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ar13fox

Was Unit 21 Mule deer the wrong choice?? Any help please!

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Hello everyone,

I have been following the discussions on this page for some time, and I appreciate all the knowledgable info.  About a decade ago I used to hunt Unit 21 archery mule deer.  After the army stationed me in Georgia for the past ten years, I have not had an opportunity to return home to AZ until I recently moved back.  I automatically put in for unit 21 mule deer because I thought I still hade some memory of the unit and would at least know where to start.  Although it has felt so good being back home, scouting and hiking the mountains of AZ........I WAS WRONG.  I have spent a good amount of time scouting areas I remember holding decent deer.  Now all I see is whitetail which, I love and could watch all day, but don't match my tag.  Im sure there are still some muleys somewhere but after many failed scouting trips I'm not confident I will locate them before my November hunt coming up. Are there still decent numbers in 21?  Did I make a mistake by putting in for this unit?  Or am I just not in the right areas anymore? 

Thanks in advance for any input!  

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Yes, you are correct. The coues have taken over many parts of that unit. We hunted Seven Springs for 30 yrs before the fire and would very rarely ever come across a coues. Now there seems to be more coues than muleys. jmy son just had the jr hunt and we hunted around Dugas mostly. seen mostly mule deer with a few coues.  One evening we seen mule deer on a hillside and then two days later, coues on the same hill. Sorry not much help from me but they are still in there. 

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The coues have definitely started to inhabit the mule deer country in the last 3 or 4 years.

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The G&F has said the mule deer population in 21 has significantly declined in the last couple years. That’s why they reduced the rifle tags there and removed the December archery season 

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Saw lots of nice mule deer bucks last Oct bear hunting. They have to be hanging out somewhere. Was seeing 6-7 bucks per day, half were mule deer. Just need to focus on spots with good mule deer feed away from major roads.   

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Been in 21 a lot this year scouting. Only place I’ve run into Mule deer consistently is the PJ country just west of the rim, off the Dugas road. Drop down on the East side and it gets right back to Coues only it seems. The deer are REAL healthy though. Not nearly as many big ears as years past and quite a few more Coues than I remember. Talked to a rancher and his son from Dugas on the last day of the youth hunt, and he echoed the same opinions on the change in the deer herds/population. 

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Cooks Mesa, New River Mesa, Perry Mesa--all hold mule deer. All have water year round...AMDO ran 18 miles of water line and set up 12 troughs on Cooks and the deer (Coues and Mule Deer) looked good in there. Glass as much as you can in all of these places and you will find what you are looking for.

 

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I would guess mule deer numbers are down just about statewide with the exception of the units N of the Colorado.  More elk and more whitetail though.

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Spend alot of time in 21 every year. Mule deer #’s in my opinion are increasing slowly from 2 years ago. My son took a 3x4 on the jr hunt 2 weeks ago and we saw about a dozen bucks. Area’s to look at would be New river Mesa, Cooks ,Dugas and bloody basin. All the spots mention hold the most mule deer but will also hold the most hunters come opening day. Good luck..here is the buck my son killed this year.

14B622A3-189F-4157-AAE3-250D277150D3.jpeg

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