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  • December 15, 2012

    Best Boots for Mule Deer Hunting-0

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    The one piece of gear that differentiates whitetail from mule deer hunters is our boots.

    Whitetail hunters can live an entire season in the same pair of boots, and often they’re scent-containing, waterproof rubber boots. That just won’t work for hunting mule deer in steep, open country or in the hot archery season or the frigid, snowy later season.

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  • December 12, 2012

    Insult to (Mortal) Injury: Mule Deer Attacks Dead Buck-4

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    Call it the necrophiliac smack-down. In this insane video, which borrows videography from “The Blair Witch Project” and deadpan one-liners from any Chris Farley movie, an enraged 3x4 buck goes off on a freshly dead 5x5, goring it, repeatedly trying to get the dead buck on its feet, crashing its lifeless antlers, finally pushing the dead deer into a trash heap before leaving in a huff.

    All I can say is that it appears the dead buck owed the live buck a significant amount of money. That’s the best explanation for the intensity and relentless violence the Colorado buck shows to his former rival.

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  • December 3, 2012

    The Viscerator: A New and Effective Gutting Tool-2

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    If you have never punctured a deer’s stomach or perforated its intestines while field dressing it, then you haven’t handled that many deer.

    It happens. And it’s never good when it does. Stomach contents spill onto meat, or fecal matter leaks inside the abdominal cavity. It’s messy. It’s stinky. It’s bad.

    There are all sorts of tools designed to minimize gut-puncture, and I’ve used most of them. Once. Standard gut hooks get clogged with hair or fat and are useless after a few incisions. Many gutting knives feature sharp points that easily puncture internal organs. And the best, surgically sharp knives useful for gutting aren’t stout enough to split ribs or the pelvic bone.

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  • December 3, 2012

    Taking a Record Book Colorado Mule Deer-6

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    We were down to the second-to-last day of the season and I was getting nervous, though not because time was short. A huge mule deer that had been seen previously was in the area and we were going to make a play on him.

    Two other hunters had tried, and failed, to take him that season, mostly because he lived in such a challenging spot.

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  • November 30, 2012

    How To Grow Record Mule Deer-3

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    Trophy mule deer are the most desirable, and elusive, game in the West. In a landscape dotted with does and small bucks, mature mule deer are tough to come by and to see a buck that attains that nearly mythical threshold of 200 inches of antler is like encountering a unicorn.

    Whereas bucks of that stature once inhabited a broad swath of the West they are now confined to smaller pockets of the land.

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  • November 27, 2012

    Five Effective Mule Deer Hunting Strategies-0

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    Mule deer hunting can be both slap-down simple and exasperatingly complicated, depending on the day and the deer. And the terrain.

    But there are a few constants when it comes to hanging your tag on a trophy buck, and I tried to boil them down to their essence in this video.

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  • November 21, 2012

    The Flehman Response: Why Do Rutting Bucks Curl Their Lips?-4

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    If you’ve spent any time around deer in November, you’ve seen bucks exhibit a strange sneering expression. They’ll strut up behind does, sniff their rumps or their urine, and then lift their noses in the air, curl their lips and...what?

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  • November 21, 2012

    Mule Deer Hunting Dispatch: How Sensitive Are Mule Deer?-1

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    I’m always surprised to hear mule deer described as “dumb,” particularly with respect to their whitetail cousins. While whitetails enjoy a reputation for a nearly prescient level of wariness, mule deer have gotten the rap as the class-dunces of the deer world, at least in the eyes of some.

    Having stalked a good number of mule deer the past couple days in mountains around Granby on the C Lazy U ranch and surrounding public lands, about the last thing I’d accuse these mule deer of is a lack of intelligence or a diminished sense of self preservation.

    A few years back, former Outdoor Life hunting editor Jim Zumbo and I were talking about mule deer and their defenses. Jim said he felt mule deer, as a rule of thumb, have about a 600-yard comfort zone and that if you intrude within that range and aren’t careful the deer will get edgy and start to spook. That pretty much squares with my experience and seems right to me.

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  • November 19, 2012

    Mule Deer Hunting Dispatch: Love and Damnation for Fuss-Budget Does-3

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    In my last dispatch from mule deer country, I told you it was time to get aggressive, to storm the castle and push rut-minded bucks.

    That’s exactly what I did on Saturday. I knew at least three great bucks were feeding and pushing does in an alfalfa field, so instead of hanging well away from its margins, waiting for them to traipse out and bed down, as I had been doing all last week, I decided to hunt the very edge of the alfalfa.

    I was working in to position well before shooting light with my buddy Mark, and we were nearly to the spot where we could see deer in the field and have an easy shot as they left the field.

    Then we were pinned down by at least 20 does and their fawns and a few young bucks. I had to sit on a sidehill for two hours, my butt melting into the snow, as these deer took their time feeding and loitering on the edge of the field. Finally, one wary old doe took notice of our motionless forms on the hill, and she wasn’t satisfied with simply wondering what we were.

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  • November 19, 2012

    Hunting Whitetails in Mule Deer Country-2

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    As whitetail deer continue to elbow their way into portions of the West that was once the sole province of mule deer, many muley hunters lament that their preferred game is running out of habitat. They complain that crossbreeding between the two species is resulting in animals that resemble mule deer in body, but whose antlers are characterized by beams and tines rather than forks and mass.

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