Mike Rogers’ Mule Deer Hunt in the Arizona Desert

February 16, 2023

Connor Merritt

Connor Merritt

For the past month, iSportsman has been sponsoring hunting YouTuber Mike Rogers as he ventured out into the Arizona wilderness in search of his first mule deer. Mike just returned from his second trip into the desert and has some stories to tell.

Mike’s First Desert Mule Deer Hunt

It was the first time Mike had ever hunted in the desert and it was everything he wanted and more.

“The desert has a new place in my heart. It’s definitely a spot that I’m going to try to hunt every year if I’m able to.”

On the second trip, Mike’s most exciting encounter was on day one. He was able to locate a buck five minutes before sunset and decided to try for it right away. While getting closer to the deer Mike saw that he was starting to approach him.

“My heart was racing,” Mike thought. “This was really happening.”

The buck was walking right at him in a beeline, about 75 yards away. The best shot for a bow on a deer is broadside, so Mike waited until the buck turned. Right when that happened, Mike drew back his bow and released the arrow.

“It looked like it was going to hit, but then I saw sparks.”

Mikes arrow was just a little short, hitting a rock in front of the buck, who was now speeding away at 35 miles per hour.

“That was my best opportunity on the second trip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t execute.”

A New Perspective

Mike’s time in Arizona gave him a new perspective of hunting, “Hunting in southern California is harder than Arizona. “It’s like walking through a field of potato chips.”

Mike was referring to the excess of foliage and fallen leaves commonly found in his California hunting grounds. However, Arizona provided something totally new for mike—something quiet and serene.

“I’ve never experienced something so quiet in my life.” Mike explained, “The sound of nothing, sitting there in the quietest place on earth was the craziest experience of the whole trip.”

Desert Mule Deer Hunting Tips

Now that he’s been there himself, Mike has a few tips for anyone who wants to hunt in the desert: bring a puppy jacket in the winter to cancel the wind, get a high vantage point to survey the area properly, and don’t go cheap on your boots or optics.

With deer season finally over for Mike, he’s ready to go home; it wasn’t until he was on the drive back that he realized he was dead tired.

“Six days of hardcore hunting was my limit. At the end of deer season, I’m over it, I’m ready to rest and relax.”

Looking forward, Mike is planning on dabbling in turkey and coyote hunting, and then enjoying some time off from hunting before deer season starts again in August. The most important thing is to take everything in moderation.

Read more about how to call mule deer on iSportsmanUSA.
Photo courtesy of Mike Rogers.


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