Deer SEASON Strategy...

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SwampLife
 
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Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby SwampLife » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:01 am

This thread is to help those people (like me) that would like to kill a big buck (130" or bigger) who do not own property or have permission to hunt property in an area known for producing consistent high numbers of bucks of this quality, In other words...the midwest.

I currently hunt two states. Florida, only because i reside here and Pennsylvania, because i have family there.

I would like to add a third state to that list for next season. I have been researching for countless hours on which state it should be.

I am trying to build a strategy for next season as far as where I will be hunting, when and why.

As far as i am concerned, there is 4 peak times to be in the woods for killing a big buck.

Opening weekend
The Rut
First day of firearms
Late season when the hunting pressure has subsided.

Now, since i will have to hunt public land in this new state, I want to hunt archery season so it isn't too crowded. so that takes 'first day of firearms' and 'late season' out of the equation. Since I hunt PA the first week of Nov. annually. That leaves me with Opening weekend for my new state.

So given my circumstances, I think i have narrowed my selection down to a WMA in the green river region of Kentucky called Barren River wma.

The reason i am considering this area is because KY bow season opens very early, keeping the trip two months prior to my PA rut hunt, which helps on the financial end. Also, KY has been producing alot of record class deer the last few years. Third, the drive is not outrageously long from FL. Lastly this wma stretches for miles along the barren river, with steep and i would imagine some thick terrain that spider webs through what looks like an agricultural area. Seems like a legit place to kill a big buck. To me anyways.

Now here are my questions.

1. Has anyone else tried a 'blind hunt' such as this? Meaning no prior scouting trip. If so, please speak up with any advice or experiences. (I am very familiar with topo and aerial scouting)

2. Where can i find more info, such as harvest records, deer density, etc...? (For this or other states/counties/wma's...)

3. Do you have any suggestions of states/counties/wma's I should look into?

4. Is anyone familiar with the wma or general area that i spoke of in KY?

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. I would very much like to kill a big buck next season, and am willing to work very hard to accomplish this. A little guidance or direction will make this task much easier.

Thank You.

p.s. Anyone else that is looking to attempt a similar style hunt on unfamiliar property, make sure you refer to this thread for tips on 'pre-scouting' with Topo Maps:
http://forum.deeranddeerhunting.com/tm.aspx?m=67459
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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby SHKYBoonie » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:21 am

Swamplife, I don't know much about this WMA you are referring to in KY, but I do know and have hunted the Green River Region of the State. They have some great bucks come from that area, but the deer per square mile is not a dense as some of the other parts of the State. KY has come a long ways in the number of quality buck it has produced over the years. I hunt in West KY and I'm here to tell you that this is prime BIG buck territory. We have had good numbers up until the last few years. We had EHD come through 3 seasons ago and then we had a massive ice storm come through last Winter. Both of these took out a number of our deer, but we still have plenty enough to make a strong come back quickly.
 
You may want to check out the Pennirile State Park. It's 17,000 acres that surrounds a lake. It is mostly rolling hills and valley's. They are archery only except for one 2 day quota gun hunt per year. They have been on antler restrictions for several years now. The bucks have to have a 15" spread minimum. It isn't very pressured. There are a few people that hunt it but it isn't just over run with hunters. There have been some very impressive bucks come off of this land. I helped a guy drag a 160" 8 point out this year. The land I hunt is surrounded on 3 sides by the park. Most all of the deer I have shown pics of on the forum have come out of this area. Google "Pennirile Buck" and take a look at this deer. He was killed less than a mile from my land. If you decide to come to this area, I can show you some areas that are great spots and don't get any pressure. Some of the areas are unknown to most hunters. On the other side of the park from me there are good Ag crop lands. I haven't hunted over in that area, but have road around looking and could point you in a good direction.

DeanoZ
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby DeanoZ » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:27 am

Swamplife, I'm by no means an expert, but since having to resort to public hunting this year (and on short notice) I have a better appreciation for "blind hunting", although with the work you've put in thus far I'd hardly call it blind and I think your doing the right things. I would pick Shaman and SKYBoonie's collective brains, I believe they both hunt KY and have an extensive knowledge of the hunting in that state.  I would got to KY's DNR website, most states usually have historical harvest numbers there as well, by zone or county.  I did hear the same thing though, KY is an up and coming sleeper state for quality Whitetail and Elk hunting.  I myself have been thinking about a DIY Elk hunt there but need to do more research.  The only other recommendation I have for you is to look at the surrounding property of the WMA... is it Agri, big woods, CRP, etc?  Look for WMA's that have a good surrounding environment, like major rivers or tributary's running nearby (such as the Barren River ;) ) and a mix of agriculture and woods that offer deer good nutrition and security cover.  IMHO, your doing it right..good luck keep us posted.

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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby SHKYBoonie » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:17 am

I was thinking that the KDFW's website would have a link to the PDF download of the hunter and trapper's guide. It usually has the harvest records listed in it for each county. I did find a link to the area though at http://fw.ky.gov/kfwis/HarvestMap/HarvestMap.asp
or
http://fw.ky.gov/navigation.aspx?cid=379&navpath=C741C559
 
There is alot of info on this site. The KDFW do pride themselves with keeping good records. I think you can even compare areas such as the Green River Region vs. the Purchase Region. I'll help out any way I can, just let me know. Hope this helps!

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SwampLife
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby SwampLife » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:52 am

Huge help so far... i will spend some hours checking out the info you provided later tonight. Areas with antler restrictions are VERY attractive to me, also archery only. Great, getting excited already.

Big Thanks.

and even if someone has info on other states public land and doesnt mind posting. It would be very much appreciated by me, to have some options and I'm sure by anyone else trying to accomplish what I am.

No I'm not asking you to post your honey-hole, by any means. Perhaps a place you used to hunt, or occasionally hunt and can shed some light on.

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scotman
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby scotman » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:32 pm

Thanks for the tweet on my link swamplife. :)

If you can get at least one to two days of scouting in you would be better off than none. What I mean is you can get alot of scouting accomplished in one day with a gps handheld in hand.  What I would do in your case would be drive up to your prospective location get a hotel room the night before you plan on doing your scouting. When you arrive at the land your planning to hunt set a waypoint for your truck. This will ensure you don't get lost. Don't forget to bring extra batteries for your gps, camera and a reliable compass. Pretty much bring a whole survival kit along. It is really necessary if you are scouting a big piece of state land you don't want to get lost and not be prepared if you do. Plus this scouting method i'm going to describe should have you covering several miles in one trip.

I simply fast walk the first twenty acres till I find a deer trail. You can use the topo map to help you locate sign if you can't find any right off the start. When I do find a deer trail I set a waypoint, I simply fast walk the whole trail setting waypoints every 50-100 yard depending on how detailed you want the map to be, take a digital camera along to take pictures of any old buck rubs or old scrapes.. Once the trail ends or you can no longer follow it go back up the same trail till you find any intersecting trails and map them out. You can cover a whole lot of terrain in one day if your physically and mentally upto it. This means you wont be aimlessly walking in the woods looking for sign. Follow all the trails and map them out.

This way of scouting is not for the faint heart you can be setting yourself up to be walking through the thickest terrain you ever had. Especially where I hunt a brier patches of five acres in size is not uncommon so walking a deer trail through that  is pretty tricky.
"The deerskin rug on our study floor, the buck's head over the fireplace, what are these after all but the keys which have unlocked enchanted doors, and granted us not only health and vigor, but a fresh and fairer vision of existence" -Paul. Brandreth

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shaman
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby shaman » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:51 am

I  have never hunted Barren River, but I have done the sort of hunt you're contemplating over in the Big South Fork region, south of Somerset.  It's an adventure to be sure.   WMA hunting in KY is less crowded than some other states, but it's still public land hunting.  I'll give you a hint:  try the lotteries for the special hunts like Beaver Creek.  It's a LOT less crowded and may be a lot more enjoyable. 

Be careful how you interpret the harvest maps.  There are counties that have lots of deer and show up very poorly on the harvest numbers.  Remember that KY data is based on reported harvests.  Not every county fully buys into this whole thing about reporting your kills [;)].    Also be careful about doing this all alone.  When I hunted Big South Fork I hunted alone, but  I had a passle of inlaws that were looking out for me, and I had a close friend locally that helped me out too.  It's still really easy to walk off the side of cliff  or step into a sinkhole in the dark down there.  I managed to nearly do both down there.  Barren River is not quite that rugged, but it helped greatly that I had local folks who knew where to look  if I went missing.

I'll turn you onto a good resource:  Kentuckyhunting.net .  You should be able to hook up with some good people on there.There's probably an expert on every WMA KY has on there.   Tell them the shaman sent you.
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SwampLife
 
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RE: Deer SEASON Strategy...

Postby SwampLife » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:20 am

Awesome Shaman, thanks for the reply! (I hadnt noticed it til now)

SHKYBoonie has turned me onto the pennirile state forest, and i am leaning heavily toward that area.

but i will look into the quota (draw) hunts you talked about. Those always seem to have the best opportunities here in FL, so i imagine the same is true for other states.

And yes, i am planning on bringing at least one relative with me that hunts if not two, safety first...(and splitting the gas bill is nice too!)

Thanks guys, will keep you posted.
No Shortcuts. No Excuses. No Regrets.


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