What changes do you see from year to year?

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I know from reading a lot of threads here that many of you have seen your deer herds diminish from disease and several other factors. In most cases you have some idea of the reasons this is happening.... You may not have control of the factors, but you do at least recognize them.

My question is a little different. How do you see the availability of mature bucks and bucks that are a year away from being shooters change from year to year where most factors stay relatively constant?

The reason I ask is because even though I have been a deer hunter all my life, I'm relative new at managing a property for deer. In 2012, I thought things were very good. In 2013, I was amazed at what we had around. This year, I essentially had only one mature buck around and a couple of short time visitors in the rut peak. The nice young bucks were not as numerous this year either. Everything should have been better - more cover, more food, and less human intrusion than ever.

So, just wondering what others see from year to year and would welcome thoughts.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I had high hopes for this year, but they didn't come to fruition. Last year I had three 3.5's (one may have been 4.5) on cam and to my the best of my knowledge, none were taken by hunters. None of them showed up this year. I did have quite a few young bucks around this year, but the best buck I had on cam was a 3.5 year old that may have scored in the 120's.

I'm giving my place another year, but if the nicer bucks I had on cam this year don't show up next year....I may just begin taking the first 2.5 year old buck I see from then on.

Good info Stu. With low numbers like I have seen you describe, that is what I would do too. It would be much better than shooting a doe.
 

shawnv

5 year old buck +
I know from reading a lot of threads here that many of you have seen your deer herds diminish from disease and several other factors. In most cases you have some idea of the reasons this is happening.... You may not have control of the factors, but you do at least recognize them.

My question is a little different. How do you see the availability of mature bucks and bucks that are a year away from being shooters change from year to year where most factors stay relatively constant?

The reason I ask is because even though I have been a deer hunter all my life, I'm relative new at managing a property for deer. In 2012, I thought things were very good. In 2013, I was amazed at what we had around. This year, I essentially had only one mature buck around and a couple of short time visitors in the rut peak. The nice young bucks were not as numerous this year either. Everything should have been better - more cover, more food, and less human intrusion than ever.

So, just wondering what others see from year to year and would welcome thoughts.



Sometimes properties will cycle and not every year is going to be fantastic. One thing for sure is that you will not do your property goals any favors if you lower your standards. My home farm was no different than yours this year so what did I do, I hunted some public land and connected there. If fact, I think it will take even one more season with not so harsh winters to get the age class I had pre-2012.
 
B

bat man

Guest
[QUOTE="shawnv, post: 32669, member: 294. One thing for sure is that you will not do your property goals any favors if you lower your standards..[/QUOTE]

Unrealistic goals can never be accomplished. Sometimes expectations need adjusted or all you have left is frustration.
 

chummer

5 year old buck +
Same here. I have not shot a buck at my place in three years. Last year I had a good class of 2.5 year olds and none of them came back. Next year will be year 4 of plots and habitat improvements, I am back to shooting first 2.5 y/o I see and maybe a spike if it gets late in season. I am in a no doe zone so I am not tempted to shoot a doe.
 

shawnv

5 year old buck +
[QUOTE="shawnv, post: 32669, member: 294. One thing for sure is that you will not do your property goals any favors if you lower your standards..

Unrealistic goals can never be accomplished. Sometimes expectations need adjusted or all you have left is frustration.[/QUOTE]

I guess I should have qualified my statement to mean the current goals, I totally agree with you 100% and maybe the goals should change to keep it fun.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
My goal is to one day be able to take an adult doe each year and feel good that I've put enough back into the habitat to sustain that level of harvest. I'll hold out for a long time for that once in a lifetime monster. I just want to see deer and have some venison at home.
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
I know from reading a lot of threads here that many of you have seen your deer herds diminish from disease and several other factors. In most cases you have some idea of the reasons this is happening.... You may not have control of the factors, but you do at least recognize them.

My question is a little different. How do you see the availability of mature bucks and bucks that are a year away from being shooters change from year to year where most factors stay relatively constant?

The reason I ask is because even though I have been a deer hunter all my life, I'm relative new at managing a property for deer. In 2012, I thought things were very good. In 2013, I was amazed at what we had around. This year, I essentially had only one mature buck around and a couple of short time visitors in the rut peak. The nice young bucks were not as numerous this year either. Everything should have been better - more cover, more food, and less human intrusion than ever.

So, just wondering what others see from year to year and would welcome thoughts.
First thing I would say is... deer move. A lot. At least in my area. There might also be other factors on neighboring properties you are not familiar with. Last year I watched a nice 8 all summer and thought we had his home range figured out. Our friend a mile north shot him and said he had also been watching him all summer. He was a frequent visitor to both of our properties that are a mile a part. Your bucks might not be far away but getting something from another landowner.
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
I think of the bell curve that scientists talk about. Our habitat management and selective harvest try to shift the curve. Other forces and nature act against us.

Plus, remember it is a bell curve, with some years to left of center and some to the right without really shifting the curve to a new location.

For this fall, heavy snow fall and cold quickly moved deer to a winter pattern. Things were different than many other years.

I feel holding mature bucks on smaller tracks of land (in Minnesota) is a total roll of the dice. The smell of one hot doe and they are gone.

Things might be different if we had more does on these small tracts. All we can do is make our place the best it can be, and go huntin'.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
I have owned my land for 5 years and with that I have 50 acres of prairie grass that use to be farmed. In that 50 acres there are several ½ acre areas that are marsh that use to be cut so an irrigation pivot could travel over the marsh. Much of these areas have now grown to 10’-20’ tall with willow and are providing some very good cover for both deer and pheasants. The willow is providing vertical structure and edge in 5’-6’ prairie grass. Mother-nature takes back what you leave alone and can provide benefits. I plan on spreading this concept to a couple of smaller wet areas in my prairie grass that again should hold wildlife.

My major take away is that I need to continue with improving habitat and in particular increasing the number of doe groups that will stay on property.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Good thoughts everyone, and keep them coming.

One thing particularly interesting is that I worried all last year that the logging would run everything off the place. Yet, it ended up being the best year ever. It did move the bucks out for a while, but they were back in a couple of weeks after the loggers pulled out in late August.

It may also be something about our general area. I've talked to a few other hunters around here and most have had similar experiences this year.

I'm just keeping the faith and keeping up the work. Also, we still have late muzzleloader this year. Last year I added a couple of nice ones late in the year. Even though I'm not expecting it this time, who knows............
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I have owned my land for 5 years and with that I have 50 acres of prairie grass that use to be farmed. In that 50 acres there are several ½ acre areas that are marsh that use to be cut so an irrigation pivot could travel over the marsh. Much of these areas have now grown to 10’-20’ tall with willow and are providing some very good cover for both deer and pheasants. The willow is providing vertical structure and edge in 5’-6’ prairie grass. Mother-nature takes back what you leave alone and can provide benefits. I plan on spreading this concept to a couple of smaller wet areas in my prairie grass that again should hold wildlife.

My major take away is that I need to continue with improving habitat and in particular increasing the number of doe groups that will stay on property.

I had the same number of does this year, and maybe just a few more. That didn't change. One good thing is that when I checked cameras the other day I jumped three different coveys of quail around the outside perimeter of the place. That was a nice feeling.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
I had the same number of does this year, and maybe just a few more. That didn't change. One good thing is that when I checked cameras the other day I jumped three different coveys of quail around the outside perimeter of the place. That was a nice feeling.
Always feels good to see you are enabling other widlife other than deer. Particularly those that need it and have a particular fondness to you. In my area I have pheasants and ruffed grouse and seeing them always make me feel like I'm doing good things on my property.
 

Riggsgwp->

5 year old buck +
One thing I have noticed over the 5 years I've had my property is deer almost "migrating" to my food once heavy snow sets in. I think other landowners are taking notice as well as deer are crossing several roads to get there. I don't want all these deer feeding here through the night because of my tree plantings but i do believe there are benefits. New deer are becoming familiar with my property and once I have the cover they will compete to make it their home. This year I had more bucks cruising/scent checking than any other year and I suspect it will only get better in years to come. I don't expect these bucks to stay long or from year to year but if I can capitalize every few years I will be more than happy. I'm also pleased to see a few pheasants enjoying my habitat improvements as well.
 

wklman

5 year old buck +
I just want to create a doe factory and shoot a 150 incher.
 

biglakeba$$

5 year old buck +
What changes do I see from year to year?

I see a lot of changes in the last 10 years to our property. Sadly what I have come to realize at a very slow rate is that 120 acres is not enough to attain goals.

What I have not seen change is our deer harvest.

Our neighbors continue to shoot at all costs. Direct neighbors that adjoin our west line shot 5 for 7 this year. Neighbors to the east a half mile went 5 for 8. Direct property on our east boundary doesnt have any deer hunters at all.

Bottom line, Batman is right..... Our goals were unrealistic because our neighbors kill everything we dont kill. We have come to terms that a 2.5 year old is fine to shoot. Sad to say, we havent even seen a 2.5 to kill during gun season now for 5 years. This year we saw ONE buck total on the farm during gun season, and my son passed on it. Just a yearling 6 pt. That is the only buck that has been seen on our land now since gun season opened. I am so beyond fed up I have nightmares... Well maybe a stretch but frustrating as hell we cant do more in the area we are in.

We have killed no deer with guns since 2011. I have never shot a buck on the property in 20+ years of bowhunting. I have not shot a deer since 2002 with my gun. My Dad has not shot a deer since 2005.
Total deer tagged in the last 10 years off this Ottertail County chunk is 6!!!! 6 deer in 10 years. Not deer I have shot... 6 TOTAL for everyone that has hunted the land.
My son has taken a 125" 9 pt in 2009, and sadly shot a 145" 10 pt with bow last year that we didnt recover... The neighbor did.
Other than that, we have not even seen a 2.5 yo buck or older while on stand in the last 10 years in total.

We pass, we pass, we pass.... and nothing has changed..... What changes do I see year to year? not the changes I want to see.
Do we resort to shooting the first deer we see and be happy with that? Not a chance in hell I can go to that extreme.

signed,
One super frustrated MN deer hunter with hunting land in Gods country......
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
BLB that is a tough situation. Is your property lacking cover?
 

sandbur

5 year old buck +
What changes do I see from year to year?

I see a lot of changes in the last 10 years to our property. Sadly what I have come to realize at a very slow rate is that 120 acres is not enough to attain goals.

What I have not seen change is our deer harvest.

Our neighbors continue to shoot at all costs. Direct neighbors that adjoin our west line shot 5 for 7 this year. Neighbors to the east a half mile went 5 for 8. Direct property on our east boundary doesnt have any deer hunters at all.

Bottom line, Batman is right..... Our goals were unrealistic because our neighbors kill everything we dont kill. We have come to terms that a 2.5 year old is fine to shoot. Sad to say, we havent even seen a 2.5 to kill during gun season now for 5 years. This year we saw ONE buck total on the farm during gun season, and my son passed on it. Just a yearling 6 pt. That is the only buck that has been seen on our land now since gun season opened. I am so beyond fed up I have nightmares... Well maybe a stretch but frustrating as hell we cant do more in the area we are in.

We have killed no deer with guns since 2011. I have never shot a buck on the property in 20+ years of bowhunting. I have not shot a deer since 2002 with my gun. My Dad has not shot a deer since 2005.
Total deer tagged in the last 10 years off this Ottertail County chunk is 6!!!! 6 deer in 10 years. Not deer I have shot... 6 TOTAL for everyone that has hunted the land.
My son has taken a 125" 9 pt in 2009, and sadly shot a 145" 10 pt with bow last year that we didnt recover... The neighbor did.
Other than that, we have not even seen a 2.5 yo buck or older while on stand in the last 10 years in total.

We pass, we pass, we pass.... and nothing has changed..... What changes do I see year to year? not the changes I want to see.
Do we resort to shooting the first deer we see and be happy with that? Not a chance in hell I can go to that extreme.

signed,
One super frustrated MN deer hunter with hunting land in Gods country......
My goals have changed through the years. From any legal deer as a youth, to only older bucks. I now can see that is not realistic if I want to eat venison.

Now I am back to shooting a yearling buck if it will make my season a success. That is what I shot this year and is the only buck that I saw in 12.5 days of hunting.

I still can pass a yearling if the population looks like I will have multiple chances. But I am happy with a yearling. My wife shot what probably was a 2.5 ( weighed 160) and the first thing she and I said was that he stunk when we walked up to him. And he was a one shot kill through the heart. Many do not agree with me, but the yearling will be much better venison.

The next few years. if not for very long periods will not be the time to shoot a doe on the sandbox. Shooting a doe at the north location might be fine.
 

Freeborn

5 year old buck +
What changes do I see from year to year?

I see a lot of changes in the last 10 years to our property. Sadly what I have come to realize at a very slow rate is that 120 acres is not enough to attain goals.

What I have not seen change is our deer harvest.

Our neighbors continue to shoot at all costs. Direct neighbors that adjoin our west line shot 5 for 7 this year. Neighbors to the east a half mile went 5 for 8. Direct property on our east boundary doesnt have any deer hunters at all.

Bottom line, Batman is right..... Our goals were unrealistic because our neighbors kill everything we dont kill. We have come to terms that a 2.5 year old is fine to shoot. Sad to say, we havent even seen a 2.5 to kill during gun season now for 5 years. This year we saw ONE buck total on the farm during gun season, and my son passed on it. Just a yearling 6 pt. That is the only buck that has been seen on our land now since gun season opened. I am so beyond fed up I have nightmares... Well maybe a stretch but frustrating as hell we cant do more in the area we are in.

We have killed no deer with guns since 2011. I have never shot a buck on the property in 20+ years of bowhunting. I have not shot a deer since 2002 with my gun. My Dad has not shot a deer since 2005.
Total deer tagged in the last 10 years off this Ottertail County chunk is 6!!!! 6 deer in 10 years. Not deer I have shot... 6 TOTAL for everyone that has hunted the land.
My son has taken a 125" 9 pt in 2009, and sadly shot a 145" 10 pt with bow last year that we didnt recover... The neighbor did.
Other than that, we have not even seen a 2.5 yo buck or older while on stand in the last 10 years in total.

We pass, we pass, we pass.... and nothing has changed..... What changes do I see year to year? not the changes I want to see.
Do we resort to shooting the first deer we see and be happy with that? Not a chance in hell I can go to that extreme.

signed,
One super frustrated MN deer hunter with hunting land in Gods country......

BLB, do you have any contiguous marsh on your property?

One feature I believe is key to having the opportunity for better deer and better bucks is contiguous marsh on your property. The marsh doesn’t have to be gigantic but it has to allow bucks to get away from pressure and survive our deer season. The bigger bucks that I see being harvested are near large marshes that allow deer to survive. I have neighbors that are brown as down but the marsh provides an impregnable block where nobody goes accept wildlife. I think this is key as it provides a secure place for deer no matter what your neighbors do.
 

MN Slick

5 year old buck +
What changes do I see from year to year?

I see a lot of changes in the last 10 years to our property. Sadly what I have come to realize at a very slow rate is that 120 acres is not enough to attain goals.

What I have not seen change is our deer harvest.

Our neighbors continue to shoot at all costs. Direct neighbors that adjoin our west line shot 5 for 7 this year. Neighbors to the east a half mile went 5 for 8. Direct property on our east boundary doesnt have any deer hunters at all.

Bottom line, Batman is right..... Our goals were unrealistic because our neighbors kill everything we dont kill. We have come to terms that a 2.5 year old is fine to shoot. Sad to say, we havent even seen a 2.5 to kill during gun season now for 5 years. This year we saw ONE buck total on the farm during gun season, and my son passed on it. Just a yearling 6 pt. That is the only buck that has been seen on our land now since gun season opened. I am so beyond fed up I have nightmares... Well maybe a stretch but frustrating as hell we cant do more in the area we are in.

We have killed no deer with guns since 2011. I have never shot a buck on the property in 20+ years of bowhunting. I have not shot a deer since 2002 with my gun. My Dad has not shot a deer since 2005.
Total deer tagged in the last 10 years off this Ottertail County chunk is 6!!!! 6 deer in 10 years. Not deer I have shot... 6 TOTAL for everyone that has hunted the land.
My son has taken a 125" 9 pt in 2009, and sadly shot a 145" 10 pt with bow last year that we didnt recover... The neighbor did.
Other than that, we have not even seen a 2.5 yo buck or older while on stand in the last 10 years in total.

We pass, we pass, we pass.... and nothing has changed..... What changes do I see year to year? not the changes I want to see.
Do we resort to shooting the first deer we see and be happy with that? Not a chance in hell I can go to that extreme.

signed,
One super frustrated MN deer hunter with hunting land in Gods country......

BLB, wow that is a tough situation. I'd either start shooting or punt if I was in your Bruno Magli's.
 
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