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Does more Hunters in the Woods = More or Less Success for Whitetail?

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  • Does more Hunters in the Woods = More or Less Success for Whitetail?

    This questions primarily aimed at Public Land hunters. Do you think more hunters in the woods is a good thing? That it puts pressure on the deer, and gets them moving? Or are you of the belief that every other rifle in the woods decrease the likelihood of you having a successful hunt?

  • #2
    I primarily hunt public land. My preference is to have the woods to myself and hunt whitetail on their terms.
    However, when the forest is full of others, I find success by slipping into remote thickets along streams. That's where the big bucks go when pressured.

    I'm more successful with fewer hunters in the woods.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think crowds definitely decrease the likelihood of an enjoyable hunt, even if the crowd might indeed make for more shooting opportunities. I've never liked the idea of relying on other hunters to get deer moving around for me; even when it's hard, I much prefer hunting an animal that's acting normally. I've known guys who stop hunting later in the season when the crowds dwindle, guys who've specifically said that there's no point in going out if there aren't enough hunters in the woods to keep the deer moving. To each their own, but I say screw that. I like to still-hunt and it's just fine with me that there seem to be fewer and fewer deer-hunters in my area's state lands, these past few years. I mostly hunt the family acreage, but sometimes I like a change of scenery. // Just to lend some perspective to my answer: My area contains quite a few small-to-middling size patches of state land, 800 acres to 5000, with most of the more popular ones (due mostly to their proximity to main roads) covering 1500 - 3000 acres. Quite a few of them are somewhat close together, so certain parcels are commonly thought of as one forest. Lots of woods, but not really so much for an area with an interstate running through it, and positioned between a couple of fairly big cities, each 30-40 miles away, and several small cities and fair-sized villages down in the valleys. Plus almost all of the state lands are laced with logging roads, some of them passable even for a normal 2-wheel-drive car. (Still, like I said, the crowds are getting smaller and smaller. Not sure if the downstaters are hunting elsewhere or if it's just a reflection of shrinking hunter numbers overall.)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
        I think crowds definitely decrease the likelihood of an enjoyable hunt, even if the crowd might indeed make for more shooting opportunities. I've never liked the idea of relying on other hunters to get deer moving around for me; even when it's hard, I much prefer hunting an animal that's acting normally. I've known guys who stop hunting later in the season when the crowds dwindle, guys who've specifically said that there's no point in going out if there aren't enough hunters in the woods to keep the deer moving. To each their own, but I say screw that. I like to still-hunt and it's just fine with me that there seem to be fewer and fewer deer-hunters in my area's state lands, these past few years. I mostly hunt the family acreage, but sometimes I like a change of scenery. // Just to lend some perspective to my answer: My area contains quite a few small-to-middling size patches of state land, 800 acres to 5000, with most of the more popular ones (due mostly to their proximity to main roads) covering 1500 - 3000 acres. Quite a few of them are somewhat close together, so certain parcels are commonly thought of as one forest. Lots of woods, but not really so much for an area with an interstate running through it, and positioned between a couple of fairly big cities, each 30-40 miles away, and several small cities and fair-sized villages down in the valleys. Plus almost all of the state lands are laced with logging roads, some of them passable even for a normal 2-wheel-drive car. (Still, like I said, the crowds are getting smaller and smaller. Not sure if the downstaters are hunting elsewhere or if it's just a reflection of shrinking hunter numbers overall.)
        I meant to say that I'm actually not much of a public-land deer hunter, as you specified ... but honestly, sometimes on our private land, some of the same things apply if one of the morons (certain cousins) show up with three or four buddies. Or even just a couple; we've got about a hundred and ten acres, which is lovely for one or two guys, or three or four if they're all stand-hunters, but nowhere near enough for more if people are moving around.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
          I think crowds definitely decrease the likelihood of an enjoyable hunt, even if the crowd might indeed make for more shooting opportunities. I've never liked the idea of relying on other hunters to get deer moving around for me; even when it's hard, I much prefer hunting an animal that's acting normally. I've known guys who stop hunting later in the season when the crowds dwindle, guys who've specifically said that there's no point in going out if there aren't enough hunters in the woods to keep the deer moving. To each their own, but I say screw that. I like to still-hunt and it's just fine with me that there seem to be fewer and fewer deer-hunters in my area's state lands, these past few years. I mostly hunt the family acreage, but sometimes I like a change of scenery. // Just to lend some perspective to my answer: My area contains quite a few small-to-middling size patches of state land, 800 acres to 5000, with most of the more popular ones (due mostly to their proximity to main roads) covering 1500 - 3000 acres. Quite a few of them are somewhat close together, so certain parcels are commonly thought of as one forest. Lots of woods, but not really so much for an area with an interstate running through it, and positioned between a couple of fairly big cities, each 30-40 miles away, and several small cities and fair-sized villages down in the valleys. Plus almost all of the state lands are laced with logging roads, some of them passable even for a normal 2-wheel-drive car. (Still, like I said, the crowds are getting smaller and smaller. Not sure if the downstaters are hunting elsewhere or if it's just a reflection of shrinking hunter numbers overall.)
          My favorite tract is over 44,000 acres but it is riddled logging roads easily travelled with a 2-wheel drive vehicle. However, extra ground clearance and 4x4 is a plus in a few spots. Many of the lesser maintained logging roads are gated and powered vehicles are not allowed behind the gates. Often I'm more than a mile from the SUV and it's rare to see another hunter that far in.

          Comment


          • #6
            I see more public land Bears and deer on my trail camera before the Jersey firearm hunting season.
            I think Bears and deer get educated in New Jersey after the first couple days of the season.
            More human scent in the woods, voices on walking trails and all over the woods. Also there are loud shotgun slugs
            bring fired around the woods. Hunters heading back for lunch.

            Twenty five years ago I hunted with my brothers on top of Mount Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap. It took an hour to climb up so we set up camp with pup tents, sleeping bags and camp fire the day before the hunt. When we got up into our tree stands the following morning well rested, we could see all the hunter flashlights from down below us. At first light the deer were heading up to us. We were all waiting in ambush in our tree stands. We carried many whitetail bucks down from that mountain during our younger days.
            Yes Buckshot, hunters did move the deer in the populated states.
            +1 for the OL thread :-))
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it is better to have fewer hunters on the specific property you are hunting, but good when they are multiple hunters on properties near by. We have a fairly large public land area to the north of us(it is close to 2000 acres with one private non-hunted 40 acre plot separating us), and there is a reason I often hunt right along this border, due to the large amount of deer being pushed by the public land hunters.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
                I think crowds definitely decrease the likelihood of an enjoyable hunt, even if the crowd might indeed make for more shooting opportunities. I've never liked the idea of relying on other hunters to get deer moving around for me; even when it's hard, I much prefer hunting an animal that's acting normally. I've known guys who stop hunting later in the season when the crowds dwindle, guys who've specifically said that there's no point in going out if there aren't enough hunters in the woods to keep the deer moving. To each their own, but I say screw that. I like to still-hunt and it's just fine with me that there seem to be fewer and fewer deer-hunters in my area's state lands, these past few years. I mostly hunt the family acreage, but sometimes I like a change of scenery. // Just to lend some perspective to my answer: My area contains quite a few small-to-middling size patches of state land, 800 acres to 5000, with most of the more popular ones (due mostly to their proximity to main roads) covering 1500 - 3000 acres. Quite a few of them are somewhat close together, so certain parcels are commonly thought of as one forest. Lots of woods, but not really so much for an area with an interstate running through it, and positioned between a couple of fairly big cities, each 30-40 miles away, and several small cities and fair-sized villages down in the valleys. Plus almost all of the state lands are laced with logging roads, some of them passable even for a normal 2-wheel-drive car. (Still, like I said, the crowds are getting smaller and smaller. Not sure if the downstaters are hunting elsewhere or if it's just a reflection of shrinking hunter numbers overall.)
                Matt, it can be a little funny, hunting deer in Pennsylvania during opening day firearm season goes like this.
                1. Seen two deer at first light in the distance.
                2. At 9:30 am Hunters go by my potable tree stand in a drive to other waiting hunters.
                3. A herd of deer run up at 11 am with a small spike inside limping.
                4. At 1 pm a black bear runs by my stand. My brother saw the same bear ten minutes later heading east.
                5. At 1:30 pm a father and son walk by my stand.
                6. At 2:30 three deer come up with the last one being a six point buck.
                Bang, six point drops down for the count and my PA. Deer hunt is over.
                7. At 3:00 pm a lone hunter walking in the woods comes up to me, after seeing me gutting out my deer.

                All day long hunters and big game moving by you at different times in Pennsylvania.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Gary Devine View Post
                  I see more public land Bears and deer on my trail camera before the Jersey firearm hunting season.
                  I think Bears and deer get educated in New Jersey after the first couple days of the season.
                  More human scent in the woods, voices on walking trails and all over the woods. Also there are loud shotgun slugs
                  bring fired around the woods. Hunters heading back for lunch.

                  Twenty five years ago I hunted with my brothers on top of Mount Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap. It took an hour to climb up so we set up camp with pup tents, sleeping bags and camp fire the day before the hunt. When we got up into our tree stands the following morning well rested, we could see all the hunter flashlights from down below us. At first light the deer were heading up to us. We were all waiting in ambush in our tree stands. We carried many whitetail bucks down from that mountain during our younger days.
                  Yes Buckshot, hunters did move the deer in the populated states.
                  +1 for the OL thread :-))
                  We were tracking a wounded buck one time and we had him boxed in. That buck jumped off the cliff in the above photo just to get away from us. Broken bones and most of the meat was jelly. True Story.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would say 1 hunter per 50 acres would be good.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Depends on your setup entirely. Not many people hunt bow season down here on public land, so the spots I plan to hunt will be best with calm deer that aren't pressured, and are on their natural patterns (like feeding in the evening before dark). However once gun season opens here it's a whole other story. Lots of dog hunters. With that in mind I have spots specifically for that time of year, where there's a good chance that other hunters will bump deer towards me, by being in a good funnel earlier and further out than most hunters will be.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Outlaw View Post
                        Depends on your setup entirely. Not many people hunt bow season down here on public land, so the spots I plan to hunt will be best with calm deer that aren't pressured, and are on their natural patterns (like feeding in the evening before dark). However once gun season opens here it's a whole other story. Lots of dog hunters. With that in mind I have spots specifically for that time of year, where there's a good chance that other hunters will bump deer towards me, by being in a good funnel earlier and further out than most hunters will be.
                        Nearly perfect answer. Pressured bucks seem to hole up in some pretty small places here during Firearms season. The little patch of trees across the road that no one bothers with can hold the big buck when the vast tract that's stomped around all day doesn't have so much as a squirrel left in peace.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've never had that right combination of other hunters to keep the deer up and going. I've either had entire seasons where the deer act normal (no people )or shock and awe (Michigan state game land) where the deer go nocturnal within a day or two. There are many issues deer hunting that a guy has to adapt to and overcome. People and their pressure are just one of those pieces. Deer can adapt to it, they may go nocturnal but they do it. We can't hunt nights but we can hunt in the thick stuff for fresh sign and stay till last light or we can do drives. Or pass on gun altogether and become the best bowhunter we can. Or be willing to travel, get together and lease, or be content with does and smaller bucks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Deer learn how to find safe zones. A relative lives in a up scale suburban City next to a City park. Sharpshooters were hired to reduce the size of the herd in the park. As soon as the deer knew of the invaders, they flowed out of the park and into the neighborhood yards. In our case an 8pt bed down in the open of her mowed back yard and stayed there for several days and nights until the shooting was over. Gradually when the deer knew it was safe they filed back into the park. At the same time a doe with fawns stayed in the front by some apple trees. BTW, when the doe wants to cross the busy street, she stands on the tree lawn with the two fawns and looks both ways until it is safe to cross. Amazing adoptation to suburban life.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dewman View Post
                              I've never had that right combination of other hunters to keep the deer up and going. I've either had entire seasons where the deer act normal (no people )or shock and awe (Michigan state game land) where the deer go nocturnal within a day or two. There are many issues deer hunting that a guy has to adapt to and overcome. People and their pressure are just one of those pieces. Deer can adapt to it, they may go nocturnal but they do it. We can't hunt nights but we can hunt in the thick stuff for fresh sign and stay till last light or we can do drives. Or pass on gun altogether and become the best bowhunter we can. Or be willing to travel, get together and lease, or be content with does and smaller bucks.
                              Dewman, I made you top answer cause fellow Michiganders have to stick together.

                              Comment

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