How do I reasonably convince my neighbors to think about harvesting bucks of at least 3.5 years or better?
I now hunt roughly 20 miles "as the crow flies" south of D&D's Property on Tiger Ridge.
I hunted in Marinette County most of my hunting years. Well, from 12-23. My first hunt in Waupaca County was when I was 24, alone. I've hunted this land by myself. This year, my dad will be joining me for at least opening weekend. I've seen lots of Big Bucks, 140 or better the 2nd weekend hunting this land. My first year hunting this property in Waupaca County I shot, wounded and did not retrieve a 10 pointer, around 150-160, which was trailing an 8 pointer, which was trailing a doe. My neighbor harvested the deer.
I bow hunt the land, and have passed up multiple bucks that were 2.5 year old and 3.5 year old, 8 and 10 pointers, but only around 120 or 130 inches. I had a 120 inch 10 point 2.5 year old that I was hoping would make it through the 2005 Gun Season, no such luck. I don't consider myself a trophy hunter, but that's what I hunt for. I am in an EAB unit, and have been pretty much since it's been around in WI (I've bowhunting this land since I started bowhunting around the age of 16, when I could drive there by myself). There are close to 97 deer per square mile in the unit I hunt. I believe every bit of the DNR's estimates there. I see between 30-40 deer on opening day. Up to 60 for the first two days of the WI Gun season. Now, we (my neighbors and myself) do are fair share of harvesting does around the area...however, the food source is SO RICH that the yearlings get bred, and have twins more times than not. The people around me shoot spikes, 3 pointers, whatever, pretty much if it's brown it's down. I can't tell them what to shoot and what not to shoot, but the potential of getting a big buck from my area is high, and could be a lot higher if people had some standards around me. With the food sources around me...we could easily hold around 150 deer per square mile, so there is definitely no shortage of food. There are no major highways by me, so the majority of the bucks make it to the age of 3.5...granted they survive the WI Deer hunting season at the age of 2.5.
Do I print up a bunch of fliers, do I go knocking door to door, and talk to them in person? Have any of you tried to start something? If I had the money I'd buy the 500 acres from all of the people, and manage it how I'd like. That's not likely though, so I'm looking for some options as to how to approach the situation. I think what most people don't realize is that 1 or 2 years without harvesting a "buck" can make HUGE payoffs in the end, especially with the food sources, cover, bedding areas and pretty much everything a big buck could like all within a 1-2 square mile range. Thanks for any advice in advance.