I was spoiled for many years. Had A friend who rented a house on 80 acres. He had permission to hunt it year round except the 1st 4 days of gun season. I did a lot of work on stands, food plots, water holes, ect. and we prided ourselves for setting up the land lord with what he wanted. Trophy bucks. We harvested the doe and culled the herd. When we started, a 2 year old buck with busted up rack was the normal "trophy". The last few years, the land lord had big beautiful 4+ year old bucks to choose from, and they took home some very nice deer. With the improvements we made in habitat and herd control on just 80 acres the land lord got an offer he couldn't resist and sold it. Sold it 1 week prior to gun season, 2007. No warning, no for sale signs, just told we had 1 week to remove our temp. stands and blinds, the permanent stands we built, with our lumber, had to stay.
Since we never hunted opening weekend anyways, I was used to going up north to public land. That was the 2nd year that wolves had been in the public area we hunted, 2nd year we didn't see any deer up there.
With out that land to bow hunt, I start exploring public land nearby. I find public hunting grounds with soy beans planted on most of it. Should be good bow hunting for early season, but too many other hunters, and neighbors are ag tag hunting year round. Come fall, the beans were harvested. Deer go to standing corn instead. Farmers Ag Tag the deer, then harvest the corn. Now what few deer are left on public hunting grounds are facing the 2nd harsh winter in a row with no food left on public or private land, and there are more deer in the towns and cities than on DNR public hunting grounds.
What's wrong with this picture? Oshkosh just hired sharp shooters to kill 40 deer living in Oshkosh. 15 mile away, on public hunting grounds, there are no deer. If they put those 40 deer on public hunting grounds right now, they'd all starve to death before spring.
As A hunter, I'd like to do for public land what I did for the private land. Even planting beans and leaving them there would be better than what's going on right now. Many other Winnebago county public grounds are planted with tall grasses. Seems to be the cheap, all purpose DNR habitat restoration. Better than cash crops, but not what's needed, at least not in the quantities they currently are. Deer are not lacking in bedding areas and farmers don't mind deer sleeping on there land. It's the eating part they don't like and the deer should go to public land to eat. Year around.
Every one of us needs to look around and see what we can do to improve hunting in your area. If we can draw attention to problems maybe we can get them fixed.
American by birth, hunter by choice.