WTA Consultant Caleb Sutton shared with us some tips on hunting muleys in the rut.
1. Scouting Deer
Pre-season scouting is critical to success; knowing particular travel corridors and travel routes will help you out in a big way when the deer start rutting hard. Knowing doe groups are (even if you aren’t seeing lots of bucks early) will play a big factor in your rut hunt, since eventually bucks will get with those doe. Understanding multiple access points to enter a canyon, field, tree row, etc. base on what the wind is doing is important.
Shooting your bow! For spot and stalk muleys I would absolutely feel comfortable out to at least 50 yards which is going to take PRACTICE! I have seen it both ways: I have killed deer at 50+ yards and I have killed them at 10 yards – it just depends on the situation. Capitalize on the areas that you scouted pre-season, but always keep in the back of your mind a few areas that looked good while scouting in case the deer have moved or shifted patterns. Pack light and quiet.
3. Knowing the Situation
Is the buck with a single doe? Is he by himself? Is he with a group of doe? All of these thing will dictate my approach. Best case scenario is obviously a bedded buck by himself or with a single doe; having a group of doe around makes it extremely tough to get in close. Is the deer in a good spot? Obviously, if he is laying in the middle of a wide open field, it’s not too promising, but if he is in tall crp, or just over a bluff or ridge, you will be in business. Use common sense. ALWAYS know the wind.
This is the hardest one for me. There will be times you see the right deer and it is totally not the right situation to make a stalk. Things change, deer move, wind shifts, another hunter may bump some deer, if any of this happens and turns the situation to unfavorable, don’t force it, back out and be patient.
It’s not always going to work out on the first try, especially if you are being patient. The situation may change, you may get busted, you may not get a shot, there are a number of things that can go wrong, some that are in your control and some that are not. Just do your best to control the controllable. Keep at it, stay smart, use your wits, and shoot straight.