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Living in Coloradoís southeastern corner, I find plenty of time to chase heavy-horned mule deer. And while spot-and-stalk is a top method for success, I never pass up the opportunity to jump into a treestand when the conditions are right.
Mule deer are very difficult to pattern, especially when hunting open country. However, if you find yourself chasing these prairie ghosts in and around agriculture surrounded by sage-dappled plains and cottonwood choked creeks, then you might want to take to a treestand. Like whitetails, mule deer will use terrain features to funnel through open country. Though they might not be as predictable as whitetails, a few days glassing mule deer moving from agriculture fields through sage and cottonwoods will reveal certain patterns you can take advantage of.
Scout More, Hunt Less
In addition to glassing, itís also a good idea to slip into the area you plan to pull an aerial ambush on a mule deer and hang a couple of trail cameras. Trail cameras will help give you an inventory of the bucks in the area and will let you know when bucks pass through the area you canít see through glass. The more time you spend scouting, the better chance you will have of slipping into your stand a single time and putting an arrow through a trophy mule deer.
Not Scrapes, But Rub Lines
Mule deer donít make scrapes as they move up and down cottonwood creek bottoms, but they do develop well-used rub lines. While scouting and looking for places to hang your trail cameras, keep an eye out for areas littered with rubs. Mule deer will move through these areas often to freshen their rubs, making these great places to get photos and pull off a successful ambush.
The Lone Tree
Itís not uncommon when hunting mule deer terrain to find a lone tree in the middle of nowhere. If you find a single tree in the middle of nowhere, hang a stand in it. I donít pretend to be a mule deer biologist, but I will tell you mule deer make it a point to wander by these lone trees often, making them great places to hang a treestand.
Treestands are amazing places to spend a day in prime mule deer habitat watching and observing deer. Even if the deer donít work by your position, being in a treestand allows you the opportunity see deer and then descend to the ground and execute a good stalk. Donít overlook treestands when it comes to hunting plains mule deer. These platforms can be great places to arrow a monster buck.