I saw an article in the newspaper that said that nearly 40 percent of the bucks are shot in box season. That sounded high so I looked it up and it is true.
I then went back to 10 years ago and that number was 21 percent. During that period, archery licenses only increased 18 percent. So there are more archery hunters and they are more successful which leaves fewer bucks for gun only hunters.
In the ten years, the addition of cross bows accounts for some of the success.
Another big change has been the increase in doe tags. An archery hunter used to get one deer and was done. Now he can stay in the woods until he fills multiple tags. More hunters hunting a lot longer means there is a lot more pressure on deer before rifle season. Longer bear seasons have the same effect. I have noticed the deer are much more spooky and nocturnal in the early deer season making it harder to get a shot and giving the impression there are less deer.
We also have the antler restrictions and lower doe populations resulting in a stronger rut when bucks are more vulnerable. Only archers hunt the rut.
I would like to see the seasons changed to make the chance of getting buck more equal for gun hunters.
I would like to see a few changes made such as:
Limit the number of deer that can be taken with a bow.
Start rifle season to coincide with the rut.
Split bow season to have the second half after rifle season
Allow muzzle loader hunters to hunt during the rut and to take a buck.
We have archers that are getting more and more successful with increasing numbers and rifle hunter getting disgruntled and leaving the sport. Something should be done to change this trend.
So if 40% are shot in bow season then there is still 60% shot in rifle season. Then rifle hunters are still have a higher percentage of the harvest, what is the problem?
An alternative to wanting to change everything, you can do what all of the rifle only hunters at my camp have done, get a crossbow and extend your season. Archery hunting in 2F means I have the woods to myself. Especially the last week of archery season during the rut I may only see 1 or 2 cars all week hunting public ground.
Seriously; gun season during the rut! Maybe the the change that needs to be made is you should try archery. Hunting with a bow isn't easy. This year I saw a ton of bucks, many of which I couldn't shoot with a bow, with a rifle they would have been chip shots, rifle season during the rut would kill too many bucks before they have the opportunity to breed which will further decimate the deer population making even more difficult to find deer and encourage new hunters.
Remember the old days when the first two weeks were buck only, you'd see 30 deer a day, then came 3 days of doe season and it was hard to find one.
I think the seasons are fine, I'd like to see early muzzle loader and youth/senior day both eliminated, bow hunters have it hard enough with small gamers and turkey burgers. Give us a week to ourselves during the rut.
The logic that gun hunters have it so bad and archers are sitting in the cat-bird seat always puzzles me.
That 18% increase in archers IS FROM AN INFLUX OF RIFLE HUNTERS! Tells me at least some are bright enough to figure it out. I'd venture to guess those rifle guys that picked up archery tackle were already good hunters to start with and saw an opportunity....hence the 21% increase in harvest.
I'm a DEER HUNTER....I use whatever weapon I'm allowed to use to hunt deer....because I thoroughly enjoy hunting deer all kinds of different ways!
You really under estimated the ramifications of the boondoggle you have just perpetrated!
The easy response is everyone get a bow license. This post was about giving those that choose not to archery hunt a higher quality hunt more in line with what it once was. I was once an avid bow hunter but now prefer to hunt small game with dog. That not a reason for putting up with a lessening rifle hunt.
Many states have rifle season during the rut. What is the problem with that other than it takes the exclusive archery hunt away. You can still use your bow all deer season if you prefer. I lived in Georgia where most rifle hunters considered Nov. 1 the real first day for rifle and many bow hunters used only a bow for the whole rifle season.
Why? When the PGC made crossbows legal (without the support of the hunters I might add,) they knew that this would be the result, then add in the vast improvent to archery tackle, IE: bows, arrows, btoadheads, range finders etc and this news shouldn't surprise anyone.