I live near Twin Falls but willing to travel up to 100 miles. Have 4x4 truck and don't mind walking trails. Where do the bucks go after the rut and hunting season?
This time of year, most of the mule deer bucks in the Twin Falls area have moved down onto winter range areas. Winter range areas near Twin Falls tend to be on the foothills where deer can find refuge from deep snow, and forage sources. The foothills of the "South Hills" area hold a tremendous number of deer in the winter, especially as the snow in the high country deepens. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closes gates in this area to protect roads and wintering mule deer populations. A pair of snowshoes and the willingness to go for a hike can produce some spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. I should mention that the deer on the winter range are usually riding a thin line of survival. They come into winter with as much fat reserves as they can pack on, and hope it's enough to carry them through the winter months to the bounty of spring. Deer that are pressured during this time frame can unnecessarily burn those reserves, and that can often be the difference between life and death. Does that make it through the tough months of winter in good body condition are more successful at carrying, and birthing healthy fawns that in turn have a better chance of survival. Clearly, deer in poor condition do not enjoy that same success. We would ask that wildlife viewers be aware that during the winter months, their actions can have local impacts on deer populations if they are pressured on the winter range. if you would like more information, let us know and we'd be happy to chat some more about this topic. Thanks for the question and happy "hunting"!
Regional Conservation Officer
Magic Valley Region