Mule Deer Hunting Camp Tips
By angelamontana


I drew a Bitterroot mule deer tag this year, and I’m very excited about that.  I plan on heading south and hitting the mountains from dawn till dusk every day for six days straight.  After doing some scouting, I am hoping a specific area is going to be the money spot for me, so my camp will be just at the base of the mountain there.

I want to make sure that I am doing everything I possibly can to ensure I have a successful hunting trip.  I recently found a couple of tips on Field and Stream’s website that I plan on incorporating into my first solo muley hunting camp adventure.  Here is a list of deer camp essentials by Field and Stream:

Quick Blinds

A small folding saw and ratchet cutters are essential gear for the hunter needing quick concealment. The ideal setup is in a recent blowdown. Cut a spot in the tangled mass of treetop branches where you can sit comfortably hidden by the natural cover. Other top spots are at the base of a wide tree near a well-worn deer trail, in the cut bank of a stream where deer cross, or against a downed tree trunk or root ball. Cut limbs with the pruners and jab them in the ground in front of you. Doing this, a hunter can quickly and quietly be hidden in less than two minutes.

Beat the lockdown

As the rut peaks, bucks will sit tight over does almost ready to be bred, which can bring chasing to a screeching halt. Abandon your treestand, use the wind to your favor, and move in close to bedding areas or along the edges of grown-up cutovers. Alternate between doe-in-estrus bleats and deep tending buck grunts. Get close enough for a buck to hear and he might slip in to either chase away the interloper or score on what he hopes is a hot doe.

Spray it While you Say it

Keep doe-in-heat scent in a small spray bottle as you enter the woods and spray it on limbs as you go. While calling from a stationary spot, spray into the wind every now and then in the hopes a cruising buck will smell and hear you and come running.

“Deer have learned to look up for treestands. So hunker down. Use natural ravines, sinkholes, or log piles as blinds. Or dig pits deep enough to sit in, with brush or fallen timber for camouflage, front and back, or even with roofs and shooting ports. Scent sinks down; but play the wind and utilize travel lanes.”

Rattle Up a Monster

As the rut hits its stride, now is the best time to rattle up a trophy. Set up on a field edge or clearcut with the wind to your back. Bucks will virtually always approach the sound of rattling with the wind in their face, so this will force them into the open where you should see them before they can smell you. Rattle slowly and softly at first in case a buck is nearby. Do this for one to two minutes; wait five minutes and rattle louder and more intensely for two to three minutes. Rake the ground and surrounding limbs as well as grunt to add realism. Wait 20 to 30 minutes until you rattle again, keeping an eye out for any movement. Bucks are aggressive now and may come running right in to the sound. Keep your rifle where you can grab it quickly.

Grunt on the Go

Whenever walking to or from your stand or when stalking, keep your grunt tube handy and blow on it periodically as you go. A deer hearing your approach may think you are another buck and either sit tight, allowing you to get closer, or he may come check you out.

Blood Trail With Glow Sticks

Keep a few kid’s glow sticks in your pack to mark the trail when tracking a wounded deer after dusk. The sticks will make it easier to tell where the last spot of blood was if trailing gets tough. They can also help you after you find the deer in the dark by acting as a beacon to guide you back to where you came from.

Shooting Downhill

Let’s make it simple. Gravity affects a bullet or arrow along its horizontal distance, not the linear distance. To figure out your hold, simply determine the distance between you and the target on a horizontal line. For example, if you’re 20 feet high in a tree and the deer is 3 yards from the base of the tree, then hold for 3 yards.

I am definitely adding glow sticks to my pack.  Let us know what your tips are for hunters heading to hunting camp, and good luck to all the hunters out there!

(Information via fieldandstream.com; Cover photo: flickr.com)






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