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sticknstring

Sherburne NWR - anyone hunted it?

23 posts in this topic

Hey guys... I'm curious about bowhunting on the refuge. Driving up north on the weekends is getting pretty tough on the checkbook. I printed off the map and boundaries and thinking about giving it a go. It appears zone 224 is a managed area. Do the bonus tags in the refuge work the same as anywhere else? I'd like to hear some feedback... good or bad. If you'd rather email me, my addy's in my profile. Thanks,

stick

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Can't get your profile. I got one spot in mind that has good potential. Hunted it few times last fall and saw some does. I believe it was around Oct 20-25th I was out there and saw a lot of buck sign too.

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The tags work no differently there.

Managed zone, just like every other managed zone.

Never really understood why its a zone all by itself.

Cant say that I have ever deer hunted there, but I have seen many deer, and some very nice bucks over the years when I duck hunted that refuge.

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SNWR is not a very easy place to hunt during bow time as from what I have heard. The constant flow of small game hunters impacts the out come, unless you want to humpit deep inside. Luck and being in the right place at the right time come into play.

I will add though, the Oarrock gas station registers and takes pictures of some nice large bucks every year, but I am convinced the majority of large bucks and deer in general move at night in this area. The population around here from new housing is just enough to make them skittish during the day.

Good luck if you give it a try!

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Yeah I figured it would get some pressure... especially on the weekends but I'll give it a whirl and hopefully get on a few does. I know treestands need to be taken down daily - does anyone know if screw-in treesteps are allowed?

fishinmajishin... give me a shout at matts at hharchery dot com

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I've hunted in there plenty. I've never had some great luck, but I don't try really hard there. I just like the closeness of it. As was said, small game and waterfowl hunters can impact your outcome.

Also you should download or pick up a copy of the regs for the refuge. They have a couple different zones and some areas are closed to different types of hunting.

As BLB said, the bonus permits work the same. Managed means you get one bonus deer in that area.

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I've tried to hunt the Sherburne refuge a few times over the last two years with my bow. Sad to say I was sorely disappointed. I found plenty of sign, but could never locate deer. I even brought my brother with once or twice (the lucky one) and he had the same problem with not seeing deer. I wasn't even bumping them while scouting.

Maybe I was just going about it all wrong, but I'm no dummy and probably just don't know the lay of the land well enough. Like others have said, there are a lot of small game hunters, and even quite a few other bowhunters. It's a lot of pressure and I figure the deer must be just getting pushed further back than I've been hunting.

I don't want you to think it's a complete waste. I did see lots of sign, which is what kept me going back. Put on enough miles and get far enough from the other hunters and there are sure to be good animals in there. I just ended up switching over to Wisconsin this year because I have some better opportunities with similar drive time and a cabin to sleep in instead of the tent. wink

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Hunted it a few times a few years ago and it gets hunted pretty hard like all public land. There is lots of sign but you gotta find the deer.

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There are deer there, and it's just like any other public land close to the metro area, your chance of getting lucky improves greatly if your willing to hike in a mile or two to get away from all the pressure.

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One thing after hunting it which kinda made me mad, i just found out last weekend, my cousin has land less then a mile from the the NWR, wish i would have known that 2 years ago.

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Anyone of you guys still hunting it lately? I have been out there a handful of times since gun season. I have kicked up deer walking out and around but not while sitting. I'd be interested to see if anyone on here is still making it out there.

Also talked to some small game hunters and they have said they are seeing deer. We just need some snow now. I moved away from the fields and into the oaks after gun season since I wasn't seeing much by the fields (pressure is my guess). Found more signs but haven't figured them out yet. Any suggestions would be helpful as well.

Nate

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Hello Nater,

As my first post on Fishing Minnesota I can offer you some advice; Where do you hunt in the area? If you hunt off of County Road 15; there is a turn off to the east - around 245th??? by a Christmas Tree Farm. It comes to a "dead end".

I have found alot of sign on the hillsides to the south; also some nice rubs to the north (follow the boundary)

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Great 1st post duck dog. I'm on my way! I still haven't made it to the refuge yet but my doe tag isn't getting close to being punched at my other spots so I'm thinking of giving it a go. Anyone feel like meeting out there and trying to get on some does in the oncoming weeks? Some snow would definitely help the cause for sure. I've always entertained the idea of getting a hunt swap thing going as well. One guys hosts an evening or weekend at their place and hunt the other guys place next time. Good chance at meeting some fellow avid bowhunters and see some new country around that state as well. I think the fishing guys have an "open seat" thing that sounds similar. Just a thought.

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Sticknstring,

Lots of good deer in the refuge. I have hunted it for over 20 years. I am amazed by all the spots that rarely ever get hunted. Be aware that some areas are closed. My observation with hunting there is that most people are only hunting a few hundred feet from the road. I'm sure all legal distance from road. There are a lot of swamps and a large variety of of trees and brush. I have been done hunting but still spend a great deal of time in the woods. Plenty of does still to be had. I won't tell you exactly where but to point people in the right direction...I will see deer nearly everytime I go out if there is a strong NW wind and I am hunting the south east tip of a stand of pines. Plenty of pine trees in refuge/state forest off of cty rd 15 behing the Svea hill church. good luck.

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fish - Thanks for your input. It's much appreciated. I'm going to check it out on Saturday. Hunt it a few times until we get some snow up north. Maybe the cold will keep some people in bed. I sure wish they'd open up Maria to bowhunting. I spend a fair amount of time in there each year and know the place pretty well and when they finally decide to allow a hunt, it's muzzleloading only. Seems to be the trend for state parks. It'll be interesting to see how they do in there this weekend.

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Hey all-

I live within a 1/2 of of the refuge, and this time of year, the place is all yours. Plus, with the ice freezing up, you can walk through the ponds to hit some untapped areas.

Best advice.....hike in a 1, don't hunt the spots accessed by parking spots, and try to hunt during the week.

If anyone knows where the Sand Dunes Stop (Gas station) check out their deer board. Some nice pics taken and posted there.

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Thanks for your input. I have noticed that also with many people frequenting the parking areas and areas close to the road. I have tried to find areas away from parking "lots".

That's a good idea to check back in the swamp more with it being froze over. I didn't want to venture onto the ice too early but I think it should be safe by now.

There aren't any pine trees in the area that I'm hunting, so I'll have to cruise around more. I mostly stayed on the west end since I'm coming from St. Cloud. Maybe with gas cheaper I'll look around more before the seasons over. Wouldn't hurt since I'll be out there next year unless I find land around here to hunt.

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One thing to remember is that muzzleLoader season is open this weekend; you can not muzzleloader hunt in SNW, but you can in the Sand Dunes. It would be an excellent idea to hunt on the opposite side of the St. Francis River with the Sand Dunes on the other side of the river.

Get out there early. If you go to the spot I talked about above - follow the logging/DNR road to the South until it splits. Go Left (east) and this should bring you close to the river.

There are some nice spots out there that were logged off about 15 years ago to place a portable stand. My best luck was very close to the river as the deer seem to have a funnel and a trail the runs parallel.

I will be out of town this weekend, however, next weekend I would not mind meeting you out there and showing you some spots.

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Well I finally made it to the refuge. I wish I would've gone sooner. For one it's huge, but the habitat is ideal. I first tried the advice from a few here off CR 15 but ran into areas of muzzleloading pressure on the south end and wasn't sure of the whereabouts of the other spot near the river. Looking on a map, I think I know where it is now. I found a spot between Orrock & the headquarters Saturday afternoon that looked promising. I saw a big 8 pointer on Sat night and a smallish 8 last night. No flattops but plenty of tracks around. I even flushed a ruffie. I never saw another hunter either. I'm looking forward to getting back... I need to punch a tag so I can't start ice fishing! What's the pressure like in there during early bowseason?

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Early bow season has lead to many frustrating hunts for me with small game folks.

I am surprised at having ML people there - the refuge is closed to ML hunters. The Co. Rd 15 spot is on the opposite side of any State Land - sorry you had the issues. One thing I have found is that very few Federal Conservation Officers around there work on the weekends.

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I ran into muzzy hunters down in the Sand Dunes area. One guy recommended the Svea church and that's where I ran into hunters. I believe the place you were talking about was quite a ways north of 245th and had a gait at the dead end? I parked at the gate and there were fresh vehicle tracks going south and I didn't know if I could be in there so I headed north and found the area I described. I wouldn't mind meeting you out there sometime and picking your brain if you're around. If anyone else wants to head out - let me know. It's always fun to get a few guys together late-season in the snow. Most guys have hung the bows up or moved onto ice fishing.

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Of course I could meet you out there sometime. Yea, it could be more north then 245th (it was a guess). You should have been able to find a tree farm.

There would be a gate on your right at the dead end. Then a logging type road past the gate - you head south and the logging road splits.

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That snow was definitely helpful. I made it out on Sat. evening and setup on a trail in the fresh snow and saw a doe but she took a trail I hadn't noticed which of course was out of range. I still have yet to see a buck, just signs.

I didn't make it out there early season, but in the beginning of Oct. it was fairly busy out there. At least it was on the west end.

I'm surprised you didn't see an army of people off of Co Rd 15 smile

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