I live in Orange County California. I am 39 years old and have been target shooting and bird hunting all my life. I would like to know how a person would go about learning how to hunt mule deer. I have read a book on the subject and read part of the incredibly complex procedures you need to go through to get a tag. However, it really seems like the type of thing that you need to do with a knowledgeable person or group that can show you the ropes.
I have never dressed a large animal and would not want to try it without some help at first. Are there hunting clubs, groups, or organizations I could join that would put me in touch with others to get involved with deer hunting? I’m sure there are hunting clubs, etc. around, but I would think that if you just ask around your friends, relatives, co-workers — you will find a fellow hunter. Most hunter I know are pretty willing to help out a new hunter and even include them in the group.
I think it is great that you have become interested in hunting Mule Deer. I have been hunting all my life ( I am 36) and truly enjoy hunting mule deer. I have a group of friends that hunt to gether every year for the desert mule deer in the Trans Pecos region out side of El Paso, Texas. It seems to be much more chalenging than whitetail hunting because it is a spot and stalk type hunt, plus the fact that you must be in pretty good shape in order to make your way around the mountains not to mention if you do take one of these grey ghosts from the top.
The fun is over and the real work begins. I guess if you can not find any friend with the same interest it would be adviseable to use a hunting guide for the first go around for a learning session. The very best thing you can do is find a mentor. First step is to join a club, and show up for all the meetings. It is very likely you will find someone who has gotten to the level in the sport where they want to help someone start. They will probably give you tons of assistance. They may even take you hunting. Probably not their hot spots but some public land or something like that.
Let them know you want some experience in tracking and field dressing a deer and you may get a call some day next season to help find a downed deer and learn more then you really wanted to about the process. Also if you are not week of stomach, you may as about helping to process a deer. There are some videos on field dressing and processing a deer. They are not as good as the hands on stuff, but much better than nothing. Many pro shops rent videos. Many clubs own and borrow out videos.