By Mike Willis
As the calendar rolls over into the month of November, the mountains are coming to life! Large muley bucks have begun to arise from the ashes, making a rare appearance for the annual rut. If tipping over a monster muley is high on your bucket list, now is the time to do it!
Last week we covered the basics of mule deer hunting. In the story entitled “A 101 Guide to Mule Deer Hunting,” you will learn where and how to look for mule deer. If you missed that article, be sure to check it out here:
This week we are covering the gear that you will need for your upcoming mule deer hunt. Since these animals live in the high country, your normal deer hunting gear won’t do. Keep in mind that you will be hunting in deep snow. Anytime that you are on a mountain expect unexpected weather.
The Packing List
* Pack Frame and Game Bags
* Kill Kit
* Day Pack
* Quality Optics- Binoculars and/ or Spotting Scope with Tripod
* Lens Wipes (with anti-fog)
* Sheet of Plastic to Sit on While Glassing * Waterproof Boots
* Cold Weather Clothes (think layers!)
* Emergency Kit with Fire Starter (road flares are great for getting a fire going)
* Rain Gear
* Food and Water * Water Filter for Getting Water in the Field
* Shooting Sticks- Be Prepared for 300+ Yard Shots
* Rifle with a Quality Scope (I like using my .300 Win Mag)
* Electrical Tape (Put over the end of your barrel to keep snow/ ice out)
* Sunglasses (or go snow blind!)
* Windicator (for checking wind direction)
* Licenses and Tags
* Toilet Paper (AKA Mountain Money)
What to Expect
Mule deer hunting involves sitting for long periods and staring through glass until your eyeballs bleed. Well. Okay. Maybe they won’t bleed, but you get the point. Quality optics are ESSENTIAL for mule deer hunting success.
Get Your Glassin’ Gear!
For binoculars, 10 x 42s will work fine, but I prefer 12.5 x 50s. I put my 12.5 x 50s on a tripod and leave my spotting scope at home. Before I had good glass, I always packed my spotting scope.
Be careful not to leave your optics in the cold all night. If you leave your binoculars in the truck overnight, it will take forever for you to be able to use them. As you put your warm eyeballs up to the frozen glass, instant fog will plague you.
If you are in the market for some QUALITY glass, check out German Precision Optics (GPO). In February, Great American Wildlife reviewed GPO’s top-of-the-line binoculars. These binoculars were priced 45% below their competitors and still offered the same amazing performance.
The Germany-based company recently expanded its presence into the United States. GPO offers a complete line of binoculars, rifle scopes, and range finders for every budget. They also include a fully-transferable lifetime warranty for their products.
Mature muley bucks can be hard to come by. Since hunters easily shoot them when they are young, they don’t survive long enough to get big (and smart). Be sure to do your part in letting the little ones live. We should all consider ourselves as vital to the success of mule deer management efforts.
Now that you have your gear list together get out there and enjoy this amazing hunting opportunity!