The last two weeks of November are perfect for hunters who want to experience late season mule deer hunting in Montana. The late fall weather and snow usually push the deer out from the mountain valleys onto the front range, where they gather for the rut and then winter there. We hunt this time of year along the National Forest lands along the Rocky Mountain Front. We occasionally see elk along the front, but this is primarily a mule deer hunt. Weather is cold and there will be wind and snow. It can be a little rugged weather-wise, but the rougher it is the more deer there will be and this makes for some good hunting. The deer are the first to move out of the mountains to the Front country, and they begin grouping in herds for the early December rut. The bucks this time of year will generally be with the does and the herds continue to grow as the deer accumulate.
The terrain can vary greatly as the deer may be on the foothills country, which tends to be more open with scattered timber. The Rocky Mountains start quite abruptly here, so often we find the larger deer up on the higher country and may be even a mile or two into the mountains at the head of nearby drainages. We almost always have snow during our late season mule deer hunts, and it can be fairly deep in these upper drainages. We use horses extensively to get around due to the snow and the generally difficult terrain. It gives us some distinct advantages in getting to areas that are almost impossible by hiking alone. We spend the bulk of the day using field glasses and spotting scopes to cover the vast drainages efficiently. This country is just so large that glassing is the way we cover the bulk of the country.
The area near us on the South Fork of the Teton River is exceptional big horn sheep wintering habitat. We've had a consistent sheep population here going back many decades. Like the mule deer, the big horns start coming out of the mountains as the snow accumulates and gather along the Front for their rut. They'll stay in this area until early spring. We consistently see big horns when we're late season mule deer hunting in late November. If you are fortunate to draw a big horn sheep hunting tag, we have some of the very best late season sheep hunting in the country. There are not that many tags, but if you get a big horn tag give us a call as we have historically had extraordinary success in getting our hunters nice rams.