Hunting now compared to years ago

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Evanszach7
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Evanszach7 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 11:04 pm

Southern Ohio... I see roughly the same amount of people hunting but the pressure has shifted to earlier in the season. Lots of residents have shifted from gun to crossbow which makes sense since our gun season typically opens after Thanksgiving.


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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby NBK438 » Thu May 21, 2020 1:26 am

I see pressure vary from year to year and spot to spot here in MI. Even with mobile being as popular as it is, most are not doing the other things in conjunction with being mobile that make the difference and people get burned out and move on. I'm sure the farther up you go up this probably changes but you're not gonna out walk anyone in the Southern part of MI on public in any given year imo. Even a rookie beast sees those islands on ariels and recognizes their potential and will go to them. Almost all primary transitions are hunted in our swamps. These things never change from year to year. I know people get into the areas I hunt and I'm sure someone bumbles through them not knowing there potential, It just happens at a rate that is lower than the surrounding stuff and they have the drop on 95% of those people. The one thing I have learned in just the last 2 years is if your access is good, you can use those areas people are getting to semi regularly and observe from them. Odds are you wont kill from them but you will probably at least see some things that will help you with the puzzle. Cars in a parking lot are of zero significance to me and usually I'm there before anyone else anyways(especially early in season).
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Hawthorne » Thu May 21, 2020 2:52 am

I just listened to a podcast with Greg Miller. He said mature bucks are much more craftier and harder to kill than 10-20 years ago. He thinks it’s because of technology. Trail cams and onX maps. These are amazing critters that adjust to their environment.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Dewey » Thu May 21, 2020 4:10 am

Hawthorne wrote:I just listened to a podcast with Greg Miller. He said mature bucks are much more craftier and harder to kill than 10-20 years ago. He thinks it’s because of technology. Trail cams and onX maps. These are amazing critters that adjust to their environment.

He just doesn’t want to admit he’s getting too damn old. :lol:
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Hawthorne » Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am

Dewey wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:I just listened to a podcast with Greg Miller. He said mature bucks are much more craftier and harder to kill than 10-20 years ago. He thinks it’s because of technology. Trail cams and onX maps. These are amazing critters that adjust to their environment.

He just doesn’t want to admit he’s getting too damn old. :lol:


Lol. He kept saying he’s gonna be the grumpy old man when he brought up the past . Was on the Wired to Hunt podcast
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby matt1336 » Thu May 21, 2020 12:31 pm

I just read through these posts. It’s seems like there may have been a correlation with the wolves and Dnr wanting numbers down in the early to mid 2000’s. Hmm. I just wish someone in the Dnr would admit that they planted the wolves where they did when they did for a reason.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sat May 23, 2020 1:44 am

There’s a definite correlation. With wolves and mature buck numbers being down. These vast bigwoods with fewer deer and sacked out buck to doe ratios make for a very long and tedious rut. The big boys get warm down and become primo targets to the wolves. You go visit camps around here and talk to old timers. They’ve got some pigs on the walls from 2000 and earlier. What they see and shoot since then pales in comparison.

I believe Greg Miller states something to the effect of wolves on mature bucks in the podcast hawethorne mentioned. There are many believers in it around here.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Hawthorne » Sat May 23, 2020 9:31 am

1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:There’s a definite correlation. With wolves and mature buck numbers being down. These vast bigwoods with fewer deer and sacked out buck to doe ratios make for a very long and tedious rut. The big boys get warm down and become primo targets to the wolves. You go visit camps around here and talk to old timers. They’ve got some pigs on the walls from 2000 and earlier. What they see and shoot since then pales in comparison.

I believe Greg Miller states something to the effect of wolves on mature bucks in the podcast hawethorne mentioned. There are many believers in it around here.



There is a severe drop in trophy buck entry’s in the Michigan big game record book for the UP the last 20-30 years. The amount of trophy bucks entered back then was beating what southern mi is doing now.Is that because of the wolf? I heard it could be the popularity of baiting also. I bought the book last year. The northern lower has always sucked for trophies
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Dewey » Sat May 23, 2020 10:48 am

Hawthorne wrote:
1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:There’s a definite correlation. With wolves and mature buck numbers being down. These vast bigwoods with fewer deer and sacked out buck to doe ratios make for a very long and tedious rut. The big boys get warm down and become primo targets to the wolves. You go visit camps around here and talk to old timers. They’ve got some pigs on the walls from 2000 and earlier. What they see and shoot since then pales in comparison.

I believe Greg Miller states something to the effect of wolves on mature bucks in the podcast hawethorne mentioned. There are many believers in it around here.



There is a severe drop in trophy buck entry’s in the Michigan big game record book for the UP the last 20-30 years. The amount of trophy bucks entered back then was beating what southern mi is doing now.Is that because of the wolf? I heard it could be the popularity of baiting also. I bought the book last year. The northern lower has always sucked for trophies

What year did two buck tags start? I hunted the UP a lot back in the 90’s and it was only one tag. Bucks were plentiful and it wasn’t uncommon to see a number of good ones. Betting these days that’s extremely difficult.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby Coalcracker » Sat May 23, 2020 1:11 pm

Certainly have seen the changes here in Pa.

I could talk forever about them from 1981 to today.

More bear, more turkey and more older bucks. Hunting pressure isn't anywhere close to what it was back then but then again, hunters in Pa didn't have the choices they have today. Many more opportunities to fill tags and hunt different seasons. The pressure is more spread out, although you wouldn't think so the first day of deer rifle. The bear hunting has been absolutely awesome for some time and man do they kill some big ones. Turkey hunting is pretty good and much better than days of old. If there's one thing I'd love to have back its flushing 20-30 pheasant at a time. Sure miss those days.

As a kid in the 80's, it was a thrill sitting with the old man or grandpa watching 20 doe walk past the stand but so was watching my 13 year old son fall apart as the biggest public land buck I ever laid eyes on came trotting in to our stand. Them lucky bugger kids had more chances at big bucks around 2010 than I had the previous 30 years!! Priceless!

Come to think, change happens, make the best of the times, its all been good and it will be as long as I can climb mountains.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby 4 the chase » Sat May 23, 2020 2:23 pm

Been hunting northern MN for over 35 years; my family has hunted the same area for over 50. Lots of changes in deer numbers, hunters, tactics and habitat. Weather patterns are different too but not predators (wolves and bears mostly). It was all big woods when I started out. Once you got off the gravel the only way to get around was on your own two feet. Back then there was the same few groups that hunted within several miles of us every year. Snow on the ground for deer season was a given. Always saw plenty of deer and a few good bucks. About 25 years ago the county began clear cutting and hasn’t stopped. The logging created access, which coupled with the explosion of off road vehicles pushed the hunter population through the roof. Lots of road hunting too. The deer population crashed in the area. Hard winters and a lot of harvesting took a toll. The drop in the herd size drove out many of the hunters and the population rebounded very well. The first clear cutting was done in a patchwork pattern with lots of standing timber of less desirable growth like balsam and hazel brush. Over the years almost all of the mature areas are now gone and has been replaced with varying stages of poplar growth. This has destroyed the diversity of the habitat and left very little for winter range (no thermal cover). Poor year round habitat and no agriculture have made it difficult for deer to survive the winters now. The last 5-10 years have seen the herd bottom out and stay low. Many deerless hours gives a guy time to think about the state of things. Large wolf and bear populations have always been a reality where I hunt and their numbers fluctuate with the available prey. Hunter population has been consistently down during these tough years. We’ve had stretches of mild and hard winters too. The one constant has been the shrinking of habitat diversity; especially winter range, which I believe has been the biggest single factor in the sustained low deer numbers (1-2 per sq mile est). Beast tactics have helped me get on good bucks yet but others who rely on more traditional styles swear there aren’t any deer left.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sun May 24, 2020 8:34 am

Dewey wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:
1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:There’s a definite correlation. With wolves and mature buck numbers being down. These vast bigwoods with fewer deer and sacked out buck to doe ratios make for a very long and tedious rut. The big boys get warm down and become primo targets to the wolves. You go visit camps around here and talk to old timers. They’ve got some pigs on the walls from 2000 and earlier. What they see and shoot since then pales in comparison.

I believe Greg Miller states something to the effect of wolves on mature bucks in the podcast hawethorne mentioned. There are many believers in it around here.



There is a severe drop in trophy buck entry’s in the Michigan big game record book for the UP the last 20-30 years. The amount of trophy bucks entered back then was beating what southern mi is doing now.Is that because of the wolf? I heard it could be the popularity of baiting also. I bought the book last year. The northern lower has always sucked for trophies

What year did two buck tags start? I hunted the UP a lot back in the 90’s and it was only one tag. Bucks were plentiful and it wasn’t uncommon to see a number of good ones. Betting these days that’s extremely difficult.


You know I’m not sure, that was probably around a similar time frame. Surely doesn’t help matters any. I keep holding onto hope that as low as the number of hunters in some of these areas are.. some deer are going to get big.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Sun May 24, 2020 8:42 am

Hawthorne wrote:
1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:There’s a definite correlation. With wolves and mature buck numbers being down. These vast bigwoods with fewer deer and sacked out buck to doe ratios make for a very long and tedious rut. The big boys get warm down and become primo targets to the wolves. You go visit camps around here and talk to old timers. They’ve got some pigs on the walls from 2000 and earlier. What they see and shoot since then pales in comparison.

I believe Greg Miller states something to the effect of wolves on mature bucks in the podcast hawethorne mentioned. There are many believers in it around here.



There is a severe drop in trophy buck entry’s in the Michigan big game record book for the UP the last 20-30 years. The amount of trophy bucks entered back then was beating what southern mi is doing now.Is that because of the wolf? I heard it could be the popularity of baiting also. I bought the book last year. The northern lower has always sucked for trophies


If they had banned baiting up here too it would ad some age to the buck deer I’m sure. No offense to my fellow hunters here but most hunt private land that’s garbage without bait to draw in deer Or they hunt not too far off two track on public for ease of baiting. The 1.5 ur olds and some 2.5 yr olds really Take it on the chin.

I swear most guys come up and have more fun driving out bait on there side by sides.

And everyone here hates the anti baiting. They think they NEED to feed the deer or they’ll all die
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby tundra@1 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:54 pm

I started to serious bow hunt in 1978. I sure wish I knew then what I know now. Still it was ridiculous, of the shots I got and missed :lol: :lol: .... A lot of good bucks in SE Wis. still very good now, but pressure on any public is high. Deer are a lot more educated that is for sure, comes with the territory....... Good private land though, is still an advantage... I have a little.

I am mostly in the UP. Yes its tough, but I just like it , I guess I am a roamer. Big difference of hunting when your retired and can hunt every day, if you want. I agree with Strange Wilderness, I wish they would get rid of baiting in the UP, deer will survive just fine, but I do not think it will ever happen.

So I pattern a lot of baits. I now know where guys are going too, and how they are coming in. Soooo, I adjust my strategy because of that, IF, the area is worth my time.

The quality of bucks has gone down, due to the wolves, but the numbers are not as high as in NW Wisconsin. Right or wrong their is more local control on them, in the western UP, simply because guys were fed up. (now that is an oxy moron).....

I now have 74 acres in SW Wisconsin, in Vernon County and hunt also a lot of public. lots of pressure down there, but a lot of bucks, many others let walk, which is good for me, since I would not consider myself a trophy hunter, in respect to most here.

In the UP, I have moved most of my hunting time east of FR 16, both south and north, and further east to Chaney, where there are some good buck areas, but again, more pressure, due to the increase in camps.
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Re: Hunting now compared to years ago

Unread postby elk yinzer » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:53 am

Interesting to read these perspectives over the years with the bumps. I love how this site bumps old threads.

Good chunk of western 1/2 of PA. Cover a lot of ground. Been hunting since 2000 age 12, most all public and some heavily pressured private.

Way, way more pressure on public in archery season (crossbows, loss of private land access). This has really accelerated the past 3-5 years. Rifle season is a fraction of what it used to be. Honestly I think it's easier to kill a buck in PA with a bow now than a rifle at this point in time. All the rifle season pressure used to help in that season, kept deer moving on their feet at a time of year when their inclination is not to be on their feet very much.

A lot harder to beat pressure. Everyone goes deep and everyone and their brother map scouts. Gotta have a lot of spots and a DGAF attitude when someone moves in on one.

Knock on door private land access has basically evaporated. One of the most shameful things about hunting imo. Another being the withering death of small game hunting. Nobody hunts or cares about small game except the joke that is stocked ditch chickens.

A lot more bucks seeing their 3rd and 4th birthdays though. Antler restrictions best thing to ever happen to hunting in PA. Less rifle pressure, more sanctuaries.

CWD and the CWD deniers both concern me. I live pretty close to the core area and it spreads every year. Nothing good about it.
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