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 , (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.