Extreme Hunting Pressure

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.

How heavy is the hunting pressure in your favorite area(s)?

Very High
8
18%
High
19
42%
Average
8
18%
Below Average
8
18%
Very Low
2
4%
 
Total votes: 45
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Singing Bridge
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Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:06 am

At first I was going to post this in the public land area... but there certainly are hunters who experience above average hunting pressure on private property. Whether you hunt public / private or both, are we comparing apples to apples when we state our hunting area(s) have heavy pressure? We have hunters here who experience at least as heavy of hunting pressure as I do, while some others may not fully realize what is out there.

So, what criteria would have to be met for me to consider it to be heavy or extreme hunting pressure? Here’s a partial list of questions that would have to be met for me to call it that:

* There are no remote areas for the deer to relocate to. Pick a direction and begin walking, and you cannot go anywhere within a five square mile area and not hit a woods road within about a quarter of a mile or less… usually less. The hordes of hunters have access literally everywhere with their vehicles, mountain bikes, etc.

* In gun deer season, while walking from your vehicle / house / cabin etc. to or from your stand during daylight, at least one hunter will watch you with his/her scope, or as many as three different hunters. This wouldn’t count if you are hunting within sight of your vehicle.

* On opening day of gun deer season, you cannot count to ten without hearing a gunshot for the first two or more hours of daylight. During the first half hour it is not unusual to hear as many as one-hundred shots or more in a five to ten minute period. To those who have never experienced it, I would equate it to sounding like World War III.

* Well over ninety percent of your buck herd is yearling bucks.

*A buck scoring 150” or so as a typical may be the new record for the county in question.

* During bow season, it is "not unusual" to be leaving your stand area at dark and along the way out suddenly hear in a tree above you, “Hey Joe, is that you?”

* You decide to go scout your hunting area on a Tuesday afternoon in February. Before you can get out of sight of your vehicle you will typically have one or more groups of hunters / poachers / criminals drive by wondering where you are going and what you are up to. Of course the better question is what are THEY up to?

None of the preceding list is a joke or meant to be sarcastic… it is real and sometimes even worse. It is commonplace in Michigan’s National Forests in the Lower Peninsula. What would you add or subtract to the list to consider an area to be under extreme hunting pressure?

I am often asked why anyone would even bother hunting in such an area, and why wouldn’t they go somewhere else. Most of the hunters I know do travel to other areas that experience reduced pressure. But, they cannot be there the entire season and hunting close to home is sometimes the only option with the job or economic situation at hand. Some hunters do feel that the risk is too high and they won’t hunt it… can’t blame them either.


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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby dreaming bucks » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:29 am

I hunt private for the most part, but it's not very big ( 60 acres), and between myself and relatives it gets pounded pretty good, which gets me a little down at times, especially when they don't practice the same cautions as me when entering the woods. They pretty much just walk into the woods wherever they want and plop themselves in a tree. So I try to use the beast style tactics, but you can only do so much on that small of a property without running those mature bucks off your land..... I have to admit though, in years prior, I was one of those guys just ramming around the woods not even thinking about what I was doing as far as hurting myself in seeing big bucks... This year I am not putting any trail cams in the woods. I've spent enough of my time putting my scent in the woods checking those camera's..... I'm getting my work done in April this year, and then not going back till opening weekend. Hopefully I can talk my relatives into doing the same....
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby dan » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:38 am

In my "favorite" hunting area its pretty low... But where I have to hunt most of the time its pretty high.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Bucky » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:46 am

In my "favorite" area it is me and only me as of last year. I finally have a place to my own :)

A place like SB describes above, I wouldn't waste my time unless I absolutely had to hunt such an area. That can't be fun + risk of getting shot sounds evident.

I have mentioned before that a big part of my success is that I'm constantly looking for new spots. I try to keep as many as I can... but eventually something changes and access is lost. :cry: In fact, just found out this AM that the spot I shot the Missouri Hog off of is being purchased... scratch that one off the list :cry: I got a back up plan, we will see how that plays out this next year!
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:58 am

The poll question depends on your definition of favorite hunting area- some would consider it to be the place where you spend the most hunting time.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby JRM6868 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:27 am

A few of the farms I hunt have large mature deer which increases the pressure. Although a 150" deer wouldn't be a record for my counties anything with large headgear creates extra pressure. I live in a small town and people talk which in turn gets to other people who don't care where it's at they go to it permission or not. They push through properties during gun season because they are small woodlots and by time anybody realizes it they are on to the next. Hard to catch them. Bow season has it's own different pressures because you can't hear gunshots and the people can pull back into farmer access roads to fields and hide their truck and walk to wherever they want to go without permission. Public land is an issue with out of staters because they often don't know how to hunt big woods and hill country so you get alot of them wandering around and hunting you. By this I mean they will follow you in and out. To find your spot. Locals do the same because they are too lazy to scout and once they realize where you hunt often hunt it more and ruin a spot before you can get there to hunt again. The orange army during gun season has driveby hunters who look for places to jump out of the truck and drive and drive off again. Some areas are semi secluded and people have no idea of tresspassing.Also if you pull off to scout there's always people slowing down and watching where your going and what's your doing. Heard from a friend that hea heard 2 people talking at a restaurant how they saw a big white truck pullled off the side of the road and the guy was walking back into a certain area and then they started talking about wanting to always hunt that area. Some places I had to act like I was walking the fields looking for arrowheads before I head into my spot to scout. It's alot of fun.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby PLB » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:52 am

Bow season Low to normal... Gun season High to very high!
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:07 am

On some of the private land I hunt it's low for bow season, untill the rut. Gun season it gets pounded. The public land I hunt has average to slightly above average, pressure during bow season. I don't even try to gun hunt it, untill muzzle loader, and the dust settles a bit.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby headgear » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:41 am

I think I am fortunate to hunt an area with average pressure, at lease during bow season. During rifle season things get a little crazy around here so I head much further north where there is still pressure but there are plenty of hiding places for those deer to escape the pressure.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Southern Man » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:59 am

I voted below average, and thats even for my area of the country. None of the criteria listed comes close to the pressure around my favorite spot, even during rifle season. I think it's because not as many people deer hunt here as there used to be. That and the fact leases are the going thing. We have alot of ground tied up in leases and family hunting. For someone trying to find a place to hunt here, it's a really hard thing to do, you better have family or know somebody. Also I'm in a fairly good location. The people that do hunt around me don't tresspass and pretty much keep to themselves.....so far.

Bowhunting, I have the woods to myself. No one I know of bowhunts on the surrounding properties.
Rifle season there are people around me but never see them except for entering and leaving their property.

We do have the drive by hunters tho. One side of my property is bordered by a state hiway. I've had people stop in the road, get out and shoot at deer in the field with me sitting there watchin them. Ballsy I'll tell ya. I've turned in a couple that I managed to get the liscense plate numbers and haven't had much problem since. All in all the pressure / harassment is pretty low.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Uncle Lou » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:27 pm

I would state we are Very High pressure around me. Weekends on state land in SE Michigan is nuts. I like to hunt state land around here on a wed or thurs afternoon. Then I like to get in there around 1 or 2pm as far from the main roads as possible. Then wait for the after work crowd to move in from the roads and hold the deer in around you. If You actually see a few deer sometimes you feel like you did something right.

Most of the deer on private around me become so nocturnal after the first week of bow. So after this time when you go out you hope to see something someone pushed out from their spots. We don't name deer, or pass deer around here. We have a lot of deer and they are all a challenge.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:13 am

Southern Man wrote:I voted below average, and thats even for my area of the country. None of the criteria listed comes close to the pressure around my favorite spot, even during rifle season. I think it's because not as many people deer hunt here as there used to be. That and the fact leases are the going thing. We have alot of ground tied up in leases and family hunting. For someone trying to find a place to hunt here, it's a really hard thing to do, you better have family or know somebody. Also I'm in a fairly good location. The people that do hunt around me don't tresspass and pretty much keep to themselves.....so far.


Those are some very interesting dynamics you have in your hunting area, SM. Below average hunting pressure, and yet it is very difficult for someone new to the area to try and find a place to hunt- as you stated, you had better know someone or have family around the area. Plus a real bonus that you don't have much of a trespass problem, with most hunters keeping to themselves.

Sounds like a cool area to hunt, unless you are new to the area and don't have anything established. 8-)
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Dewey » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:49 am

I purposely seek out areas of low hunting pressure just because I like hunting deer that are using somewhat normal movement. This is easy to find early in the season but as it gets closer to the rut I run into many more people. Not surprisingly during the rut when the hunting pressure picks up is normally my best time of the season for seeing quality bucks. I think this is a product mostly of people pushing them around plus the normal increased daylight movement during the rut. It's exciting hunting then because you never know what you will see but I would rather pattern a buck and hunt natural movement anyday earlier in the season.

Gun season around here is crazy and it's a army of orange everywhere so I head up to northern WI. The area I hunt up there is very nice and I have only seen 2 hunters while on stand in the past 10 years. Every deer I have seen during gun hunting has been using what appeared to be somewhat natural movement and showed no signs of being pressured. Buck sightings were very good until about 3 years ago and now the population has been severely decreased.

Late season is my favorite time because I can hunt pretty much anywhere and not experience any hunting pressure. The few that are hunting are the diehards and we all respect each others areas and give plenty of space.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Southern Man » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:43 am

Singing Bridge wrote:
Southern Man wrote:I voted below average, and thats even for my area of the country. None of the criteria listed comes close to the pressure around my favorite spot, even during rifle season. I think it's because not as many people deer hunt here as there used to be. That and the fact leases are the going thing. We have alot of ground tied up in leases and family hunting. For someone trying to find a place to hunt here, it's a really hard thing to do, you better have family or know somebody. Also I'm in a fairly good location. The people that do hunt around me don't tresspass and pretty much keep to themselves.....so far.


Those are some very interesting dynamics you have in your hunting area, SM. Below average hunting pressure, and yet it is very difficult for someone new to the area to try and find a place to hunt- as you stated, you had better know someone or have family around the area. Plus a real bonus that you don't have much of a trespass problem, with most hunters keeping to themselves.

Sounds like a cool area to hunt, unless you are new to the area and don't have anything established. 8-)


Alot of ground is tied up by a low amount of people. There might be a 300 acre farm that's only hunted by 1 person but because the hunter is the landowners son, he won't let any one else hunt. Or there may be a group of 3 guys that lease 500-600 acres. That's kind of the way it is down here. There are places where maybe 10 people hunt 200 acres but I am lucky enough to not have that around me. My neighbors, so far, have been pretty good people.

As far as public ground does, the only thing we have is LBL, 85,000 acres of timbered hill country or public swamp ground in blocks from 200 acres to 4000 acres. Neither of which is as good as the farmland ground. There is good deer in both but people would rather hunt the farms.

Back when they first started deer seasons here, the backroads on opening day looked like the interstate with all the traffic. It's not that way anymore. I think fewer people hunt.

Yea it's a good place to hunt. We may not have the caliber of bucks other states have but we've got mature ones and it seems to be gettin better.
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Re: Extreme Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:54 am

Our poll numbers for this thread are right about where I thought they'd be- any surprises for other Beast members?

It won't be long before I am able to head out to one of my favorite areas to scout- Northern Ontario. The lack of hunting pressure (don't ask me where this is, I'll tell you the North Pole :mrgreen: ) and bucks behaving like you would expect them to is a much needed reprieve for this hunter that spends so much time in a circus atmosphere. 8-)


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