The western mountains of Colorado still offer good mule deer hunting. But the good news doesn’t end there. Big-game coordinator John Ellenberger says, “Some of the units with the highest percentage of trophy bucks and best buck-to-doe ratios are on the eastern plains.” This region of farms, prairies, and rugged canyons is especially intriguing because it offers excellent potential for both whitetail and muley trophies.

Whitetails thrive along river systems such as the Republican, Platte, and Arkansas. In recent years some very impressive bucks have come out of this area, including a 2282/8 nontypical taken by Aaron Eggemeyer in 2001 and a 1863/8 typical 8×8 killed by David McCracken in 1996. Deer in the 130 to 150 class are common due to a good age structure.

Mule deer thrive in rougher country such as breaks, canyons, and draws, as well as on the open prairie. This region produced my biggest buck ever, a 178 B&C; 10-point.

Most of the plains units are private, but you can pay an access fee or book a guided hunt. Public lands include the Comanche and Pawnee National Grasslands, Bureau of Land Management tracts, and a few state management areas.

Nonresident license: $293.25