Hunting now compared to years ago

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KLEMZ
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby KLEMZ » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:02 am

BassBoysLLP wrote: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.


I have done a week long November bow hunt in Bayfield County WI, every single year since 1990. Some time around 1995, I saw 30 deer in one day feeding on an oak ridge....in recent years, if I see 1 or 2 deer a day.. I have had a GOOD day hunting!! Things have definately changed.

However, I am not complaining. Along with a drop in deer population, there is a corresponding drop in HUNTER population...I LOVE this!! Essentially, I have a million acres of forest that is all mine! It is up to me to figure out which section of the vast forest the deer are residing in..this is a challenge that I happily accept.

The things I have learned here on the Beast about bedding tendencies (both bucks and does), sign observation...especially tracks, have opened a new world to me. I can now confidently scout the terrain in real time with the stand on my back, observe active pockets of deer activity, set up where I find the sign, and kill a mature buck in the big woods.


I live in SE Wisconsin, so my early season hunting is done on public land close to home. This area also enjoys low deer populations :roll: , (thanks to CWD), however, it also has LOTS of hunters. One thing I have learned is that it is a LOT easier to hunt mature bucks in a low hunter density... in other words, if my family depended on me to feed them with venison, I would MUCH rather hunt the ultra low deer density North Woods because of the low hunter density.... if it is just me and the deer, I can read the sign and hunt them down. If you mix in human disturbance, things get more complicated......I still have some work to do in this arena.


ihookem
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby ihookem » Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:35 pm

Bassboy, I don't mind telling anyone I hunt in west Price co. on Price co. forest crop land and just to my west I hunt the east side of Flambeau River State Forest.

And yes, the deer numbers are so low there are areas like good parts of sections where I don't think there are more than 1 or 2 deer in a half section of land. I know it is very hard to believe there are areas all over in northern WIs. where there are sq mi. of land with a couple deer in it. So, when I saw those 2 does that were walking together, I though I was an awsum hunter. About 25 yrs ago , I saw deer about every other sit. It would be bad some yrs like 1996 though. Deer numbers dropped steadily since but hunting was still ok in 2012 due to the very mild winter of 2011-12. It really dropped after that.Also, like the last poster said, I have the place to myself. I am sure where I hunt during gun season, I have the southern section to myself. In 6 yrs gun hunting this piece of land , I saw one hunter the second saturday of 2009. Have not seen a hunter there since, and have NEVER seen a bow hunter in 25 yrs of bow hunting there and saw one person while bow hunting , it was a grouse hunter last year. So, I do have the place to myself except my BIL. If I had to chose though, I think I would hunt down here. Tons of people in the woods , and see very few deer but I can be one of many stands in 1 hr.
BassBoysLLP
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:31 pm

ihookem wrote:Bassboy, I don't mind telling anyone I hunt in west Price co. on Price co. forest crop land and just to my west I hunt the east side of Flambeau River State Forest.

And yes, the deer numbers are so low there are areas like good parts of sections where I don't think there are more than 1 or 2 deer in a half section of land. I know it is very hard to believe there are areas all over in northern WIs. where there are sq mi. of land with a couple deer in it. So, when I saw those 2 does that were walking together, I though I was an awsum hunter. About 25 yrs ago , I saw deer about every other sit. It would be bad some yrs like 1996 though. Deer numbers dropped steadily since but hunting was still ok in 2012 due to the very mild winter of 2011-12. It really dropped after that.Also, like the last poster said, I have the place to myself. I am sure where I hunt during gun season, I have the southern section to myself. In 6 yrs gun hunting this piece of land , I saw one hunter the second saturday of 2009. Have not seen a hunter there since, and have NEVER seen a bow hunter in 25 yrs of bow hunting there and saw one person while bow hunting , it was a grouse hunter last year. So, I do have the place to myself except my BIL. If I had to chose though, I think I would hunt down here. Tons of people in the woods , and see very few deer but I can be one of many stands in 1 hr.


Good post. Its always interesting the hear the thoughts and feelings of the northern WI buck hunter. It has been a gut wrenching change.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby ihookem » Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:53 am

Thanks, Bassboy. I don't mind telling anyone where there are that few deer. When I see a deer though, you know you did your homework. The funny thing is though, I could see a lot more deer and get a buck every year if I wanted to bait. They were always small bucks though.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby hoyt » Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:55 am

Hunting public land has changed a lot over the yrs I've hunted it...since the 1950's..but most drastically where I hunt now (South Shawnee National Forest, Il...around where I live anyway) in the last 6 or 8 yrs since I moved to Southern Il., only for the deer hunting.

I used to drive up here from Orlando, Fl. and hunt Shawnee National Forest in the area I live now and it was absolutely loaded with deer and some good bucks also. Loaded with gun hunters during the gun seasons, but Shawnee is a big place and I've never had a problem with another hunter (you can get away from the crowd if you are willing to cross some steep ridges)...never even seen another hunter while bow hunting and only one guy one time during gun season.

The deer and turkey population started going down the yr before I moved here and has dropped down so low to where I rarely even see a deer or turkey going back and fourth to town and I have to drive about 30 miles one way through woods and farm lands just to get groceries. Used to be a dangerous trip dodging deer along the roads.

Gunshots have gone from about 200 in hearing distance of wherever I'm in a tree opening morning to none one yr and last yr. 5 or 6. Orange army no longer comes to this area. I haven't seen a buck over 110" or so in the woods or while driving going on the third yr this season. Got one really nice one on game cam in July last couple seasons.

Hopefully this season will be a little better.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby ihookem » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:53 am

Y a know Hoyt, that is a sad story and I hear it more and more. I can hardly believe the DNR still sell as many licenses as they do.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby BigCedarJack » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:12 am

I'm very blessed. In the area where I hunt the hunting has gotten much better. 20 years ago there was LOTS of hunters (killing lots of fawn - 2.5 age range). 20 years ago there were also lots of poachers, most of the poachers have been caught or died now. Seemed like when you drove down the road during gun season there would be a camp on the side of the road every quarter mile + some. Now, however, I can easily go through a whole gun season without seeing another hunter in the woods and pass few on the roads. Also in that 20 years I have learned a lot. These two things put together mean that I see a lot more deer. It isn't hard at all for me to get nice bucks on the camera. I stuck with the area because of family tradition and somehow it is just a part of me now. It is where I want to hunt even thought there are huge bucks in my back yard. So much beauty. I have miles and miles of space and not many to share it with. It is my second home. There isn't as much tree farming as there used to be, but there are still lots of changes in the forest to work with. Every year I get more excited at the possibilities of finding a buck with a really big set of headgear. 140+ gross are becoming common (or at least relative to what I grew up with).
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Horizontal Hunter
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:27 pm

This pretty much sums it up for me. I wonder what it will be in another 8 years?

...experts believe Connecticut's deer population has dropped from an estimated peak of 126,000 eight years ago... Hunters like Newtown's Glen Ekstrom agree that Connecticut's deer population is down ... . He thinks it may now be "a hair under" 60,000 animals...


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ihookem
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby ihookem » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:30 am

Bigcedar, what county do you hunt in? That is very interesting. I am sure there are a lot less poachers these days by me than yrs ago too . Some got caught ang got their butts kicked, and like you said, some died, and some just stopped poaching . Was a time when I heard hunters say, " A local shnorks one off once in a while is ok. Well, it isn't ,never was and due to the low deer numbers , easy food stamp programs it is not excepted anymore and a lot of these " good ol boys " got turned in with a $2,000 fine. Not so funny after that. I'm glad those days are over. I grew up being encouraged to poach. I never was much of a poacher at all . I'm not entirely innocent though neither. That was hunting 30-40 yrs ago.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Findian » Thu Apr 16, 2020 3:03 pm

Bump

I started hunting in 2002 in Bayfield wi by barns delta and mason area lots and lots of deer back then. Not so much now. Then by 2004 my dad had moved to hunting big woods for the bigger mature bucks. And I followed with him didn’t have a choice he was my ride out to the woods.

From what I can say is the deer population is slightly down from the wolfs here.(big woods) Noticed the wolfs a lot In 2012. Bad winters to. Had to figure out how to hunt deer with wolfs kinda of a hard learning curve. I joined the beast in fall 2015 I think didn’t start beast hunting till 2016.

I’ve shot a lot of 100” to 130” Bucks In the big woods, almost one sometimes two, every year since I turned 16.

My mature buck sighting have been about the same as before, 2016 is when I transitioned to wanting to kill a Specific buck and figure out his home range or at least have some history with a buck.

But my library of bucks is growing. In 2015 I didn’t know of a single buck that I wanted to chase after. Going into 2020 I think I have historical camera and scouting hunting history with about ten, and know of at least 15 more that I think will be fun to see what they turn into. And my set ups are getting better. I also don’t truly beast hunt but I do it my way and I’m liking it.

I feel as if I let the cameras and big bucks get the best of me. With the smart phone I can go anywhere I want and see were I’m at on a topo or satellite image. So now I’m all over exploring, where as before I just went out and hunted and didn’t give two hoots if I killed one of the biggest around. But maybe I’ve just grown into a hunter that wants a harder challenge.

The thing nowadays is there is so much deer info that it can help but also hinder you.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Cutter » Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:41 am

Where I hunt in so. Indiana used to be the premier public land in the state. They say the best white oak in the world comes from so. Indiana because the large amount of limestone in the ground changes the grain of the wood. So we have had a lot of white oak cut because the French and Japanese want it so bad. Because of that it's a shell of it's former self compounded with immense pressure from bikers and hikers, it's tough. Still a few good ones though. After finding the beast I started to pay attention to beds and I've never seen so many bucks bedded up watching access on one piece.
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Hawthorne
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Hawthorne » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:03 am

I’ve seen pressure increase on public from 5 years ago. The media has done a good job promoting public land the last couple years which isn’t a bad thing just more challenging imo. And apps like onX has been a difference.The game is constantly changing out there and you have to adjust or get left behind
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thepennsylvanian
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby thepennsylvanian » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:27 am

I think that in Pennsylvania, the hunting I am experiencing now vs when I started out in the late 90's, hunting now is much better, and for many reasons.
I know that guys say, atleast around me that the deer population is horrible compared to what it used to be. I cant say that the population is any different now than it was then. I can say that I have no problems filling my freezer, and haven't had a season with out a deer since 2012.
I think a large factor in my improved experience with hunting is that I've grown as a woodsmen. I've gotten better at scouting, choosing stands, basically getting myself into the right place at the right time.
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Sailfish_WC
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Sailfish_WC » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:29 am

See more deer now
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Pudster » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:56 pm

North central Wisconsin gun hunting, it has went from being darn lucky to see a buck in the 80's & maybe see a few does a year to the mid 90's when there was deer everywhere, and tags everywhere. There was a good run there for a while of seeing a good number of bucks and lots of does. Then around 2008 or 09 the wolves and the crazy number of doe tags took its toll on the deer numbers. The last 3 years the numbers have definitely improved. The number of hunters on the public has definitely went up and down with the number of doe tags available. But one thing is consistent for the last 6 or 7 years that the woods is all mine after opening weekend for the most part.


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