High vs Low Hunting Pressure

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High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Lockdown » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:30 pm

Let's get a discussion going. THE DIFFERENCES IN HUNTING PRESSURE. Here is my two cents to get things going.

I live in a very low pressure area. Western MN is not a destination for deer hunters. I only ran into two or three bow hunters all season last year. Of course gun season is a different story, but it is still a FAR cry compared to what some of you experience. There are a few upland and waterfowl hunters, but not all that many.

In the past I have voiced a complaint or two about how low pressure it really is and how I've had trouble with consistent bedding because of it, and ultimately a member or two politely called me crazy ;) How could low pressure be detrimental? Your hunts rarely get screwed up by other hunters and the bucks should be relaxed and move further from bedding, right?

I don't disagree, but hear me out.

My stance is the higher pressure is, mature bucks have fewer places that they feel safe. With extreme low pressure, they feel safe almost anywhere. Since joining the Beast I've paid close attention to parking lot bedding. What I've found is you will find beds in these overlooked bedding areas, but sign isn't that good and the deer aren't there very often. Even does. I've jumped a couple big bucks near parking pre-season and opening weekend, but after that they're long gone. They'll use them when NOBODY is afield but that's it. Think about it: Why would he lay 100 yards off a road and listen to cars go by all day (and have to sweat it out when hunters show up) when he can bed in solitude elsewhere? :think: The overlooked parking lot bedding situation makes perfect sense in a high pressure situation. I was drawn to it, but after kicking parking lot bedding for a few years (and consistently shining fields next to them), I view it as a VERY low odds option for me.

I'm sure big bucks move further from bedding in a low pressure situation, but that doesn't mean they're dumb. I spend lots of time in areas where I KNOW big bucks live. Yet laying eyes on one, even in the summer, is not easy. They're reclusive and too smart to go walzing around in the open. The one thing I've noticed is big bucks at my higher DPSM areas move further and earlier than the areas where numbers are low. I view this from a "strength in numbers" perspective. If pressure is low and he can hear other deer naturally moving about, why would he wait until last light to get up? :think: It's safe, as the other deer are his security blanket.

Call me crazy if you want to, but I would love to see more pressure in the majority of the public lands I hunt.

Thoughts or comments?


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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby UofLbowhunter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:39 pm

Lockdown wrote:Let's get a discussion going. THE DIFFERENCES IN HUNTING PRESSURE. Here is my two cents to get things going.

I live in a very low pressure area. Western MN is not a destination for deer hunters. I only ran into two or three bow hunters all season last year. Of course gun season is a different story, but it is still a FAR cry compared to what some of you experience. There are a few upland and waterfowl hunters, but not all that many.

In the past I have voiced a complaint or two about how low pressure it really is and how I've had trouble with consistent bedding because of it, and ultimately a member or two politely called me crazy ;) How could low pressure be detrimental? Your hunts rarely get screwed up by other hunters and the bucks should be relaxed and move further from bedding, right?

I don't disagree, but hear me out.

My stance is the higher pressure is, mature bucks have fewer places that they feel safe. With extreme low pressure, they feel safe almost anywhere. Since joining the Beast I've paid close attention to parking lot bedding. What I've found is you will find beds in these overlooked bedding areas, but sign isn't that good and the deer aren't there very often. Even does. I've jumped a couple big bucks near parking pre-season and opening weekend, but after that they're long gone. They'll use them when NOBODY is afield but that's it. Think about it: Why would he lay 100 yards off a road and listen to cars go by all day (and have to sweat it out when hunters show up) when he can bed in solitude elsewhere? :think: The overlooked parking lot bedding situation makes perfect sense in a high pressure situation. I was drawn to it, but after kicking parking lot bedding for a few years (and consistently shining fields next to them), I view it as a VERY low odds option for me.

I'm sure big bucks move further from bedding in a low pressure situation, but that doesn't mean they're dumb. I spend lots of time in areas where I KNOW big bucks live. Yet laying eyes on one, even in the summer, is not easy. They're reclusive and too smart to go walzing around in the open. The one thing I've noticed is big bucks at my higher DPSM areas move further and earlier than the areas where numbers are low. I view this from a "strength in numbers" perspective. If pressure is low and he can hear other deer naturally moving about, why would he wait until last light to get up? :think: It's safe, as the other deer are his security blanket.

Call me crazy if you want to, but I would love to see more pressure in the majority of the public lands I hunt.

Thoughts or comments?



I think i feel the excact same lockdown this is a therory i stuggle with i feel like im chasing a ghost with lots of options for bedding :? And i can never be in the right spot, where he is, at the right time :doh: But i know he is there! :snooty:
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby freezeAR » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:15 pm

I used to think high pressure made bedding more predictable and I feel like it is a factor. I imagine bucks can get complacent in the absence of pressure. The area around my house that has some gun pressure I still rarely see a good buck in daylight driving around. However I do see some studs early in the morning headed to bedding on my way to work ( couple hours before dark).

Shining isn't legal here and lately I have been wondering how that plays into this equation. Lockdown, is shining legal in MN?

I see bucks in some lower pressure public bed closer to ag fields than one would think but they still have advantages over doe beds. Kind of like me, when I'm in a room of strangers i like to be at a table in the corner close to the door. No one can get behind me and I have an exit route. Lol.

Have you thought about intentionall pounding an area and see if bedding becomes more predictable?
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Ack » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:51 pm

Careful what you wish for LD! :lol:

I think what you're looking for is moderate pressure because, as I have encountered, super high pressure keeps these bucks having to jump bedding areas very often, making them much more unpredictable. The public around my area is usually no more than a mile square section tops with pressure coming in from all sides. Bedding areas are usually very small and overlooked, and it's not uncommon for permanent stands to be in the same general area.

In theory a little more pressure than you have could be a good thing, but there's a fine line to when that extra pressure can work against you even more.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby UofLbowhunter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:36 pm

freezeAR wrote:I used to think high pressure made bedding more predictable and I feel like it is a factor. I imagine bucks can get complacent in the absence of pressure. The area around my house that has some gun pressure I still rarely see a good buck in daylight driving around. However I do see some studs early in the morning headed to bedding on my way to work ( couple hours before dark).

Shining isn't legal here and lately I have been wondering how that plays into this equation. Lockdown, is shining legal in MN?

I see bucks in some lower pressure public bed closer to ag fields than one would think but they still have advantages over doe beds. Kind of like me, when I'm in a room of strangers i like to be at a table in the corner close to the door. No one can get behind me and I have an exit route. Lol.

Have you thought about intentionall pounding an area and see if bedding becomes more predictable?



Are you kinda referring to a stacking method that dan uses? But kinda on a bigger scale?
Last edited by UofLbowhunter on Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby UofLbowhunter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:54 pm

UofLbowhunter wrote:
Lockdown wrote:Let's get a discussion going. THE DIFFERENCES IN HUNTING PRESSURE. Here is my two cents to get things going.

I live in a very low pressure area. Western MN is not a destination for deer hunters. I only ran into two or three bow hunters all season last year. Of course gun season is a different story, but it is still a FAR cry compared to what some of you experience. There are a few upland and waterfowl hunters, but not all that many.

In the past I have voiced a complaint or two about how low pressure it really is and how I've had trouble with consistent bedding because of it, and ultimately a member or two politely called me crazy ;) How could low pressure be detrimental? Your hunts rarely get screwed up by other hunters and the bucks should be relaxed and move further from bedding, right?

I don't disagree, but hear me out.

My stance is the higher pressure is, mature bucks have fewer places that they feel safe. With extreme low pressure, they feel safe almost anywhere. Since joining the Beast I've paid close attention to parking lot bedding. What I've found is you will find beds in these overlooked bedding areas, but sign isn't that good and the deer aren't there very often. Even does. I've jumped a couple big bucks near parking pre-season and opening weekend, but after that they're long gone. They'll use them when NOBODY is afield but that's it. Think about it: Why would he lay 100 yards off a road and listen to cars go by all day (and have to sweat it out when hunters show up) when he can bed in solitude elsewhere? :think: The overlooked parking lot bedding situation makes perfect sense in a high pressure situation. I was drawn to it, but after kicking parking lot bedding for a few years (and consistently shining fields next to them), I view it as a VERY low odds option for me.

I'm sure big bucks move further from bedding in a low pressure situation, but that doesn't mean they're dumb. I spend lots of time in areas where I KNOW big bucks live. Yet laying eyes on one, even in the summer, is not easy. They're reclusive and too smart to go walzing around in the open. The one thing I've noticed is big bucks at my higher DPSM areas move further and earlier than the areas where numbers are low. I view this from a "strength in numbers" perspective. If pressure is low and he can hear other deer naturally moving about, why would he wait until last light to get up? :think: It's safe, as the other deer are his security blanket.

Call me crazy if you want to, but I would love to see more pressure in the majority of the public lands I hunt.

Thoughts or comments?



I think i feel the excact same lockdown this is a therory i stuggle with i feel like im chasing a ghost with lots of options for bedding :? And i can never be in the right spot, where he is, at the right time :doh: But i know he is there! :snooty:




Im thinking about this a little more, its making sense that i have better luck after all most month long gun season in ky, why i have better sucess at locating bigger bucks in later season than i do before the orange army. The pressure eliminates more sporadic bedding and narrows them down to more areas i feel they should be in. :think: Do you notice anything like this?
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Bowhunter4life » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:43 pm

Just to touch on this subject with my personal experience I believe pressure does put mature deer in a tighter space so to say. It only really makes sense if there is a lot of human pressure there and there is sign of a big mature animal living on that ground then he is probably using a pretty tight core area. I have experienced this a lot over the years of hunting some higher pressured pieces. Sounds simple then once you find where he is at but trust me, they find areas that give them such a great advantage that they are stil extremely difficult to kill even once you know where they are. Chased one around 2 years ago and had him pretty locked down to this one little area. I saw this deer several times and I was trying to get it done before the rifle season opened so I was pushing in pretty hard. No matter what that deer had my number. He kicked my but every time I went in for the hunt, he would peg me. I never once hunted from the same tree either. So from my personal experience with it, they do lock onto certain areas a little more but they are very difficult to get in on and seldom venture far from them in daylight.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Wetfoot » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:06 pm

This is something I be given alot of thought to over the years. I've also spoken to Dan about this and, at least in the Upper Peninsula, predators (bears, coyotes, wolves etc...) accomplish much of the same bedding behavior as human predators. I rarely hunt mornings outside of the rut at this point as I've bumped bucks out of their beds an hour before sunrise as much as 2 miles from the road in places that I've never seen another human track or sign of even old pressure. I believe low deer density, at least up here is the bigger challenge verses lack of human pressure. Just my 2 cents worth. ;)
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Evanszach7 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:30 pm

I prefer moderate bow pressure. It does seem to put the bucks where they should be, but it still isn’t easier than no pressure. They’re edgy and tucked away with multiple advantages. I hunt one WMA that’s flat, without much edge, and low pressure. It’s a nightmare to figure out. Oaks everywhere. Mature bucks bedding in the No Hunt areas and still rarely moving into the hunting grounds during daylight (trail cams). Even with low pressure, they’d rather bed near hikers than hunters.

Moderate to high pressure with “walkers” drives me nuts. Your typical gun or bow guys walking but saying they’re “still hunting”. There’s a couple places where I can use the pressure, but I’ve typically got options with less pressure. I’d rather hunt those places late season when the Ohio November guys have hung it up.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby muddy » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:44 pm

Ack wrote:Careful what you wish for LD! :lol:

I think what you're looking for is moderate pressure because, as I have encountered, super high pressure keeps these bucks having to jump bedding areas very often, making them much more unpredictable. The public around my area is usually no more than a mile square section tops with pressure coming in from all sides. Bedding areas are usually very small and overlooked, and it's not uncommon for permanent stands to be in the same general area.

In theory a little more pressure than you have could be a good thing, but there's a fine line to when that extra pressure can work against you even more.


Great post. I suppose I could say my areas are moderate pressure instead of low pressure now. A few idiots doing stupid things certainly help me out in finding the hot spots and getting down to business. I love it when guys come into an area early season and "muck it all up" and then give up before November. The deer are pushed into their hidey holes and, for me, easier to zone in on.

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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby mainebowhunter » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:42 am

Lockdown wrote:Let's get a discussion going. THE DIFFERENCES IN HUNTING PRESSURE. Here is my two cents to get things going.

I live in a very low pressure area. Western MN is not a destination for deer hunters. I only ran into two or three bow hunters all season last year. Of course gun season is a different story, but it is still a FAR cry compared to what some of you experience. There are a few upland and waterfowl hunters, but not all that many.

In the past I have voiced a complaint or two about how low pressure it really is and how I've had trouble with consistent bedding because of it, and ultimately a member or two politely called me crazy ;) How could low pressure be detrimental? Your hunts rarely get screwed up by other hunters and the bucks should be relaxed and move further from bedding, right?

I don't disagree, but hear me out.

My stance is the higher pressure is, mature bucks have fewer places that they feel safe. With extreme low pressure, they feel safe almost anywhere. Since joining the Beast I've paid close attention to parking lot bedding. What I've found is you will find beds in these overlooked bedding areas, but sign isn't that good and the deer aren't there very often. Even does. I've jumped a couple big bucks near parking pre-season and opening weekend, but after that they're long gone. They'll use them when NOBODY is afield but that's it. Think about it: Why would he lay 100 yards off a road and listen to cars go by all day (and have to sweat it out when hunters show up) when he can bed in solitude elsewhere? :think: The overlooked parking lot bedding situation makes perfect sense in a high pressure situation. I was drawn to it, but after kicking parking lot bedding for a few years (and consistently shining fields next to them), I view it as a VERY low odds option for me.

I'm sure big bucks move further from bedding in a low pressure situation, but that doesn't mean they're dumb. I spend lots of time in areas where I KNOW big bucks live. Yet laying eyes on one, even in the summer, is not easy. They're reclusive and too smart to go walzing around in the open. The one thing I've noticed is big bucks at my higher DPSM areas move further and earlier than the areas where numbers are low. I view this from a "strength in numbers" perspective. If pressure is low and he can hear other deer naturally moving about, why would he wait until last light to get up? :think: It's safe, as the other deer are his security blanket.

Call me crazy if you want to, but I would love to see more pressure in the majority of the public lands I hunt.

Thoughts or comments?


We probably live in similar areas pressure wise. We have low densities, some areas are probably only 5-7dpsm. Other areas, definitely have more. My observation is that these bucks do very little that has any kind of pattern to it. So hunting super hot sign which might only be a track or "hunting" trail cams instead of just checking them becomes important. Predicting what that buck is going to do next becomes very difficult but important. Bucks are very random here. Meaning, I can get a buck using a bed at 7:30in the morning, 4:30 he is back out again that night. Great food source. 0 pressure. He does not use that bed again for another 2 weeks.

It also means, you dont find well used beds, pounded to the ground with a bunch of hair.

Staging food sources become just as important to me as the bedding area. They go hand in hand. Its different from the way many guys hunt in different parts of the country. Hunting staging food sources means I am also hunting within 70yds of bedded bucks.

It also means, 99% of the time, the first time I see a target buck is when I kill him.

The downside to pressure is that it pushes deer into areas you cannot get at. Had buck this year where there is pressure. 5.5yr old giant. Guys knew about him. I had pics of him a mile away in December. Scouted him over the course of the 2017 season, hard in the pre 2018 season. Knew when he showed. Ran a cell cam in an area and started picking him up in daylight in early August.

Then came the hunter who thought it would be best to put a climbing treestand right in his bedding area. Post season? The bark is really ripped off the tree from pumping up and down it so many times. Hardly got a daylight of him the rest of the season. Got a few in November. That buck moved to where I could not get at him. Still got night time pics. Shifted beds. Pressure did not help with him. It would have if I had the access.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby elk yinzer » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:45 am

I guess it's a thought but like the balloon thing, I just can't agree.

I feel like I have a good barometer because within my 90 minute driving range I can and do hunt areas in archery that literally no one ever bow hunts, all the way to the opposite side of the spectrum that get world class pressure.

I think pressure does help stack bedding but it also significantly cuts down daytime movement and gets tons bucks killed before they see a few birthdays when I become interested in them. I think terrain has a lot to do with bedding predictability also. Here in our mountains bedding just isn't that predictable on a deer by deer basis as it seems to be in areas like swamps and farmland.

I can see how pressure makes hunting specific beds easier in a way, but I'll still prefer the low pressure even if it means I am hunting the bedding areas of nomadic bucks because I know those bucks are more comfortable coming back to bed in daylight hours and leaving a little earlier in the evenings. As to the population specifics, I'd rather hunt multiple target bucks than searching for the needle in the haystack in areas where there is one 3 year old buck and everything else has been shot already.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:57 am

Ack wrote:Careful what you wish for LD! :lol:

I think what you're looking for is moderate pressure because, as I have encountered, super high pressure keeps these bucks having to jump bedding areas very often, making them much more unpredictable. The public around my area is usually no more than a mile square section tops with pressure coming in from all sides. Bedding areas are usually very small and overlooked, and it's not uncommon for permanent stands to be in the same general area.

In theory a little more pressure than you have could be a good thing, but there's a fine line to when that extra pressure can work against you even more.


Ack I agree with what you’re saying 100% and yes I’m looking for moderate pressure, not through the roof insane MI pressure ;) Nobody wants that lol

It’s interesting that you say they jump around different bedding areas a lot in high pressure areas. I see that all the time... maybe that’s just the nature of the animals we pursue. I always contributed it to them feeling safe and being able to bed wherever.

I still see them in classic Beast bedding locations, I just don’t have the option to scout other hunters out and cross bedding off the list on most of my properties.
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:22 am

I have hunted low pressure , high DPSM. My cousin bought a house in the "rich" area of the county. Most people don't hunt and the deer numbers were crazy. It was seriously like hunting a game ranch compared to hunting the public I currently hunt. The deer just bedded anywhere with slight cover. The bucks walked around in the open in daylight. To witness that after years of public hunting blew my mind. He and his wife sold the house and I only hunted it for 2 seasons.

With that being said, I can see your point Lockdown. Because of so little pressure the deer just laid anywhere. Sometimes right in the middle of his yard or just on the edge of his property in the brush lines. Travel routes were very predictable but bedding seemed more random due to them not caring.

On the flip side, as Ack stated. Be careful what you wish for. On the public I hunt the script is 100% reversed. I'm lucky to see a deer. Do I have success? Yes, but that success takes a ton of work. Basically if a deer moves freely in daylight it will die. If it uses questionable bedding it dies. Even if it does everything right 99 percent of the time it's going to die. But, once you figure all that out the most secure bedding becomes predictable.

So I guess I agree. Kind of....haha
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Re: High vs Low Hunting Pressure

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:55 am

Will respond to several comments later today. Great input so far! I just want to reiterate I’m saying I would benefit from MORE pressure... not HIGH pressure. Maybe I should have titled the thread a little differently.

I’ll give a quick example. Two years ago I was hunting a big buck I called Perfect 10. I have never, not even once, seen another Bowhunter on this property. It’s a riverbottom with very few trees, lots of cattails, and intermixed shatter cane, willows, dogwood, etc.

Looks like pheasant heaven and IT. IS. THICK.

There are oxbows all over as well. I was counting the days to pheasant season hoping they would kick all the edges and mediocre bedding. Sunday of opening weekend I talked to an old man who said he was the only person out there that day and opening day. I watched him and his dog take a quick loop on the edge of some cover and that was it. They barely touched it. So much for stacking help I guess ;)

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