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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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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.
 

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rockyDD said:
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.
Some might logically conclude that becoming an archer (vertical or crossbow) and spending more time in the deer woods might be a good idea.
 

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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.
 

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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!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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.
 

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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.
 

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Well, you said it: it's a choice. Don't complain that others choose to do something you've chosen not to do.

Should I start complaining about turkey hunters being in archery season? I chose not to hunt turkeys until spring...they're ruining the resource! Scoundrels!
 

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Sounds like yet another archery vs. rifle debate is about to go down. Should be amusing as always...wonder if it will cover any new ground.
 

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The technology of bows has improved so dramatically over the last 20 years that they are more accurate and powerful than ever. I also believe that this has resulted in an increase in those hunting with archery equipment. Compound that with the introduction of the crossbow, and that has increased the people participating in archery and increased the harvest in archery. I would not be opposed to a shorter archery season. If I recall correctly wasn't the final two weeks of archery in the past doe only. Just my .02.
 

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JasonN said:
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!
We do sit in the cat bird seat using a crossbow is no differnt then using a rifle IMO., The only guys I know who don't kill a buck every year in archery season are my friends who just didn't see a big enough buck to use their tag on but they could have killed numerous other legal bucks.
 

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JasonN said:
Well, you said it: it's a choice. Don't complain that others choose to do something you've chosen not to do.

Should I start complaining about turkey hunters being in archery season? I chose not to hunt turkeys until spring...they're ruining the resource! Scoundrels!
But very good point.
 

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rockyDD said:
This post was about giving those that choose not to archery hunt a higher quality hunt more in line with what it once was.
Rifle Hunters still kill the vast majority of the deer, buck or doe. What quality is lacking?

rockyDD said:
Many states have rifle season during the rut.
Most of those states don't have anywhere near the # of rifle hunters that PA does.

Like JasonN, I'm a deer hunter, bow, muzzleloader, rifle, doesn't matter to me, if I want to hunt deer and legally can, I'm going.

No one makes the choice to hunt with a particular weapon or during a particular season than the individual themselves. So to say we need to change the season because the people that kill the most deer need a better experience makes absolutely no sense.
 

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ShedSeeker said:
JasonN said:
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!
We do sit in the cat bird seat using a crossbow is no differnt then using a rifle IMO., The only guys I know who don't kill a buck every year in archery season are my friends who just didn't see a big enough buck to use their tag on but they could have killed numerous other legal bucks.
...but anyone that wants to be can in that same cat-bird seat. That was my point about being puzzled by the logic.
 

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People just don't hunt the same way in rifle anymore. Most guys I see just sit all day and as a rsult so do the deer. I noticed a change start to take place in the the late 90's early 2000's. Long before crossbows became legal. Less guys were going out and the ones I did see were in smaller groups. Every year I noticed less people doing drives as well. There are so many factors that go into why rifle season being the way it is today. Archery is at the bottom of the list.
 

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Jason, Yes you make a very good point. : ) But rifle hunters are the majority and we are not...Soooo just because they have zero interest in archery hunting they shouldn't have a say.
 

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ShedSeeker said:
Jason, Yes you make a very good point. : ) But rifle hunters are the majority and we are not...Soooo just because they have zero interest in archery hunting they shouldn't have a say.
I kinda disagree.We're all HUNTERS and we can all hunt in whatever season we choose.I would consider myself primarily a bowhunter but I rifle hunt as well.I have zero issues with youth,seniors and muzzleloaders getting some time during archery season.I would oppose a week of rifle for buck during the rut because it would wipe out the resource.
 

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I think the chance is already pretty equal for gun hunters, its called being able to use a rifle with a scope that can shoot 2-300 yards or more.

I would say that close to half of the bucks that my father and I have gotten with rifles were chasing does. So, that being said the year depends when the rut falls. Some years there is going to be more activity during archery season, others its going to be later and have more activity during rifle season.

I don't know what limiting the number of deer a hunter could take with a bow would do? If they are not going to shoot them with a bow they would shoot them with a muzzleoader or a gun later in the season. If somebody shoots a buck and 2 doe the first week of bow season, they are done. They are out of the woods and out of the "gun" hunters way.

I dont think starting gun season any earlier would be necessary or a good idea. You already said that 60% of bucks get killed in rifle season. 60% of bucks in 2 weeks vs 40% in bow season which is over a month, and susposedly during the best time to hunt? I guess you dont want any bucks left for the future.

There is already a kind of split season after rifle season. The primitive weapons and flintlock season. Bows and flintlocks can be used.

More hunters are hunting bow season because they are realizing what they have been missing. I see 10 times more deer in bow season than in rifle season. Just because of the time of the time of year.

Im sure this isnt the case for all of them, but for the disgruntled rifle hunters that are leaving the sport, how many of them are actually that into the sport? Probably very few. The ones that are leaving are the guys that go out for one day at the same spot every year and complain they dont see anything. Maybe they should do some scouting and see whats going on instead of just complaining about it. Patterns change from year to year. If they were really that into deer hunting they would probably go out with a bow.
 

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dce said:
ShedSeeker said:
Jason, Yes you make a very good point. : ) But rifle hunters are the majority and we are not...Soooo just because they have zero interest in archery hunting they shouldn't have a say.
I kinda disagree.We're all HUNTERS and we can all hunt in whatever season we choose.I would consider myself primarily a bowhunter but I rifle hunt as well.I have zero issues with youth,seniors and muzzleloaders getting some time during archery season.I would oppose a week of rifle for buck during the rut because it would wipe out the resource.
Doug I pretty much agree with everything you posted esp with over harvesting the resource and letting juniors and seniors have fall gun seasons. My concern is harvesting too many bucks before the rut is over. Its just a matter of time before archers are harvesting 50% + of the total buck harvest. These days shooting a conpound or crossbow isn't much different then a rifle.
 
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