How to Hunt Mule Deer with a Bow

Colorado is a Premier Destination for Mule Deer Hunting

Have you always wanted to hunt mule deer, but don’t exactly know where to start? From determining the location of your hunt to learning how to scout and stalk mule deer, it can seem like an overwhelming process. So we have put together a step-by-step guide on how to hunt mule deer with a bow.

I’ve decided to simplify the process and show you that bowhunting mule deer is doable for even the most inexperienced hunter out there. Bowhunting mule deer is an experience that every hunter should have.

Colorado is a Premier Destination for Mule Deer Hunting.
Colorado is a Premier Destination for Mule Deer Hunting. Image Source: Pixabay

What You Will Need

There are some items that you will need to hunt mule deer. I would recommend visiting an archery store to let the experts help you get the right equipment for your mule deer hunt.

Here’s the gear list for hunting mule deer with a bow.

  • A bow, arrows, and broadheads.
  • Binoculars or a spotting scope. These will be used when glassing.
  • Camouflage clothing to make sure you’re undetected while hunting.
  • Field-dressing kit. If you’ve never field-dressed an animal before, research how before you go hunting.
  • First aid kit. Always take a first aid kit when hunting. You never know when something could go wrong.
  • Walkie Talkies to stay in touch with your hunting group.

You will also need a mule deer tag. The process of getting a mule deer tag is different from state to state. Do some research to determine how to get a tag in your state of choice.

How to Hunt Mule Deer with a Bow

Pick a Location

Picking where to hunt is very important. Mule deer are typically located throughout western North America. Different states have different regulations on mule deer hunting.

Some states with good mule deer hunting include Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, and Utah. Each of these states will offer a different hunting experience, so do some research to determine which one best fits what you had in mind.

Once you’ve chosen your state, make sure and contact the game warden assigned to the area you’ll be hunting in to learn about their rules for hunting mule deer.

Pro Tip: Colorado is considered by many to be the premier destination for mule deer hunting. When determining which state to hunt in, start your search by looking at Colorado.

Glass the Hunting Area

Glassing is the process of sitting at a high vantage point and looking for deer in the surrounding area. Binoculars will be needed when glassing. Here is a video with glassing tips to help you find more deer.

Try to find a vantage point that gives you the best possible view of the surrounding area. Mule deer often stick to shady areas, so start by looking there. Don’t limit yourself to only looking at the shade though, as mule deer can be found walking around anywhere.

Glassing requires a lot of patience. Try not to get discouraged if you don’t immediately spot a mule deer. Glassing can sometimes take up a full day or even several days. Eventually, you’ll spot the mule deer that you’ve been searching for. Once you’ve found a mule deer while glassing, you’re ready to begin stalking.

Pro Tip: Try to glass as much as possible throughout the day. If you only glass in the morning and evening, you’ll miss out on seeing many deer that travel during midday.

Glass the Hunting Area to Look for Deer
Glass the Hunting Area to Look for Deer. Image Source:

Stalk the Deer

Stalking a mule deer while bow hunting can be a very slow process. The last thing you want to do is rush into stalking and scare the deer away. Do this, and all of your time spent glassing will have been for nothing!

Getting within bow range of a mule deer can be very hard. Make sure to move as quietly and slowly as possible. Also, keep a lookout for other wildlife. If you startle them, there is a good chance that you’ve startled your mule deer as well.

Once you’ve gotten in the bow range of your prey, you’re ready to take the shot!

Pro Tip: Try to scout out the area you’ll be stalking your deer in. You can even set up the best cheap trail camera to help you track deer movement. Having an idea of the lay of the land can be extremely helpful while trying to close the distance between you and your prey.

Take the Shot

This is what it all comes down to. You’ve glassed your location, and you’ve stalked the deer. Now it’s time to take the shot.

The key to shooting a mule deer with a bow is staying undetected. It may seem tempting to make some noise to try and get the deer to look up, giving you a good angle for a shot. This idea rarely works, and usually leads to the deer fleeing the area.

Here is a video on where to aim at a deer while bow hunting.

Try to be as silent as possible, and make sure the clothes you have on do not make too much noise. Sometimes I’ll even change shoes to make sure my boots aren’t too loud. Be mindful of the wind also. If the deer smells you, it may run away.

Once you’ve gotten close to the mule deer undetected, simply wait for it to lift its head and give you a good shot. Once this happens, let the arrow fly!

Pro Tip: Don’t load an arrow into your bow until you’re ready to shoot. This is a good way to ensure you have a safe hunt.

Field Dress Your Kill

Once you’ve killed the mule deer with your bow, it’s time to field dress it. Make sure that you have a proper field-dressing kit with you. If you’ve never field-dressed a mule deer, here is a video to learn one of the ways of doing it.

The first thing you need to do is locate the broadhead in the deer. If you can’t find it, watch for it while dressing the deer. While field-dressing, always be very careful. You never want to accidentally cut yourself or others around you.

Also, think before removing the entrails from the deer. Certain states have regulations on where the entrails can be deposited. Make sure that you have researched the proper field dressing techniques before going hunting.

Pro Tip: Pack a small guide inside your field-dressing kit. It can come in handy if you forget a step.

You can also check out my tutorial on hunting deer with a crossbow if that is something of interest to you.

Did you enjoy this guide on How to Hunt Mule Deer with a Bow? I hope that you now feel comfortable bowhunting mule deer.

References and Further Reading

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Marty Prokop