Editor’s Note: Karl Badger of Utah, has been bowhunting for several decades. Badger likes to bowhunt with his PSE Bow (https://psearchery.com/) high in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho. Many people consider Badger a mixture of a naturalist, a mountain climber and a bowhunter. He enjoys climbing mountains and testing his hiking and climbing skills. When he reaches the summit, he enjoys seeing the world below and is thankful for his ability to climb and see the world from a different perspective than most of us and for his opportunity to hunt in the high country. Badger has turned what has been a negative for most bowhunters (carrying the meat out on a backpack) into a positive experience, because he enjoys the hike, the strength that’s required and the ability to go up and down tough terrain. He likes to test his woodsmanship and derives satisfaction from just being able to get close enough to take the shot with his bow. Many bowhunters who hunt high like to tell the tale of how hard making one or two trips in to the mountains, loading up their packs with meat and then carrying the meat out has been. But Badger enjoys that part of the trip as much as he does finding and taking the animals.
As much as I enjoy hunting wilderness areas and hiking into the high country, I also enjoy riding horses into the high country with a pack string. Horses can get into no-man’s land. I really enjoy getting as far away from civilization as I can and making my hunts wilderness experiences. I believe you can get into this country and have a more-rewarding wilderness hunt on horseback. You actually have more time to hunt than if you had walked that 20-30 miles. I like to stay out in the woods for an extended time. By taking a horse and a pack string, I can camp out closer to the area I want to hunt. I can carry all the food I want, and I can take tastier food like steak and potatoes. If I’m backpacking, I’m limited to taking dehydrated food. Too, if you take a nice muley, you can quarter it and let the horses pack it out for you. I can pay more attention to the scenery on the back of a horse, and I can go farther more quickly.
On my first day in a wilderness area with a pack string, I like to cover 10 to 20 miles. This way, I can separate myself from other hunters, especially if they don’t have access to horses and mules. Most hunters in the West will set-up camp at a trail head and hunt within 5 miles of that camp. At the minimum, I want to be hunting 10-miles from any trailhead. The furthest I’ve ever packed-in was about 20 to 25 miles to the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. These deep areas are where you can find the better mule deer. If you’ve never tried wilderness bowhunting in the West, I know you’ll really enjoy it.
To learn more about mule-deer hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Mule Deer Hunter’s Bible,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at https://amzn.to/2Kg62w5. You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon allows you to read and hear 10% of the book for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click. Also check out “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows” at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013F0T58O/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i5, available in Kindle and print.
Tomorrow: Preparations for Wilderness Mule Deer Hunts