How to E-Scout for Mule Deer Using BaseMap PRO

Sep 8, 2021 | Mule Deer Hunting | 0 comments

Mule Deer Versus Elk

To start, let’s talk about the difference between mule deer and elk habitat use. Mule deer are habitat specialists while elk are generalists. At a species level this means mule deer have very specific habitat requirements while elk have a broader range of habitats. Mule deer are browsers and are generally found in shrublands such as mountain brush, sagebrush, savannah, and desert scrub habitat types. Elk on the other hand can do well in several habitat types and can take advantage of almost all vegetation types. This is why historically elk were found in most every part of the United States while mule deer were not. Elk can take advantage of a wider variety of vegetation for energy while mule deer have to be more selective. This is probably why you have heard people say elk are more adaptable. We bring this up for two reasons: 1) It’s a neat fact. 2) Knowing this helps you understand that while there is overlap between the two species, they utilize the landscape very differently.

For this article we will focus on mule deer, although the scouting techniques discussed here could be adapted to elk, using elk specific data in BaseMap PRO.

Scouting for a hunt really is a function of time and money. Everyone loves to scout for a hunt, but not everyone lives close to the hunt unit, has a lifestyle allowing ample scouting time, or has the financial independence to aggressively scout before a hunt. But, a scouting technique anyone can do is e-scouting. Everyone can have access to e-scouting tools like BaseMap PRO on mobile and desktop.

Painting a Clear Picture

Whitetail Food Plot Step 1
We treat this e-scouting technique kind of like creating a detailed painting. The artist adds layer upon layer of paint, refining it as they go, until a clear picture is created of your subject. In this e-scouting case, we add data layer upon data layer until we have a clear picture (in the form of a map) of where to focus our efforts once we hit the field. Below is our checklist for e-scouting your unit before you put boots to the ground. We suggest starting at a large scale and then moving down in scale by adding these BaseMap PRO data layers.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
Getting your unit boundaries on your map is the obvious starting point. Knowing where you can and cannot hunt is numero uno for any hunt. Using this boundary layer you might find little hidden corners where the boundary zigs when most people zag too.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
This is really a cool secret tool to e-scout with prior to visiting your unit. The data comes from decades and decades of data collected from State Wildlife Departments. This is kinda like a cheat code. Using this, you will know where mule deer live even before entering your unit.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
Like many people hunting mule deer, public/private land patterns play an integral part of your hunt strategy. We don’t need to hash it out here why it is so important, we all know why by now. What you do need to know is BaseMap PRO has the absolute most up-to-date land ownership available from state agencies. Use it to find hidden slivers of public, or if you are hunting private land, know where every boundary ends. Also on your map you can click on a given parcel and it will give you landowner names, addresses, and other info. Another important note is, millions of miles of fences are NOT on legal boundary lines. With BaseMap PRO you will be able to see where the actual boundary line is, and if anyone gives you a hard time, the proof is in the palm of your hand.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
Getting away from the competition is always an advantageous strategy for mule deer hunting. Thousands of these wilderness areas are scattered throughout the West where road, motorized travel, and other activities are restricted to protect the ecological integrity and important habitat. Knowing where wilderness areas are will help you make an informed decision on how to get away from the crowds.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
The next data set to add is access data, both motorized and by foot. This will give you the info needed on how to get around in your hunt unit at a large scale in a vehicle and smaller scale by foot.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
The secret is out to the masses – recently burned forests are a magnet for big game like mule deer. New growth of herbaceous plants and sapling trees is like ice cream. Big game love it. It is a healthy kind of ice cream though – high in protein, carbon, and other essential nutrients.
Whitetail Food Plot Step 4
One of the few things life has to have for existence is water. Mule deer are big animals, burn a lot of energy, and need water often. Knowing where water sources are is part of the mule deer jigsaw puzzle hunters need to put together. BaseMap PRO has a layer for this and will give you an idea where rivers, wetlands, creeks and other water sources may be.

The Picture is Done

Once you have all these layers stacked, your BaseMap PRO masterpiece for mule deer is complete. Take a look and find areas where all these data layers overlap and intersect one another (scientists call this geospatial data analysis). The data overlaps are good starting points to scout or hunt from. Start marking up your map using BaseMaps Smart Markers so when you head to your hunt unit you can easily navigate to your access points and areas you want to investigate and hunt. And don’t forget to download maps for offline use using BaseMap’s lightning quick downloads.


Try BaseMap Free

Popular Articles


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get 20% Off

Your First Year of Pro


sign up for exclusive updates, feature
announcements, and vip discounts

Pin It on Pinterest