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FrazeeHunter

Zone 156/157 area Deer hunting

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My family recently sold our acreage in zone 241. We would see deer opening day and due to neighbor pressure we wouldn't see much after that.

We are looking at purchasing some land in the zone 156/157 areas.

Can anyone shed some honest light on the deer numbers and what we can expect to see on private land?

I understand the winters were tough, and it was intensive harvest which affected the deer numbers, but was hoping to hear what you have through the years seen while rifle, bow hunting and if my family from out of town who bought non resident tags will see deer or have a good chance with the food plots we would put in.

All posts are MUCH appreciated.

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We hunt in zone 156 near kettle river. It seems that you could see the decline in the area start about 5 years ago. Our group has seen less and less deer each year and our neighbors have the same report. If you also like bear and wolves your in prime area.IMO there is 3 problems poor management, WOLVES, and bad winters. How many deer you have will depend on your land management and your neighbors. If you don't run them off your property weekend after weekend you should be fine.

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I have hunted 156 for about the past 5-6 years and 155 for 2-3 years before that. All private land.

The private land in 156 is all forest and while some funnels exist they are not mandatory pathways. Late summer and fall trail cams show deer go from daytime travelers to nocturnal as their winter coat grows in.

We typically see 3-5 different 8 point or better bucks on the trail cams, yet rarely are these bucks killed by our group.

Most in our party shoot what ever legally is in range and we average about 30% tag success rate (could be higher but I have passed on quite a few deer the past two years). There are anywhere from 3 - 10 people in camp all three weekends.

One year (say about 3 years ago) the success rate was really bad (1 deer). Wolves were well established and verified on trail cams. Our camp was in their core range.

They have mainly moved on, but last year were seen on one camera on the north side of the property line (adjacent to infinite tax forfeited land). That area also accounted for majority share of deer killed last year. :?:

The land to the West is QDM, but their success rate is extremely low ... again some of the same bucks show up on the trail cams... day time movement even during rut is not high.

Area to the south did not have hunters for a few years. Last year a new group came in. Made no difference in deer moving from them to us.

I go each fall because it is private land (zero tresspass), good friends, and because I enjoy being there. Passed up spike bucks the past three years.

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We are looking primarily off of Hwy 18 and Hwy 65.

Land is surrounded for the most part by tax forfeited land.

Other piece we are looking at is off of Hwy 27 and Hwy 65 north of McGrath.

We are torn which will be better and by the lay of the land off of 18 seems to be more AG land.

They both have 3 or 4 food plots on them but we just don't really want to make a bad decision.

Thanks for the input guys and keep it coming please!

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Its 80 acres of all high ground with 2 ponds. It has about 5 acres of food plots in already.

We are looking at 4 hunters on there.

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Deer in those parts like to head to the low areas (swamps) when they get scared. Getting them out of the low areas or being there when they briefly leave the low areas during daylight is the challenge.

This area is likely average Northwoods MN hunting land. Of course land management, topography or something else can make this prime.

Why are the current owners selling ?

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From what I know they are moving out of state.

They say they see a good number of deer and are very nice people, just the kids moved away, and they are now.

I am hoping that the hunting will be good if we choose the 18 property.

Hwy 27 property seemed more wooded with a few food plots but it was 160 acres surrounded by private land.

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Its 80 acres

We are looking at 4 hunters on there.

Not to be a donkey but that's a lot of hunters on marginal land. Extrapolated out to a square mile that's 32 hunters psm on land that supports 10 or 15 deer psm. At the numbers our DNR is managing for you should have 3/4's of one hunter on 80 acres.

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DaveT

I get what your saying but you are talking about 4 guys on the land for 3 days other than that it will be hunted by me and another guy.

I doubt there are too many people that will agree with the evaluation you just used as I personally witness hunting parties of 10-20 per 160 acres.

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Buy the land that has the better bedding cover, thick and nasty and low and wet will be good. That or steep hills if they are available.

That will allow you to hold more deer on your land and potentially pull in more bucks during the rut.

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I have two guys on 87 acres...and that's pushing it. At least if you want to maintain any sense of normal movement. If a hunter is happy with seeing deer that neighbors bump onto their property, then higher hunter densities may work out for you. My neighbors have 6-10 hunters on 120 acres. Last year the guy that hunts near my corner reported seeing a good number of deer...but they were all on my property. That party moves around all over, doesn't pay attention to the wind, use atv's to access stands, etc. etc. 90%ish of my acreage sees no human activity from late August through early December.

10-20 guys on 160 acres = 8-16 acres per hunter...that's just friggin' nuts

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DaveT

I doubt there are too many people that will agree with the evaluation you just used as I personally witness hunting parties of 10-20 per 160 acres.

Just because somebody does it doesn't make it right. Hunt a thousand guys on it, I don't care. If you want to see and harvest deer though, you may want to limit how many people hunt the property.

Let's do the math together. 640 acres to a square mile, 4 guys on 80 acres comes out to 32 hunters per square mile. Even if you are hunting a population of 20 deer per square mile (which you're not) you would be outnumbering your deer by 1.5 to 1. If your neighbors are hunting at the same rate or higher, how long before none of you see any deer?

The way I see it you have 4 choices.

1. Lower your expectations. You have about 2 deer to split between 4 guys.

2. Limit your hunter access and/or find other nearby property to hunt on to spread out your pressure.

3. Get more deer on your land to hunt. You can plant food plots and cover to help but any deer that wanders off your property between September 15th and January 1st is likely to be killed by the 10 to 20 guys hunting your neighbors 160.

4. Contact your state representatives and ask them to support an audit of the MN DNR's deer management. Your habitat can support a LOT more deer than the DNR is managing for.

http://www.hotspotoutdoors.com/forum/ubb...act#Post3278556

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there is another piece for sale of 65 down 27 maybe 3 miles. very good piece of land. We have 240 acres between the two sides of 27 close by. high oaks, low scary eery cedar swamp forest. and ridges actually. no food plots established but it holds deer. buts up to state land that is land locked also

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We bought 160 acres in 156 after the 2011 season (this will be our third full year of owing it) including some ag land. Have been farming/food plotting very actively. According to the neighbors deer numbers were great 5+ years ago but gave been sliding ever since. We have observed the same. The first year we were seeing low-decent numbers. Year 2 (last year) was terrible. During bow season our party saw more wolves then deer out of the stand (seriously), and we put a lot of time in the tree. Then another bad winter, This year looks to be a repeat of last year, with wolves on trail cameras this summer, and of the deer we've been seeing not many have fawns. I expect it is a combination of years of overharvest, bad winters, and a growing wolf population. We are going to ride it out and hope things turn around, aided by the fact that per acreage cost of land and low taxes in this region can keep us owning land where we would not be able to in some other areas.

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