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Do not underestimate Pressured Hunting Areas. 

This is the time of year where everyone, kids, grandparents, and of course “out-of-staters alike are hitting the hills for a mule deer buck. Aww yes, the cold crisp hillsides are being filled with lead which sounds like its coming from a semi auto rifle. The skies are being polluted with gun powder and camp fires as we speak. Aww the sign of late October hunting!

It’s no secret the mule deer migration is what all these hunters are banking on… it’s the talk of the town how many out of state plates the locals are seeing and the shocking stories of where these wall tents are being placed. As the tail end of October arrives the hunters are not holding out for a big buck. Anything with horns grandpa, son, and wife alike are taking a crack at!

Don’t be alarmed and don’t get “let-down” when you see a full parking-lot… it is anyone’s game but your chances are greater with the following advantages:


  1. If you’re a great shot, have a lethal weapon with a great scope. Those that can shoot well long distances will have the upper advantage. Think of a senior football player setting into a JV game… it’s yours for the taking!
  2. You’re in shape, not afraid to climb steep mountains, and don’t have a problem hiking in the dark (morning or night).
  3. You plan on spike camping on the mountain with a shelter. The advantage waking up and being right where you want before the rest of the zoo gets there. You can also hunt later knowing your camp it’s too far like the trucks down at the road.
  4. You plan on hunting with a buddy. Here you have more eye working the hills to check game before the other guys can, working together increases your odds and it help for an easier pack out.
  5. Having a meat hauling hunting pack. Here you have the advantage of being able pack out a deer effectively by quartering him out with your meat hauling pack. Harvesting a deer in snarly spot doesn’t look so bad anymore.
  6. Good glass (binoculars) / spotting scope and tripod. This time year is not new to these big old bucks on the migration, they stay hidden. Finding them before anyone else does is the key and with the right glass, knowing where to look and spotting them effectively can make all the difference.
  7. Stay positive and work hard. Sometime having a positive attitude is all the difference you need. Doubt your abilities and you can doubt your success!


Here are 3 key things to grasp about heavily hunted areas:


  1. First of all, if there was not wild game in the area nobody would come back, so clearly something is keeping the hunters coming back. Most likely it is a good area for deer to migrate in and decent bucks are coming out of there. 
  2. Second, patience kills bucks and even big bucks. Get up high stay put where you can glass and let the other hunters around you that cannot be patient or play the wind correctly to do the hunting for you. Countless times I have heard of guys killing bucks (and some great bucks) by others jumping deer they didn’t even know were there by having their gun ready and set up for anything to happen. Let me tell you, it works!
  3. Being effective with your rifle scope; getting on your glass quickly and pin-pointing game through the rifle quickly will be key in heavy hunted areas. Deer are being pushed and bumped, your time to get a shot off can be limited. Being able to work your rifle scope effectively can be the difference. 

Don’t know where to start… Check this out:

 Typically calling a biologist or fish and game and ask them where the wintering migration is you might get some great intel, but don’t worry they have shared that a million times so don’t think you are getting the holy grail.


Just in case you find an area early and what to know if it gets hit hard later in the season… check this out:

If you fell in love with a new area during scouting Plan to come back again closer to season to check how "busy" the area might get. Ultimately you want to see if camps being put up, check to see if there has been an increase in foot traffic on the trail your using and of course is the quarry you’re after still there? Key tip; dust off the trail in an area to provide intel on how often it gets used while you are gone (game or humans). 



Most of all, pack out what you pack in, obey hunting rule and regulations, and install quality sportsmanship among fellow hunters and to the youth.    

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