John's Journal...


Secrets No. 7 & 8 for Trophy Mule Deer

Editor’s Note: Last week I hunted with Chad Schearer of Central Montana Outfitters, a guide for 14 years to mule deer, antelope, elk, bear and fish. He also has an unusual talent of knowing how to get out-of-shape, overweight, middle-aged-plus hunters within range to take shots at the game they're hunting. This week Schearer, who has had his own outfitting business for 10 years, tells us the secrets of how to take those trophy mountain mule deer that so many hunters want to bag. Schearer serves on the pro staffs for CVA Muzzle Loaders, Mossy Oak Camouflage, Knight & Hale Game Calls, Trophy Rock Minerals, Buck Knives, Montana Decoys and Fred Bear Archery.

7) Don't pass up the buck on the first day that you'll have been happy to have had on the last day of the hunt. Many times you'll go into a new area with high expectations, see a really-nice buck and pass him up, holding out for a better buck. This practice is usually a mistake, because generally that really-nice buck may be the best buck you'll see on the hunt. Before you go on a hunt, know the size and the kind of buck you want Click to enlargeto take. If you see that buck on the first day of the hunt, you may want to go ahead and take him, because you very well may not see him on the last day of the hunt.

A good rule-of-thumb is to let your guide pick the buck for you to take on your hunt. The reason I suggest this is, that I have the opportunity to go on a lot of guided hunts, even though I'm a guide myself. I usually ask the guide I'm hunting with to decide the buck I should take. I do this because I know that that guide has a better handle on the types of bucks he can produce than I do. I also know that this guide wants me to take as big a buck as I can take because if he produces a satisfied customer, namely me, I'm going to recommend him and his operation to other potential customers. Therefore, my best suggestion for how to take the biggest buck that you can possibly bag when you go on a mule deer hunt or any other type guided hunt, let the guide pick the buck that he feels would be best for you to take. Then all the pressure is on the guide as to whether you should shoot or not shoot the buck.

Click to enlargeIf you're with a guide, and he says, "That's a good deer. You need to take that deer," then you're generally better off to take the buck that the guide suggests rather than waiting for and/or hoping that you'll find a better buck. Typically you'll get a better deer if you take this deer that the guide suggests than you will if you hold out for a deer that you may not see.

8) Stalk only the mule deer you intend to take. Many times I'll see a lot of deer for two or three weeks that I'll really like to take or have my clients to take. However, perhaps for some reason the wind will be wrong or the deer will be in a place that I know I can't get a client to for them to get an effective shot. So, when I run into a deer that's in a bad place to get a shot or if the deer is in a place where I know I'll kill my client if I try to get him or her to that deer, I won't make a stalk on the deer.

Click to enlargeNow, if you're hunting public lands with a lot of people, the likelihood of someone else's taking the buck is very high, if you don't take him. However, if you're hunting in the back country and/or you're on private lands, only stalk the buck if you know that you're going to try to take him. Don't stalk the maybe bucks, because that buck may be a good buck to hunt next year if you don't booger him up this year. Remember when you're hunting deer, whether they're mule deer or whitetails, if a deer doesn't know you're hunting him, you have a
much-greater chance of taking him than if the deer realizes you're hunting him.

To learn more about hunting trophy mule deer, you can contact Chad Schearer at P.O. Box 6655, Great Falls, MT 59406; (406) 727-4478 (home); (406) 799-7984 (cell); email him;


Day 1 - Be Where the Deer Are
Day 2 - Why Optics Play a Major Role in Taking Monster-Sized Mule Deer
Day 3 - More Secrets for Trophy Mountain Mule Deer
Day 4 - Secrets No. 7 & 8 for Trophy Mule Deer
Day 5 - Secrets No. 9 & 10 for Bagging Trophy Mule Deer


Entry 275, Day 4