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swamper

Northern Minnesota Public Land (Superior NF)

8 posts in this topic

Can anybody give me some insight into the deer hunting on the Superior National Forest. I'm planning on a hunt in Northern Minnesota next year, and am currently in the early planning stages. Is the hunting pressure intense throughout the forest, or is it possible to escape the crowds if you hike back in a ways. Is the ATV use pretty heavy? Is there trophy potential etc........etc....... Any advice, or reccomendations are welcome. I'll probably be staying in a camper, so lodging is the only thing I'm set on so far.

Thanks.

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I own property that borders the Chippewa National Forest so I can give you a little insight about how it's hunted around my place.

Hunting pressure around me is high near the public roads and the well-marked logging trails. As you get off the road aways or away from the trails, the pressure ends pretty quickly. The exception would be if there's a group of hunters that moves into an area, sets up a base camp, and covers a lot of ground from there. But I don't see anything like that around me, what I see is guys that hunt within 1/8th mile of the road or logging trail.

There's not much atv use around me.

The key to hunting in the big woods is to find edges, travel routes, and natural funnels. The text-book situation (that outdoor writers and experts love to talk about) of finding feeding and bedding areas and setting up on the trails between them doesn't really apply in the big woods. There's just too much cover and too much area, and the food sources are scattered, so that tactic is really hard to apply.

Use arial photos and topo maps to find swamps, ridges, edges, logging activity etc and use that to start to plan your strategy. And hunt thick cover.

Good luck, I hope this helps a little.

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Thanks for the tips. I plan on finding a good area a few miles from the road. I'm gonna come up in July, and do some scouting. I've spent the last few years hunting in Northern nmaine, so I have spent some time in the big woods. I've decided to switch to Minnesota because of the current conditions in Maine. I hunt on a Timber co-op of about twenty companies called North Maine Woods Inc. Combined they own 3 million contigent acres, but because it is privately owned the cutting practices are not geared toward a stable deer herd. In the past the companies were mostly locally owned so they worked hand in hand with the state to preserve critical wintering habitat. In the last ten years a bunch of the companies sold out to big nation wide lumber, and investment firms. These firms are more concerned with turning a good(rather than consistent) profit, and so the mature timber that made up the deer yards has mostly been cut, and the herd has been ravaged. In the 2006 season there were less than 400 deer harvested in the entire 3 million acres. That combined with the 20 hour drive up there has convinced me to move on as much as I love hunting up there.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.

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Good luck. You should try to find at least 2 or 3 promising areas to hunt, in case there's other people in there (you hear lots of stories about that kind of thing) or in case you aren't seeing deer. Hunting pressure is highest on opening weekend and sometimes the second weekend, but after that and during the weekdays it seems like there's almost no one hunting around my place.

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I own land that is "landlocked" by Superior National Forest - It is a wonderful place to "get lost" and find yourself. If you are going to hunt up there - be careful! GPS and a compass are a must.

In some places your compass with just start spinning (I think because of the ore in the ground?) and GPS units loose signal every now and then.

Look at a place called Bassett Township and head North from there.

Stop by and see Fred Hall - (lives on Hall Road) - he is the fire permit guy - he is about 92 years old and lived there all his life. Some of the awesome stories you hear are well worth the drive. (He was given an exemption status during the war because of the timber industry. He was in charge (21 years old) of getting the timber out. The company gave him $125,000 to hire and staff a crew). In fact, he has snow and tempature readings going back over 100 years!

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Thanks for the tips teal. What county is Basset township in?

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Its right on the border of Lake and St. Louis County.

I believe its off of County Road 16 (or 15) depending on the county. About 55 miles N.W. of two harbors.

Yea, if you want any more information let me know.

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Swamper, there is a great article in the fall 2007 issue of Boundary Waters Journal titled "Real Hunting For Superior Bucks". I would consider this a must read as part of your research for your upcoming hunting adventure. Good Luck! Mike

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