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Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76

 
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Ageewhy
(10 posts)
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Sep-19-17, 
12:38 PM (MST)
"Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

Hi Folks,

I am chomping at the bit to go on my first Mule Deer hunt in SE Idaho in a few weeks! After doing a lot of research I ultimately settled on unit 75/76 and found a small cabin rental south of Soda Springs.

Curious to hear if any hunters have been out yet in the area? I know the area was hit hard last winter and looks like some colder/rainy temps going on now. Is that enough to push the deer down to lower elevations?

Im hunting opening week. but will have two full days of scouting before the Tuesday opener. I plan to get up high with my spotting scope and glass...and look for thick cover area that deer may get pushed to by all the pressure (thats what I often do for whitetails back east).

If anyone is willing, Id love other advice on how to scout or make the best use of our hunt. Wishing everyone luck this season!

-Excited first time Mule Deer hunter.

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Mule Deer-...  huntin50      Sep-19-17   1 
  RE: Mule Deer-...  Onelegwonder      Sep-19-17   2 
   RE: Mule Deer-...  Muley_73      Sep-19-17   3 
    RE: Mule Deer-...  pushin_30      Sep-20-17   4 
     RE: Mule Deer-...  Ageewhy      Oct-19-17   5 
      RE: Mule Deer-...  twsnow18      Oct-19-17   6 
       RE: Mule Deer-...  fullthrottle      Oct-19-17   7 
        RE: Mule Deer-...  BPKHunter      Oct-20-17   8 
 RE: Mule Deer-...  wapiti99      Oct-20-17   9 

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huntin50
(971 posts)
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Sep-19-17, 
02:19 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

more deer in 75 than 76 IMO.

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Onelegwonder
(90 posts)
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Sep-19-17, 
04:46 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

Sounds like you have a solid plan. You'll find deer that's for sure.

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Muley_73
(1665 posts)
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Sep-19-17, 
09:56 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

I have been in 76 chasing moose a few weekends and will be back up the first week of Oct. I have not seen big numbers but a few deer around. I would agree with huntin50 that 75 is probably holding more deer currently. I'll let you know what we see in the next couple weeks. Good luck!!!

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pushin_30
(693 posts)
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Sep-20-17, 
06:20 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

76/75 both had record snow and cold temp this past winter. Deer numbers have been reduced a lot this season. There are still deer around but just not like it used to be. Good Luck to you!
I was planning on hunting this unit this year ( my old stomping grounds was born and raised in soda) I opted to purchase the tag and not hunt it and hopefully it can bounce back quickly. The last really bad winter took nearly 10 years to recoup the population. Both unit are huge so there is plenty of areas still holding good mature bucks. Just have to get out and give her hell.

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Ageewhy
(10 posts)
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Oct-19-17, 
08:01 AM (MST)
5. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

LAST EDITED ON Oct-19-17 AT 08:02 AM (MST)

Well I am back from my trip to Idaho and wanted to give a report. We hunted unit 75, South of Soda Springs and gave em hell for 5 days but all 4 in my group (me included) came home empties handed. Thats ok, I'm not bitter- just humbled! It was our first western mule deer hunt, in what we thought were more 'moderate' mountains compared to the rest of Idaho, but it still proved challenging for us. We scouted for 2 days learning the area, and hunted for 5. Weather was FANTASTIC. blue bird sunny days, and cold crisp temps, with snow on our last day.

Overall, as many predicted, deer densities seemed low- likely due to the harsh winter. We mainly hunted higher elevations in the 7-8k range...and only saw a handful of bucks the whole trip...All of them far off when glassing early morning ridges. We tried low a few times also, but only saw 1 small buck- a fork horn on scout day. The elevation and mountains proved to be challenging. My iPhone tracker said we did 40 miles in 5 days and about 900 flights of stairs total. Not as many as some, but it felt like we were really trying to get off the roads and give a solid effort.

We did see some does, and yearlings, but almost exclusively on the private land when driving in and out of the unit at lower elevations. We decided to stay up high- but from our small cabin to the hunting area was 1 hour and 20 minute drive just to get there up a steep bumpy mountain road.

The few bucks we did see, were all nice shooters. When we tried to move in their areas we found great sign, but they just never showed themselves. Overall, we were amazed at the beauty of SE idaho and the variety of game. We saw Elk almost every day, 3 moose (2 bulls). Fresh mountain lion tracks, skunks, porcupines, coyotes, etc. I have a new respect for the mountains, and the hunters who can grind and grit it out to get the job done on a good buck.

Tag soup this year, but man did we learn a lot. I feel 10x more prepared to hunt mule deer again (no matter where we go) just in terms of how to glass, what type of terrain to look for, sign, access, etc. I wish we lived closer, or I would consider a second trip back before the season is over.

Thank you to the folks who were encouraging and commented on a few of my posts over the past few months. Cheers and good luck the rest of your season!

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twsnow18
(495 posts)
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Oct-19-17, 
10:05 AM (MST)
6. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

Cool to see someone report back.

Contrary to archery elk hunting, in my opinion, I try to slow down a little, walk less and glass more. Binos on tripods.

The big thing with mule deer is to pick a unit, REALLY learn it over 3-5 years, and then you will find little holes where good bucks can be found closer to roads. Instead of having to kill yourself by covering 8+ miles a day. Don't get the grass is greener in the next unit over syndrome.

Glad you guys had a good time! Hopefully you make it back.

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fullthrottle
(508 posts)
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Oct-19-17, 
06:10 PM (MST)
7. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

Sounds like you had a good time. I agree stick with a unit and learn it and it will pay off. That being said, those are terrible deer units, they were coming back but last winter took care of that in a hurry. Much better units in Idaho to spend time learning for deer than those. Just my opinion.

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BPKHunter
(1598 posts)
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Oct-20-17, 
01:29 PM (MST)
8. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

Great report. Definitely a "learning" experience. Shows the respect due to those who routinely kill mature bucks on public land.

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wapiti99
(84 posts)
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Oct-20-17, 
03:38 PM (MST)
9. "RE: Mule Deer- Soda Springs unit 75/76"

glad you had a enjoyable trip. sometimes we forget that there's a lot more to hunting then just the kill.
good job!

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