Planning the 2017 Mule Deer Hunt – Part 1
I do get quite a few questions on “Where do I start if I want to hunt a deer?” or more simply “How do I start hunting?”. So, I thought I would write about the different steps I have gone through to plan my upcoming, first time ever, archery mule deer hunt.
I should blame all of this on a buddy of mine. He introduced me to the archery world in October of 2016, and I have been hooked ever since. Up until then, I was happy with the good old rifle and the long-distance shot. Now I am all about stealth, stalking and over planning a hunt in the hopes to make it a successful hunt.
I have already written about how I choose a bow and some of the accessories that I have purchased to feed my new archery addiction so that I will jump to more of the planning stages of the 2017 mule deer hunt.
Choosing the Spot
I am lucky that I live in a part of Southern Saskatchewan that boasts an ample amount of mule deer as well as living on some of the best mule deer hunting land in the world, or at least in my opinion.
I have scouted multiple locations over the last year and narrowed it down to one place. I had looked at hunting out of this location for several years but never had a chance to set anything up. This year that all changed.
First off, I built a simple deer feeder out of PVC pipe. You can find multiple different plans online, but whatever you use, the feeder does not need to be to be a finely tuned, solar powered, pre-setup feeder from the local hunting store. The feeder itself cost under twenty dollars and took about five minutes to build. After letting the glue dry for about ten minutes, I threw the feeder into the back of the side by side and went scouting.
The spot of choice was located along a water run at the base of a slight overhang. I had looked at this spot for years but decided that this would be the spot for my first archery hunt.
There are three main things you should look for when looking for a hunting spot. Game trails in the area, location concealment and the ease of getting into the site without the deer seeing you.
I had hit the jackpot. When I drove down into the location, eight game trails went through the area that I had picked out and all within twenty-five yards of each other.
The best part was the concealment of the location. It was an incredibly windy day when I was looking for the perfect spot, and the spot I found had perfect shooting lanes and just enough wind to move my scent away but would make any day the perfect hunting day.
The ease of getting into the spot was ok. Too often over the years, I had overlooked this part only to find out that the deer could see me about four miles away. This time, while it will give me about a mile and a half walk to get into the blind perfectly, there is only a moment where there will be a chance to silhouette myself.
In my opinion, I couldn’t have found a better spot.
I had owned a game camera for a few years, but I used it mostly for fun. I had never set it up on one hunting spot to scout deer or other animals.
This year is different.
I do warn you that I start to geek out towards the end of this section, but I’m looking forward to seeing if the hard work pays off.
I started the season off with an old jobber camera. It always did an ok job for me, but I found that with the number of trees and vegetation, and the inability to change the shutter sensitivity, I was getting over a thousand photos a week and only a few of them contained any wildlife.
So, I went out and spent some of my hard-earned money on a new game camera and went with the Stealth Camera G42NG. You can click on the link for a full review, but in short, the camera was silent and contains black IR emitters making it nearly impossible for animals to sense its presence.
You can go to this link for the entire gallery of hunting shots but below is the best of the best and as you can see I think I ended up choosing a pretty good spot.
So now on to the geeking out part of the post. I have been tracking on a spreadsheet the times and dates of when the deer have been showing up on the game camera. So far, the data is awesome and shows a pattern of the does, bucks and big bucks.
I will be setting up a Herten Hunting blind about a month before the season starts and I will be interested in if the blind being in the area will affect the pattern of the animals. The timing of the setup will depend on if I get drawn for the big game draw or if I will need to rely on the open season tag.
I will keep writing additional sections as I plan or come across other issues that need to be addressed.