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Spiller

I heard a thought provoking insight about hunting...

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Spiller

We have all heard about dwindling hunters numbers and dwindling overall number of game animals killed in a season.

 

A friend of mine who lives in Ohio where the number of deer killed in the last several years has gone down while number of hunters engaged in the pursuit have remained fairly constant told me something interesting the other day.

 

 

Deer hunting in Ohio is not like big woods hunting in Maine...the farmlands are over run with deer and bag limits for some areas (farmlands) and people (farmers for instance) are exceptionally high, like in southern Michigan and Wisconsin, at least compared to where I live in Maine.

 

Anyway a Fish and Game Manager there suggested that part of the dwindling number of deer harvested is caused by game camera usage.

 

????  Yeah that's right..... game cameras.....

 

Apparently in days of yore when a hunter saw a buck, any reasonable buck, he was more prone to the "if it's brown it's down" mentality and would kill a smaller deer just to be sure he filled his freezer.

 

The Biologist's reasoning was that with the introduction of game cameras to hunters in the last decade, this has changed the dynamic, because if a hunter would see a larger antlered animal on his game camera and know that it was potentially around his hunting area, they tended to not harvest a smaller deer, knowing they could potentially kill a larger one...and then the season would expire and they would go without filling a tag. Hence fewer numbers harvested overall....

 

I thought it an interesting take.....

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MAArcher

I'm sure that could be a factor, but there could be any number of other reasons.  One being that given the aging population of hunters, there are bound to be a number who still buy a license but don't really get out as much or hunt has hard.   Also, there could be guys still buying a license, but they have reduced access to hunting due to development or whatever.   Unemployment is down, so maybe overall people are working more and hunting less.  I'm guessing the trend you see has as much or more to do with these other things affecting hunter effectiveness rather than just selective trophy hunting brought on by the use of trail cameras.  There could be factor's at play that effect the deer themselves too.  Maybe they are evolving to be more nocturnal, or encroaching development affords them more "safe" zones where they can't be hunted.  Hard to guess with only the two data points to compare.  

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mccuha

It definetly makes sense. There are so many people this day in time that would rather take a trophy size deer than just filling a freezer. They also are under a trophy management system. I fall into that category. I'd rather see a lot of deer every hunt and wait on a nice buck vs just taking whatever is legal. At some point though you have to start taking out atleast some does or the property get over crowded with deer and the buck's potential cant be reached due to lack of food.

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SelbyLowndes

I have timberland in piedmont middle GA that I've turned over to my sons to run a deer hunting club for nearby city (Atlanta) hunters.  They are trophy guys and run cameras and count horns over summer baited camera sites.  I agree with the premise of this thread that it reduces the number of deer taken off my property.

 

My own deer hunting practice has been to wait on a nice one until the very end and then take a doe or whatever for the freezer.  The last couple of years the weather in January has messed up that plan.  When you are getting stuck before you ever get to where you want to park it is aggravating...SelbyLowndes

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Randy S

I'd love to clean up after bird hunters with that mentality. I wish everyone else would only shoot rooster pheasants with 24"+ tail feathers and ruffed grouse with 16"+ fans.  

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E.Young

I think I have to agree with @MAArcher on it being much more strongly correlated to the aging population of hunters, and especially the growing number of those with more appreciation for the experience than the outcome. I know personally at least a dozen older fellows from my lodge that buy a license and then (sometimes just ceremoniously) go out for a sit on opening day and maybe they get lucky, but that is secondary to the point.

 

A good buddy of mine is 78 and his lab is probably older than he is. Neither of them wants to fight winter. John only hunts on the lake now, and only goes out on the nice days of early season. He shoots the first ducks that give him the chance, drives his boat over and nets the birds for his best bud Rocky, and they both go home fulfilled. He spends several weekends a year at his deer camp, but I don't think he's taken one home in at least five years. 

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Tim Frazier

I'm old school, no game cameras and the first brown animal with 4 legs is going in the freezer.(if my shot is true)  I might be picky the rest of the season, such is the benefit of being able to take multiple deer.  What does stink is taking a reasonable buck early then seeing more than one LARGE bucks after!  Still just one buck a year!

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Jakeismydog2

I think his logic is pretty sound. I am sure it's not the only and probably not the biggest factor. But I would assume that is playing a factor. Although I am sure some would argue that Trail cams help them take more deer.

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Korthaar
On 2/20/2020 at 10:52 AM, MAArcher said:

I'm sure that could be a factor, but there could be any number of other reasons.  One being that given the aging population of hunters, there are bound to be a number who still buy a license but don't really get out as much or hunt has hard.   Also, there could be guys still buying a license, but they have reduced access to hunting due to development or whatever.   Unemployment is down, so maybe overall people are working more and hunting less.  I'm guessing the trend you see has as much or more to do with these other things affecting hunter effectiveness rather than just selective trophy hunting brought on by the use of trail cameras.  There could be factor's at play that effect the deer themselves too.  Maybe they are evolving to be more nocturnal, or encroaching development affords them more "safe" zones where they can't be hunted.  Hard to guess with only the two data points to compare.  

I agree. Living in Ohio, our population density is high, much of our deer have become suburbanized, and land access continues to dwindle.

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bobman

If you are serious about hunting horns you will end up with unused tags, it’s a part of trophy hunting you have to accept to become a trophy hunter.
 

nothing wrong with it everyone has their own reasons why the enjoy it

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bmeador

Well with me around taking deer for food, pretty much any legal buck or doe that comes within range gets tagged, butchered and canned or frozen! Until I tag 2 bucks, then I'm waiting for "Mr. Moose"...  And I've been waiting for him for 45 years!

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Brad Eden

I guess that makes sense in theory. But the main attraction in game cameras for me is knowing there are deer, any deer in a particular area. Because seeing Does means that bucks won’t be far behind. And knowing there are bucks about, any bucks seen on trail camera, motivates me to get out of bed to hunt and to get off my ass and hunt in the afternoons. So with that I’m mind, using trail cameras may in fact kill more deer.

Last years 10 pt line up:

I__00006.JPG
10 pt under my Expanded bow stand

 

Cdy00007.JPG
10 pt 30 yards in front of a new ladder stand at north woods camp

 

I__00002.JPG
10 point out back on my property about 1/8th of a mile from where I am sitting typing this.

 

I never saw these bucks while hunting, but they sure had me out there looking for them. I never got a shot at anything with antlers and likely would have shot a spike at any point. Best I could do was a buzzer beater doe on last day and last 5 minutes of firearm season.

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Big Al

When younger I was the brown and down hunter.  At 74 if it's not a trophy I just enjoy watching it in the wild.  I put trail cams out every summer and really like seeing what's roaming around the property.  They have no bearing on what I'm going to shoot.  My guests are allowed to shoot anything they want and most tags are filled.  Because of my personal ten point rule I'm eating tag soup this winter.  Do have a freezer full of elk though.👏👏

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WI Outdoor Nut

This might be a factory, but to me, only a small factor.  I know we need to shoot doe to keep the population in check.  This past year, my family of four took 3.  We never did take a buck, nor shoot at one, as we were waiting for a big one, and had many on camera (run about 15 cameras on a total of 5 properties).  When my kids each took a doe themselves, and I knew there was a storm coming in I didn't want to deal with, I took a doe within an hour of hunting.  On average, I see just short of 10 deer per sit (average around 4 hours).  We have very high deer densities, with many nice bucks around.  Access to good hunting land to me is the biggest issue with the upcoming hunters.  Out of the 5 properties, my family has exclusive access (some of what we own) to three of them.  The other two I know others hunt it, but still restrictive.  If you don't have a connection to the land owner, I doubt you are getting on.  The photo is what we consider our shooters. 

2019-10-4 orchard iii.JPG

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Big Al
On 3/18/2020 at 4:53 PM, WI Outdoor Nut said:

 The photo is what we consider our shooters. 

2019-10-4 orchard iii.JPG

 

Those bucks would be considered major trophies where my property is in Montana.  We regularly shoot 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 year old deer and rarely do we see bucks this size.

We think it's a combination of soil nutrients and genetics that keeps the antlers on the smaller side.  It's certainly not hunting pressure.

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