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DaveT

Deer hunting as it should (could) be

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Five of us recently returned from a 6 day bowhunt in Kansas. We stuck 4 bucks with an average score of 135, and left one with a scar on his shoulder. It was a self guided hunt on private property that my brother and I bought last year. There was a time when we never would have dreamed of buying land outside of MN.

Then we went hunting outside of MN.

In the last 8 years we have hunted in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. 1 state each year depending on where we were able to draw a tag or secure hunting permission.

In that time we have tagged a dozen bucks scoring at or over 120 inches.

These are not month long guided trips, these are set aside 1 week to hunt, schedule your vacation time and go. Some trips have been met with horrible weather, other hunters, or poor rutting activity.

Nonetheless, we still see more and bigger bucks on those trips than we ever see in MN.

Out of the 5 of us who went to Kansas this year, we all hunted "quality" metro spots all fall leading up to the gun opener. Only 1 of us saw a trophy buck in nearly 500 hours of hunting MN. I personally can't remember a year as bad as this past year as far as bucks seen from stand.

I am not writing this to say "look how good I am". I believe MN bowhunters are the best hunters in the country, we hunt the most educated deer in the nation. If you can kill a deer with a bow in MN, you already have the skills to kill a giant in Iowa or elsewhere. Those deer don't even look up!

Next year I am due to draw an Iowa tag and I will have my Kansas landowner tag, I will probably not even bother hunting in my home state, it is a waste of my time.

The last few years have seen unbeleivable amounts of antlerless permits issued, and I believe, thousands of dead buck fawns.

Couple that with the early gun season, gun season during the peak of the rut, and party hunting, and you have a recipe for terrible hunting.

Sorry to rant and rave but I am fed up with the way things are done here, a few changes and we could have so much better hunting, I don't think we could match Iowa, as we have so many more hunters than they do, but it could be so much better than it is.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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Question? What is the fascination with antler score? Also why does one have to shoot a "trophy"? Is it bragging rights? I'm conflicted on the whole trophy thing. I read the ODN every week & starting now through march there will be many deer 120+ in that paper shot by all forms & time of year. The big bucks are out there they have to be worked for. I'm not trying to pick a fight I'm just unsure about the whole QDM thing. I would like sound & calm discussion to get more info not a bikkering match. thank you

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The bigger the buck, the bigger the challenge, simple as that.

I know that Wisconsin isn't too bad right now but some changes could make it so much better. Eliminate party hunting, one buck with either bow or gun, and raise the price for non-res to match up with what Iowa charges. We'll never see it but it would be nice.

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I don't know how to put them up, but I could email them to somebody who does

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Why would you want to raise non-res lic? There should be a reciprocity for all the licenses in my opinion. Huntin and fishin. Lets make it so only the guy with all the extra money can hunt primeland so to speak. I live 1 mile from North Dakota and I would have to pay 90 bucks to get a pheasant lic? Does that make sense?

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Question? What is the fascination with antler score? Also why does one have to shoot a "trophy"? Is it bragging rights? I'm conflicted on the whole trophy thing.

The fascination isnt with the score... ITS WITH THE ANTLERS!!! The score is just a method we have to use to have some tangeble number to compare to other antlers.

I hunted for 4 days in Buffalo County this year on private land of a buddies. In those 4 days I saw 26 bucks, probably 5 at 3 1/2 or older..... I never did shoot one. But what a fun hunt!!! At one point I had 12 bucks chasing a doe around my stand! Ive never thought id experience rut activity like that! I can wait to get back!

Im going to Kansas on Dec. 1st with a rifle, so this post has really got me pumped now! Deer hunting is amazing when the woods is screaming with activity!

MN has a lot of really nice squirrels though. Ive had numerous opportunities. Yeah Minnesota.

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Quote:
I hunted for 4 days in Buffalo County this year on private land of a buddies. In those 4 days I saw 26 bucks, probably 5 at 3 1/2 or older..... I never did shoot one. But what a fun hunt!!!

Isn't that the truth... a coworker of mine goes every year and I hear the same stories when he gets back. You can't wait to go back, I can't wait to go for the first time! Someday...

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Everyone is trying to make that extra buck, and thats why non-res are so spendy. Well said Dave very well said. In response to CMKURT, shooting big deer is something not everyone can do, and the way the permits are going your gonna need a large chunk of land and great QDM to be able to do that. Someone brought up a RUMOR about MN having a lottery for bucks, which i am in favor for, i have hunted in south MN, not saying everyone is like this but if its brown its down there, drive every piece of woods with guys on the end waiting to blast whatever comes out. Thats why i stopped gun hunting there and started bow hunting. I think they could do a lot of things to help grow bigger bucks but will that ever happen, NO ITS ABOUT THE MONEY. Thats my rant.

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The last few years have seen unbeleivable amounts of antlerless permits issued, and I believe, thousands of dead buck fawns.

I totally agree with you, with the exception of the quote above. Managing for big headgear means limiting the percentage of does in the area. Removing more does will result in lots of good things...

Everything else you said is consistent with my beliefs though. However, as DD and harvey lee have pointed out, that apparently isn't the attitude of the majority of the MN hunters- they just want a buck and don't really care about how big the rack is. ... and, it's the job of the DNR to cater to the wishes of the majority, so I can't really blame them for their decision making. I still struggle to believe that most people just want a buck and don't care much about the size of the buck, that I've been told that over and over and that's what's driving MN's policy making.

So... unless I can afford to purchase a good amount of acerage (sadly, this will never happen!) and manage it how I see fit, I have no choice but to live with the management tactics of the MN DNR. It does seem though, that many have taken the same stance as you and have decided to hunt in other states. I know more and more guys who leave MN to hunt for "big bucks" in other states. It seems to me that will only continue to happen more frequently.

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The fascination isnt with the score... ITS WITH THE ANTLERS!!! The score is just a method we have to use to have some tangeble number to compare to other antlers.

I'm going to "partly" disagree with slim grizzly here. I prefer to hunt more mature bucks for the challenge, so for me it's more about the age of the deer. But a 3.5 year old buck typically has larger rack so the two kind of go hand in hand.

In the early 90's I got my first nice whitetail buck and it ended up being my fifth buck in 5 years. I decided it was time to push myself a little more. If the land that I hunt on doesn't even contain a more mature deer (as verified by cameras) then it's kind of a waste of my time.

Even if there were more mature bucks available they are still not easy and they are still much wiser than the immature deer. I don't expect to have one behind every tree but I'd like to have my cameras pick up 2-3 a year even if it is one's that are just cruising through.

I'm hunting just outside of Buffalo Co. WI on Sat. Hopefully I can bring back some pictures of me getting one with antlers!! cool

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When you hunt in MN for 7 weeks and the biggest buck you can muster is a forkhorn then you go out of state for 6 days and see 15 forkhorns, 12 2.5 year old deer and 6 3.5 year old deer, how can you not be fed up with MN.

It is not easier to kill a big buck out of state, you still have to scout and put up stands and move stands and be scent conscious and put in your time. But there are so many more adult bucks that you actually see them.

Pennsylvania is a prime example. They went nuts over there when antler restrictions came in. Now everyone over there loves it because they see big bucks. I don't care what you say, you will enjoy your deer hunting more when you see a big buck every year and shoot one once in a while.

A buddy of mine said that he talked to Lou Cornicelli about it and he said about the only thing he can control would be antler restricitions. The legislature controls season dates (that is a smart move, putting the legislature in control of the deer herd). If there can be 5,000 signatures on a petition he can maybe bring about antler restrictions.

How can we get that started?? There has to be at least 5,000 bowhunters who would sign.

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I love ALL the antlers! I agree its more the age than score thats important. But your talking to a shed hunter here..... I want them ALL!!! smile

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I didnt pay anyone. No money... no rancher. I could have drilled several 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old bucks. I just didnt want to kill a young deer. Have one good chance at a 135" 4x4 but I screwed up. Ill eat my tag, thats fine.

It was probably one of the best experiences my rich, joe-blow construction worker, a$$ has ever had. Go out there and knock on some doors and maybe someone will let you hunt.

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If you put your time in and scout, you wouldnt be having problems in Minnesota. I dont shoot monster bucks or anything, but I do find the right spots it seems. I'm not to big on scoreing deer but for the past four years in a new area to me, I've pulled out some dandies. Big 8's with at least 16.5" spreads, when other people say they have'nt seen a thing. Scouting is key, you have to know where they are. I do see some monsters when I'm scouting though they are out there, but the woods are big,they have lots of room to roam. I havent hunted in Kansas but isnt there alot of open feilds, with open woods. The challenge is taking big bucks out of places where no one else can. Nice deer though, I have seen them in THE GREAT STATE OF MINNESOTA!!!

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Saw 26 Bucks, never SHOT a 1 ....WOWWWWW, THAT SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT HUNT TO ME! ......Give some private rancher $XXXX.XX Dollars, come home empty handed......!

What a GREAT HUNT !

Where can I SIGN UP ?

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I'm with Barnez on this one. These deer can be found in Minnesota you just have to put in the time and effort to go find these places. we've shot some nice deer over the years. Great deer though! I'd guess I prefer staying in the state and being proud of it!

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