High desert mule deer help

Salmonhead

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Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
Im headed to Nevada for a mule deer tag I drew this year. Apparently the area is pretty low density but the local biologist pointed me to a certain mountain range. Its high desert stuff. Little juniper, maybe same sage and thats about it. The maps show a few springs in the bottoms. Very little green stuff on Google Earth. In your experience, will the deer go down to feed and water at night and head high during the day and lay up in the shade, or stay in the low stuff and possibly feed going up in the evening. There are no Ag fields within 25 miles. Apparently lots of Cat predation, and I have a cat tag just in case I dumb into one. Debating if I camp on top and hunt the tops looking down early and late, or camp low and hike/ hunt my way up during shooting light, and hike and check drainages during the day and sit on a good looking one right before dark? Weather has been 80-85 days and low 40s at night. Not sure if that is hot enough to prevent their daytime movement. Im afraid of blowing the mountain out in the dark while trying to get to a vantage point to glass, but also worried they might only move a few minutes after light and right before dark. Only hunted Mule deer 2x. One successful and one not. Any experienced input would be helpful to their general habits in terrain like that.
 

Bob Wright

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Jan 23, 2018
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Litchfield Park, Az.
I think you should find water and evidence they're hitting it first. Then find a vantage point to glass every bit of brush and juniper in the area looking for a pattern or beds. You will find that they will be moving and feeding mostly in the dark and bedded before sun up due to warmer weather. Be prepared to glass till your eyes bleed. Get the widest possible vantage point to glass "everything" and find a shady spot for yourself. A second person glassing just as hard is priceless
I hunt in desert scrub in AZ, so you really need to sit tight and study everything, including canyon walls from top to bottom. Sandy dark washes will hold daytime deer, as they like to bed there too.
 

Salmonhead

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Mar 6, 2021
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44
Location
Michigan
Bob,
Thank you for the advice. Do you think I should hike up to vantage points in the dark or do that during daylight hours?
 

Salmonhead

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Mar 6, 2021
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Michigan
Its literally 2,000 miles from home. So I have been looking at OnX and Google and talked to the biologist. I will also be in country 2 to 3 days before opener. Thats the best I can do from here.
 

Bob Wright

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Jan 23, 2018
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1,610
Location
Litchfield Park, Az.
Deer sign doesn't lie. The first days before opener you have to decide where you'll be, and what to bring to be comfortable for all day glassing, rest, food and water. There will be fewer deer, but many large bucks like to be left alone away from other herds.
"Wear the seat of your pants out before the soles of your boots" is the saying. Less movement you can do during the day will help.
If you're not seeing anything, you may need to move into another area, repeat the hard glassing. Being sparse in vegetation, they will move miles around a reliable water source searching for food. You might try to locate a slope that has more vegetation for feeding and bedding. Once you're on the ground, you'll see the difference from Google earth. They don't look the same when you're there.
Give us an update and welcome to desert hunting.....
 

L.Sherm

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Jul 26, 2017
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4,411
Bob,
Thank you for the advice. Do you think I should hike up to vantage points in the dark or do that during daylight hours?
If your comfortable walking in the dark without a headlamp your fine remember animals can see along ways and I don't know how many times I've watched people walking with a head lamp and I could see them for couple miles.
You would be surprised how well your eyes acclimate to the dark especially if there's some moon out, snow on the ground is even better.
 

Salmonhead

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Mar 6, 2021
Messages
44
Location
Michigan
If your comfortable walking in the dark without a headlamp your fine remember animals can see along ways and I don't know how many times I've watched people walking with a head lamp and I could see them for couple miles.
You would be surprised how well your eyes acclimate to the dark especially if there's some moon out, snow on the ground is even better.
Good point. This place has a lot of little folds. I imagine I will be able to stay mostly out of sight. I agree on the light, only if absolutely necessary and keep it beemed at my feet. This place has no trees, so I wont have an overhead canopy making it darker.
 

Recon$$

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May 24, 2011
Messages
564
Location
NEW MEXICO
Dates of your hunt, when's the rut? I went through this last year in NM, I wasn't as prepared as I thought. Went home empty handed, but that was on me. I was given 2 very difficult opportunities and screwed the pooch. Public land.
 
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