If you’ve never read Jim Zumbo’s “Hunting America’s Mule Deer.” I suggest you pick up a copy. I’ve been reading through it again over the last month or so and man what a ton of info and tips that I’ve forgotten.
We’re just going to list a few of the many good tips that Jim has listed in his book.
These tips and techniques can also be used for whitetail deer.
1. Stand Hunting: Not to be confused with a tree stand. This method is standing in a certain area whether it’s on a well used game trail. Or in mule deer country it’d most likely be on a high vantage point where you can see a lot of real estate. Finding a good vantage point and “stand hunting” can be deadly if used properly. Stand hunting requires patience because you have to resist the urge to check out the “next ridge.” I’m sure we’re all guilty of that. As I get older though I seem to get better at it and it has paid off.
2. Still Hunting: The still hunter does not sit still as the name might suggest. The still hunter is a sneaker, slow moving, ever watching, intensely concentrating hunter who slips furtively through deer cover, looking for the slightest trace of anything that spells deer. This technique can be used all day even if it’s 90 degrees outside. Of course, deer and elk have the advantage because we’re on their turf but still hunting can be fun. It’s your wits, senses and control against theirs. This technique definitely takes practice. I’m sure we’ve all messed up this technique. I know I sure have and I can remember every time I messed it up in vivid detail.
3. Good Ol Fashioned Deer Drives: How many of us youngsters heard our dads, uncles and grandpas talk about deer drives? I know I’ve heard these stories about a hundred times. This technique is where one or two guys take position on a good vantage point and the rest of the crew gets in a skirmish line and drives through the trees pushing the deer to the hunters who are on point sitting and waiting. This technique can be very effective provided that there are deer in the area.
4. Tracking: Probably one of the most difficult methods of hunting. Of course fresh snow or a wet ground make it easier. Having a dry ground can make it almost impossible to successfully track a deer. This also requires that you’re on full alert 100% of the time so not to scare your prey. A couple of good ideas when you’re tracking the deer is to stop sometimes and get up on a rock and try to see what’s ahead. Also making a circle to see if you can ambush the deer sometimes works.
5. Stalking: This definition means putting the sneak on a deer after you’ve spotted it. You’re essentially trying to get within shooting range. So you’re sneaking and stalking your way to the deer. A good idea is to not head directly for the deer but kind of in a round about way. Also try to head in a direction if possible to where you can keep your eye on the deer while you’re stalking him.
6. Jump Shooting: This method is where you’re walking along either through trees or sage brush in hopes of jumping a buck or two out of their beds. Most of the time when mule deer get spooked up from their beds there’s that 5-10 second hesitation before they bust and run which is plenty of time to get a good shot off and hammer your deer.
These are some good tips and techniques from the legendary Jim Zumbo. We’ll be posting up more tips and information from his book on here from time to time.