Public land Mule deer

rugger1330

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Jan 18, 2008
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Fox Cities, Wisconsin
Looking for recommendations for someplace to start my research for a public land mule deer hunt for a group of four from Wisconsin. From what I have found Nebraska may be our best bang for the buck (sorry for the pun). None of us have made the trip “out west” for a hunting trip, but hunt whitetail every year in Wisconsin.

We would be open to any public/ private land outfitters as well that anyone would recommend as a place to research.
Thanks in advance.
 

lr123

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Nov 20, 2017
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I'm in the same boat but you are going to have to start your research now. Start with OnX and GoHunt and lots and lots of searching and reading. You will find very few people are willing to give up where they go to hunt on public land. This past fall was my first time antelope hunting and by doing the research necessary we were able to fill all 3 of our antelope tags on by 1pm on the first day of rifle season.
 
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rugger1330

Observer
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Jan 18, 2008
161
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Fox Cities, Wisconsin
I'm in the same boat but you are going to have to start your research now. Start with OnX and GoHunt and lots and lots of searching and reading. You will find very few people are willing to give up where they go to hunt on public land. This past fall was my first time antelope hunting and by doing the research necessary we were able to fill all 3 of our antelope tags on by 1pm on the first day of rifle season.

Thanks for the info. I’ve been looking into OnX and Gohunt for viable locations.. Congrats on the antelope..

I’m willing to put in the research and don’t want anyone giving away their secret spot.. Just looking for any info from those that have been down this path before so i know what is a complete waste of time and what may pay off with some research and hard work. Thanks to everyone for the pm’s on this and comments.
 

264win

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Oct 15, 2008
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I would start narrowing your search by
What type of weapon you want to use,
How far you can travel,
What time of year you can go,
What kind of weather and terrain you can handle,
What states have otc tags for non residents.

This should narrow your search to a few states and then you can get more detailed.
 
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rugger1330

Observer
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Jan 18, 2008
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Fox Cities, Wisconsin
I would start narrowing your search by
What type of weapon you want to use,
How far you can travel,
What time of year you can go,
What kind of weather and terrain you can handle,
What states have otc tags for non residents.

This should narrow your search to a few states and then you can get more detailed.
We will be doing rifle this first trip, we have pretty good fitness and experience with hiking mountains with heavy packs and rifles. And we would be willing to travel to most of the range of the population.

We are looking more closely at Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana
Possibly New Mexico, and Utah as well.
Thanks for the reply.
 
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264win

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Oct 15, 2008
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whidbey island wa.
From your list, I believe that MT, WY may not have many otc options for non residents. Iirc, NM and UT are limited for non res as well.
MT has the most public lands and longest rifle season. There are lots of 120-140 class buck in eastern MT.
western/central MT is a much harder hunt.
 
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WeiserBucks

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I would forget NM , shitty draw odds and no point system. For your 1st trip get an OTC tag and go for it DIY , it'll be a fun learning experience and you may be successful. In the future I recommend building points in every state you're interested in hunting and falling back on OTC tags as your experience grows .

If you need a BIG buck to be satisfied I'd look into guided hunts with landowner tags.
 
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rugger1330

Observer
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Jan 18, 2008
161
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22
Fox Cities, Wisconsin
From your list, I believe that MT, WY may not have many otc options for non residents. Iirc, NM and UT are limited for non res as well.
MT has the most public lands and longest rifle season. There are lots of 120-140 class buck in eastern MT.
western/central MT is a much harder hunt.
Thanks for the info. Info has been spotty about Eastern Montana with some people saying the numbers are way down and other saying it’s GTG. I’ll look into it more.
Thanks
 

264win

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Oct 15, 2008
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whidbey island wa.
I live on the west coast and travel to hunt every year. I observed that locals will often down play the hunting to discourage more people from coming, which i can understand. You just have to read between the lines a bit.
 
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WeiserBucks

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I live on the west coast and travel to hunt every year. I observed that locals will often down play the hunting to discourage more people from coming, which i can understand. You just have to read between the lines a bit.
This is the truth! I live in Idaho and tell everyone that the hunting sucks to keep them away! The reality is that almost all western states have some good and bad areas for different types of hunts . If you can't find what you want through research , just dive in and go somewhere! Every hunting season you miss is one you don't get back .
 

h4everything

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Jul 24, 2007
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OK
Public land is tough. OTC units are really tough and drawing a tag can be miserable.

I put in for at least 5 states every year and will draw a tag every couple of years.

Mule deer is a tougher draw than elk in my opinion.

Start with a budget. then time frame and time allowed for the hunt. Do you want a higher chance of a draw tag or want a big

and Gohunt draw odds are awesome and will get you some great info.

Make sure everyone that goes are the type that are OK with coming home empty handed as first time out of state hunts are tough and sometimes the luck just isn't there.
 
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rugger1330

Observer
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Jan 18, 2008
161
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Fox Cities, Wisconsin
Thanks for the replies. We are looking at buying points in a couple states and just getting together this weekend to do so. We are all trying to figure out the western states points systems. It sure makes me appreciate how easy hunting here in the Midwest is..
 

WeiserBucks

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If you want to dump some money you could subscribe to a magazine like Huntin Fool . They lay out all the information on the various states application process and application deadlines. It's a good resource but it's $100 per year.
 
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rugger1330

Observer
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Jan 18, 2008
161
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Fox Cities, Wisconsin
If you want to dump some money you could subscribe to a magazine like Huntin Fool . They lay out all the information on the various states application process and application deadlines. It's a good resource but it's $100 per year.
If things get desperate we could all throw in to get a subscription. Thanks for the info, didn’t know about that publication.