John's Journal...


Be Where the Deer Are

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.

1) The most-important element for taking trophy mule deer buck is to hunt land that historically has produced those type bucks and that is managed to produce Click to enlargetrophy mule deer bucks. Look for an area that doesn't have much hunting pressure, like private land. If you're hunting public lands, your best bet for taking a real trophy mule deer is to get as far away as you can from public roads.

On the private land that I hunt, we take a limited number of mule deer off that property each year. I've been working on the land that I hunt for nine years now. We don't take any does off this area, because mule deer does are different from white-tailed does. As the population of the deer Click to enlargebegins to grow, mule deer does will migrate. So, you don't have to worry about an overpopulation problem with mule deer does as you do with white-tailed does. We only take 15- to 20-trophy mule-deer bucks off this place every year. We'll see 20 to 30 nice bucks each day we hunt, so I know we can take more than that. We want to harvest about one buck per 1000 acres we hunt. We've found that by not taking more than 15 to 20 bucks every year on the ranch we hunt, we can maintain a high number of trophy animals there. We're hunting 18,000 acres on one ranch and 3,000 acres on another ranch that adjoins the first ranch we hunt, which gives us a total of about 21,000 acres. If we don't harvest more than 15 to 20 trophy bucks per year, we're still leaving an awful lot of quality bucks on the property.

2) Do your research. If you're going to consistently take trophy bucks each season, you have to put in quite a bit of time scouting each season to see where these bucks are living. One of the real secrets to scouting is to scout so you don't disturb the deer. Scout from a distance. Don't drive in close to where the deer are. You want to do all you can to Click to enlargeprevent the deer from feeling any hunting pressure. I usually glass and scout for deer from a distance of a mile to two miles away. If the bucks are going to be there when you want to hunt them, you can't let them know that you're in their area. So, using your optics instead of your feet to scout is the best way to solve this problem.

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 1