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Rifle Mule Deer Approach

Flatlander3

Active member
Joined
Apr 28, 2018
Messages
177
Location
Minnesota
Curious on the time people put in to a glassing spot, while rifle hunting for mule deer in relatively open but ruged country.

I have a 7 day hunt in late October coming up and trying to put together a game plan. My intial thoughts are to spend half a day glassing an area, then the last half trying another. I would be utilizing the first and last light and in those two time slots moving a small distance or two for another angle.

So if two days are travel, there would be 5 days with 2 spots each day if the consecutively don't show signs of life. Hopefully thats not the case and I can spend a couple days in an area with sign, but wanted to lay that out to get the picture.

Is a half a day too short, too long etc. If you don't see any deer or sign in an area?

Thanks
 

SAJ-99

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Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
2,827
Location
E Washington
Not sure if there is a correct answer but here is mine. I do a lot of desk scouting looking for food and water sources. Then I try to determine bedding areas. If I think deer are there, I will spend more time on the glass. Even if I see nothing, I may even come back next am or pm and see if see anything just to determine if I missed something. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to where they are. One day they walk a mile further than they do the next day. Might make sense to them but offer it doesn’t to me. So long way to get to answer- if I think deer are there, I spend a lot of time. If I’m not sure if they are there, maybe an hour?
 

LCH

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Joined
Dec 9, 2013
Messages
4,034
Location
Southern Indiana
Late October, if weather's cool I would give each spot more like 30 minutes. If I don't see anything, move on to the next spot, assuming it's just a few minutes away. I may glass 15-20 spots in a day. This is more of a road-based style, and I'm glassing stuff more like 1000 yards and in.

Early season, when I expect deer to be bedded during most of the day, I'll do more like you describe and camp out in a likely looking spot throughout prime time. It may also mean hiking in further from a road and glassing bigger country, but not always - just depends on the tag.
 

Hunting Wife

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Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
3,594
Location
Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
If it’s open but rugged, I will glass/scope for a while (15-20 minutes), move a little ways (down the ridge, to a different knob, etc) and do it again from this slightly different angle. Repeat until I’m either satisfied there’s nothing to see or feeling confident something is in the area.

Conversely, if I do this for a couple hours and don’t see any real sign between spots, I’d probably be inclined to head to the truck and try a different area.

During prime time when I expect things to be moving, I’ll look for vantage points where I can glass far- up to a mile or so is pretty typical. After they head to bed, I glass much closer in. But I will spend all day moving and glassing if I’m seeing good sign and feel like there are deer around. I often catch animals switching beds or feeding around briefly midday.
 

Gr8bawana

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Joined
Jul 14, 2013
Messages
4,733
Location
Nevada
If you glass in an area with fresh sign but don't see any actual deer you will be amazed at how they just appear out of seemingly nowhere if you sit and watch long enough.
 

2rocky

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
4,117
I like to find areas with a long ridge and fingers coming off the ridge. That way I can move along the main ridge glassing down into the draws from about 3 different angles. I tend to move more during non prime time and First and Last light focus on places I've seen animals and sign. Especially if it is a new area for me. By moving, I find the optimum angle for looking in the nooks and crannies. I seldom will camp on a glassing spot unless I know an animal went in there and I'm waiting for him to poke his head out.
I'm not only glassing for animals, I'm looking for my next spot to glass from too. "Hmm, i cant see into there but I could from up there....."

but don't copy my method because other guys glass more and kill bigger bucks.
 

old270hunter

Active member
Joined
Jun 4, 2022
Messages
172
Location
Bat Sh!+ Crazy, California
I'd say if you've not hunted the area before, you need to glass and move often until you find fresh sign or animals standing in their tracks. There is plenty of sage flat and hills/canyons that deer won't be utilizing. After you have a few areas identified, then it's time to set up shop and focus on low light prime times. If your hunt dribbles over into November, bucks can seemingly come out of the woodwork, and all of a sudden doe groups will have bucks in the vicinity. If you've hunted the area at the same time of year in the past and already know where water/feed/bedding areas are at a given time of year, that's different. I hunt and have hunted a couple of units every year-3 years for 25+ years, and have a great feel for what areas deer are utilizing and when. I do go to those spots and glass heavily straight out of the gate, but that's with a LOT of knowns in place already. If I was hunting somewhere I've never been, I will walk, glass and move until I know I'm in an area that deer are actively utilizing.
 

Hplayer13

New member
Joined
Oct 5, 2022
Messages
3
When is the peak 10 days of the rut in eastern Montana? From your observations..
 

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