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Mule Deer Hunting by State 2024

Mule Deer Hunting by State 2024

Why Do People Like Hunting Mule Deer?

Hunters come in many shapes and forms, and there are a lot of people who enjoy hunting mule deer. A lot of people view this as a classic big game animal as a classic trophy, and it is a milestone for a lot of young hunters. If you are interested in hunting mule deer, there are several important points to keep in mind. One of the first things you need to figure out is where you want to hunt them.

Where Is the Best Place To Hunt Mule Deer?

First, you need to think about the best date for hunting mule deer. In general, they can only be hunted in 18 states. They do not necessarily live everywhere, so you need to be in the right location. There are also some states that have easier regulations than others, as public land quality can vary from place to place.

Ultimately, if you are looking for the best place to hunt mule deer, you will want to go to a state with a large population of them. California has the largest population of mule deer, about 460,000. Colorado is also a dream for most outdoorsmen, and that includes hunters. Colorado has extremely good mule deer habitat, thanks to a tremendous amount of food and smart property management practices. It has the second-largest population of mule deer in the country, and there are more people who hunt in Colorado than in any other state.

What Is the Best Time of Year To Hunt Mule Deer?

When you are hunting mule deer, you also need to think about the time of year during which you want to go hunting. For example, lots of people hunt using archery sets from August until September. Mule deer tend to be found at high elevations during this time, typically above the tree line. Then, during the fall, most people tend to hunt using rifles. Keep in mind that the regulations can change depending on the time of year you hunt, so be sure to talk to the authorities before you get started.

Are There Other States That Are Great for Hunting Mule Deer?

There are plenty of other states that are great for hunting mule deer as well. For example, Idaho is almost as popular as Colorado when it comes to hunting mule deer. Lots of big bucks have migrated to Idaho over the years, and there are lots of large herds to be found. In addition, Montana is a great place for people who are interested in hunting mule deer.

Keep in mind that you may have to apply for a different license if you decide to hunt for mule deer in multiple states. If you have the right paperwork, you may be able to chase them all over the state. If you do not live in Montana, for example, the cost of obtaining a non-resident license can be high, so be sure to do your research ahead of time.

Mule Deer Hunting by State 2024

  • In states in which population is an estimated range, low end of estimate is displayed. See Details column for high end.
  • California lists populations of black-tailed and mule deer as a single combined statistic.

Download Table Data

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Mule Deer Population
Best Season
Bag Limit
Deer Hunting Rank
California460,420Mid-August to beginning of NovemberTwo Mule Deer per calendar year8
Population listed is for black-tailed and mule deer combined
Colorado400,000Mid to late NovemberTwo per calendar year1
Wyoming330,700October 1st to 20thVaries by license and area4
Utah314,850Mid-OctoberOne buck deer in the hunting unit listed on permit5
Montana249,758September 2-October 15 (bow), October 21-November 26 (rifle)One per calendar year3
Idaho249,691NovemberOne per calendar year2
Texas227,392Late December and JanuaryTwo Mule Deer per calendar year10
Oregon170,000August 28th - September 26th (bow), October 2nd - November 5th (firearm)Usually, one deer. Other units may require that a buck be taken
Population may reach as high as 190,000
Nebraska130,000September to December (bow), Mid-November (rifle)Two permits that allow the harvest of a buck per year6
Washington90,000Late October through early NovemberOne deer per hunter per license year (with exceptions)
Population may reach as high as 110,000
Arizona85,000August 15-31 (bow), November 1-30 (rifle)One per calendar year except as prescribed in R12-4-1207
Population may reach as high as 100,000
Nevada84,000October 5th to November 5thOne Mule Deer per tag annually.9
Population may reach as high as 90,000
South Dakota80,600Sept. 1 through Jan. 1 (bow), Rifle season is weapon- and unit-specificVaries by license and area
New Mexico80,000September and January (bow), October through mid-November (rifle)OTC opportunities available
Population may reach as high as 100,000
Kansas53,400NovemberOne Mule Deer per calendar year
North Dakota21,000Late October to DecemberOne Mule Deer of the type described on their license
Oklahoma1,750October 1st to mid-JanuaryNo more than two antlered deer
Population may reach as high as 3,000