MsBadger: Yes indeed! A big +1 from me.
Honestly!!! Has this become a my-way-of-hunting-deer-is-more-superior-to-yours kind of thread? I hunt mine on public land so the rest of you are all slobs? Jeesh. I'm sorry I took the bait.
I hate to burst folks' bubble, but a nice buck is a nice buck. There's a 14 pointer that hangs out in my neighborhood. If I put a stand up in my pin oak out in the front yard and nailed him, I would not feel any less a hunter than if I'd driven 12 hours to hunt in an unpopulated wilderness. I've been up above the 45th parallel quite a bit over the years-- canoe and backpacking. Yep! There's bears up there. There's wolves. However, I much prefer whitetail deer hunting on my little patch of heaven in SW Bracken County, KY.
I can walk out my door and be at my stand in under a half-hour. Along the way, I can stop for 5 minutes and admire Orion.
If I bag one, I can call back to the house and have a pickup with a winch out to the stand in under 20 minutes.
I don't have to worry about shooting someone or them shooting me. It's just me and the shamanic dream team.
I've got deer, turkey, elk, and coyote, but I'm less than 90 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. We have the occasional bear as well.
As to densities, I will believe that there are 45 deer /sq mi. in my county. I've heard suggestions that there are over 80. I'm one county over from where the state record whitetail was taken. There are 300-pounders out there, but the biggest I've taken was a paltry 270. Now, help me understand this: there is something better about going somewhere there's only 8 deer /sq mi?
Tame? Well, heck! I guess I've been doing it all wrong. Kellory and I should just put away our guns and just walk up to them and put rhinestone dog collars on them and then ride them into town!!!
Most importantly, I've been hunting this same 200 acres since 2001. I hunt the great-great-grandsons of the deer I hunted back then. I've watched a whole herd slowly grow from a single stray doe with a late-season fawn. My sons grew up hunting these deer and stewardship of the land and the deer will pass to them when I'm gone. Now, you can talk yourself blue about how hunting in some public wilderness is superior all you want, but I will be out tonight at the Thoughtful Spot sipping a scotch at sundown, listening to #3 son play the banjo, and watching the deer munching my dandelions , and I would say that sure beats watching TV.
BTW: There are farms on 2 sides of me up for sale, if'n any of you are interested.