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ANYFISH2

2016 Deer, thoughts and feelings.

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ANYFISH2

Even though there is still a couple weeks left with archery equipment.  Let's discuss what we took away from this past season.

 

How are deer numbers in your area?

How are buck/doe numbers holding out?

 

If you hunt public, is pressure getting worse or better?

 

What do you hope for next season, limits or Regulation changes?

 

Different opinions are welcome, let's all enjoy the conversation.

 

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AlejandroZappa

Been hunting cass county Chippewa forest for 8 years now.  Never saw a singal deer while hunting until last year.  Both last year and this year have had buck action so it would appear that things are getting better.  Was able to take this beauty during the rut this year. Pressure seems pretty high as always and also heard the most shots of my life on opening day.

IMG_0220.JPG

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ANYFISH2

Nice deer! 

Welcome to FM.

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paceman

I hunt all private. Have access to 4 different properties, but they are mostly pretty small 40-80 acre chunks. I would say the deer levels were the same as last year. Although this year I had way more shooter bucks on cameras then I have ever seen before. Of course 99 percent of those were at night. Even during the prime-time November rut period they were primarily at night, probably because of the warm temps. Late muzzy after the snow and cold the deer were moving like crazy, just no big bucks seen by me. I am pretty sure that most of the big guys I had on camera survived so unless I get lucky with super late archery, next year looks really promising. I am already planning on next year stand adjustments and food plots. I am quite happy with the current regulations and don't see any need to change them.

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ANYFISH2

I guess I didn't give my thoughts.  My bow season was cut a little short this year, however I seen deer every single sit.  That is a rarity for me.  Numbers seemed slightly better this year, more does less mature (ish) bucks though. I hunt 214 with bow.  

Our rifle season was slow for most, but very good in one stand location all season long.  Plenty of deer seen compared to the past.  Very happy really,  considering only one deer harvested for 6 hunters.  I hunt 246 for rifle.  I would be OK with hunters choice here, but kinda like the return of the lottery.

 

Just to expand on why I like the return of the lottery is kind of a contradiction.  Although it seems to put more pressure of bucks in the area, and it is public, I believe that there are more bucks annually seen when this area is lottery.  Be it they still don't seem to grow to maturity in our area, I believe with the limited ANTLERLESS  harvest saves many, many fawn bucks. Leaving more antlered deer for then next season.  We seen way more bucks back in the 90's then we did in the mid 2000's and now see more bucks again since the area went to lottery 3 years ago.  Now I am no trophy hunter, but I do enjoy seeing antlered deer.

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monstermoose78

Deer numbers in 126 were down for us. We ended up with 3 bucks 1 nice 8 pointer,  2 year old 8 pointer, 1 nice doe, and 4 pointer year old buck. Most years I would not have shot the little 8 pointer but we all wanted some venison.  I seen 2 deer for the week I was hunting a doe with the little buck behind her. My brother also only seen 2 deer a doe and his nice 8 pointer following. Otherwise the deer seen were shot. That was for 12 guys

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Wanderer

I thought the season was OK.  For the little effort I put into deer hunting this year, I saw 13, with 3 being 8 point bucks.

 

This was through the first hunt at Ripley, zone 172 rifle, and a couple days of knocking around Little Falls with the muzzleloader.

 

I would've tried harder but between ducks, buying a side of beef and the kids bringing 3 deer home, I wasn't feeling too pressed.

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ESSGuy

Zone 183, only one wolf seen this year which is better than the 6 last year. Group of 6 and we saw a total of 10 bucks, 9 of those were spikes to forks, one good buck but no shot on him. Only one got turned into family sized portions so the future looks better than the past 5 yrs or so. Not many does seen this year, not sure what was going on there.

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CANOPY SAM

First year of a small deer lease partnership for me and my sons north of TRF, MN.  We had a bumper crop of soybeans on our tillable acreage and left about 3/4 of an acre standing for the critters.  We had amazing deer numbers.  Opening day of Regular Firearms season I had at least 25 does and fawns all around me when a very respectable heavy 8-pointer bounded out into the field.  My eldest son had to work that evening, and I really wanted to have him get an opportunity at this buck, so I let this guy walk.  Hard to watch a 200+ lb. tall, heavy 8-pointer walk away, but I really felt we'd see him again.  That was a mistake. :)

 

We hunted at least 10-12 more days (between rifle and muzzleloader) and never saw that buck again.  Interestingly, he IS still out there!  My lease partner saw him again late during the Muzzy season, but his gun hang fired and he missed his chance.

 

Overall, deer numbers were very good in our area, but we had numerous issues going against us.

 

1)  The weather.  I honestly can't recall a regular firearms season with more pleasant (not good deer hunting) weather!  We had a few short-lived snow squalls roll thru, but the temps were such that the snow was gone again within hours of falling.  Most days were MUCH too warm, and pleasant to get the deer on their feet.  I know we had several mature bucks in our section (lottery zone in which we only had buck tags), but I sincerely believe these animals were primarily nocturnal with no cold, inclement weather to get them moving.

 

2)  Moon phase.  The combination of clear blue skies, unseasonably nice weather, and a bright, nearly full moon for many nights, resulted in the majority of our mature deer moving almost exclusively at night.  Saw virtually the same thing right on thru much of the muzzleloader season as well.  Does and fawns were coming out to our fields at expected times, but even the stands we have back in the woods were absent of any buck movement during daylight hours.

 

3)  Regional crop harvest.  In our area the vast majority of crops had been harvested, and the fields had been turned black before opening weekend!  To our detriment, we had two standing corn fields to the southwest of our hunting property that remained unharvested until AFTER the muzzleloader season was done.  These were the ONLY unharvested fields for many miles around, and I'm certain that MANY deer remained inside those standing corn fields throughout our deer hunting seasons, or they simply remained deep in our woods until well after dark, then walked over to these corn fields at night.  We did have deer in our beans...until they'd eaten them all.  Lesson learned?  We need more SALAD in our food plots that last LATE into the year.  It was fascinating to watch the animals on our property feed into the evenings.  MOST were eating the scant "greens" they could find on the field edges, rather than heading for our beans.  We've already broken ground for next year's food plot planting to include Rape, Turnips, Clover, and possibly young Oats!

 

4)  The rut.  I don't know what you saw out there this year, but I'm not entirely sure we had much of a "rut" this year in our area?  That one nice buck I let walk on opening day was pretty fired up, and cruising for a hot doe, but other than him I really didn't see anything that looked like definitive rut activity. Even the scrapes I found on our property were pretty weak.  I did plenty of rattling and grunting at key times, but to absolutely NO avail!  Didn't even call in any young guys looking for a fight, and there were a handful of spikes and forks around.   Might just be me, but I really think the warm weather, and bright moon may have resulted in the majority of rut activity happening well after dark.  Either that, or I was just NOT in the right place, at the right time.

 

5) Hunting pressure.  Probably about where it usually stands in our area.  Way TOO many road hunters!  The neighbors we have adjacent to our hunting lease seem to have NO IDEA what they are doing?  They drive their vehicles across the field, right up to the edge of the woods, park, spend 30 minutes getting ready, making noise, repeatedly slamming car doors, scenting up the whole area, then proceed to walk 100-200 yds into their stands.  And they wonder why they aren't seeing deer? :)  The fact that they leave their vehicles parked right on the edge of the woods, rather than across the field from the woods, definitely has a negative effect on OUR hunting as well.  Any wily, mature deer that come out to our fields can immediately see their vehicles parked alongside the wood's edge 1/4 away, and they typically run right back into the woods until just before dark.  We fully intend to strategically set our "field" stands back into the wood's edge a bit for next season....hopefully catching those more mature deer BEFORE they walk out into the open, and are immediately spooked back in by the neighbor's presence.;) 

 

There were surprisingly FEW shots heard in our area this year, despite seeing plenty of hunters around.  I suspect, based on our experience, the few shots we did hear were people getting desperate, and shooting pretty much anything they saw.  This is the first year, in MANY years, that we did not hang a single deer in our garage.  That's okay.  It's also our first year on this lease.  It's a GREAT spot, and I know we will have great success, with a little work, in the coming years.  Probably going to have to have a conversation with our neighbors as well. ;)

 

A number of things conspired to make our deer hunt challenging this year.  I tend to look at the "silver lining" in this.  Most of the animals on, or around our property will live to see another hunting season.  Our "mature" bucks will have ANOTHER year to grow, and put on more impressive racks next year!  Our deer numbers are very good now, and if this winter isn't too hard on them we should see even better numbers next year!  I LOVE White-tailed deer, AND deer hunting!  I had the great pleasure of watching MANY deer EVERY time I was in the stand this year!  Personally, I can't find a reason to complain about that.... 

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ANYFISH2

Nice recap, thanks canopy Sam.

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CANOPY SAM

You're always welcome, ANYFISH2.  I enjoy writing, and sharing thoughts and observations.  Always have.  My only hope is that my experiences, and sharing them with others, will eventually help others have more success on the water, or in the field, however they might quantify "success".

 

I've always enjoyed seeing other people "do well" at hunting or fishing, particularly if something I've taught them, or shared with them has somehow positively impacted their success.  There's plenty out there for all of us.  I don't hoard the important intell.  I'm just not real thrilled when my advice starts working really well for others I'm with, but it's STILL NOT working for me!!!! ;)

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ozzie

Well as for my season it was decent as I saw deer most every sit.  Season was exciting white the corn field was cut and not chisel plowed.  I saw plenty of doe and know there are a few decent bucks still out in the area.  The only negative that came about is a person bought a house just south of our land and he thought he could go anywhere to hunt as "we are all neighbors and need to get along" as he put it!!  We told him as long as he stays on his property we will be great neighbors, but if we see him in camo walking around our land bringing his dad to sit in our stands (also drinking beer in stand) we will have a big problem!!!  I knew something was up on opening weekend when I was pretty sure I saw a car and truck driving in a field that has never had a vehicle in it!  Well we will be prepared next year for this joker so he doesn't mess up our hunts in the future!  Other than that got the big buck down and we are on to working on the land to have better opportunities next year!  Have a happy new year to all!!!

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