Camp Counties deer - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Camp Counties deer



I can't help but notice the Northern "Camp counties" antlerless deer permits sell out very quickly. This is the WMU's I consistently hear complaints of hunters seeing no deer, camps abandon, hunters giving up on deer hunting and generally the lack of deer. Has the GC adjusted the allocation of permits to allow for proper population growth? Are the deer numbers increasing in those counties, if so why do the complaints continue? Some hunters seem very angry.

I would think hunters on their own would pass on the lower deer population counties to apply for permits in a more deer populated counties to increase their chances of success and to allow deer numbers to increase.

I guess some have camps and want to hunt in those areas believing all is well? Is all well with deer numbers in those locations?

Just wonder what the thoughts are of the Northern "Camp counties" antlerless deer hunters are?

Is there an issue or no issue?
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 12:55 PM
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I am in the woods year round and not tied to a camp so I hunt in about 6 different counties. Broadly speaking, the deer population does seem to be picking up compared to 10-15 years ago. The areas that are struggling have localized problems that relate to extremely high pressure in rifle season (easy access, lots of camps, too many DMAP tags, constant Amish drives with 30+ people). In some places I am seeing insane ratios of mature bucks: immature bucks: does. You wouldn't even believe some of these ratios. The forests and deer are healthier than ever. Herd reduction was a punch in the gut but it was needed.

One of the main factors that a lot of the whiners do not take into account is the fact that deer populations are not spread evenly over the landscape. Guys got used to expecting to walk 200 yards out their camp door, sit in the same treestand the camp has been using for generations, and kill deer. Ain't happening. Habitat wasn't healthy then. Forests change over the years. When there were unnaturally high deer populations that worked. Some dumb spike would walk past once in awhile. Now we have a more natural deer population and the guys who scout and are willing to drive down the road to greener pastures are doing pretty well. You have to find the good habitat now.
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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 02:16 PM
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2F is one of those WMU's and I have a rant about it....

2F isn't ALL big woods, public land, etc., but it's managed like it is. I'm tripping over deer in my area of southern 2F....they're everywhere and there is no shortage, low population, or anything of the like. However, I can only get one doe tag because they sell out 'usually' before non-res can even apply. That wasn't the case this year as there were a few thousand left at that point...that's an exception rather than the rule though. Folks think of 2F as the ANF, other public land and camps, which a lot of it is. However, there's a huge amount of private land, farmland, mixed in there as well....especially in the southern end. I ended up using the system in place and DMAP'd our property so we could kill some deer and try to aid regeneration....which is finally starting to work though I don't actually see any less deer than before (actually I'm seeing more deer since this past fall and more quality regen, I can't explain that). My slice of 2F looks a whole lot more like 2D than the northern end of 2F. I wish they'd redraw the lines to better suit the habitat since they claimed that was the intent of WMU's to begin with. End rant.

To guess an answer to your question though: There are a lot of hunters in those norther WMU's in a whole lot of real estate. Look at 2F, I don't know the actual land area but the ANF alone is entirely within 2F and it's over half a million acres. 2F as a whole is probably around twice that at one million acres by my own guestimate....that's about 1600 square miles! PA has the highest hunter density in the nation (https://www.qdma.com/hunter-density-across-u-s/) at 20.5/sq. mi. That's roughly 33,000 hunters in 2F using simple math and not figuring in cities, roads, buildings, etc. It also doesn't take into consideration that it's one of the traditional deer hunting areas in this state so that 20.5 average is likely higher in reality. 24,000 doe tags don't go very far considering the sheer number of hunters. 2G is just as bad, if not worse, with more hunters, more land and only a few more tags at 25,500.

What many people don't realize is that the little towns with high densities of camps and only a few hundred actual residents turn into bustling little cities for a couple weeks each year. They're crawling with people everywhere, their population increases tenfold overnight and dies out just as quickly a week or so later. A whole lot of those 'new' folks do the same thing they always do....sit on grandpap's rock or under that hemlock in the hollow or walk this ridge to that one, etc. A good many never scout, never step foot in the woods prior to that weekend before (sometimes even opening morning). They don't know deer at all, they know that rock or stump that dad 'always got lucky' at or uncle Bob killed that buck 40 years ago down by the 'crick' in that hollow. I'm not knocking on those folks, but that's where a whole lot of the complaining comes from.....notice it doesn't last long after the season is over! They're back to doing whatever it is they do the other 360 days a year! There are exceptions to everything there, of course, but that's the meat and potatoes of it, I believe anyway.
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 08:06 PM
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No issue at all. Hunters need to get out of their ladder stands and they would see the real picture. I was very critical of herd reduction in 2G but today i see a healthier rebounding herd and agree totally with every statement Elk Yinzer said.
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Glad to hear the positive comments. Reading Outdoor News one would think there are no deer in those counties. Doom and Gloom.
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 09:26 PM
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I live in, have a camp in, and hunt public land in the northern tier and don't have any reservations on taking a pile of does every year. I put the time in and find the pockets where they're impacting the habitat most negatively. It's funny how I can read on here guys who say where they're camp is and where they hunt and the lack of deer. One reason may be because some of us have already killed quite a few through archery and early muzzleloader seasons, but didn't have too many problems finding them.
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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbear View Post
One reason may be because some of us have already killed quite a few through archery and early muzzleloader seasons, but didn't have too many problems finding them.
KaBOOM, drop the mic! I knew it! Archery season should be one week long after the rifles get their chance!

I still work pretty hard to take does in archery. They are more spread throughout the landscape. They are pretty stackable in rifle because they hole up in extremely predictable areas.

There are 3 excuses not to be able to bring a doe home in rifle:

1) could not complete doe app properly or send it in on time
2) did not scout
3) stayed out a couple hours then hunted from the truck all day (sadly PA's preferred tactic)
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Last edited by elk yinzer; 08-15-2017 at 09:56 PM.
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-15-2017, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elk yinzer View Post
I am in the woods year round and not tied to a camp so I hunt in about 6 different counties. Broadly speaking, the deer population does seem to be picking up compared to 10-15 years ago. The areas that are struggling have localized problems that relate to extremely high pressure in rifle season (easy access, lots of camps, too many DMAP tags, constant Amish drives with 30+ people). In some places I am seeing insane ratios of mature bucks: immature bucks: does. You wouldn't even believe some of these ratios. The forests and deer are healthier than ever. Herd reduction was a punch in the gut but it was needed.

One of the main factors that a lot of the whiners do not take into account is the fact that deer populations are not spread evenly over the landscape. Guys got used to expecting to walk 200 yards out their camp door, sit in the same treestand the camp has been using for generations, and kill deer. Ain't happening. Habitat wasn't healthy then. Forests change over the years. When there were unnaturally high deer populations that worked. Some dumb spike would walk past once in awhile. Now we have a more natural deer population and the guys who scout and are willing to drive down the road to greener pastures are doing pretty well. You have to find the good habitat now.
I could not agree more with this. Exactly the case. Days of sitting on the same rock for 30 years and shooting a spike 200 yards behind the gate are over. PGC had a part but the changing forest was the driver...the forest became 30 years older during that period.

Young forest in much of the northern counties, lots of browse and cover. Got to go get the deer up and out of those places like the camp founders did 50 years ago in that young forest.

"Sit down wrong, and you're beat." Jim Spencer
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-16-2017, 12:23 PM
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We have a camp in Norwich Township that was bought in 1947. The amount of active camps has dropped by close to 75% in the last 10 years. With all the game lands, state forest land and leases, finding a place to hunt is never a problem. Due to vast clearcuts and far fewer deer, the herd certainly has rebounded, albeit in certain pockets. Sure its not picking Grandpa's tree and just picking one off now. That's why its called hunting. if you do the homework, the critters are there. We spent a lot of days year round scouting, maintaining almost 40 camera's , and just don't see the amount of does to go crazy taking a bunch. There is ample food and cover, you can still find area's after a snowfall that doesn,'t have tracks, even after a couple days.We shot 5 bucks for 11 guys last year, all over 2.5 years olds, and one 11 point that scored almost 140. I would hate to know how many man hours we log previous to the season. Don't knock tradition, its an important part of our hunting heritage.
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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 08-17-2017, 07:00 AM
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Elkyinzer is spot on with his statements. The deer are there, but they are not everywhere. If you are not seeing them, take a walk or try a different mountain. Every season I run into hunters who say the deer are not there. I just agree and move on. This year my group had 6 hunters in deer camp. We hunt all day every day and put lots of miles on our boots. We killed 6 bucks. I would say our total sightings were low for the season but that was expected due to the abundance of acorns. They spread out on years like that. From what I see, the herd is doing very well. The buck to doe ratio is right where it should be and I see several mature bucks every season. If you are willing to put some work in you will be rewarded in NC PA. If you just want to road hunt, plan in getting in line and not seeing much. Those are usually the guys complaining about the deer numbers.
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