them.
 
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I found them this morning but I am feeling very under glasses for my needs. A GR 12-40x60 was enough to spot the tiny little dots. However, past 1500 or so yards, I couldn’t tell if they were bucks or does. I suppose if it was a boomer buck I would have been able to see something on its head.

Bull Elk on the other hand stick out like a sore thumb. Too bad I have a deer tag.
 
Good luck! Nothing to add other than I’m also in AZ currently but not to hunt, so color me jealous.
 
Good luck! Nothing to add other than I’m also in AZ currently but not to hunt, so color me jealous.
Don’t be too jealous. I decided to get a closer look and drove around to a better vantage.

I quickly grabbed the spotter to see if they were visible. I couldn’t find them and then hear a Bleeet, then another. Damn deer are 150 yards behind me going up a steep timbered drainage. Of course I had left the rifle in the car. So I’ve been sitting here all day doing absolutely nothing waiting on them to come back down to the mesa. Good news is there was a decent buck with them.
 
Frustrating to wait all day on them to just get ghosted again. I was pretty sure there were two different groups due to how far apart they were. Something blew out that whole basin. Glassing square miles of empty wears on you.

It is a Mexican wolf reintroduction area, so maybe they made a show.
 
Are you working the interior of the burn or the edges? Edges can be a little more productive for deer. Or if you can find pockets of living trees/ brush those work well also. Don't forget about thermals and swirling wind. Especially in bowls.

Muleys have spots they like and spots they don't. They often look nearly identical and it seems to be without rhyme or reason.
 
Are you working the interior of the burn or the edges? Edges can be a little more productive for deer. Or if you can find pockets of living trees/ brush those work well also. Don't forget about thermals and swirling wind. Especially in bowls.

Muleys have spots they like and spots they don't. They often look nearly identical and it seems to be without rhyme or reason.
A fencing crew moved in and is cutting an allotment fence in around the top of the burn.

I moved on to a different basin today. So today was a new lesson in a new area. We had sustained 25mph winds today. Was one of those days you remember.
 
A fencing crew moved in and is cutting an allotment fence in around the top of the burn.

I moved on to a different basin today. So today was a new lesson in a new area. We had sustained 25mph winds today. Was one of those days you remember.
Ya windy days are rough. Keep it in your face, deer don't like it either. Focus on areas that provide a wind break.
 
Finding it hard to get the motivation to go again today. The mental toughness of this hunt requires is wearing me down. In 5 days I haven’t found one to put a stalk on.

Good news is, I’m not alone. I eat dinner with a guide and his client each night. They are putting in way more physical effort and getting the similar rewards. At least that is what they are telling me. From the exhaustion and sunburns I tend to believe them.
 
Well, I did something I’ve always made fun of folks for. I had an early morning rough start with motivation and allergies. I proceeded to spot A where I’d seen the nicer buck. No deer in the whole basin at sunlight. Moved to spot B for a better view, still no deer. Whatever cleared the basin yesterday morning was still working.

Moved on to spots C thru E, and Nada.

To hell with this I am just going to go walk the drainages below the rim. I will hopefully get a look back shot at one in this wind.

While driving there a group crosses the road in front of me. They stop in the ponderosa pines and start feeding. They are literally yards off the road and could care less I am there.

There is a forkie and a spike in the group. I moved the car down to a trail 30 yards down the road.

I sit there contemplating what to do. Keep driving and be the spot and stalk guy I am trying to be. Or take a chip shot and be the road hunter I make jokes about. I wanted to see if they would run if I got out of the car. They didn’t, I slammed the door, they scuttled about 20 yards and then when back to snacking.

You have to be kidding me is the one way conversation I started having with them. I told them I had a tag and they should leave before he gets a victory lap to Michigan.

They didn’t care, so I got the rifle and powaxed him. He is in the cooler and I’m in Texas now. I don’t even feel bad about it.
 
Well, I did something I’ve always made fun of folks for. I had an early morning rough start with motivation and allergies. I proceeded to spot A where I’d seen the nicer buck. No deer in the whole basin at sunlight. Moved to spot B for a better view, still no deer. Whatever cleared the basin yesterday morning was still working.

Moved on to spots C thru E, and Nada.

To hell with this I am just going to go walk the drainages below the rim. I will hopefully get a look back shot at one in this wind.

While driving there a group crosses the road in front of me. They stop in the ponderosa pines and start feeding. They are literally yards off the road and could care less I am there.

There is a forkie and a spike in the group. I moved the car down to a trail 30 yards down the road.

I sit there contemplating what to do. Keep driving and be the spot and stalk guy I am trying to be. Or take a chip shot and be the road hunter I make jokes about. I wanted to see if they would run if I got out of the car. They didn’t, I slammed the door, they scuttled about 20 yards and then when back to snacking.

You have to be kidding me is the one way conversation I started having with them. I told them I had a tag and they should leave before he gets a victory lap to Michigan.

They didn’t care, so I got the rifle and powaxed him. He is in the cooler and I’m in Texas now. I don’t even feel bad about it.
I mean, he was practically begging! A cooler full of meat is a cooler full of meat. Congrats!
 
No shame in the occasional gimme. I killed a spike once under very similar circumstances in Colorado. It was day 6 of a 7 day hunt. All the guys in camp harassed me mercilessly about shooting that “baby road deer” they did not have much to say whenever that was the only tag out of seven tags in camp that got punched that week lol! Good job and congratulations!
 
Congratulations! I feel the same way , back in 2017 , I hunted my butt off looking for a Blacktail , in 19 days of hunting I saw a glimpse of a buck disappear into the brush with 2 days left in season wife spotted a deer not far off a logging road , I got out to investigate, it turned out to be a young 2x1 , he came home with me.
I want a bigger deer as much as the next guy, but I want meat even more than that. Probably the hardest I’ve ever hunted in my life to fill a tag and to this day it’s still one of my most favorite deer racks for the time, energy and effort I invested that year.
 
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