I enjoy hunting mule deer in a variety of ways but as I strategize for my afternoon hunt I can't help but go back to hunting them like a whitetail. I've been scouting, planning and preparing a wide variety of setups to get close to a high racked mule deer that has been appearing in an alfalfa field near Durango, Colorado. It's still early season, so the bucks are all in velvet and have been hanging out in bachelor groups of anywhere from 2-6 bucks.
Sure, spot and stalk is the most exciting way to hunt mule deer in my opinion, but if the stalk doesn't work out you risk pushing the bucks right off the property and breaking their patterns. I decided to hang a tree stand on the filed edge near where bucks like to feed hopefully giving me a shot at some point in the evening. These mule deer are not used to looking in trees for hunters so I didn't think it was necessary to get my tree stand sky high. I just wanted a little bit of elevation to keep my scent, sound and movement out of their direct line of sight. So far this week I've been within 80-yards of this buck but just couldn't close the distance for a good bowshot. A big part of hunting is adapting to what the animals are doing at this particular time of the year, so I'm hoping by throwing up a tree stand I can use their patterns to my advantage just like you'd hunt an early season whitetail.
I hunted this same location last year during the rut and couldn't believe all the non-stop action. Bucks were streaming through the property one after another and I was lucky enough to go home with a beautiful unicorn buck after only two-days of hunting. However, this year is completely different. Hunting early season bachelor groups with a bow needs completely different tactics than hunting the rut with a rifle.