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Scoot

Least favorite time of the year

28 posts in this topic

I'm not trying to start a fight here-- I know many or most of the bowhunters in this forum also gun hunt for deer. However, I'm curious to see how many others share my frustrations. So, I'll vent and see how others react. Just a word of warning though- please keep all responses civil and respectful.

The next couple weeks are my least favorite time of the year. Each year I finally find a big buck and he's finally getting a little dumb with rut winding up. Then, I'm forced out of the woods by all the gun hunters. I hate it! Around my home (Fisher) I see a dozen examples of guys who spend a grand total of eight or ten hours in the woods each year shoot big bucks. The vast majority don't know diddly about deer or deer hunting. Nothing! There's literally not a piece of woods anywhere around home that doesn't get pushed by some group of hunters, so there isn't a piece of woods I can go into where I feel safe to bowhunt.

Equally frustrating is the complete lack of deer management I see year in and year out by all the gun hunters. Guys out shooting the deer I've been passing up because I want them to grow into a decent buck for next year (or the year after). Spikes, forkies, 6 pointers and small 8 pointers by the truck-load all dead so some guy can say he got "his buck" instead of "settling" for a doe. I realize not everyone has the ultimate goal of shooting a huge buck (DD), but I still think some common sense harvesting practices by gun hunters should be self-imposed or enforced by the state.

Related to this- I REALLY wish the state would make two major changes to the deer season. 1) require an "earn a buck" policy where you have to first shoot a doe to be able to shoot a buck. 2) move the gun season up a couple weeks so that it doesn't occur during the middle of the rut. According to a good bit of research and several examples from other states #1 would have a dramatic impact on the population of deer (which is always a major concern for the DNR) and according to more research and other state examples #2 would give good bucks a better chance of making it another year or two to become even bigger bucks. #2 would directly result in more big bucks each year.

OK, I'm vented out! Enough of my ranting and tangent taking! I'll be fishing this coming weekend and spending family time the next weekend. That way I won't have to see the crappy results of my least favorite time of year. Anyone else as bitter about the gun season as me?

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Now that we are venting, my plight is pheasant hunters! Now I like shooting birds just like the next guy but we have been getting pummled out here by orange and dogs and I see no end to it.

I had some buddies down this last weekend deer hunting and they left early for home on Sunday because of all the pheasant hunters. This year in particular it is about impossible to escape the orange and the dogs making it tough to hunt deer. But what do ya do if you don't own any land.

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As far as management goes. I would love to see an antler restriction for the entire state. I know a couple of wildlife areas or refuges have this. It would force people to shoot more does if they want a deer and let the bucks go so they can grow. I think most people shoot ANY buck so they can say they got one.

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Scoot, I feel your pain. I thought about using the slug gun this year for deer hunting but have decided upon the bow instead. I just enjoy it more, not to nock those guys who want to use a gun for deer huting. To each their own.

Anyway, yes it sucks that someone goes out for a few hours each year and bags a big buck from hundreds of yards away when you've been chasing that buck for months, trying to get him into less than 25 yards. But that's life

But why are you forced out of the woods by the gun hunters. If you're wearing orange and up in a tree, can it be any less safe than it is for the gun hunters who are out there?

I think that sometimes gunhunters can be to your advantage when bowhunting. That is, the pressure they exert on the deer will allow you to see more deer than normal. You just have to be creative about intercepting them. Take what happened to me last year, I decided to set up in a blind opening morning of gun season with my bow near thick, nasty cover - basically a swamp that separated cabins and houses from the woods most of the gun hunters were in. Right about dawn, I had 20 plus deer stream by me headed into the swamp to bed down. Throughout the morning, they got up one by one and walked off in different directions, often in bow range.

Now most mornings during bow season, I'd be luck to see half a dozen deer in my area. But setting up in this alternative area to where the gun hunters were produced a nice doe for me that morning and I watched several young bucks walk by out of range.

BTW, most of the gun hunters wouldn't have thought about setting up near this swamp because it is too close to houses. It's the legally required distance away from occupied dwellings, but nonetheless, not very safe to be hunting near with a gun.

On QDM, I'd agree with you on that I'd like to let em grow. But I also respect hunters' legal rights and think the state is doing a pretty good job right now of maintaining a healthy overall herd. Earn a buck would be great, in my opinion where the population is way out of whack to what the land can hold. Why have deer dying of starvation in the winter when they could end up in a hunter's freezer?

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I would propose primitive weapons only on some designated public lands. This would benefit bow/muzzleloader hunters by freeing up the woods, letting us hunt prime time and potentially save a few bucks year after year. What about public lands, like WMAs that users decide the rules, antler point restrictions, earn a buck etc. Just my two cents.

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I agree, but that is why I don't hunt my private land during gun season. Also I agree with the restrictions, however I would add one thing to it. I hunt in Itasca State park with the gun and last year and this year we have a point restrictions on bucks. They have to have 3 legal points on one side. This is fine for the seasoned adult hunter, but we all talk about how we need to get kids involved more and all I hear and see are more rules. I agree that they are fine for adults but I would recommend that we let non-adults take any deer they want up until their 16th birthday or so. Just my two cents.

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Scoot why don't you gun hunt? I don't think hunters should be tagged just because they choose to hunt one way or the other. I do both and I spend my fair time out in the woods before the gun season hits. We do our deer management on the land we hunt. Last year did the early doe season, but yet SOME bowhunters didn't like that either. And if I have a little 4 point buck walk in front of me and my son on his first year of hunting, you’re darn right there will be lead flung at it. Nobody can tell me what my first year hunter can shoot. That would be a good way to get kids turned off of hunting if they can’t even think of shooting a deer that comes into shooting range. Just wanted to do my venting as well. Just remember bow hunters get 3.5 months to hunt for deer, and in a couple of short weeks we can get back into the stand with piece and quite! Thanks sorry I went all over the place a little hard to follow!

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Hey Scoot im with ya. This weekend ill be finding something else to do to. I gave up rifle hunting about 12 years ago. I hate the attitude of most gun hunters " if its brown its down". I wish our DNR would change some things too. We could have such a nice population of trophy bucks if they would make some changes.

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Marshall,

1) I hear ya regarding hunting with your son. If you get a kid in the woods it'd be great to get them a shot at a deer. And yes, to a young kid ANY deer is a trophy and taking one is the thrill of a lifetime for many. I have no problem with your example at all. In fact, I totally agree with it.

2) Why don't I gun hunt? Well... I gun hunted one time. I shot a very big 11 pointer. I took absolutely no pride in taking that huge buck. In fact, I was ashamed of it. I took the deer totally legally and ethically, but doing what I did when I shot that buck too no skill at all. Anyone could have done what I did.

In fact, I believe more often than not that the greatest challenge of shooting a deer with a gun is related to other deer hunters much more than the deer itself. Mostly, I simply don't think shooting a deer with a gun is much of a challenge.

3) I would very gladly trade you the whole rest of the season for the two weeks each year that fall in the middle of rut. If you want to gun hunt more I'll trade ya- I'll happily take the first two weeks of Nov for bowhunting only. Let me know how your negotiations go with the DNR. grin.gif

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Speaking for myself, I think the DNR does a pretty good job of managing the deer herd.

There are many different types of deer habitat in this state, and the DNR seems to be willing to make some adjustments every year.

We now have over a million animals to show for their work after the dark days of the early sixties and early seventies.

Where I hunt, it is the first year of being in Zone 2 after being in Zone 4 for as long as I can remember. It has gone from a one day season in the mid 1970's to a 9 day season with generous bag limits in areas in 30 years. Not too shabby, IMO.

I am all for seeing bigger bucks too. I think that will evolve eventually too. Look how well accepted catch and release is in fishing now. 30 years ago you saw a lot of big, dead fish on stringer shots. Not so much of that any longer - lots of nice catch and release shots. These things take time. I have no big problem with someone keeping a trophy fis if that is legal - that is a very personal decision.

I have a bit of a problem with the "Need more big bucks" at times. Sometimes, it can come off as a bit elitist or preachy. Any legal buck is fine IMO if that is what a person wants to shoot.

I think QDM is a good idea on a local basis, but from what I have read, it could mean much smaller densities of deer if it were to become state policy.

Looking in the rear view mirror of my deer hunting years, I think the DNR has done a terriffic job.

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I would love to have the rut during bow only season just as much as the next guy. But the one thing that is left out of the debate is the money. The State is not going to give up the millions of dollars that hunting generates.

If you move the gun season up, bow hunters will be upset that all the "good deer" are killed before the rut hits. In corn country (a majority of the state), the farmers will still be harvesting and not hunting. More corn means lower harvest. Plus you bump into duck/goose/phesant seasons.

If you move the season back a few weeks, it is colder, and would probably bring less hunters out. I would guess, with the reduction in rut-generated movement, it would be harder to take a deer in the north woods.

I would love to bow hunt in peace during the rut. I just don't see anything happening. So I pick up a gun and get out there with everyone else.

Just my two cents.

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I gun hunt and bow hunt. I agree with you and disagree with you. I hate it when the shotgun season starts because it does mean that many of the big bucks that I see get shot (at). However, every year I see large bucks, every year I pass on the little ones. Thats all you can do try and do your part, it will help. Not every deer that you pass up is going to get shot.

As for gun hunting, your personal opinion is respected but not agreed with. I still get shaky and weak kneed weather I have a gun or a bow in my hand. Thats the thrill of the hunt. Thats why we do it, to be with nature. Not everybody walks out of their door shoots a couple of slugs and then walks out opening morning and shoots a big buck. There are some, but there are just as many that hunt ducks and geese and then hunt deer. Don't take this the wrong way but your opinions make us archery hunters sound snobbish and that if you don't shoot a deer with a bow, than you shouldn't shoot one, or that you are not a true hunter, know what I mean. Again, nothing in this post is said to be snotty. I truly understand the anxiety that a bow hunter feels when they have put in countless hours after a buck and haven't sealed the deal yet, and the gun opener is just around the corner. Tick, tick, tick, thats the time you have left to get that buck ticking away. I hear the same thing. I go second season and never see a buck.

Remember, without the gun hunters, there would be massive overpopulation resulting in disease and starvation. We all have to do our part as sportsman.

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You can always cross the border and hunt - I'd be very upset as well with a gun hunt during the rut and am glad WI has a later gun season. No doubt MN would kick out more big bucks if gun season was held later in the year. Later.

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I would like it moved back and lengthened (sp?) I hate the two day hunt we have in shotgun zone. I would rather have to put more time in and be able to take the blizzard factor out. Most of the firearms hunters would hunt opening weekend and be done, the DNR gets the pile of cash and the people that want to work harder can still get out. Of course I decided I would be bow hunting next year so maybe I'll change my mind....

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I think the main point of this thread is the timing in which the firearm season comes year in and year out. I used to go all the time just to have fun with the crew. Over the years this now means nothing to me as I do not see much sport in deer "chasing". At the same time I will not knock anyone that chooses to participate in the firearms season. The laws are what they are and everyone has the right to participate as they see fit, as long as they abide by the laws. You tell me, what sport out there will the general public not exploit the game/fish to the full extent that the law allows? I do think the DNR does a fine job with all they are up against. That does not mean in my own selfish sort of way that I wouldn't like seasons to be adjusted. Unless you have tons of time to spend in the field, it takes a good long time to finally pattern a quality buck only to have him taken at his most vulnerable time "the rut" by a firearm hunter. For that reason I would love to see the firearm season pushed back a couple of weeks until after the peak rut has passed. But the laws are what they are and I wish everyone the best of luck in however they choose to hunt.

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Pushing back the firearms wouldn't bother me either. The problem is if you hunt second season, It would more than likely be in December. Part of the draw about going second season is the long week with thanksgiving. If you were to try and have one season in the south, you would have a lot of hunters in at once. Dangerous but again, I have no solution to the problem. I'd love another week to bow hunt without interuption.

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I'm sorry you feel that way, Scoot. I was a religious bow hunter for some years and I've been a gun hunter for 20 years. I've never, ever had the frustrations you have. We have a right to hunt, and hunt with the scope of the laws and rules the DNR sets.

In the early 1970's I recall a year or two there was NO deer season. Not many deer in the state. Today, the DNR is allowing people to harvest up to 5 a year. Something must be going in the right direction....

I've shot 3 deer with my gun in 20 years. My first deer, a 4 pointer...another forker in WI and a 9 pointer six years ago.

I pass small bucks every year, I don't take risky shots and I just would rather wait out the big boy if I have to. I like hunting and ending the season without a deer is no big deal. I am not doing my part for doe management, but I personally can't shoot a doe. It makes me feel like you using a gun on a deer.. So, I guess I don't fall into the all part of "complete lack of deer management I see year in and year out by all the gun hunters."

There are ways you can have a paradise of your own to manage. wink.gif Like Gissert said, it's kinda like catch and release. It takes time and it may grow on more hunters...I know it did for me. I also see more and more signs on private property advertising quality deer management.

Looking at the history of what the (MN) DNR has done for many, many years works, but that's me. grin.gif

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Gissert, in general I totally agree. I didn't mean to sound as if I was trying to start a "DNR = bad" kinda thing. I agree that in general, they do a pretty dang good job.

96, well said and I appreciate your comments and the approrpiateness of your response. A couple things I thought of when I read your post- first, I don't mean to make bowhunters sound snobbish or elitist. I was speaking for myself and don't pretend to represent bowhunters as a whole. Importantly though, I don't mean to personally sound snobbish or elitist. In fact, I think you'd be very hard pressed to find anyone who knows me who would use those terms to describe me. I'm a small town guy who thinks pretty small and is basically an average joe. I was simply venting the frustrations and annoyances that I experience each year.

Also, I understand enough about stereotypes to get the fact that there are slob bowhunters and there are also very excellent, well deer-educated gun hunters. Still, my frustrations are real and I think are not terribly uncommon. I just wanted to test the waters and see how others felt about this.

My appologies if I came across as stuck up or snobbish. I don't mean to represent myself or bowhunters that way. Maybe I'm just a little grumpy and persnickity- I tend to get that way this time of year...

ChuckN, I totally respect the way you describe your hunting. However, the big difference is that with catch and release in fishing you actually get the catch. In hunting, there's really no parallel. If you don't bag the animal, there's always the "you woulda missed anyway" response. I simply don't see it catching on like catch and release has in fishing. I hope you're right and I'm wrong though. Also, yes, I'm very aware of the "thin years" regarding deer. As I mentioned above, overall I think the DNR does a wonderful job. I totally appreciate the work they do and generally think they do it really well. They're not perfect, but none of us would be if we had that job either. Again, not trying to send out negative vibes about the DNR. I have almost completely positive mojo for them!!!

Cooter- yes, I went off typing about "earlier" when I was thinking about "later". Good catch and correction.

BTW, great discussion here! Thanks to all for keeping things civil and respectful. This one could easily become a bunch of people slinging mud and that's definitely not what I was trying to start. Keep the good discussion going!

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You can always use other hunters to your advantage as well yet still be able to spend time in the field bow hunting.

Find yourself a spot on a fence line near a lone tree out in the middle of nothing ='s a bow hunters dream come true

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Again, I'd have to agree with the "use the gun hunters to your advantage" philosophy. I love bowhunting and its pretty much the only way I'll hunt deer right now so I make lemonade out of lemons as some would say. Lots of pressure equals more deer moving equals more opportunities - gun or bow. Go where the gun hunters can't or won't and you may be rewarded. You may not be.

Even though I don't gun hunt I still like seeing the gun hunters get out there all excited. Its a great time of the year. Especially deer camps.

Last year, my neighbor downed a doe a few hundred yards away from me with his shotgun opening morning. About ten minutes later I downed one with my bow. No huge bucks, but we both got to hunt. It was a good morning.

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this is my MOST favorite time of the year!! grin.gif

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I feel the pain of the gun season coming too. I have a big one lined up, but only get Thurs and Friday to go after him, then i have to hope no one gets him with the rifle, unless i get permission to rifle hunt it. I would rather get him with the bow, but he is very impressive so either way is fine. I have spent many days out and after and almost had it click last Tues night but he followed another trail. So maybe Thur or Friday. It just seems that every year i need another couple days to bowhunt before rifle season starts, maybe we should have it in early October during the lull time, thats fine with me, being our group just scares them around anyway.

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Scoot,

I was not suggesting catch and release hunting..

I was making a comparison to fishing in today's world...CPR is becoming more popular, and maybe over time more deer hunters will pass (meaning NOT shoot grin.gif) on small bucks to have more trophy class deer roam the woods. wink.gif I know more and more hunters that pass on small deer when they used to have the meat-in-freezer mentality.

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Scoot, I didn't think you meant to sound snobbish, but most of us on this forum are bowhunters, you might get different response from the guys in the deer forum. I haven't gotten my buck yet and I know that my time is running out. I understand the use the gun season to your advantage philosophy and that may work for the first day or two, but after that, its really slow in my area. The big ones go nocturnal. I've shot one buck in my life and I was pretty young, it was a little six pointer and to this day was my favorite deer. I constantly pass on small bucks with the bow and arrow. I just hope that some of them can make it through November (sorry Merle), and that I can get another crack at them next year. What it comes down to is that I understand what your saying about the gun season, I just keep seeing the bucks that I have been seeing (my bucks) getting shot by someone else. I know it's selfish but thats the way a person feels after putting in so much time. I just wanted to make the point that gun hunters have just as much right as bow hunters, and that I use the same ethics with a shotgun that I do with a bow. However, I use my shotgun to help thin the doe population. Without that, I really think that we could eventually get an overpopulation problem in Minnesota. I still pass on small bucks during the gun season. Some year, its going to pay off for us.

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"I understand the use the gun season to your advantage philosophy and that may work for the first day or two, but after that, its really slow in my area."

Ditto, which is why this next weekend is a crapshoot for me. Either I'm gonna see a lot of movement to my advantage or nothing and then it's a long row to hoe until Dec. 31. It's hard to see anything after the opening weekend of gun season in my area during daylight hours and deer don't come through daily, they come through every few days at best when there is snow on the ground. I was just trying to be optimistic.

On a related note, my Saturday hunt is going to be cut short at Noon because I have to babysit and my Sunday hunt is going to be very shortened due to church activities that I am "required" to attend. What's the big deal my wife intially asked, you still have nearly two months to hunt after this weekend. I explained all of the above to her and then asked her how she'd feel if her girlfriends had a big trip planned somewhere and I told her she could go, but only for a few hours on the first day and then she had to come back while everyone else had fun and caught up on old times. She actually understood how I felt when I positioned it that way. : )

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