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Idaho Mule Deer 2016-2017

SteveE

New member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
437
Location
Montana
Hello,

I put in for Idaho last year but didn't draw the controlled hunt and was forced to miss the general hunt due to family health issues.

For the next two years I'm going come hell or high water so I've been researching all I can - Idaho F&G has a great website and I've done all I can with it but could really use some opinions from those that have hunted for mature mule deer in Idaho.

I have absolutely no interest in elk hunting or shooting a meat buck - I can do that at home.

This trip will be ONLY for a mature mule deer buck - 160+. I plan on giving the unit 2 years and am ready to eat both tags if necessary. Simply getting out is fulfilling enough, I have zero desire to shoot your 3 points.

These are the units I'm considering but about the time I feel good about a unit I read something that makes me think I'm way off base. So I could really use some real world advice! So,

Unit 66 - southern portion looks like great terrain with good access. Good genetics but everything I read says it's good elk hunting. Can't find much on mule deer bucks.

Unit 48 - some good deer reports but the country looks steep and tougher to access which concerns me due to not being able to pre-scout the area.

Unit 49 - the BLM in the southern portion makes me drool. In MT I hunt mule deer in big sagebrush canyons where I can use a spotting scope to cover lots of ground. I'm concerned the foothills won't have mature bucks during the general season with it being mid October. I don't know.

So.... Am I close to finding a general unit where a person could expect to see a 160 class Muley? :)

I have the gear to back pack hunt but without a honey hole I feel my best chance would be an area with decent access that would allow me to find some deer then move into that area and stick with it
Every deer I've shot has been during the rut so hunting bucks in October is all new to me. I'm thinking I would arrive 2 days before season and hunt the first four days.

Do you Idaho hunters feel the first few days is best for bucks or wait till the last 4-6 days?

Any and all opinions on my plan are appreciated, pm's work too - this is all new to me.

Thanks for the help!
 

vaquero

New member
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Messages
5
36A, 49, 50, 48, 76, 43, 37, 39... they are all good

get at least 3 miles and couple thousand vertical feet above the last place people can drive an atv or bike

the harder to access the better

steep, rocky, shale slides, aspen thickets, burnt timber

stay up there for 9 days

12x50 swarovision on a tripod from dark to dark every day

you will find more than 160!
 
Last edited:

Duck-Slayer

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
3,715
Location
great state of Idaho....
Good Access = sea of Orange, everyone here in Idaho hunt's, period. most take atv's or bike's on every little cow trail, so with that in mind, wilderness or BLM or Forest land that has motor vehicle restriction's are you best bet, Steep, rocky, high, all said in previous post is the right advice, I know nothing about most of those unit's you have mentioned, Good luck and hunt hard....
Matt
 

MtnWest

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Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
692
Location
Boise
By far the quickest route to a 160 buck is in your own state on a rut rifle hunt. Go east.
 

SteveE

New member
Joined
Jan 25, 2016
Messages
437
Location
Montana
Thank you vaquero and Duck-Slayer - solid advice.
This site is great!
I'm a 12x50 guy too. Won't leave home without em!!
The more I think this and your advice changes my plan. Sounds like backpack hunt is the way to go.
If you guys ever need MT questions answered i owe you one!

How about dates if my beautiful wife is too grumpy to give me the entire season? My gut says get there 2 days before the season, get high and remote and bivy it for 6 days. Thoughts on dates?

Kinda funny MtnWest - Central Idaho is closer to me then where I hunt in eastern MT.
Is my favorite hunt of the year and I will be doing that too. Wouldn't miss it!
This is my 32 year hunting. I do well in MT but the mule deer quality is flat oupt bad. Don't want to argue about it but MT caters to quantity and the quality shows that. Not complaining just a fact. I eat my MT buck tag more then I fill it but it's the hunt I enjoy most. I've been lucky enough to pull a couple 175's so I stick with it. They are very few and far between in MT.

I was bummed I had to skip Idaho last year so really looking forward to 2016!
Thanks again!
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
451
Location
Idaho
If you hunt one of the units you mentioned that has a end date of the 24th, then I would say getting there early and hunting the first couple days is a good idea. If you hunt one of the units that ends on the 31st, I would hunt the last 4-5 days. Either way it should be a good hunt for what you are looking for. I just started hunting 2 years ago in Central Idaho for the 10-24 season, then come back and hunt the last couple days in SW Idaho for the last couple days of October.
 

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