The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,510 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:nerd:

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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,809 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,314 Posts
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Fallair

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,510 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Glad to hear the positive comments. Reading Outdoor News one would think there are no deer in those counties. Doom and Gloom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,348 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,809 Posts
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)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
751 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,640 Posts
I though for sure somebody on here was going to "whack the beehive" on this subject. So far a good thread. I have found the older hunters get the MORE complaints are heard.Try an experiment some time with a hunter that blasts off about no deer...ask them did you see that spectacular sunrise we had on opening day?...To many times you get a huh or they did not remember...then you have your answer on how observant they were in the woods.Then ask why they hunt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,557 Posts
Guess you have to work harder than in the past is what it comes down to. Older guys will not, or in some cases, cannot do it any more. Maybe a lot of the problem is that old guys are no longer capable of hunting the way they used to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,627 Posts
If you hunt archery thru rifle in Pa and you don't have at LEAST one opportunity at killing a deer weather you kill it or not your not really trying. Killing a PA deer is not really that difficult. There ya go, I whacked the hornets nest!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,809 Posts
If you hunt archery thru rifle in Pa and you don't have at LEAST one opportunity at killing a deer weather you kill it or not your not really trying. Killing a PA deer is not really that difficult. There ya go, I whacked the hornets nest!
Quite honestly a lot of people just aren't very good at hunting. Whether oblivious or they know it and just don't care, that's just a fact.

Just walking through the woods and noting where some people think its a good idea to hang a treestand or leave a blind, it quickly becomes clear that their lack of success is not entirely due to lack of effort. A lot of people could use a public land hunting 101 course.

Last year on the first day of rifle I was tagged out so I just drove around all day scouting pressure in various areas. Man was it entertaining and eye opening. These are some of the things I witnessed: Guys just arriving to their spots an hour after shooting light; people coming out of the woods to warm up/go eat breakfast/road hunt an hour after shooting light; many people road hunting all hours of the day; many people hunting within 100 yards of the road in wide open woods where they would be lucky to see a deer once every 100 years. Yeah I saw some good hunters and some nice bucks pulled out but I pretty quickly figured out why I have heard people say they go 5 or 10 years without even seeing a deer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,314 Posts
Quite honestly a lot of people just aren't very good at hunting. Whether oblivious or they know it and just don't care, that's just a fact.

Just walking through the woods and noting where some people think its a good idea to hang a treestand or leave a blind, it quickly becomes clear that their lack of success is not entirely due to lack of effort. A lot of people could use a public land hunting 101 course.

Last year on the first day of rifle I was tagged out so I just drove around all day scouting pressure in various areas. Man was it entertaining and eye opening. These are some of the things I witnessed: Guys just arriving to their spots an hour after shooting light; people coming out of the woods to warm up/go eat breakfast/road hunt an hour after shooting light; many people road hunting all hours of the day; many people hunting within 100 yards of the road in wide open woods where they would be lucky to see a deer once every 100 years. Yeah I saw some good hunters and some nice bucks pulled out but I pretty quickly figured out why I have heard people say they go 5 or 10 years without even seeing a deer.

This is dead on! It amazes me how many guys never get out of sight of their truck!

It's the 20/80 rule in full practice. 20% of the hunters kill 80% of the deer. Same applies to just about everything in life. 20% of the 'group' do 80% of the work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
We have camp in 2G. We have been seeing less and less trucks in camps and on the roads than ever the last 5-7 years. 20 years ago each camp was filled up with trucks and parking on the game land roads was packed. Guys were moving deer and we saw a good amount of deer. Why, people were moving them. Now, less guys moving deer equals less unnatural deer movement. Simply, you had to become a better hunter if you wanted to see deer. These are the guys that say the deer population is too low. We typically go up the last 4 days of rifle season. At times we'll see groups of 10-12 deer. I don't remember see that many grouped up 20 years ago. There are spots we sit in stands and others where we walk. We know where we can get away sitting in a tree stand and others where its simply better to set up a guy and another move slowly through a clearcut, etc. Personally, I love less people in the woods. I can walk all day and never see a hunter, so much more peaceful. For me, yes I go out with the intentions to shoot a deer. However, being in the woods is where all other things in life seem to fade away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,222 Posts
Last year on the first day of rifle I was tagged out so I just drove around all day scouting pressure in various areas. Man was it entertaining and eye opening. These are some of the things I witnessed: Guys just arriving to their spots an hour after shooting light; people coming out of the woods to warm up/go eat breakfast/road hunt an hour after shooting light; many people road hunting all hours of the day; many people hunting within 100 yards of the road in wide open woods where they would be lucky to see a deer once every 100 years. Yeah I saw some good hunters and some nice bucks pulled out but I pretty quickly figured out why I have heard people say they go 5 or 10 years without even seeing a deer.
Agreed on 95% of this....one caveat I will add though - when you see a guy hitting the woods an hour after daylight, you are never sure of the reason unless you talk to him. Yes, there are definitely some that are lazy or not that intense about getting into the woods on time. However, some guys might work an 11p-7a shift before they can grab their hunting gear and hit the woods....or maybe he had to get a son/daughter on the bus before heading out. I have a lot of respect for the latter guys that make due with whatever hunting time they have available....even if they are perceived to be "late" getting into the woods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
Do not forget a lot of northern tier camps still require their members to buy a doe tag but are not allowed to use them. This still exists as part of their membership.
So the numbers of tags being bought versus the amount actually being used is skewed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,557 Posts
If you hunt archery thru rifle in Pa and you don't have at LEAST one opportunity at killing a deer weather you kill it or not your not really trying. Killing a PA deer is not really that difficult. There ya go, I whacked the hornets nest!
Not necessarily. A guy can be doing everything right (out when he should be, scent controlled, putting in the time) and still have little opportunity due to no access to good properties. Before you point out that there are a lot of public properties, does your statement above hold true for guys that only hunt public ground? Cause public ground is a different ball game. Not that it cant happen the way you say, even on public ground, but it would seem less likely for guys restricted to public land only.

I still swear by my sig line, and as AR/HR has changed the herd and as more and more landowners are restricting access to their ground, it seems more axiomatic than ever before.
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top