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!