One is not like the other.

ZMT588

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
595
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Mt
Been hunting this spot every weekend and once or twice throughout the week during archery season. It started off slow and I didn’t see many deer, then all of a sudden a switch turned on and 7 bucks became the norm. One maybe two shooters. I call these hunts but I’ve only really made 4 solid attempts at any of these deer. Most of the time it’s just been watching them and patterning them. Through out the season I kept noticing this one buck that looked like a whitetail. I mean everytime I looked at him I said “wow that looks like a whitey.” Little 3x3. I never paid him much attention because he’s not what I was looking for size wise. Well after my final attempt that ended with a big buck blowing out at 10 yards from me this morning, I watched the herd run over the rise and something caught my eye. The last buck in the group of ~10 deer had his tail sticking straight up and was running while the rest were hopping. I thought no way. I’m quite a ways from text book whitetail habitat. Craggy hills covered in sage. No creeks or heavy tree cover. Not to say whitetail can’t live there but I’ve never seen one out there before let alone intermingling with a herd of mule deer. Hes not a target buck by any means which makes me wonder if he’s gonna make it and breed some does and what could lead from there. Would be interesting if in a couple years I start seeing some hybrid bucks. This is a piece of private that doesn’t see a whole lot of pressure. He’s a bit small so hopefully the rancher doesn’t shoot him either. Looking back through pictures he’s definitely a white tail. No black spot on his tail, little basket frame. Attached are some other bucks that I thought looked nice.
 

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peterk1234

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Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
269
My first year hunting Montana. Whitetail with a bow has become my nemesis. Short of climbing a tree or sitting in a blind I just have no idea how to sneak up on them. I had one at first light 150 yards away with perfect wind. Wooded area. The second I took a step in his direction he picked me off and bolted. Oh, and he was hanging around at about 7500 feet. Go figure.
 

ZMT588

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Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
595
Location
Mt
I wouldn't be surprised to see a whitetail anywhere in Montana. Damn things are everywhere. mtmuley
I guess what really threw me off was seeing him with the Muleys. Also the fact I was in denial he was a whitetail In the first place.
 

ZMT588

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
595
Location
Mt
Well, the ol’ ball n’ chain and I went out this morning to my spot. Strangely enough there was elk in the field right at the corner next to the road. At first driving up before light I thought it was the deer but once I put binos on them I knew they were elk. This is a draw zone for bulls but general is for cows. I’m not quite ready to shoot a cow this early in the season. We let them walk. Drove into our spot and right away I’m not seeing deer. I know that as the year progresses they hide further and further behind some hills. We end up finding them. The issue is there’s no real way to ‘Neak up on em without sky lining yourself. We had deer within 60 yards just on the other side of a small rise but just couldn’t get the rifle high enough. I told my wife that the next time you stand up you have to be ready to shoot. Well of course she doesn’t even have the scope cover off or one in the chamber, let alone even attempt to shoulder the rifle. She stands, deer spook. I know where they’re going. I grab her and pull her down the hill (side note a buddy of mine came with as well for moral support and comedic relief.) we sprint ~75yards and “cut them off” we see them in an opening. I hand the rifle to my wife and she starts scanning for the deer. They’re ~150yards. She takes an off hand shot. I heart a thwap but all the deer take off. We all thought she whiffed the shot. A bit deflated we walk along the tree line. I spot the deer at 270. Excited, I tell her she’s up again to shoot the deer. She declines as she’s now in a mood about missing the deer. My buddy kindly says “well you might as well shoot so we don’t waste a trip” and he’s kind of right. I’ve been on these deer all year and have been cutting my teeth with them and a bow. I finally have a rifle, might as well. I’m watching them go single file over a small hill. Finger on the trigger I see horns. I ALMOST take the shot. I mean I’m .002 lbs away from breaking that trigger, when I see a bigger rack at the bottom of my scope. I let off, re settle, boom. A bit back. He runs over the hill. Well I knew he was hit it was liver for sure. He should expire but I don’t want him disappearing in the sage brush. We start walking back to the truck to gather some supplies and to get some water. I look in a small drainage and see a bush shaking like shakiras ass at the Super Bowl. I’m thinking to myself “porcupine!” There’s tons out there and they’re always cool to watch, we get a bit closer and I see hooves kicking in the air behind the bush. It was my wife’s deer! Talk about mood swings… she was ecstatic. I was happy for her! My buddy left an orange hat on the deer as my wife went to get the truck. I went to track down my deer who’s now disappeared into a hell hole. I end up finding him bedded under some rocks. Send another round and he drops his head. Getting him out was interesting. We eventually had to quarter him up to get him out the rest of the way. It was a fun morning that was a roller coaster of emotions. I have a deer hanging in the garage and one in a cooler. Lots of work ahead of me.
 

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Redman

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Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
1,648
Location
Indiana
Funny I hunt South Dakota where you have mule and white-tailed deer and they keep themselves segregated. Every once in a while you will have a mule deer go through the cotton woods creek bottoms, but have never seen a whitetail go into the cedars, open prairie, or badlands area.
 

grizzly63

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Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
439
I see mulies hanging in the same vicinity of whitey quite regular and I have seen several whities in the badlands. Its interesting that mulies came from whities and whities are highly likely to breed them out of existence because of their ability to adopt to all kinds of places. I've seen many crossbred, some with a whitetail rack on one side and a muley rack on the other. Back to the OP, congrats on the deer! The wifey looks like hers might be bigger than yours.
 

std7mag

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
2,468
Location
central pa
Here in PA, for several years i've been after one particular deer. I only see him from a good distance. Closest being about 600 yards.
Of the 6 or so bucks out & about, he has the largest body by far! Yet he's "only" a 6 point.
The other bucks keep some distance from him, even the 10 point.
His coloring is slightly darker gray, with white all around his snout.
I've been wondering if he wasn't possibly a muley.
Never heard of one in PA, but...
 

FoodIsMemories

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
1,711
Location
SW MT
Ayyyyy!!!!!
that’s a funny write up! My wife would have been in a mood too 😂 it’s a good thing she didn’t take a second shot on the others! And it’s a good thing you did!

Congrats guys!!
 

NvMuley09

New member
Joined
Nov 7, 2022
Messages
14
Been hunting this spot every weekend and once or twice throughout the week during archery season. It started off slow and I didn’t see many deer, then all of a sudden a switch turned on and 7 bucks became the norm. One maybe two shooters. I call these hunts but I’ve only really made 4 solid attempts at any of these deer. Most of the time it’s just been watching them and patterning them. Through out the season I kept noticing this one buck that looked like a whitetail. I mean everytime I looked at him I said “wow that looks like a whitey.” Little 3x3. I never paid him much attention because he’s not what I was looking for size wise. Well after my final attempt that ended with a big buck blowing out at 10 yards from me this morning, I watched the herd run over the rise and something caught my eye. The last buck in the group of ~10 deer had his tail sticking straight up and was running while the rest were hopping. I thought no way. I’m quite a ways from text book whitetail habitat. Craggy hills covered in sage. No creeks or heavy tree cover. Not to say whitetail can’t live there but I’ve never seen one out there before let alone intermingling with a herd of mule deer. Hes not a target buck by any means which makes me wonder if he’s gonna make it and breed some does and what could lead from there. Would be interesting if in a couple years I start seeing some hybrid bucks. This is a piece of private that doesn’t see a whole lot of pressure. He’s a bit small so hopefully the rancher doesn’t shoot him either. Looking back through pictures he’s definitely a white tail. No black spot on his tail, little basket frame. Attached are some other bucks that I thought looked nice.
They’re heading West…
 

Hammsolo

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
1,209
Funny story. Any lessons learned? I always try to look back and grow. This year my brother and I blew a stalk on a decent whitetail in MT.

We spotted him bedded under a tree in the shadows of a fir deep in some bare aspen at 488. There was nowhere to set up for a shot. He was enjoying the shade, but the sun was moving.

We thought we could stick together and work at a medium pace across a few ridge lines and find a clear shot at about 250. We kept checking him every time we could. We were trying to inch worm along. He was chilling until the sun touched him. Suddenly he was up and feeding slowly through the dense aspen. We were stuck searching for a spot to set up and find a lane… He went full gray ghost and vanished while we dipped through a ravine.

What should we have done? Maybe I should have stayed on glass to monitor him. The country is a mix of aspen ridge lines with pockets of conifers. He had been bedded on a small bench with a bowl below him and a long gentle ridge above him. He was also under a large cliff to his right at about 75 yards. It is a low pressure area that I am lucky to have found. Maybe we should have charged harder where we were headed? There were multiple does where we were headed, and we saw a cow elk in the area also. Maybe we should have went the complete other direction and used that Cliff? The wind would have been bad though.
 

ZMT588

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
595
Location
Mt
Funny story. Any lessons learned? I always try to look back and grow. This year my brother and I blew a stalk on a decent whitetail in MT.

We spotted him bedded under a tree in the shadows of a fir deep in some bare aspen at 488. There was nowhere to set up for a shot. He was enjoying the shade, but the sun was moving.

We thought we could stick together and work at a medium pace across a few ridge lines and find a clear shot at about 250. We kept checking him every time we could. We were trying to inch worm along. He was chilling until the sun touched him. Suddenly he was up and feeding slowly through the dense aspen. We were stuck searching for a spot to set up and find a lane… He went full gray ghost and vanished while we dipped through a ravine.

What should we have done? Maybe I should have stayed on glass to monitor him. The country is a mix of aspen ridge lines with pockets of conifers. He had been bedded on a small bench with a bowl below him and a long gentle ridge above him. He was also under a large cliff to his right at about 75 yards. It is a low pressure area that I am lucky to have found. Maybe we should have charged harder where we were headed? There were multiple does where we were headed, and we saw a cow elk in the area also. Maybe we should have went the complete other direction and used that Cliff? The wind would have been bad though.
Lessons learned? Don’t skyline yourself. If you think you’re in good cover think again.

Movement catches deers attention. I had a small forky at 10 yards. We had a stare down for 20 minutes before I had to adjust my seating situation. He blew out after that. Move incredibly slow when deer are present and you’re under 80 yards.

I’ve known deer use scent as a defense to look out for predators. It was interesting this year to see them try to use it. Couple of times I’d bust them with movement and they’d run down wind. They knew something was up but couldn’t see me. It was interesting seeing them use that defense on me.

Post rain days make the best for good stalks.

Deer and other animals aren’t to afraid of farm equipment that they see often.

In my experience when you find a group of small bachelor bucks, there’s usually a bigger buck lingering around in the bushes. F63E07F7-F9DA-4BAC-9690-51D41E0C734A.png
The big buck was to my right and only let me see him once that morning.

Finding a pattern in their habits helps.

I laid eyes on a real big guy 4 times. 3/4 he was way off and there was no way to get him. The last time I had him walk to 8 yards. I was set up in a bad spot and he came in just a hair to far left and I had to pivot to get my pins lined up on him. Movement busted me.

Lastly big bucks don’t get big by being stupid.
 

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