gun season/bow season

What's the hunt looking like this year in your area? Share!
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ranwin33
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby ranwin33 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:55 am

Other than an alternative food source, I'd have to say that a big part of the problem may be that with gun season a whole lot more hunters are in the field. 
 
In our area, during bow season I may be the only bow hunter (plus my brother) in a 5 mile square area, depending on the weekend, and definately during the week.  Gun season comes along though and we've probably got 75 people or more in that same area.  That kind of pressure will cause deer to move to safer surroundings.

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adirondackhunter
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby adirondackhunter » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:10 am

Some of the areas where i hunt, the logging roads become busy highways with atvs and 4x4 trucks.All summer those areas have occasional atv and no 4x4 trucks. I hunt those areas on opening day only. 
Hunt to live , Live to hunt

hunter480
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby hunter480 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:58 pm

ORIGINAL: vipermann7

I have fantastic bow hunting on the farm where I hunt, I see deer every night, several deer usually. Not many mature bucks, I have never seen many mature bucks in that particular area, I think due to the "if it's brown, it's down" mentality of that area. But none the less, plenty of does and smaller bucks. Then gun season opens, and you can't find a deer if you pick every inch of that area with a magnifying glass. When I started gun hunting about 14 years ago, we would see several groups of deer moving around throughout the day, just about every day. The first year I hunted was the best, since then it has dwindled down to less and less deer activity come gun season. As of about 3 years ago, we have been skunked every opening weekend, not a single deer even in sight across the fields. We don't shoot, the neighbors don't shoot, the only shooting we hear are the far, far distant thuds of hunters miles away getting some shots. If we sit all day, every day, for all 9 days of our gun season we might kick up on small doe. Then late season bow hunting starts again in December we start seeing deer again. So what's deal? Any of you all see this happen to you?

 
I read the same story year after year, and, I always wonder the very same thing...
 
Could it be that "mature" deer are so hard to see and shoot, because....they`re  mature deer? Guys make it sound like, if only there are more mature deer out there, we`ll kill B&C, and P&Y bucks all over the place...
 
Truth is, mature white-tails, bucks and does, are difficult creatures to hunt. Bucks especially, go nocturnal in a heartbeat, and they`re there, although you`d never know it, if not for tracks, and huge cedars rubbed up.
 
So I`m always very skeptical when I hear that, "there are no big, mature bucks around". I believe a lot more big bucks die of old age that anyone knows, simply because they`re the elusive creatures they are.
 
Just my opinion however....
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ranwin33
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby ranwin33 » Thu Aug 21, 2008 4:05 pm

ORIGINAL: hunter480

So I`m always very skeptical when I hear that, "there are no big, mature bucks around". I believe a lot more big bucks die of old age that anyone knows, simply because they`re the elusive creatures they are.

Just my opinion however....

Have to agree with you.  I often wonder how many of the really big deer are out there that I don't see, either because they've gone nocturnal or I don't pay enough attention to the wind, scent control, my movements, etc. 

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EatDeer
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby EatDeer » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:35 pm

ORIGINAL: shaman

Weak habitat.  Hmmmm.  Interesting thought.

Habitat How-To Page


I'm always touting this page on the Kentucky F&W website, partly because  I know the guy who wrote a lot of these pages and everything he told me to has helped my farm tremendously.  However, give it a look-see.  Wes gave me a lot of ideas that come down to what I would term "controlled neglect." 

As a for instance: by mowing a wider margin around fencelines, you create instant habitat.  Just getting lazy with the mower can have a huge dividend.

You might want to look at knocking over a few trees for browse/cover, strip disking a few patches of pasture to let the forbs grow, doing a controlled burn . . .

. . . or get the local wildlife biologist in to tell you what to do the way I did. 

One thing I can tell you:  There is a lot written these days regarding food plots.  Food plots are expensive.  I'm not going to say you shouldn't.  However, I will way that food plots should be one of your later tactics.

Back in 2001, I got my farm and was all hot and heavy to do food plots.  I bought $200 worth of seed, but the farmer who does my hay never came around to plant it.  All it did was draw rats, sitting in the barn. Bummer.  Long story short:  I didn't get a food plot of any size in until 2007.  It did draw deer, but not significantly more than the 6 years previous where I was doing things like letting my fencelines go wild.   
Nice link, I wish the IL. DNR would add some great information to help manage private land. Seems all they care about is cashing in on hunting fee's.  I have to say that food plotting can be costly if your buying a tractor and all that equipment for destination food plotting. Myself I just make small hunting plots and use my roto tiller, but herbicide is where things get expensive for me.   I do alot of mowing in my clover plots to control weed growth during the growing season, which helps keep costs down. I was really suprised at the amount of night time activity my small plots produced to say the least. Further into the woods, I get to see those same deer during the daytime, the plots keep the doe's close by, which in turn brings in the bucks. Thats too bad your seed rotted, you could have atleast thrown the seed out no-till style ,then had the hay pasture cut. There is some great threads on no-till at the QDMA forums, I was really suprised at the results some of the plotters had with this method of planting on hillsides.        
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

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shaman
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby shaman » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:48 am

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I probably would have blown much more over the succeeding years, and attributed my success to my food plots.  As it was, in 2001 I filled the freezer. 2002 was a bit of a bummer. I still got a deer, but nothing like what I wanted. It also was a drought year, and I think anything I had planted would have had a hard time growing.  From 2003 on, however, it's been really good hunting.

It has been exceedingly tough to get consistent help with the food plots.  The guy that does my hay does not have everything needed to do the job. He roto-vates a patch, but then I need somebody else to plant and harrow.  What I'm doing this year is just spreading clover in September and dragging a bedspring over the field to work the seed in. It's done as good as anything else.  It breaks the fescue's stranglehold on the ground and lets the forbs come up. This is a fraction of what I had planned when I got the place.

The thing with  Vipermam is neither he or we know what is exactly wrong.  He may have an abundance of food available and no way to compete with plots.  However, he may be lacking cover  or some other essential component. 

The thing that made my neck of the woods blossom into a deer and turkey heaven was limiting access.  Once I had posted my property and chased out all the poachers, I started getting big dividends.  It just so happened that several of my neighbors did the same thing about the same time and soon we had very few hunters hunting a rather large area.  On Opening Day, about 10 AM the deer start flooding onto our properties from the neighboring lands, and they stay there throughout the season.  If I haven't bagged one by 8, I know to sit tight and wait.  I'll have something in my sights by Noon.
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danesdad
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby danesdad » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:50 pm

Keep in mind that we shoot all the stupid deer.  The smarter ones survive, and pass on their knowledge to the younger ones.  I suspect that they disappear during gun season because pressure is so much lighter during archery, and the smarter deer have learned where to go during the gun season.

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: gun season/bow season

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:33 pm

ORIGINAL: hunter480

ORIGINAL: vipermann7

I have fantastic bow hunting on the farm where I hunt, I see deer every night, several deer usually. Not many mature bucks, I have never seen many mature bucks in that particular area, I think due to the "if it's brown, it's down" mentality of that area. But none the less, plenty of does and smaller bucks. Then gun season opens, and you can't find a deer if you pick every inch of that area with a magnifying glass. When I started gun hunting about 14 years ago, we would see several groups of deer moving around throughout the day, just about every day. The first year I hunted was the best, since then it has dwindled down to less and less deer activity come gun season. As of about 3 years ago, we have been skunked every opening weekend, not a single deer even in sight across the fields. We don't shoot, the neighbors don't shoot, the only shooting we hear are the far, far distant thuds of hunters miles away getting some shots. If we sit all day, every day, for all 9 days of our gun season we might kick up on small doe. Then late season bow hunting starts again in December we start seeing deer again. So what's deal? Any of you all see this happen to you?


I read the same story year after year, and, I always wonder the very same thing...

Could it be that "mature" deer are so hard to see and shoot, because....they`re  mature deer? Guys make it sound like, if only there are more mature deer out there, we`ll kill B&C, and P&Y bucks all over the place...

Truth is, mature white-tails, bucks and does, are difficult creatures to hunt. Bucks especially, go nocturnal in a heartbeat, and they`re there, although you`d never know it, if not for tracks, and huge cedars rubbed up.

So I`m always very skeptical when I hear that, "there are no big, mature bucks around". I believe a lot more big bucks die of old age that anyone knows, simply because they`re the elusive creatures they are.

Just my opinion however....

 
You're spot on with this. That's why they are "trophy" deer; because there's NOT one behind every other tree. It's their apparent scarcity due to their survival skills that make them what they are. If there were more of them, and/or they were more abundant an easier to kill, then their value as trophies would diminish.
 
This is a lesson that the QDM'ers are now learning....you CANNOT STOCKPILE mature bucks!
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

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Woods Walker
 
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Location: Northern Illinois

RE: gun season/bow season

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:45 pm

ORIGINAL: vipermann7

I have fantastic bow hunting on the farm where I hunt, I see deer every night, several deer usually. Not many mature bucks, I have never seen many mature bucks in that particular area, I think due to the "if it's brown, it's down" mentality of that area. But none the less, plenty of does and smaller bucks. Then gun season opens, and you can't find a deer if you pick every inch of that area with a magnifying glass. When I started gun hunting about 14 years ago, we would see several groups of deer moving around throughout the day, just about every day. The first year I hunted was the best, since then it has dwindled down to less and less deer activity come gun season. As of about 3 years ago, we have been skunked every opening weekend, not a single deer even in sight across the fields. We don't shoot, the neighbors don't shoot, the only shooting we hear are the far, far distant thuds of hunters miles away getting some shots. If we sit all day, every day, for all 9 days of our gun season we might kick up on small doe. Then late season bow hunting starts again in December we start seeing deer again. So what's deal? Any of you all see this happen to you?

 
Here's my .02, for what it's worth...........
 
As others have said, it's a tough call without seeing the area, but here's a few observations:
 
1. Changes in the native habitat. Although they don't look like it, a woods is constantly changing as the trees grow. What may have been a peak browse habitat 14 years ago now may be marginal. Selective logging, a severe storm that levels many mature trees, or someone "getting creative" with a D-9 Cat can do wonders for this situation.
 
2. Everyone now hunts from treestands, and there are very few  deer that are "moved" from one farm to another.
 
3. Deer pattern YOU as much as you attempt to pattern THEM. Does everyone in your party come out of the woods at mid-day, and then return a few hours before dusk? In open areas, this will have a very direct effect on deer movement.  It may also help to move stands around a bit, so that you and your party don't have the same travel paths to and from your stands year after year.
 
Try staying in the woods ALL DAY, even if you change stand sites. You can't observe if you aren't there.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

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