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mattkimk

Where did the Deer go?

34 posts in this topic

Hey, I just started leasing Potlatch land this year. Leasing 120 acres in St. Louis County near Embarrass. Had trail cameras set up and I had gotten a ton of pics in 4 different locations. Since bowhunting opened we have not seen anything. Trail cameras as well are now getting hardly any pics. Was there this past weekend and I did not see any fresh deer sign at all. Just curious if anybody might know something we don't. Deer movement, sighting and sign seems to have stopped right after my buddy started baiting for bear which he could not hunt anyway. Any suggestions, long drive for the disappearing deer.

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I am willing to bet when you started baiting for bear you brought the wolves in. I hunt in the cook area and on several locals on lake vermilion. When the wolves move thru it can take upto several weeks befor the deer move back in. We had a tough time this year with the wolves in the cook area. First time in about 12 yrs we didnt have any bears come in and stick around. If the area you hunt is hunted hard for grouse the activitiy will sometimes move the wolves off. I feel your pain, good luck!!

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Could also be that there is someone baiting nearby and not for bears. This can really alter the deer feeding and bedding areas. Know anyone that leases near where you hunt? Hopefully this isn't the case but it can and will definately change the activity patterns. Good luck, let us know what you find out, if it is wolves, bear or bait.

Tunrevir~

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We have had a similar situation on our property. We usually see 30-40 deer on any given evening (seriously). However, this fall we have only see 4-5 on the field regularly. We have run 2 baiting stations for bear and have not been successful. We also have trail camera pictures of wolves, but the wolves have always moved through. We had a new select cut-clear cut that is drawing the deer off the field, but I can't believe that many deer are skipping the field and moving into the new cutover. The deer would bed in that area, but I can't imagine that many bedding in that area specifically. Any thoughts?

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I have a 10 acre food plot that in years past would have 30 deer on it on any given evening. This year there a half a dozen calling it there dinner table. I have seen some oaks with more acorns then I have ever seen but it is in select areas. I do not know the reason, it could be fewer deer in my area, wolves orwho knows. I keep hoping its the acorns and they will thin them out and come back to my plot. Needless to say I have been hunting else where.

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We also have noticed a huge drop in the number of deer observed in the fields. We probably see one or two for every 10 we would see last year. I think (hope) it's because of all the acorns on the oak ridges.

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Small game season opened the same weekend - maybe some locals are hunting and pushing deer when you are not there

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We noticed the same thing this past weekend while driving from Moorhead to Northome. In past years we usually see at least 50-100 deer on that drive, and this time we only saw 4 total over a very large area. Maybe it's acorns, or the deer haven't switched from browse (leaves) to ground food??? They couldn't have died off that much from last winter?

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I will bet money it's the acorns. I have 10 deer every night in my back yard eating acorns like crazy. I never seen deer back there like this year. There is a huge acorn crop.

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I've noticed the same thing on our hunting property. Deer numbers seem down but I know they're not. Definitely a heavy acorn crop... best I've seen in the past 5 years for sure in the area I hunt and the deer are taking advantage. Seems to be more nocturnal movement than normal as well or should I say less daylight movement.

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Lots of nocturnal movement right now. I went from almost 0 night pics on my trail cam to at least 75% of the pics being afer dark in the last week. Give it time, once the corn comes out and the rut starts, the deer will show back up.

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I didn't factor the acorn crop into my first post and hopefully they are keying on the acorns. For what it is worth, we manage 660 acres as QDM land in Wisc. and plant food plots ect. to keep the deer coming in regularly. The bigger bucks are showing up on occassion but not as much as we would like but we also put our cameras out alot earlier this year then years past. From the log books from the past three years the big boys and a good amount of does don't start showing up untill around the 20th of OCT. Keep your cameras out and keep a vigil. It is a bumper acorn crop in alot of places so they may be hanging back for a bit and just eating the acorns. Good luck out there, stick a big one!

Tunrevir~

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Can I ask what a lease cost and is it per year or how does it work? Can anybody lease it? thanks

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Timberghost, we own it, we don't lease it out and it is all private at this time. There is an outfitter nearby that does do guided hunts and his land is near ours. I believe it costs 1500 a week for prerut, 2500 a week for rut or in that general neighborhood. We are looking at getting into guided bearhunting in our area as we have an abundance of bears but right now it is just a discussion within the group and no hardcore plans have been put into action. We have to research the guide liscensure, insurance and liabilities that are associated with putting hunters on the ground.

Tunrevir~

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How far will deer travel for acorns? Also, I have heard they prefer red to white oak or vice-versa. (?) Our property has a few "scrub" oak, but nothing that would produce an attrative mast crop. I know the deer are still around, but just not on the field yet. Different year. Any idea as to how far they will travel outside their home area for acorns?

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I think everything is behind by two weeks.Most years we have had a frost already.Some places have not had a hard frost to knock a few food choice off the menu it hard to key in on one thing.With every thing so green still.

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odonata,

I just learned/heard this from two different sources that they prefer white oaks first than switch to red oaks.

Crazy, ha!? We're learning something new everyday!

mr

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Is your lease question for me, not sure because my original post has been hijacked. Anyhow, go to the Potlatch web site and check for available leases. There are not many here but there will be more next spring. We currently lease 120 acres and pay them $800 for the year. You have to apply for the lease and then wait to see if you get picked, but it is a good deal from an economical standpoint.

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odonata,

I just learned/heard this from two different sources that they prefer white oaks first than switch to red oaks.

Crazy, ha!? We're learning something new everyday!

mr

True white oak are difficult to find in my neck of the woods, as they've been preferred trees for logging for so many years. Burr oak, while similar to the whites in leaf characteristics, have a very different acorn. All of which make white oak hillside benches a true premium. Burr Oaks seem to be much less preferred in terms of their acorns.

Here's what you're looking for:

White Oak whiteoak1.gif

Red Oak

redoak5.gif

Burr Oak burroak.jpg

Where there are few white oak, deer will key in on the reds. Where there is an abundance of oaks, like in the country I hunt, a great acorn crop really makes this the "dog-days" of bowhunting. Food is literally everywhere, and deer simply don't have to travel great distances to eat, thus reducing the chances they'll pass by proven stand locations.

The other thing that's a real bear this time of year is that deer will bed overnight amongst the oaks they're eating from, making a morning hunt almost impossible in a really good grove.

Joel

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jnelson,

Hey great research job!!!! Your last paragraph actually works in my favor because my stand is right in the middle of white/red oaks. Only problem is that I'm only seeing does and no antlers after 6 hunts in that stand....

mr

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