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Black_Bay

Moving the Firearm Season

224 posts in this topic

All this talk about moving the season in my opinion is a load of carp. Many so called trophy states and states at a similar latitude, remember the rut is based on photoperiod, have similar firearm seasons.

2008 Firearm seasons

Montana: Oct 26 – Nov 30

North Dakota: Nov 7 – 23

South Dakota: varies east and west. West: Nov 1 – 24, East: 15 – 30

Maine: Nov 3 – 29

Texas: Nov 4 - Jan 4 except panhandle counties.

Ontario: Varies greatly due to size. Areas north of Minnesota: Oct 4 – Dec 15

Saskatchewan: Nov 1 – Dec 6

Manitoba: Nov 10 – 30

Kentucky: Nov 8 - 23

States that differ from those above

Kansas: Dec 3 – 14

Iowa: Dec 6 – 10 & 13 – 21

Illinois: Nov 21 – 23 & Dec 4 – 7

Wisconsin: Nov 22 – 30

Michigan: Nov 15 – 30 (btw the reason for Michigan’s season dates “Season dates were changed several times until 1925, when November 15 through 30 was determined to be the best time for hunting deer. It is interesting to note that except for failed experiments with Saturday openers and split seasons between 1962 and 1967, the firearm season of November 15 through 30 has remained the same for more than half a century.” http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10363_10856_10905-28543--,00.html)

I wonder if the reason behind the late seasons in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and maybe Wisconsin is more due to agriculture than deer biology.

here's an interesting tidbit from the 2005 Survey of Deer Hunter Satisfaction and Preferences for Regulation Changes in Minnesota

“In Minnesota, the firearm deer season is established through administrative rule and opens the Saturday closest to November 6. Data collected from 1983 to 1987 in northern Minnesota estimated that peak conception ranged from November 10 to 14 (Fuller 1990). Consequently, the firearm deer season is timed around the peak of deer breeding, and there is a belief among hunters that a ‘rut opener’ may increase buck harvest rates because bucks are more vulnerable to being harvested during the rut. However, no studies have been published to support or reject this theory.”

So with that said riddle me this, what is the difference if I shoot a fork horn during the rut on November 8th or after the rut on December 6th?. The answer is it doesn’t matter when a deer is shot. Neither deer will be a 10 pointer the next year. To me the only two real ways to increase the number of bigger bucks would be a buck lottery or antler point restrictions. A buck lottery would cause a huge uproar with hunters. It ranked the lowest option in the 2005 survey of hunters. That leaves antler point restrictions. It would be similar to a minimum size regulation for fishing. This is something our group has been doing for quite a few years now. We have tried educating some of the guys who hunt near us in the benefits of letting the smaller bucks go and taking does if they want meat. For the most part they agree. The result has been the number of bigger bucks we’ve seen and have taken has gone up recently and this is all on public land. There is one other thing that may help increase buck numbers and that’s banning party hunting or at least buck party hunting. The problem with this is it’s hard to enforce unless a CO sees it happen. I'd like to see the state ban buck party hunting.

The root of the issue is that Minnesota hunters have the mentality that they need to shoot a buck, any buck, because that is all they could take for many years unless they had a doe permit. The mentality that shooting any buck makes one a better hunter than someone that shoots a doe, is deeply entrenched. Simply moving the season to late November or early December won’t change that. In fact it may make the problem worse since deer movement is mostly based on traveling to and from food sources and bedding areas rather than rutting activity. That isn’t so bad in the agricultural areas but it makes hunting much tougher in the north woods (100 Series Zone) where deer can browse and bed in the same spot. (Side bar: Maybe this is why Wisconsin and Michigan allow baiting.) So if hunters are seeing fewer deer they are more apt to take the first deer they see if they believe that may be their only chance at venison. Remember later in the year deer are trying to conserve energy to make it through winter so they move less. When deer move less hunter success goes down and eventually so does participation. License sales probably back this up after the severe winters in the late 1990’s.

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Look at the top 3 states you wrote down having later seasons. You can't beat them and the later season is a big reason. There is no difference between shooting the buck in November or December, its about the bucks vulnerability. Your assessment of deer being more susceptible to people hunting bedding to feeding areas? No way. A buck that travels 100 yards to a feeding source from a bedding area or a buck that travels 24 hours a day cruising for does. Obviously the cruising for does puts him into better odds of running across a hunter. Its not even close. Those 1 1/2 year old deer are so unbelievably vulnerable during the gun season. Now those same deer in December? They have their senses regained and it isnt going to be so easy. Listen, first and foremost people have to let these young bucks go on their own if you want big bucks. But the next best thing that could be done to help more young bucks survive their first season is moving the gun season back. The mentality of some people that they are going to shoot a buck may not change, but moving the season back would make it that much harder for everyone to just shoot a buck. If these bucks arent cruising for does all day long, obviously your odds of contacting them decrease.

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very well said look at the top 3 there, ive said it a few times already will it happen probably not, a top 10 harvest isnt gonna change anything were gonna need a top 10 worest of all time harvest for anything to happen.

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well there is deer moose bear thread, the hunting thread, and the archery and shooting thread so 3. But then there is the wisconsin one also so 4????

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there are to many cans of worms to open with this topic and probally will P O most if not all hunters. there are so many factors when it comes to growing big bucks. It will take more than just one thing to make it work. so were do you start and where do end. to come up with results that everyone is happy with. I personally just dont think that it will happen on a state wide scale. my hats off to the guys that permote QDM on there private porperties.

just my .02 cents

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Not disagreeing with you elwood.

I've tried QDM on my own propertie(s) and I just don't have enough land. I suppose I could fence it in but that just doesn't seem ethical.

QDM is kind of like planning a company holiday party (I've done it). You'll NEVER please everyone! grin

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QDM is kind of like planning a company holiday party (I've done it). You'll NEVER please everyone! grin

Isn't that the truth!

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The top 3 are south of MN. Don't deer go into rut when the temp drops? If deer go into rut when it gets colder therefor those states are hunting the rut also. I believe I saw on a hunting show they were hunting in Alabama in January and it was the peak of the rut.

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I'd like to see a two season system, I only hunt during firearms so I have a bit of a bias, but something like a 8 or 9 day season in November and then another 8 or 9 day season in December.

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The top 3 are south of MN. Don't deer go into rut when the temp drops? If deer go into rut when it gets colder therefor those states are hunting the rut also. I believe I saw on a hunting show they were hunting in Alabama in January and it was the peak of the rut.

The photo period or shortening of day light sends the deer into rut in the northern half of the country. In the southern stats the rut is more spread out from December to January. So all of the states around us the rut kicks in at the same time.

Moving the rifle season back just a couple of weeks would make a huge difference. Those young bucks really don't have a chance unless someone lets them go, they are young, dumb and on the move the entire rifle season. I pass up every one I see but my best guess would be 1 or 2 out of 10 make it thought the rifle season, then the have winter and wolves to deal with. The poor guys don't stand a chance.

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I have found a new wolf kill every three days in the same area. That has to be doing some damage on the deer population. Thanks to that federal judge the wolves will be protected until they are roaming downtown St. paul.

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Black Bay

Many of those states and provinces (not all) that have rifle season during the rut have a much lower populations and hunter numbers than Minnesota. Even if most of them when out and shot a small buck there would be plenty that make it to the next year. In our state almost all the young bucks get taken out at 1.5 years of age.

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In the past 8 years I've taken 5 pope & young bucks with my bow during the "2nd rut" that usally begins about 28 days after the first rut in november...last year the muzzeloaders in our bunch also harvested 3 130 class bucks chasing does near the middle of december...it can really get nuts during the second rut because the bucks are chasing every doe that didn't get bred the first time around and all the early fawns that usally come into heat during the second rut in december...so, where would you move the season to? How about Pre-rut? It'd be a heck of alot nicer weather which should attract more hunters and those hunters could spend more time in the stand and see more deer and harvest more deer....

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If you take a look at previous years harvest totals for surrounding states, there really isn't solid evidence thats supports less bucks being shot with a later firearms season. Example, last year Wiscosin's buck to licensed hunter ratio was 19.5%, whereas Minnesota's buck to hunter ratio was 16.7%. Looks like more buck were shot with a later season, hmmm. Also, just because Wisconsin allows baiting does that mean we should do the same too, lol.

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lichen fox

I think you might be hunting in an exceptionally good late season area or you really know your stuff, or both. Harvesting that number of large deer is rare during the rut in most of the state let alone the late season.

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Sure, does will be bred into December but nothing like Nov. You're not going to have the yearling bucks wandering aimlessly through the woods looking for love because the perfume is in low supply. One may have a great unpressured spot that holds deer in December but that doesn't necessarily hold up across the state. I spend a fair amount of time on stand in December and have never seen any chasing. It's all where you hunt I guess. Take a look at this chart.

ConceptionDatesChart.jpg

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Help me out here. I was told yesterday that Iowa basically has no doe bag limit for residents the license costs $1 apiece and residents can harvest two bucks. The same source has a friend that is a professional hunter who owns 1 section and manages the adjacent section. He only has had to harvest 170" -200" bucks the past couple years on this land, but he harvested close to 100 does last year. If this is true, is this what we want deer hunting to look like?

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Would love to see the pictures Lichen fox of those 8 nice December bucks. Could you tell us the logistics. Are these shot on 1 hunk of land or are they spread out over many areas and what kind of acreage are you on. In 25 years in Ottertail/Wadena county I have never seen a buck trailing a doe in December and I must have logged hundreds of hours over that time. In my area this second rut business, if it exists it must be primarily at night. We have 20+ deer hunters in our family and thousands of hours with a bow,rifle,or Muzzleloader and none of us have ever seen the 2nd rut. In these 25 years we have taken roughly 200 bucks and about the same number of antlerless. In the past 10 years, less bucks, but better bucks because of go/grow.

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I still don't think the seasons are Minnesota's issue, it's simply the young bucks are hit hard in lots of areas and don't ever get a chance to shed that first set. A lot less places to put all the hunters. We all have those areas we used to be able to hunt, but we can't anymore. Our favorite deer drive spot now has a dozen new homes in it and zero deer in it. You guys know what I'm saying. In my area where I used to hunt alone, now I have 11 more deer hunters to contend with and 8 of these individuals have zero deer on the property they are hunting. They simply put their tower stands along my woods/creek bottom and anything walking the fenceline now is hammered. 2 guys set up in a plowed field next to my land, another in an open pasture without a tree, all of these guys are facing my property, kinda scary. 60 acres of cover owned by me and 11 other hunters/stands around it. To the thread, we need something else, moving the firearms season in MN won't solve a thing. One post earlier stated only could shoot a buck etc. for awhile so that's the mindset, well in zone 4 area 1983 bucks only first weekend for 3 days, buck or doe second weekend for 2 days, that was my 1st year, in 1984 it went to 2 days buck or doe to 4 days second weekend buck or doe. I know the north country because they were trying to build up the herd. Well allegedgly the herd is built, so why can't we get more people on board to go/grow.

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To find december bucks...just find a food source that has a good bunch of does & fawns coming out to feed in the evening...when a buck hits that field he'll check out each and everyone of them...if you do your homework you'll usually find that the buck or bucks will come out pretty much the same place each evening, depending on the wind...never hunt a spot with the wrong wind...I hunt mainly in two counties in northern minnesota with a mix of ag and woodlands...each year is different...this year I shot a heavy 8 point on a drive we made along a river bottom...harvested sugar beets on one side, and soybean stubble on the other side...deer everywhere, but they were moving too late for stand hunting so we made a couple of drives and I stuck this one as he came up the river bank at about a quarter throttle...30 yards...exciting shot and he was close...but just 2 inches shy of P&Y....last year we were hunting mainly near harvestd corn that never got worked back...other years it's been on unharvested sunflowers...it's different every year, but when you have snow it makes it alot easier to see heavy used trails and then scout the area to see where they're coming from and where they're going...

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musky, I don't know how to post pictures but I do have a photo of the one from this year on my computer....the other's are either head mounted or on plaques and it would take a while to get em all together for a photo as some are in my home, some at the cabin and some in our butchering room....that'll be a good project for me for after deer season...and ice fishing... maybe I'll have some time this spring...right after I get done shed hunting and just before I get the boat out...

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That answers a lot. My problem fox is I have these food sources to hunt, but the deer are bedded down before legal shooting and they don't get up until after legal shooting. These areas are no longer under pressure yet every night I drive around the sections I hunt in and I can't find a single deer out in a field, I watched picked corn, unharvested soybeans, food plot clover etc. The deer are there and I hunt as close to bedding ground as I can, trying to get one that is staging before heading out to the field and nothing. I can't find that bunch of does and fawns going out to the field, it isn't just my home base operation, I work on the road and drive back to the wife on weekends and get to drive by great areas in Kanabec,Mille Lacs,Morrison,Todd,Wadena and finally Ottertail county during "prime time", I haven't seen a deer since late october during shooting light. Do my homework on the bucks, if so I need to hunt from 6PM-5AM. I'd love to see these December trophies fox, I don't get to see many.

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Hey fox, what is your guess as to why you have so many nice bucks around after rifle season and 2 months of bow hunting? The other side note is the last buck you got during a drive ? Why are you guys driving them out when it seems you don't really need to if they pattern out so well before dark. My guess is you drove that area out where you guys seldom sit stand.

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Musky, send me an email and I'll at least get this years buck pic to you... bobhalvorson@netscape.net and BTW if you got time this weekend do you're scouting at night... full moon will make it easy to spot exactly where those deer are hitting the fields and when that moon is gone the last two weeks of the season you will generaly find that the deer start feeding alot...alot earlier...sometimes even mid day!!

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