Hunting Mule Deer in Evergreens
Evergreen forests grow everywhere in the West. They might be ponderosa pine forests, thick lodgepole pine forests, or high-country forests of fir and spruce. In most cases, food is scarce and deer must leave the safety of the forest to browse outside.
Access to the high country is often limited, depending on the amount of logging or mining in the area. National forests in every Western state have a network of road systems throughout, so it’s usually not a problem getting into reasonably good deer country.
The biggest chore in evergreen forests is finding mule deer concentrations. Expansive timber stands often cover several mountain ranges, making it difficult to locate places being used by deer. There are two spots to look in these forests: logged-over areas and old burns. Both offer the same ingredient-areas rich in forage, due to the removal of timber and subsequent growth of brush, and succulent plants preferred by muleys.
You can find burned areas and timbered places by inquiring at forest offices or you can seek them yourself. Prime spots are those that have had enough time to regenerate forage-five years or more, in most cases.
Rimrock areas above forests are often the domain of very big bucks because few people expend the effort of getting to them. Bucks often live at the fringes of the forest or in the timber itself.
National forests offer public hunting, so you’ll probably have plenty of competition from other hunters. Some roads are closed to vehicular traffic, however, and are perfect access trails to good mule deer country. You might need to walk several miles to get away from crowds, but most human activity will be gone the first half mile from accessible roads.
Muleys in evergreen forests often behave like elk-they leave the protection of the timber to feed in late afternoon and, by sunrise, they’re back in the trees. You need to be alert during those periods, even if it means a walk out of the woods by flashlight or missing a few extra winks in the morning.
Well, that should give you some good tips for hunting muleys in evergreens to mull over. Look for more mule deer hunting tips, and hunting tales and tricks for other game, too, on my website identified in the Resource Box below.