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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Welp, I finally got out in the desert after some deer. And while I'm seeing some deer, I'm only seeing Coues does. This is my first year hunting western big game, and a Muley buck has been my dream hunt since I was a kid, I only thought I would get my first chance for one in Idaho or Montana, not Arizona lol.
I think my biggest issue is that I'm hunting too high, but I wanted to hear from you guys about elevations and deer behaviours. I've been hunting the OTC tag in 24B, between 4000'-5500', and like I said, I'm on deer, but I really want a Muley. Should I stick to those elevations and maybe some muleys will turn up if I keep looking? Or, should I change spots and hunt a bit lower in elevation (down to 3000' or so)?...Or am I better off swapping units altogether? I live in Tempe, so I'm trying to stay within driving distance (2hrs max) of home for a hunt. I've poured over maps, and I think I may be able to find deer in 22S (I hear it gets pounded, but then again, so does 24B I think).

I'm not looking to kill a Book Buck, I just want to fill my freezer and check an item off my bucket list while doing it. What do you guys think?
 

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22 is your ticket, go to 3 bar, or around sunflower to west, west of Balantene trail head off of hwy 87. all good Mule deer habitat.
 

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+1 Like bear said above... I have seen mule deer in 22 too. I have not hunt that unit for deer (probably should) but they are there for sure when I go up there for Elk.

I always keep in mind, if I want to increase my chances, "habitat". Water, Food and Hideouts/Bedding. Lakes and Rivers are great water sources obviously but the area to hunt is massive. Narrow it down where they will eat and bed... glass and check for sign.

I was checking out 24B south of apache but so dry I pulled out my scout and moved to units off of i17. Reavis Ranch area was going to be my go to because of my hunting buddies had success but that was 10 years ago. They tell me a lot of Coues but the Mules are in there with an Orchard. Again they tell me this was 10 years ago and I didnt go out there to check for myself...yet.

So warm out this winter, I think the deer are all messed up. If no snow they could be high still as long as they are eating and drinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I spent my 1st couple of days in the northern part of 24B, but I figured while there may be deer there, I didn't want to cut my teeth this early in the game in country that rugged, but I'll be going back once I can get some experience under my belt! After that I went to the south end and poked around a bit. I may swing up into 22 and check things out!

VT, what part of Vermont are you from? I spent a couple weekends of college in Island Pond working at the Moose check station there for credit/experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fair Haven. NY Boarder bottom of Lake Champlain... Route 4
Cool, That's a bit south of the border country I'm familiar with, although I have good friends from the Salem/Hebron area. There are definitely more native easterners here that I would have assumed!
 

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22 is your ticket, go to 3 bar, or around sunflower to west, west of Balantene trail head off of hwy 87. all good Mule deer habitat.
I'm so new to AZ hunting that I shouldn't even be allowed to post...but I saw 12 mulies in this area while javelina bow hunting this Jan. Didn't even have a deer tag.. If I only had a deer tag maybe I would have seen some pigs... Like I said I don't know what I don't know yet, but I sure had fun following those deer for a while.
 

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Always buy a archery deer tag in Jan. along with a lion tag. Good things will happen one day.
 

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Calendar year, Jan - Dec.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Calendar year for the OTC tags

I finally did find some muleys to chase, but I haven't drawn back on one yet, hopefully I'll get that chance come August! The last couple of days I was out I was able to get someplace that other folks hadn't, at least not recently and I was able to find a bunch of stink pigs and a few deer.

I hear ya Bear, I didn't have a lion tag in my pocket, but after the season closed I was talking to one of my gf's coworkers at Bass Pro and he was telling me about all the lions in the areas I'd been hunting and where I'm planning on going next, so I think I'm gonna lay my money down and pick up a couple tags (I'll probably try for bear too, never shot one before)
 

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This guy has been regularly on my cams at 2,900 - 3,200'. Remember, these deer are not migratory in the classic sense. They'll change elevations depending on their needs but that's about it.
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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WalkingBird. Are you new to AZ? Sounds like you're finding some critters! Did you find pigs in 22? I was all over 22 this year and couldn't find one. Also, I would highly recommend trying to put a bear tag in your pocket. I shot my first bear last year, with a bow, at 7 years. so much fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
WalkingBird. Are you new to AZ? Sounds like you're finding some critters! Did you find pigs in 22? I was all over 22 this year and couldn't find one. Also, I would highly recommend trying to put a bear tag in your pocket. I shot my first bear last year, with a bow, at 7 years. so much fun!
Yup, I'm new, I moved here last June. I never did hunt 22, I thought about it, but then kept hunting in 24B, just in some different areas that didn't have the crowds. I wound up seeing a few mulies and even a decent number of Javi's, although the pigs were higher in elevation than I would have guessed, but I'm still green.

Yea, I think I'm going to pick up a bear tag and try my hand at them while also looking for some new areas to chase deer, a few guys at work have been giving me pointers on where to look so I've got a few options, I just need to jump on the Shoeleather Express and see for myself to narrow my options a bit
 
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