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Old December 30, 2013, 01:39 PM   #1
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What is big game hunting like in your area?

What I am meaning by this question is what are the chances of you filling your tags by the end of the season? I ask this because here in my part of Tennessee if you don't have at least one buck by the end of the season you are having pretty awful luck and if you don't at least get a doe you've failed in some way. At the same time, I know a guy that moved here from Oregon and he told me that it wasn't that surprising in the part of the state he lived in to go a couple years without ever filling a single big game tag of any species. That is just mind-blowing to me. So, how is hunting in your area?
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Old December 30, 2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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In Northern California if you hunt deer in areas that you are pretty much guaranteed to draw a tag for, success rates hover right around 10-15%. My oldest son killed his first buck year before last, his forth year of hunting. Our biggest problem here, in my opinion, is the buck to doe ratio. Typically we'll see 30-50 doe's/small spikes (not legal to shoot here) for every legal buck.
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Old December 30, 2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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On private property it is more like grocery shopping than hunting. Pick one out and pull the trigger. In the Northern part or GA antler size is not huge. Farther south in the agricultural areas they grow some big ones.

Public land hunting is tough. If you get out and work hard most years it is possible to get one, but not always. This year was a total bust for me. I had a chance to hunt a few days in October before the rut started but some health concerns with family members has forced me to stay home since then. Maybe next year.
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Old December 30, 2013, 04:21 PM   #4
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I'm most familiar with Utah's success rates. Success rates vary, but....
Elk hunters average 8% to 13% success across the state (roughly one tag filled every 9 years). Some units are terrible (1-3% success), while some units are almost guaranteed (90-98% success). It's not really surprising. Hunting Elk is a lot more work than hunting Deer. So, you get a lot of aspirational deer hunters that buy an Elk tag, only to give up after an uneventful opening weekend and never hunt Elk again ("it's too hard" ).
Deer hunters average 30% success.
Antelope hunters average 60%+ success, but there aren't many tags issued.

Antlerless hunts have better success rates than the antlered hunts above; but there aren't many Antlerless Deer tags given out, and there are very few Antlerless Pronghorn tags issued (less than about a dozen in the whole state, in most years).
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Old December 30, 2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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Ohio is pretty good, I've killed a buck every year since 98' and countless doe in between.

That being said, I'm a firm believer that 10% of the hunters kill 80% of the deer. Many go years without killing anything for one reason or another.
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Old December 30, 2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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If you are in the flat farming regions of Ohio you have pretty goot odds. I have taken at least one deer a year for the last 3 years hunting in central Ohio. The biggest challenge is getting access to land to hunt and getting the deer in the right spot. My current spot is only 50 acres and bordered by lots of 5 acre lots where I don't have permission. I routinely see deer that are just across a property line making them off limits. Pretty much the whole county is divided this way so you have to pick your shots.

If you get down into the hills of southern ohio the number of deer per square mile seems to shrink significantly. Its mostly hardwood forests with smaller patches of farm ground so the deer are harder to find and usually smaller (on average, there are still monsters hiding out there)from what I have seen.
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Old December 30, 2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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Like most states public land is a little tougher to hunt then private. I hunted Wayne National Forest for almost 30 years. I took my fair share of deer during that time. Did I take one every year, no I didn't. I would say my average was one every three years. You also have to take into consideration that there are some years that you pass up deer for one reason or another. For instance I have no problem shoot a doe, but I do have a size limit on them. I also started hunting with a pistol about 15 years ago. That means I select my shots very carefully and pass up a few opportunities.

These days I hunt on private land. It is about 100 acres in the Central Ohio area. My odds have improved and the bucks are bigger. Then again I am not sharing the area with thousands of hunters and I don't have to find that perfect spot in a 250 thousand acres area.

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Old December 30, 2013, 07:53 PM   #8
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As for the 200 acers I hunt, I've harvested on average 1-1/2 bucks for the last eigt years. About 6-8 people hunt the land, Myself and one other fellow
harvest most of the deer.

Florida is a different kind of hunting,, We don't bait but the 1000 + acers next to us do. Most of the deer I harvested was eating corn.

The deer are alot smaller, I let little bucks walk, While the club around us don't. They shoot anything leagal

The woods are a sortment of pines, pounds (Cypress) & a few oaks.
I've seen deer walk right by two other hunters, they never saw em.
Takes a little skill to hunt here not mutch ; )
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:48 PM   #9
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Elk, deer and antelope, they're all in the freeze. Don't know what more I could ask for.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:01 PM   #10
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Deer (mule) I get about 80% of the years. Many times in the first day. It seems like if you dont get them opening day your chances are pretty slim.

Elk is a lot more scares. I have hunted many times but only gotten 3. All 3 where before the wolves came to Idaho. I have not gotten an elk since then.

I wish there where Elk when I hunt deer (my back yard) Our elk hunting is done in the Lolo hunting area of Idaho. It is one of the hardest hit areas of Idaho by wolves.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:40 PM   #11
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Where I hunt I've only been skunked 3-4 times in 46 years. I also own the parcel of land I and my son hunt. Here's how I went about it. I got a hold of a County Plat Book looked up the land parcel I was interested in. I then contacted its owner and asked if he was thinking of or willing to sell it. I live in MN and the land owner lived in Oklahoma and as told he never visited or seen the land he owned. He originally bought it 10 years before thru a MN Land Broker (realtor) Anyway. Having land I/we can do things to enhance our hunting chances. Growing grass's and feeding nutrients & grains the deer and other game need to stay healthy year round helps. I guess since my son and I take every Fall. We also put some of our time, talent, and resources back into helping the deer every year. Seems to be working out. I know my neighbors are tickled we do since my property isn't fenced. Anyhow.

What is big game hunting like in your area? >Pretty darn good!!
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Old December 31, 2013, 03:21 AM   #12
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I stopped to pay at a booth coming out of a hospital parking lot recently and was wearing a camo shirt. The old gal that was collecting money asked me if I had killed my deer yet, and proceeded to tell me about a big one her daughter got. That is how it is in this part of the country....people hunt. I think hunting season gets some people out of their hospital beds on opening morning.
I have been getting 3 to 5 whitetails yearly anymore but I normally only keep 2 as I have some older neighbors that can't hunt anymore and I supply them.
After deer season there are always hogs out there too!!
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:18 AM   #13
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The limit here is 6 per person, and the season runs from mid September to Jan 1.
Many years I've had my limit before Thanksgiving.
One shot, one kill
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Old December 31, 2013, 01:42 PM   #14
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Originally posted by Kimber84:

That being said, I'm a firm believer that 10% of the hunters kill 80% of the deer.
I'll take that a tad farther for us here in Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, success ratio for deer hunters runs 20-25%. That generally means 1 outta 5 hunters gets a deer or the average deer hunter gets a deer every 4 or 5 years. But in Wisconsin, 80% of the deer live on 10% of the hunt-able land. 80% of that is private, accessible to only about 10% of the hunters. So those with good areas to hunt, with limited access, get deer every year. Regardless of skill. Those without a good area to hunt or hunt public land may go decades between success. Regardless of skill. Some areas in the state have limitless antlerless tags. Some have very few if any available and are sold out online within 5 minutes of being up for sale. This means if you are picky about your buck and not quick on the draw for antlerless permits, and hunt those areas, your odds of being successful will be limited. Years ago, when access to private land was easy and folks weren't domesticating deer under the premise of "quality" deer management, it was the skilled hunters that came home with a deer every year. Nowadays on many parcels of private land it is more of a shoot than a hunt. Then there are your priorities. Last few years I have passed on bucks that would have been dead and in the back of my truck already. Prefer eatin' does and letting the boys shoot the horns. Used to be in areas where I could shoot more than one, I would and between the kids, the wife and me, we'd eat them all. Now, one fat doe gives the two of us all the meat we need, plus jerky for the grandkids. While my success ratio has declined along with my desire over the years, the quality of my hunts has not diminished.
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Old December 31, 2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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I live in central PA. Unfortunately I do not have private property to hunt on.
While earlier in the year(right before archery season) have seen some really nice deer, on the state game lands where I hunt, during season, it looks like a pumpkin patch!!!
That and the etiquette of other hunters REALLY leaves much to desire!!!
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Old January 1, 2014, 01:15 AM   #16
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it's hit or miss out here. some years I fill my tags some tags I fill nothing. I bagged every animal I hunted this year.

my wolf and couger tags often go unfilled but I never actually hunt for those, they just come in my sportsmans package and if I ever see one I'll fill it.
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old January 1, 2014, 04:14 AM   #17
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I hunt the bigger wooded patches in both PA and WV. When there is a poor acorn crop it can be darn hard to find a deer. The deer get in big herds and head off the mountains into farm areas(Where they get into trouble) and areas with housing developments(Shrubbery). There are always the "Homebodies" that refuse to leave the mountain, but they are few and far between in a bad feed year. Yes, it is easy to go a few years without getting a deer. I guess the amount of time you have to go hunting is a big factor too.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:31 AM   #18
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I primarily hunt on a Military installation and until this year filled both tags yearly. Ate both of my tags this year due to a huge reduction in the deer herd. We are suffering the worst drought on record and it has affected the deer and pig population tremendously. I haven't killed a hog in a year and we've killed as many as 25 in a year in the past. I won't shoot a hog until we get some rain just to keep the pressure off of 'em.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:35 AM   #19
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Deer hunting has always been very successful in CT for me. Not everyone tags out, but I can't remember talking to someone who has put the time in and not gotten atleast a doe. With more and more bear sightings in the area im hoping to have a season for them here within the next ten years.
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Old January 1, 2014, 01:36 PM   #20
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Where I live in Texas we can feed. Opening morning you can limit out shooting from your window or front door opening morning if you want. We can kill 2 does during now season which I have stands 50 yards and 120 yards from house. You can also limit out any day you want. I usually will sit for a couple days and just like watching them. For me its not about killing so much, its more about the memories and experiences. We have until I think the 4 th of this month. I will still sit in my stands for another 2-3 months just watching. I will take all the hogs, coyotes, foxes that come along.
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Old January 1, 2014, 02:19 PM   #21
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Where I Hunt

I live in a suburb 15 minutes south of Boston. We are over run by whitetails. Our state biologist figures 17 to 19 deer per 2 square miles. My town is archery only. There is no discharging a firearm in town limits. We are also over run with lyme disease and the ticks that cause it. But with that said I use a spray bottle of Permethrin insect killer to kill all the ticks that land on my camo. It is the best stuff out there if your in the northeast to help keep you safe. Seeing deer here is no problem. Avoiding them at night with your car is another thing. If your a avid archery hunter there is a need for skills here in south east Massachusetts. "Tight lines and straight shots to all in 14"
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Old January 1, 2014, 02:58 PM   #22
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I live on a 15 acre deer trail, meaning the whole property is nothing but one big deer trail. I fill my tags every year, or at least I fill all the ones I need to to fill the freezer and generally the deer are shot out the kitchen window. My house is the best deer blind I have ever owned.
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Old January 4, 2014, 10:16 AM   #23
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Here in NH I think the hunter success ratio is about 6% maybe 8, you can go days without even seeing a deer. Personally I do pretty well sitting in a tree undetected works well for me. I just seem to have found a really good spot (transition/escape route) some years back and have stuck with it. I do know many hunters that have not tagged out in a number of years.
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Old January 4, 2014, 10:38 AM   #24
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NY is on the down turn, as far as I can tell.

First, DEC management zones are much too large, resulting in one side being infested with deer and the other being nearly empty but the permit are for the whole zone and can be used in either place. That means the guy in the nearly empty part doesn't see hardly any deer and he IS going to shoot the one he does see, meaning even less next year.

Second, the deer take numbers are "estimates" and that's being generous. In truth, they're pulled from some bean counters nether region. DEC has reported record or near record deer takes the last 4 years while nearly every hunter I've talked to from all corners of the state has said that hunting is terrible and some go the whole season without SEEING a deer in places where they used to shoot several a year.

Third, coyote numbers have absolutely exploded the last few years. We now see them in EVERY location that I hunt where I had literally never seen a single one, in my entire life, until about 4 years ago.
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Old January 4, 2014, 10:53 AM   #25
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I moved to Colorado at 13 and that was the first year I could hunt, I never saw an elk, but I got a deer and a Pronghorn. I have two deer tags total I have not filled, one I never went, and the other, I let 6 bucks go on until the next year. Been hunting 33 years and my deer this year was the 101st head of big game I have harvested.

So in 1980, elk tags were hard to get and success rates were about 15% or so. Deer tags were plentiful and you could get a buck and a doe tag, if I recall, success was about 60% for does and 30% for bucks. Pronghorn buck tags were harder to get, but I got 2 doe tags several years. Success was about 80% or so. With two huge winter kills in the late 1980s, then one again in the mid 90s and early 2000s, coupled with the drought the deer and Pronghorn herds were decimated. The unit I hunted in 1981 with 2 deer and 2 Pronghorn tags opened back up for Pronghorn just a few years ago and the deer herds are back too. Over the last 30 years, our elk herd has almost doubled, and I have had 2 elk tags several years in the last 10 or so. This years Buck Pronghorn...I waited 13 years for the the one I wanted at 680 yards. But the success rates are still about 15% elk, 60% deer and 85% Pronghorn.

The key in Colorado is knowing the herds and the habits of the animals in the area you want to hunt. At 21, never having filled an elk tag, I spent 3 weeks in a Wilderness area following, tracking and making notes about elk. I got a 6 point bull that year and only failed to fill 2 elk tags since. That is one reason I tell out of state hunters to go with a guide. The little honey holes are hard to find and the general habits can change yearly based on weather and water in the semi-arid desert we call Colorado. I learned a lot sitting at a campfire with some old hunters from Tennessee who had been hunting the same 3 or 4 spots for 30 years. While they are probably all dead now, they taught me a lot.

My 12 year old turned 12 on November 1 and shot his first deer on November 2. He also got his first elk, at 350 yards, so he is batting 1000 right now. He obviously has the benefit of his Dad's and Grandfather's 33 years of big game hunting, but he also has shot about 7K rounds. He probably has as many rounds through the TC Encore in .308 as most deer hunters shoot their whole life. He has great eyesight and can get into a stable position in about 4 seconds. He knows it is not "easy", but with the right tools, skills and hunting knowledge, tags get filled. Of the 6 or so guys I hunted with in my 20s, only one still hunts, and he has no kids. Makes me proud of my son, but also sad for the future.

The photo of him with his TC in .308 and his cow elk. It was 14F in the photo and was in the single digits a lot of time we were hunting.
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