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I don't want to add anymore fuel to the fire, but the problem in both of the areas that I frequent in 5C and 5D is NOT deer numbers. I can take anyone out on a ride a dusk and you'd need more than an abacus to count them....problem is, they hang and hold where they are not pressured, which is on ground the hunting public can't get to them. So small acreage landowners like Scott, do what they can on 10-15 acres spaces to make it appealing enough to draw a deer or two over, but to assume those one or two represent the population is simply inaccurate. I can't believe I am about to type this, but just look at the harvest data for those WMUs.....

20-21 data below
WMU 5C: archery, 4,730 antlered (5,810) and 6,890 antlerless (7,410); and muzzleloader, 70 antlered (90) and 810 antlerless (990).
WMU 5D: archery, 2,080 antlered (1,790) and 4,390 antlerless (4,310); and muzzleloader, 20 antlered (10) and 210 antlerless (190).

If you look at the charts, these TOTAL numbers have been relatively steady over the last decade or more....that is despite boundary shifts, tag allocation shifts, and urban sprawl.

It is not about deer disappearing, its about them migrating to places where only a select few can get to them...and before anyone suggests ponying up and buying some ground, I'd suggest they look at the costs to do so in these areas. What you would spend for a 10-15 acre lot in Chester Springss or Glenmoore, would buy you a camp and 35+ acres just 4 hours away.

I agree it always comes down to choices and experiences, however, you have to be able to adapt....some do so by changing their specific hobbies/habits, some buy ground, some lease ground, etc.....if you're not doing any of those, you're likely going to be frustrated!
 

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Right??? Now add 70k doe tags and 5 months of hunting!!! It’s a disaster. Now yes all 70k tags aren’t for this one area but a lot of hunters hit that small piece imagine how many deer will live from that
I could be wrong but my guess is that once the hunting starts,the deer just wise up.My neighbors behind me have a 30 acre field.Most of it's hay with a few acres of corn and 2 or 3 cheesy foodplots,less than an acre.Every single year during the summer I'll see 20+ deer out in that field every night and usually there's a bachelor herd of 8-10 bucks.Two brothers own it,it's the only place they hunt and at least one of them hunt it every day.They have 4 or 5 ladder stands around the field.Once in a while they'll both kill bucks the first week but usually there's a miss or a wound in the mix.Every year without fail,I'll stop seeing deer come into that field after the second week of October.Every day I go down to feed horses and glass the field either first thing in the morning or right before dark.I haven't seen a single deer since Oct.They aren't all dead.In fact,I doubt more than a few are.They just know not to walk into that field during daylight hours.We never hunt anywhere near there until I know they both killed bucks.This year they killed one in rifle season so we never hunted it until the last day of rifle season.My son went out to shoot a doe in the afternoon and hunted about 1/2 mile behind that field and saw 7 different bucks that I pushed out to him.Never did see a doe.
 

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I could be wrong but my guess is that once the hunting starts,the deer just wise up.My neighbors behind me have a 30 acre field.Most of it's hay with a few acres of corn and 2 or 3 cheesy foodplots,less than an acre.Every single year during the summer I'll see 20+ deer out in that field every night and usually there's a bachelor herd of 8-10 bucks.Two brothers own it,it's the only place they hunt and at least one of them hunt it every day.They have 4 or 5 ladder stands around the field.Once in a while they'll both kill bucks the first week but usually there's a miss or a wound in the mix.Every year without fail,I'll stop seeing deer come into that field after the second week of October.Every day I go down to feed horses and glass the field either first thing in the morning or right before dark.I haven't seen a single deer since Oct.They aren't all dead.In fact,I doubt more than a few are.They just know not to walk into that field during daylight hours.We never hunt anywhere near there until I know they both killed bucks.This year they killed one in rifle season so we never hunted it until the last day of rifle season.My son went out to shoot a doe in the afternoon and hunted about 1/2 mile behind that field and saw 7 different bucks that I pushed out to him.Never did see a doe.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Like I said earlier, I have put trail cameras out on these game lands in August and once the calendar hit September 1 and the shotguns start popping for dove season, pictures go way down, and ones you do get are at night
 

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I don't believe the deer even leave,unless they found a better food source and that happens constantly.I don't care how good of a hunter anyone thinks they are,if the deer don't want to be seen,you'll have plenty of slow days.We wouldn't see a fraction of the deer we see if it wasn't for knowing the areas we hunt and how to push them out.Sometimes that doesn't even work.
 

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Feel sorry for the good guys that are stuck “hunting” a location like that. They like their game birds the same way they do their mozzarella sticks, shaken out of a box.
That’s the thing, they aren’t “stuck”. they might not be able to do it every day after work but a short drive a couple hours in any direction in PA and your in some good woods.. better than 12 trucks on 100 acres anyway
 

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I wish it was not 4 1/2 hours away, but the northern tier is my hunting oasis. As long as I am hunting and physically able, I will always make getting up there a priority.
 

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I wouldn't.I have too much crap going on at home at all times.Traveling to hunt would be too much of a chore.I try to make it back home to hunt with my brother every year.It's a 3.5 hour drive and I cringe at the thought.It's a rush to get there the night before and it's a rush to get back.We didn't even go the last two years and coming back with several deer is as close to a guarantee as you'll get.
 

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I wouldn't.I have too much crap going on at home at all times.Traveling to hunt would be too much of a chore.I try to make it back home to hunt with my brother every year.It's a 3.5 hour drive and I cringe at the thought.It's a rush to get there the night before and it's a rush to get back.We didn't even go the last two years and coming back with several deer is as close to a guarantee as you'll get.
The drive being a negative to some is an opportunity to decompress for others. I enjoy the ride up.....just knowing where I'm going and knowing that the entire time spent in the woods is about the hunt overrides the time spent traveling.

The ride back home.......don't enjoy that as much....... because the trip is over until the next one. Being in Potter and around a different pace of living at 8am and then back home in SE PA 4.5 hours later is a little bit of a shock to the system.
 

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The drive to Missouri 929 miles and 14 hours is awesome!! The ride home… blah.. just get home..

this year we left Friday morning before Labor Day and drove to Iowa City to look for a hotel for the night. There was a college football game so we drove a little further and got a room. Saturday morning we were on the property by 830am and never left it until 730pm. Sunday morning back on the property at 730 am and never finished until 6pm.
Monday morning Labor Day left at 6am and drove straight home.
Great memories but we got tore up by chiggers
 

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I'm not sure if or when it will disappear but those who are left will have to kill boat loads of deer.We kill about as many as I can deal with in a year but I wish I had the motivation to kill more.I think you'll see basically unlimited tags available in the northern tier within the next 10 years.
The challenging thing for organizations like the PGC is to maintain enough license dollars to remain viable as an organization. Agencies across the United States are facing this as hunter numbers decline. There has been an uptick in sales the last few years. When people see permits, seasons, and opportunities increase they worry about game populations but the fact is as few as 1/2 the hunters we had 30 years ago now have to do the job.

Meanwhile as Nicko points out, the remaining hunters are squeezed onto less and less available land to hunt. That is due to less places, mostly private, being available. Hunting private land has become a game of the haves and have nots, especially in the eastern part of the state.
 
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