Hunting now compared to years ago

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adrenalin
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Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby adrenalin » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:55 pm

How would you compare your public land hunting now to several years ago? Do you still see the same amount and size deer you did years ago on the same land? What have you done to adapt to the changes? Do you still have spots where their isn't any sign of other hunters or do you have to compete for those far away spots?


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Swampthing
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Swampthing » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:21 pm

By the numbers I should be seeing less hunters,but unfortunately that,s not the case where I hunt. I think it is a combination of a few things.
#1 Hunters are getting more serious ,which equals more field time.I know i went from 2-4 days afield to ,well a lot.
#2 In my area at least ,most hunting land was shared by dual parties.At least for gun season you picked 1st or 2nd weekend.(Usually the response when looking for permission was go ahead 2nd weekend wer're hunting 1st.Then MN changed the law and guys that use to pick a weekend could now hunt both.My party lost almost all rights since this law.That pushed a lot of hunters to PUBLIC.
#3 Many places that even ten years ago were fair game ,were then looked upon by the landowner as having more value and in turn a price tag was attached and the few who could buy did.And the rest ,well shifted to public.
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PredatorTC
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby PredatorTC » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:22 am

I shine many spots that we would shine years ago and see no deer, and don't see anything anymore.... Very disappointing, because some were in some very interesting and new hunting terrains
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby JJWI » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:37 am

It seems the use of public land follows the baiting restrictions up here. Before 2002 the area I hunt in the Mead, every parking lot would be full. As many as 26 cars in the lot I use. But when the baiting ban came in effect for Portage county, the hunter numbers declined. Now there may be 5 cars at any given time in the lot during gun season. And I am seeing the same trend for Marathon county last year. Most of the hunters that baited moved to north to Lincoln county because they could bait up there. But not much for overcrowding up here. Especially in Sept. Seems the closer to mid October is when people start hunting. But if there is water or it gets thick, people don't want to hunt there cause it isn't open enough for them.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby PASwamper » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:34 am

Overall public land hunting has improved immensely in PA from a healthy deer heard perspective. I've been seeing bigger and better bucks spotting in the last few years but not nearly as many deer overall. Other than around cities, the deer population seems to really be down no matter what the experts are saying. I think the deer population here definately needed to be reduced for a healthier heard but not to as low of a point as it seems to be now.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby PASwamper » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:38 am

JJWI wrote:It seems the use of public land follows the baiting restrictions up here. Before 2002 the area I hunt in the Mead, every parking lot would be full. As many as 26 cars in the lot I use. But when the baiting ban came in effect for Portage county, the hunter numbers declined. Now there may be 5 cars at any given time in the lot during gun season. And I am seeing the same trend for Marathon county last year. Most of the hunters that baited moved to north to Lincoln county because they could bait up there. But not much for overcrowding up here. Especially in Sept. Seems the closer to mid October is when people start hunting. But if there is water or it gets thick, people don't want to hunt there cause it isn't open enough for them.


I'd be happy to get rid of those baiters. Nothing wrong with supplementing the deer herd in the off season, but hunting over a bait pile is a poor excuse for hunting, IMO!
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby CatfishJack » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:56 pm

I am from MN and have hunted Michigan since 1993, and I agree that hunting in a state that baits is not desireable for me. When I first started hunting public in 1979 for deer bow, I had no competition, but there were not many deer. There were so few deer in southern MN in the early 1970's that they closed the season for two years I believe. Anyway, now there are more deer but way more hunters. I do well, but its because I scout year round and am very serious about my hunting. I see very nice deer usually each year while I hunt now (at least 130 class and better), so they are there, but you just have to work or get lucky.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby publiclandhunter » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:25 pm

Well, I wish I had the knowledge that I do now way back then. I know that when bowhunting was in its early years for me (80's) there were far less hunters in the woods with stick-n-string. Michigan also had a one-buck limit and limited doe tags. In my opinion, there were better bucks running around overall - big-woods and suburbia public than we have now. Public land was hunted, but no one went way back in. The bloom is "off the Liliy" so to speak and unless there are some major season changes and/or restrictions, I see Michigan's hunting getting worse in the future on public land - not better. The exception may be the Upper Peninsula, in spite of the high predator numbers (but that is a different story).

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BigHills BuckHunter
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BigHills BuckHunter » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:55 am

Im 21 years old and started bowhunting in 2004 the main difference I have seen is trail cameras. Had a 35mm film then and now I have a cuddeback. There has been alot of breakthrough with trail cams in past 5 years it seems. Also I remember hunting with my dad back in the mid 1990s and a yearling 8 pointer was something to be proud of on our land back then and that was only 15 years ago. Now with QDM from us and our neighbors the bucks are much larger now.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:52 am

Bump

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Dewey
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Dewey » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:38 am

I would say things are pretty much back to where they were when I started hunting in the 80's. Deer populations were peaking thru the late 90's until late 2000's before drastically dropping to where they are now. The buck age structure was amazing from about 2006-2011 and has been steadily decreasing since then. I like the challenge and rather than complain I prefer to learn and adapt to the changes.

Hunting pressure hasn't really increased in areas I hunt. Still easy enough to get away from pressure if I put in the work.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby JoeRE » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:29 am

Good bump! Five years have passed!

In the last 10 years looking at Iowa public land - that is just how much experience I have with public.

- Pressure has gone down overall, in line with falling hunter numbers in the state. Some spots seem to have more but most see less.

- Deer numbers have gone down, thanks to a massive number of antlerless tags issued in the past 10 years. Peak populations were about 10 years ago and while hunters liked those high numbers no one else did.

- Number of mature bucks has stayed about the same, even gone up in some areas, in my opinion even though total deer numbers are lower. Some disagree with this but its what I observe. That is due to more guys passing yearlings instead of shooting anything with an antler. Late season hunting 10 years ago it was hard to find a single antler in many places after gun season even though you might see dozens of does. I remember numerous hunts where I would see 20 or 30 does and 1 buck, or no bucks.

- Public land hunters have gotten lazier without a doubt. Now it is rare to find sign of anyone more than 1/2 a mile from the road, I used to find stands way back in. I chalk it up to the old generation of hard core hunters retiring and the new generation (mine) being more sissy-pants.
BassBoysLLP
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:03 am

JoeRE wrote:Good bump! Five years have passed!

In the last 10 years looking at Iowa public land - that is just how much experience I have with public.

- Pressure has gone down overall, in line with falling hunter numbers in the state. Some spots seem to have more but most see less.

- Deer numbers have gone down, thanks to a massive number of antlerless tags issued in the past 10 years. Peak populations were about 10 years ago and while hunters liked those high numbers no one else did.

- Number of mature bucks has stayed about the same, even gone up in some areas, in my opinion even though total deer numbers are lower. Some disagree with this but its what I observe. That is due to more guys passing yearlings instead of shooting anything with an antler. Late season hunting 10 years ago it was hard to find a single antler in many places after gun season even though you might see dozens of does. I remember numerous hunts where I would see 20 or 30 does and 1 buck, or no bucks.

- Public land hunters have gotten lazier without a doubt. Now it is rare to find sign of anyone more than 1/2 a mile from the road, I used to find stands way back in. I chalk it up to the old generation of hard core hunters retiring and the new generation (mine) being more sissy-pants.


I would say your IA experience is consistent with my finding in Northern WI over the last five years. Only difference is the impact of the wolf.

As for Central and Southern WI, my five year evaluation:

Pressure: Bowhunting pressure is definitely higher than 5 years ago. Firearm pressure is about the same, maybe slightly less. Access to private land has become more difficult. A lot more guys hunting deep and remote on public. It is getting tougher to get away from the crowd.

Population: It is significantly higher in Central WI due to the elimination of EAB regs. Based on observed winter browse, I'd say borderline over population in Central WI today. The population in Southern WI is definitely lower due to CWD regulations, but still huntable in my locals.

Mature bucks: Definitely more mature bucks in Central and Southern WI than 5 years ago. Similar to JoeRE, I believe this is due to more guys passing up smaller bucks with hopes of tagging something bigger. Despite the higher numbers of mature animals, I believe they are harder to hunt on public land these days due to the higher amount of pressure. It is difficult to pattern "A for Effort" hunters. The quality of mature bucks has declined in Central WI. Part of my observation has to do with the winters, but I suspect the growing deer population has also had a negative impact on antler growth. The bucks enter most springs with a higher amount of stress than they did 5 years ago. Quality of mature bucks has stayed the same in Southern WI, although 2010 was a year of absolute giants that I've yet to see return.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby ihookem » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:33 pm

In northern Wisconsin where hunt has gone from hunt able numbers of deer to numbers that are so low it is almost a shame to shoot one. Mature bucks are non existent according to sign and trail cams.We have not seen a buck with more than a 6" spread last yr on the cams or while hunting. Big bucks died off from rutting themselves to death just trying to find a doe , and after the rut the wolves come and finish them off from a hard rut and hard winters. It will get better though. It got so bad up north I started hunting in S.E. Wisconsin a lot more . It is almost as bad here but at least I only have to go 20 mi. intend of 243 mi. The hunting pressure in S.E. Wis. on public land is unreal and most say is worse than years ago. I agree . I saw 2 does together up north in about 10 sits including bow , gun and muzzy. SO, I saw deer one time in 10 sits. In S.E Wis. I sat about 10 times a , bow , 2 times gun and 3 times muzzy. I saw one deer , a buck so I shot it on Nov. 11. I think that is as poor as it gets. Surprisingly , S.E WIs didn't have much for muzzy pressure and the few times I went for gun, I didn't see many autos parked neither. It was futile trying to see a deer though.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:30 am

ihookem wrote:In northern Wisconsin where hunt has gone from hunt able numbers of deer to numbers that are so low it is almost a shame to shoot one. Mature bucks are non existent according to sign and trail cams.We have not seen a buck with more than a 6" spread last yr on the cams or while hunting. Big bucks died off from rutting themselves to death just trying to find a doe , and after the rut the wolves come and finish them off from a hard rut and hard winters. It will get better though. It got so bad up north I started hunting in S.E. Wisconsin a lot more . It is almost as bad here but at least I only have to go 20 mi. intend of 243 mi. The hunting pressure in S.E. Wis. on public land is unreal and most say is worse than years ago. I agree . I saw 2 does together up north in about 10 sits including bow , gun and muzzy. SO, I saw deer one time in 10 sits. In S.E Wis. I sat about 10 times a , bow , 2 times gun and 3 times muzzy. I saw one deer , a buck so I shot it on Nov. 11. I think that is as poor as it gets. Surprisingly , S.E WIs didn't have much for muzzy pressure and the few times I went for gun, I didn't see many autos parked neither. It was futile trying to see a deer though.


Interesting to see the difference in observation. If you don't mind sharing, what counties are you hunting in northern WI?

The deer population up there reminds me a lot of Ontario. The deer are in tight clusters in the best habitat with miles of void in between.

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