Mulies at the Fence

Posted on September 27, 2012

Mule deer living near agriculture can be ambushed from blinds at fence crossings.

mule deer

When I was young, I was a slow learner. I have multiple stories to back this up, not that I’m bragging. Here’s just one example.

I remember my first shot with a brand new bow. The string slapped the fire out of my forearm. It was red and throbbing instantly. Ouch! “Must have been my mistake,” I thought. I nocked another arrow. I was a teenager—I thought I knew everything.

Again, the bowstring smacked my forearm. Ouch! Instant level 10 pain. Now, my arm was red and starting to swell. “I’ll just hold my arm differently,” I thought. I nocked another arrow for a third shot.

You guessed it, another burner right on the same spot. Finally, I strapped an armguard to my throbbing forearm. My swollen arm eventually turned black and purple. Mom suggested an ice pack, but I went back to the target range. Yep, a slow learner for sure.

Is There a Pattern Here?

I’ve been a slow learner for a long time, not that I’m bragging. Recently, I got a reminder…as if I needed one.

Glassing late in the evenings in fall 2009, I noticed a few mule deer jumping a distant fence on the western horizon. They were leaving broken canyon-country, loping over the fence and crossing a CRP field to distant agriculture. No big bucks though, so I moved on. A few days later, again there were more deer at the same sagging barbed wire. I moved and glassed more country.

The next year, I saw the pattern again. This time, it was a couple of medium-sized bucks. Coincidence? I knew of better places to hunt, so I moved on. You can’t hunt mulies from a blind, you must spot and stalk, right?

Year three, glassing one evening at sunset pre-season, I watched a parade of a dozen deer walk through that same fence corner. From front to back, the bucks got bigger. The last two were wearing velvet-clad rocking chairs on their heads. I paid attention. Finally, the light bulb went off. “That would be a sweet place for a ground blind,” I thought to myself.

Like I said, I’m a slow learner. But on the third year of observation, I got serious. A plan was hatched.


By Brandon Ray

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