￼￼￼￼￼￼I’ve killed more mule deer than any other species of wild ungulate. It’s easy to do if you’re a Montana resident with more than enough public land out your back door. But a heavy-racked trophy still eludes me. In some ways, this is the conundrum of mule deer. In most areas west of the 100th meridian, they are commonplace, visible in alfalfa fields and open prairies, their characteristic stiff-legged springing run (called “stotting”) familiar to anyone who drives Western highways. But old, big bucks are almost always products of the backcountry: deep canyons, desolate deserts, and subalpine basins.