3 High Country Archery Mule Deer Hunting Tips + Gear List

3 High Country Archery Mule Deer Hunting Tips + Gear List - Muley Freak

Prep Starts Now

Although August and the Fall hunting season seems forever away, the time to plan and prepare for it should start now. Application season has already began in some states, so the time is now for you to decide what hunts you are going to do in 2024. For us, a hunting season wouldn't be complete without an August high country archery mule deer hunt.

When we think of August, we immediately start day dreaming of chasing bucks in the high country with our bows. As August approaches each year, the warm weather and increasingly crisp August nights cause a mental synapsing where your mind and body aches for the woods. Veteran early season archery mule deer hunter Tyler Okamura knows how to meticulously plan in order to get it done. The physicality and attention to detail in his career as a firefighter that he requires, bleeds into his passion as a bowhunter. Tyler prepares and trains everyday to save lives, be the best family man he can be, and to be a capable hunter in the backcountry.

archery hunting mule deer

Below is an exhaustive list of what Tyler carries into the backcountry each August with links if you want to read/learn more about the gear or purchase. Also, keep reading below for 3 tips that Tyler lives by for finding success on high country mule deer.

High Country Archery Mule Deer Gear List

gear for archery mule deer hunting


Optics Gear

Camp Gear


Kill kit

First Aid


3 High Country Archery Mule Deer Tips

mule deer bucks in the velvet

1. Stay on your glass ALL DAY

Each morning in the high country is like Christmas! You never quite know what you are going to catch a glimpse of even though you may have a slight idea. Like Christmas morning, the high country mornings bring great anxiety - partially due to excitement, and partially due to only having an hour or two to locate and stalk a buck before he disappears into thick timber in search of a shady bed.

Due to the nature of this time of year it's easy to get discouraged once the heat of the day settles in and the animals all disappear into the dark abyss. You have two choices:

A) you can be lazy and do what a deer does and tuck away into a shady spot for a midday nap.


B) you can maximize your time on the mountain and spend the day glassing shady spots in search of a flicker of an ear or the movement of an antler tip.

I suggest you do the latter!

Again, like Christmas, hunting season only comes around one time of year - maximize the time you have and make the most of it.

Midday glassing is a great time to find and stalk a buck. You know they are going to be in the shade, so glass every shady spot you can locate. If you've scouted during the summer (and I suggest you do), you will know where bucks like to bed. Slowly get different angles into timber pockets, brushy canyons, and other shaded areas. Bucks also like to get up to stretch, move beds, and grab a snack/drink - if you are on your glass you will catch their movement! Once you do find one, re-bed him and then make a play.

Take some suckers, sunflower seeds, or other snacks with you to keep you awake and alert during the day. Don't be lazy and stay on your glass!

In our latest film you can watch Aaron & Tyler glassing up, stalking, and shooting a buck because of their diligence at staying behind the glass.

Watch here:

2. Lightweight Stuff Is King + Gear Share!

From gear, to food, to clothing - pack lightweight stuff only! The lighter your stuff, the more gear you can take. The high country will straight up wear you down and exhaust you to the core - you need to have the right gear and fuel to keep you going on an extended hunt.

The gear list above includes all those lightweight items that Tyler likes to use, but, one tip we like to practice is "gear sharing". The concept is simple, if you are hunting with multiple people, then share the gear! Only take one backpack stove and share it. If you are sharing a tent or tipi, split up the components between the group (one guy takes stakes, one guy takes the center pole if you are using a tipi, one guy takes the body of the tent, and one guy takes the floor). If something can be shared, simply take one, and coordinate who is taking what before you take off.

One thing we didn't mention in the gear list is different lightweight food options. A few lightweight options we like are: obviously dehydrated meals, Gold Fish Snack Crackers, dried fruit (especially apples and bananas), jerky, graham crackers, chips ahoy cookies, protein powder to add to water, nuts, and lays potato chips.


3. Have Solid Backup Plans

You have to be willing to pivot on a hunt. Too many people hike in, the hunt doesn't go the way they envision it to, and because they didn't have a backup plan they head home early with their heads hanging down. Don't be that guy or gal! Come into a hunt with a solid 2-3 backup plans. In fact, expect to pivot. There might be hunters that beat you to the basin you planned on being in, maybe you aren't finding deer where you have always hunted in the past, or perhaps a wildfire starts up and you have to move ranges. These scenarios have all happened to us at Muley Freak, so come in with solid backup plans.

I suggest coming in with two different backup plans at least, the first being a lighter plan (simply finding another basin close by to hunt), and the second being a heavier backup plan (moving different mountain ranges altogether).

There's Nothing Like The High Country

tips and tricks for archery hunting mule deer

There truly is NOTHING like the high country! The views, the adventure, the adversity, and the game-rich slopes are unparalleled to any other landscapes out there in our opinion. I promise you that if you follow these steps that you can find success in the high country while in pursuit of mule deer. The more you plan, prepare, and practice for the high country the greater your experience will be.


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