John's Journal...


Secrets No. 9 & 10 for Bagging Trophy Mule Deer

Click to enlargeEditor’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.

9) Know how to shoot accurately at long ranges. Many times when you're hunting mule deer, you'll be hunting in open country and have to take a long shot. So, make sure you have a good rest for your gun before you take the shot. With a muzzle loader, you may be shooting 200 yards or 300 yards with a conventional rifle. Therefore a good rest is critical to making an accurate shot. I put Harris Bipods on all my rifles so I can make sure I haveClick to enlarge a steady rest. I also use Harris shooting sticks when I can't take a prone shot. I also carry a quality backpack with me so that I can lay my gun on my back- pack and have an even more-stable rest for my gun. I like the Crooked Horn Outfitters Pro Guide Pack. I've also used rocks for a rest and even my Bushnell binoculars. I try to avoid using trees for rests. Often a hunter will see a tree and lay his gun across a limb to take a shot. However, any type of wind will move that tree and often affect your shot.

Besides a rest, I also carry other equipment with me in my daypack when I'm mule deer hunting. I usually take two Buck Knives for caping, like the Buck Caping Knife, and the Buck Alpha Hunter for skinning and gutting. I also carry surgical gloves with me for cleaning the deer in the field. I carry a GPS, extra batteries, a headlamp and a flashlight. I like the headlamp by Streamlight. I carry survival gear, first aid gear and snacks with me in my pack and always plenty of water.

Click to enlarge10) Make sure you have your rifle sighted in properly. I'm a big fan of the .270, and I advise all my hunters that regardless of the caliber of the gun you choose to hunt with, make sure you can shoot it accurately out to 200 yards with a black-powder rifle and 300 to 400 yards with a conventional rifle. I recommend that the gun be sighted in at 1-1/2 inches to 2-inches high at 100 yards. I like to sight in like this because you may get a shot at less than 100 yards. So, you don't want your rifle sighted-in too high, and if you have a deer at 200 or more yards, you don't really have to hold over very much.

Also remember that mule deer are very-big animals. They'll usually field dress from 190 to 210 pounds. They are very blocky and very muscular. So, anytime you have an opportunity for a follow-up shot, always take that follow-up shot. If the deer is still standing after your shot, go ahead, and take the second shot. Too, I usually carry a pack frame with me. Then if the deer are down in a hole, I can bone the deer out and pack him out.

Click to enlargeRemember that many of the better outfitters are booked-up for a year or more in advance. So, ask your outfitter, when you book a hunt, questions that are important to you to make your hunt the best it can be. You can have a great mule deer hunt and take a really trophy animal if you follow this advice.

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 5