January 3rd, 2012, 01:41 PM
Was this one of the worst deer hunting seasons ever?
First off, getting a deer does not make a season, although it helps. It's the opportunity, not the outcome. Also, this isn't every area. Some places maybe doing better then they ever have.
However, for seeing and harvesting deer, was this one of your worst seasons ever in your opinion?
Why do you think there is the decline in deer and harvest numbers?
Some may say, "Well, I got 3 deer." However, what are the guys you've talked to saying? Are they saying it was a good or bad season?
I've noticed a definite decline in the last 10 years. When I was in my last years of highschool and hunted you would hear gun shots almost all day, every day of gun opener in MN and on the way back home on Sunday you would see nearly a deer in the back of every truck. This year we heard 3.....3 shots only on Saturday and like 5 on Sunday. On the way home on Sunday we did not see 1 deer in the back of a truck. Not 1. It's slowly gotten like this since 1999.
I've spoke with hunters in Northern, Central, and Southern, MN and they say it's been getting worse and worse with this year being one of the worst. A friend on the North Shore who has shot many monster bucks said this year was the worst he's seen in the last 40 years. We also hunted Wisconsin and were told it was horrible there too by some hunters.
People say it's a lot of things and a combination of all of these: woods getting older, predators (wolves/coyotes), and urbanization. I think I've got to add one more thing, "over-harvesting" by hunters. Perhaps we are killing too many deer in certain areas, especially does. If this is the case hunters are their own worst enemy. Just because we can kill 5 anterless deer doesn't mean we should.
I know the DNR Harvest numbers in a lot of states are proving that deer kill numbers are far lower then last year and last year wasn't a great year either.
January 3rd, 2012, 01:42 PM
It was one of the worst years Ive seen in a while. I did connect with a decent buck but overall it was a tough season in my parts.
January 3rd, 2012, 01:43 PM
Here in southern NY, I would say my worst year by far. I have been hunting for 34 years!!
January 3rd, 2012, 01:44 PM
It was my personal worst year I can rememember in the last 23 years. I am sure that I made plenty of mistakes this season, but that being said I was as careful and did as much homework as I have ever done in my hunting life and my results were simply poor. It was that I just wasn't getting shots, but I wasn't even seeing deer or even sign of deer. As was said "harvesting a deer" certainly does not make a season for me, but sitting for hours and hours and scouting for hours and hours and simply not seeing deer makes it very discouraging for sure.
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January 3rd, 2012, 01:47 PM
In more then 35 years of hunting them by far the worst season ever for just seeing a deer.
January 3rd, 2012, 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by Briar
Agree. It wasn't like I was seeing deer.......was out for nearly 45 days and shot the only deer that was shootable. 1 deer.....in 45 days of hunting.
Used to see dozens on opening weekend alone. (Obviously didn't shoot them all. lol)
January 3rd, 2012, 01:51 PM
My deer take was good, but it was SLOW and sightings were virtually non existent from November 12-December 12. Rifle season was just barren of deer.
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January 3rd, 2012, 01:52 PM
I know for a fact in my part of western MN, the regional wildlife manager said the numbers have been down over the last few years because of that all season license they used to sell. The one where you'd get 1 buck tag with 2 doe tags. He said the muzzleloaders were killing too many antlerless deer in my area using those tags.
Originally Posted by hedp
January 3rd, 2012, 01:52 PM
This was my first year in quite awhile to not harvest a deer. Only saw one shooter buck that was in range. Didn't have the shot angle. I don't think, overall, that the deer population is down or otherwise diminshed from previous years in this area.
January 3rd, 2012, 01:54 PM
Saw doe at a distance almost everytime I was in the field but by far my worst year the only bucks I saw were on my trip to ohio and I hunt 3-5 days a week from september till now!
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January 3rd, 2012, 01:54 PM
Worst year in history here in MA as many claim, numbers are insanely low, as there is no food in the woods for the deer.
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January 3rd, 2012, 01:56 PM
Originally Posted by reflex shooter
Muzzle loaders, wow, didn't think of that.
My group got 1 deer last year with rifle but got 7 with muzzle loaders. Our first year muzzle loader hunting.
January 3rd, 2012, 01:58 PM
not a great season.....plenty of deer in different places and on different patterns, guess some of you need to learn to change it up when the going gets tuff!
January 3rd, 2012, 01:59 PM
I saw more deer than ever, this year.
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January 3rd, 2012, 01:59 PM
I shot 1 buck and 1 doe. So an average harvest, but I would say hunting was much more difficult this year than the previous few. I thought the way the weather played out this year, it made "normal" deer movement much different. I can't say numbers are down...I saw a ton of deer the during October. I would say that the late season (all of december) the deer were noctournal, and more so than normal due to the weather and moon cycles.
Usually the last week of the year I can go out just about any morning and evening and see groups of deer in the plots during legal hours. Last week I had 100+ pictures in one section of food plot of many deer feeding. Only 2 pictures were during daylight. 95% of the pictures were from midnight-4am. I blame the 40+ degree days and no snow! There were still plenty of deer around, just not during daylight.
Trail cameras help explain a lot...
Usually I plan my "meat" harvest for muzzleloader/late bow season. They are usually grouped up, and regularly hit the plots at night/morning, and its cold enough to let them hang. This year I should have taken my does the first 2 weeks of October when I had them walking past every 20 minutes... Oh well. Next year.
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January 3rd, 2012, 02:05 PM
i saw great movement early and killed a doe on sept. 30 and my 156" brute on nov. 5. until then the year was great and getting betting though we did have unseasonable warm weather at that point. however, from the 10th on the weather got very weird and we saw deer movement slow. our rifle season was INCREDIBLY windy and warm. 20 mph sustained winds with gusts in the mid 40 and temps in the 60s. it was the first time in 6 years at my buddys farm where no one shot a deer with a rifle. then the weird weather continued. where im at in MO we have not seen a hint of snow. weather sucked for duck hunting too! on Christmas we had a high of 59 degrees. 3 days ago it was 55 degrees. yesterday was gusty and 35....today i woke up to a calm day and 10 degrees outside. we are supposed to be back to 50 by the end of the week. so for me early season was great with lots of deer seen but as soon as i shot my buck and gun season started the weather went nuts and slowed movement. I still think this will be my best season, despite the awful weather, because its going to be hard to top a 156" MO 12 point with a bow.
January 3rd, 2012, 02:09 PM
good point here. i agree, i dont think populations are down by any means (in some places they are up because of low harvests) but just weird weather caused changing patterns and less opportunities for hunters.
Originally Posted by Roskoes
January 3rd, 2012, 02:11 PM
In the olden days if I went a couple of days or so without seeing a deer I would get to thinking what a sorry hunter I must be. Now I can go a couple of weeks and not see hide nor hair of a deer and know for a fact I am a sorry hunter.
January 3rd, 2012, 02:14 PM
Originally Posted by deerhunter101
The weather and moon phases made it a combination for hunting this year, but how does that explain the last 10 years?
January 3rd, 2012, 02:18 PM
Was fine for me. Weather wasnt cooperative and full moon at gun opener didnt help but i harvested plenty and my late season sightings are looking better than ever.
January 3rd, 2012, 02:23 PM
Worst for seeing deer for me since 1969 and I got to hunt almost everyday this year, unlike 3 days in '69. Public land is way down in #s. Seems like in the last 3 years the population has been cut in half each year. 1 fawn with 4 mature doe at the beginning of fall bow tells me we have a coyote, bear, and bobcat problem. Unlimited doe and baiting adds to it.
I can count the bucks I saw all year on one hand. I saw 3 small bucks a few times in the same spot, and got a descent 104" 8pt, and saw one other. The rubs and scrapes are less than a quarter of what they were a few years ago. Got to look hard for them and they don't get worked like they use to, maybe because the competition isn't there. Yea, it was a bad year for me. Anyone I've talked to says the same.
January 3rd, 2012, 02:26 PM
Best season ever, whether just fortunate or a trend I don't know but my sightings were double what they were the last two seasons and I saw and arrowed the largest whitetail I have ever had the good fortune of encountering.
January 3rd, 2012, 02:27 PM
It was pretty bad, I think more tags are being handed out then our deer and turkey numbers can handle anymore.
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January 3rd, 2012, 02:28 PM
Worst year ever here in central WI...some people had success, but overall the lowest sightings of deer in my 30yrs of bow and gun hunting! I really feel bad for my kids who are starting to think that hunting is a waste of time! I do everything I can to keep them excited, but lets get real....they do have the ability to reason, and think independently, and they are not enjoying seeing nothing!
January 3rd, 2012, 02:29 PM
I am not complaining. This was one of my best years ever. I did not see anything above 3.5 years from stand but saw deer on all but 1 hunt. I called in many deer this fall. No buck rode home with me though.
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