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ANYFISH2

Deer Opinions

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ANYFISH2

Now that our firearms season is over, I have heard various comments of how our deer herd and overall season has gone.

 

My personal observations have been that I was slighted by the deer this year! Through bow season to date and firearms I have seen a total of 12 deer from stand this year. 4 antlerless deer and 8 bucks, none of which I would guess were older than 2 1/2 yrs old.  This has been one of the slowest years for deer sightings I can remember recently.

This development has been a suprise to me, as over the course of the spring and summer the deer in my travels seemed to be very visible and numerous.  I tend to believe that my stand sits were not indicative of the deer population.

 

A complaint I am again hearing, and am sure will continue, is that there are not enough mature bucks.   My goodness, this is getting old.  From what I have seen and read, if the hunters score and register thier deer Minnesota probably produced 5 different deer over 200" this year.  Morrison county has produced 4 deer that have green scored over 170" that I know of!  And have seen pics of numerous deer I would guess would score over 140".   This state produces 100's of trophy sized deer every year.  There will never be enough for everyone to get one!

 

Again wolves have been blamed for poor hunting again.  I had one on camera as well.  I am not one to blame poor hunts on them, so I won't.  Hopefully legislation is passed so the state can get control again.  

 

Hunter numbers seem to be decreasing noticeably since I started hunting.  Not a bad thing for me directly, however, may not be good for the future.

 

What have your observations been?

 

How has your season gone?

 

How is population in your opinion?

 

Anything need fixing in your opinion?

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MJ1657

I have never seen as many deer as I did this season. I had several sits that I had 6-9 deer around me at a time. 

 

We are currently doing our post season buck inventory and things are looking good. 

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monstermoose78

Where I hunt in the extreme eastern part of the arrowhead deer numbers show be low. My group of 7 guys hunted the whole season and saw 5 deer while hunting. A spike buck has been lucky as most have seen him and chose to let him walk. My dad took a 6 pointer that was chasing a doe. It’s not about killing a deer for me it’s about spending time with my family and it was a great year. 

 

The population is where it it should be in the arrowhead. I am excited to see a possible wolf season coming again up there as it’s fun to have a wolf tag in the pocket just in case one slips up and comes out by you. My season was great would I have liked to see a few deer yepbut it was the relaxing I needed and provided me the stress relief I needed.

 

Taking out wolves would help the moose population so that is my stance!!!

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IceHawk

Definitely would give the season a B. We were very fortunate in seeing a good number of deer. I sat a total of 4 sits during gun season and saw a total of 26 deer 6 bucks the rest does and fawns.  We went 4-5 with 3 nice bucks and doe being harvested. Would of easily filled the last tag but my brother is a trophy hunter and is very selective.  Me and my brother practice QDM and have put in a lot of food plots and minerall licks over the years and it has really paid off. . Its a lot of work but the rewards are worth it as I harvested 5 bucks in the last 5 years this year a  Nice 9 point . Looking forward to checking our trail cams soon to take note also  of our buck inventory. 

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eyeguy 54

My 4th year in southern MN. Seams to be normal deer running around where we have been hunting.  We went 3/5. 2 bucks and 1 doe.  

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Wanderer

Area 172 started slow but stayed steady or improved a bit for our group.  I think there were 9 FA hunters and only 1 buck shot the first weekend.  Most everyone saw deer though and let em walk.  

 

Weekend 2 we picked up one more buck.  Deer were still seen but the woods went pretty quiet for shooting.  Mid week another tag was filled, leaving us with 6 to go into this weekend.

 

2 of the 6 were filled yesterday and 2 more filled today.  So, 7/9 didn’t seem too shabby.  6 bucks; 1 doe.

 

I’d say where we were, going to HC this year from permits last year might’ve been premature.  Maybe?  I do know there were hardly any hunters out this last weekend and the harvest was down like everywhere else going into it.  In my travels on public land, sign was poor.  On private it was pretty good.  But our best 4 deer came off public land.

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CANOPY SAM

This is always an interesting topic.

 

I absolutely love Whitetail Deer and Deer Hunting!  I read messages from all over the state and I'm often reminded just how fortunate we've been to live in a high density deer area (Northwest Minnesota).

 

In our particular zone, being primarily agricultural land, it's key to a hunter's success to be on, or very near the food during the regular firearms deer season.  In a "normal" year with reasonably normal early to mid-November weather, if you're on the food source you're covered up in deer.  If you're not, you can have some pretty quiet days in the stand.

 

Last year, and the year before, we had some standing beans on our deer lease.  All thru the bowhunting season, and well into the firearms season, it wasn't unusual at all for us to have 25-35 deer milling around any one of our multiple stand sites.  We had our choice from multiple 2 1/2 yr old bucks, spikes and forks galore, and of course does and fawns constantly making it hard to remain undetected.  There was always at least one real tanker somewhere on the State Land adjacent to our lease, but they usually go entirely nocturnal about 30 seconds after the firearms season starts.

 

This year, for a number of foolish reasons, we didn't have ANY food left on our lease anywhere!  Boy was that a mistake we'll never make again!  We still had a fair number of deer move thru our property, but for obvious reasons they were all headed somewhere else.  Personally, I passed on a couple forkhorns, and a couple mature does, but never did see anything I bothered to put the scope on.

 

My youngest son harvested his first deer ever - a nice 9-point "first" deer for a young hunter.  He's pictured in another thread.  That was the biggest animal any of us saw on our lease.

 

Opinions/observations.... As we are really fortunate compared to many I really can't complain about our deer hunting opportunities.  One of the things that worked against us this year was the weather.  Our weather patterns were like a bad roller coaster ride!  Super cold and windy one night, then really mild and dead calm the next.  Then another couple days of spitting snow, high winds, and frigid temps, only to return to mild and calm.  This made it hard to "pattern" any movement.

 

I'm pretty sure we're seeing an uptick in predator numbers in our area.  I watched fox from the deer stand.  I know there are coyotes in the area, and I saw very large canine tracks on our land, but I can't say for certain if they were a wolf's tracks, or if they were simply the neighbor's dog?  I did note there were noticeably fewer fawns around this year as compared to last year, and the year before.

 

Last winter was a long, tough one in NW MN.  It was VERY cold (double digit subzero temps) for a VERY long time (3-4 weeks straight?), and it just dragged on, and on, late into the spring.  I suspect we likely experienced more winter kill than many of us know.

 

My last observation.  I see this every year, and I sense it's just getting worse with each subsequent season.  There aren't very many people in our area that know how to successfully hunt whitetail deer.  This year I actually watched a neighbor drive INTO the woods, right to the base of his stand!  Mind you, there isn't any road there!  He just drove across the field to the edge of the treeline, then proceeded to drive right thru the trees and brush to his stand! 

 

Few people pay any heed at all to scent control.  They routinely make more noise than a demolition crew going into and out of their hunting areas.  And when the deer aren't up and moving, again for obvious reasons, most people jump into their vehicles and road hunt all day.  To take a trophy animal in our zone during the regular firearms deer season is almost nothing but LUCK.  It might just be me, but I believe the vast majority of our really big trophy bucks go 100% nocturnal within minutes of the firearms opener.  It's not really hard to see why.

 

But again, I can't complain.  We see lots of deer, and we have lots of opportunities to harvest animals.  I am spoiled by numbers of Whitetail Deer.  Is there such a thing as being too picky when deer hunting? 😄  It will be wonderful to hit the woods again this coming weekend with the muzzleloader.  There will be almost no one else around.  Our zone is a ghost town during the smokepole season.  It's AWESOME!!!!!   ALL the deer are MINE!!! 😆

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gimruis

Minnesota is one of very few states that still allows party hunting.  That rule needs to go.  If you were limited to one and ONLY one buck the entire season, regardless of what weapon or zone you hunted in, or who you hunted with, it would immediately increase the average size of bucks.  If a hunter was going to hunt for days, and he saw a spike or a fork on the first day, I think it would make them think twice about filling their tag right away knowing that they wouldn't be able to shoot another one and fill someone else's tag later on.

 

The House of Representatives recently passed a ruling on removing gray wolves from the endangered species list in the great lakes region.  That's a good first step.  Each state is capable of managing their own wolf population whether that is through a limited, lottery drawn season or whatever.

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monstermoose78

In my deer hunting party you can’t shoot anyone else’s deer any more!! Unless you give them permission to harvest your deer and everyone agreed except one uncle and he is no longer allowed at deer camp! He is not happy but the deer camp is better without him.

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PRO-V

We prefer to each shoot our own deer also at our camp. We have high wolf numbers which makes it challenging. They can really thin down the herd.

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Wanderer
8 hours ago, gimruis said:

Minnesota is one of very few states that still allows party hunting.  That rule needs to go.  If you were limited to one and ONLY one buck the entire season, regardless of what weapon or zone you hunted in, or who you hunted with, it would immediately increase the average size of bucks.  If a hunter was going to hunt for days, and he saw a spike or a fork on the first day, I think it would make them think twice about filling their tag right away knowing that they wouldn't be able to shoot another one and fill someone else's tag later on.

 

I was happy my SIL was rewarded for his efforts in deer hunting this year, but I also kinda wish this buck would’ve escaped getting my daughters tag on it.  She saw it but couldn’t get a shot at it.  He hit it on the run.  Again, happy they got what they were after but this guy had a chance to be really something if he coulda made 1 more day.

 

B0635C0E-BB13-4D4B-A7AB-92B77344F075.jpeg

 

This particular buck was with the 9 pointer he got the week before.

 

We also had a spike that was party tagged on the one drive we did out of the same woods the day before.  

Edited by Wanderer
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leech~~

210 is a great area. We use to hunt south of there and may be moving back next year. Now we hunt in 172 and there are Wolves to be sure. Oddly in our old area which we hunted for about 30 years there were Yotes up the ying yang you would hear them all the time mornings and evenings. Never really saw or heard a Wolf in that area in all those years oddly.  In 172 we see Wolf tracks all the time, had them on trail cams and had them walk right under on both sides of our Bow stands spread out 8 a breast all in a line.

Some years we never saw a Deer but had Wolf tracks on every road and trail in the area. Other years no Wolf tracks at all. This year during stand setup I had Wolf tracks right on my trail in. During the last 3 weeks of hunting I only saw Deer and their tracks. I think what is happening is that the Wolves are pushing the Deer around the forest.  As the Deer move into an area the Wolves follow them and then push them out again. So, by us it's kind of a make or break deal depending on where the Deer and Wolves are at the time.  I too see nothing wrong with party hunting. It's helped fill my freezer with meat a few years and I have been able to help fill some of my buddies freezer with Deer on others. 

Edited by leech~~
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DonkeyHodey

"How has your season gone?"   Not sure if ya'll have seen this--prelim firearm season totals:  This is from the DNR website:  https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mammals/deer/management/deer-harvest.html

 

Of note:  Total deer (2018) 132,633.  Total bucks (2018)  71,763.   Total deer (2017) 146,537.  Total bucks (2017)  79,077.

This confirms the general opinion that harvest numbers are overall down/less than anticipated.  (down ~10% from last year...)

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eyeguy 54

post again when all firearms done, interesting info. 

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Wanderer

At the end of Opening weekend the overall statewide harvest was down roughly 15% from 2017 with all areas showing a reduction.  Results were counter to the expected and predicted increase.

 

So the latest stats show - 10% from 2017 which plays into the scenario the season got better as it went on.  Coincidentally this year started about as early as it legally can and maybe just a little before the peak of the rut, as our season is normally timed for.

 

Yes, the final numbers will be interesting to see.

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PRO-V

We hunt 108 and are overrun by wolves. You can count the number of deer tracks up there. Same thing to the west of us. Once they deplete the deer enough they either starve or move on. Problem is if they have a neighboring pack the fight is on and they have nowhere to go. So we go through these endless cycles between having deer or having wolves. Biologists have determined a wolf can eat 25 deer a year!

Edited by PRO-V
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rayguy

Also hunt 108.   Have seen the success rate drop for the last few years.  Also the number of hunters has really dropped.  Fields in Oct.  we used to see 10-15 deer in now are more like 4-5. On opener my Nephew saw two timbers cross Hwy 217 in broad daylight. You can either have a healthy deer herd or a well fed wolf pack.  We hunt 5 miles W  of Ray.

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Double D

Southern Cass County was pretty good, our party of 6 all saw lots of does and fawns, took 3 good bucks and decided to take 2 does at the end for a little herd control.  Earlier in the fall we routinely saw groups of 30+ deer feeding together.  I think the hunter pressure has gone down during gun season, but I believe the local neighbors said they bow hunt only.

 

I agree with an earlier post about guys not putting effort into the hunts, some guy passing by complained he didn't see any deer by 9:00 opening day, so he said there were no deer and he quit for the day.  Well...….

 

DD 

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DoubleLiver

Imdont hunt mn.   MO and KS populations are good.  

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