Having trouble finding mule deer 🦌 especially bucks in Idaho unit 76 and 66a. Any reason why? Any help would be appreciated.

WVgoodguy22

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Mar 29, 2019
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My Dad, youngest brother and I drove all the way from West Virginia to Idaho for mule deer 🦌 and fall black bear 🐻 along with some fishing 🎣 and small game hunting. We met up with another group from the same area in WV. Spent all day scouting today and not much hot sign aside from elk. Glassed a few areas high in the timber checking pockets of slightly open areas near cover and right on the wood line without much to show, even sage brush on the side of the slopes. Any tips or tricks for finding deer here?
 

p_ham

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Fallon, NV
Early morning and late evening are the best times, check the areas that stay shaded longest-there are always exceptions to that-. Once the sun starts warming things up glass under shade trees, the shady side of brush, under brush, the base of big rocks, cliffs, etc... Some mule deer will bed out in the open but most stay tucked up against something that offers quick evasion. Try to find the edges of habitat change such as pinion juniper forest to sage, aspens, or the edges of a burn. Saddles are always a good place to check out, they are used for transition between draws and drainages. The deer in NV have been hitting the berries hard this year, ID might be the same? Good luck!
 

LCH

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I've never been to that area, but generally I bounce around all over a unit until I begin finding deer. I don't typically glass the same spots day after day if I'm not seeing much.
 

mevertsen

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Don't get stuck into thinking the deer are going to be in a particular type of habitat.

If you are scouting, cover as much country as possible until you find sign. Look for tracks near water, and road and trail crossings.

When you find tracks, then start looking for the trails leading away from there into the shady places. Tall brush can hide deer surprisingly well.

As long as there is food cover, water and escape routes, there will be deer. Food look for bitter brush and mahogany if the unit has any.

Don't waste your time if you are not finding sign though. Move on. And cover everything from the valley floors near any agricultural fields all the way to the mountain tops.
 

HalfAce

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All of them died a few years ago; bad winters. Sure there’s a couple around, but NOTHING like it should be. It’s really really poor deer hunting out that way right now.
 

ajricketts

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South Florida
That area gets hunted hard and, depending on where you've been, the deer might be getting chased out by buys on 4 wheelers, ATV's, etc. There are deer in those units but you'll definitely have to spend time to find the bucks. Plus, the hard winter of 2016 (when I was there and our tent collapsed under the snow, lol) was really hard on the population.
 

thusby

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Don't get stuck at one elevation would be my advice. Take a morning to go up real high and real low.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Still having trouble finding deer 🦌 may have to move to the North east part of 66a or the southern part of 76 closer to Utah and away from the winter kill. Maybe even go to 78 or the next unit west. Not sure 🤔 yet.
 

BrianID

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SE Idaho/El Paso, TX
You should check the regulations before you hunt 78.
General season Idaho isn't easy. It takes a lot of effort and experience to be consistently successful. There are deer in 66a and 76 but there are also a lot of other hunters. Deer will respond to that pressure and as a result it isn't easy to find deer, let alone older bucks when the season is open.
 

kmott

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idaho
should start seeing some decent bucks soon . the frost is on the pumpkin. the rut will be ramping up soon.

generally figure nov for the rut but it's been cold this fall and sometimes rut starts early under these conditions
 
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WVgoodguy22

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Thanks 🙏🏻 everyone for the help and advice with my post question. My brother thankfully was able to harvest a nice big bodied 3 point at 4:30 pm after a 4 hour stalk climbing up and down and up another mountain 🏔 to get within 420 yards and made it count. After a 2 hour hike through sage brush and 1400 vertical feet I was able to help him process and pack out his first mule deer 🦌.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Good deal on the success. How is the weather out there now? We are leaving Maryland Friday to come out in the Central part of Idaho.
Thanks 🙏🏻 it’s beautiful right now after those 4 days with the nights in the mid teens and even single digits. Good luck 🍀🤠
 
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