I'm still getting a lot of good deer photos on the game cameras. Naturally, I taken them down during the season, but now they are back out so I can see which ones made it through the early seasons.
Lots of deer here in 2-B and 2-D. I saw a lot of sign in Southern Potter (2-G), but not many deer. I honestly think one of the biggest problems up north is the lack of hunters (especially 'young') in the northern "Big Woods" where it takes a lot of hunter activity and movement to get the deer out of their bedding areas and in front of the rifles. Now I'm not saying the north central deer herd is anything like it as back in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, but it 'is' coming back. The hunters, however, are not and that adds to the problem. I also don't think antler restrictions made the bigger bucks they are seeing up north...but instead the fact that the deer are getting older because they are living longer as a result of hunter attrition and much lower deer harvests.
"Back In The Day," every camp in the Cross Fork area was full of hunters for the first week - and half the camps had hunters the second week. That sure isn't the case now, with less than 20% of the camps having hunters - and only a few guys each for one or two days. The second week has very few camps open and hardly anyone hunting and moving deer.
I don't know what a solution could be to this. Who, back in the 70s and 80s, would have ever thought that the hunting Mecca would be the south and not the north?!
My two sons and I enjoyed our best season to date. We hunt private land in 2D and several other properties in Armstrong Co. that are open to the public. We each filled a buck tag and managed to fill 6 anterless tags. 4 deer were donated to area food banks to help those in need. Opening day of rifle season was off the charts! I saw 51 deer including 11 bucks. 4 of those were legal and shot my 11 point at 4:30pm. Never had a day of hunting quite like that. My oldest son and I watched 2 young bucks spar for 40 minutes before walking off. We even watched a flock of turkey feed through our area. But this was more the exception rather than the rule ......Thumper
Saw alot of nice bucks in Archery, In 2B and 2F, not to mention alot of does. Didnt get a buck in 2F but saw some nice taken off the ANF and leases. Got a decent buck in 2b on second Friday and some does the next day in 2D. Deer are out there, just have to move them, especially in large forest area where nobody else is. Cant wait until flintlock in 2F!
I hunt private ground in 2D. I hunted 4 days of rifle. Saw 10-12 buck on the first day, 1 being legal and passed on it. Saw more than 40 doe that day as well. Hunted 1st Thurs morning and saw 3 non legal buck and 11 doe by 10:30am when I had to leave. 1st Fri I saw 15 doe during an all day sit. It was the first time in 6 years of hunting this property that I did not see a buck. 1st Saturday I saw 7 buck, 1 being legal and he got a pass. Saw more than 30 doe that day. This is by far the best property I have ever hunted, it is located in the center of other properties and roads and guys coming in to hunt move the deer right by me. The property I hunted previosly had really dried up for me...would go the whole season and not see the amount of deer I see in one day on this property. The previous spot I hunted was about 10 miles from this one. I got tired of sitting or still hunting all day and see maybe 3 or 4 doe. I decided to try and find another property to hunt, gained permission and have not been happier. I have taken 4 buck on this property in 6 years. I missed a nice one 4 seasons ago and this year I passed on a couple small legal buck.
Especially on private lands (mine included), they are either there on the land, or they are not -- obviously... If the deer are not where you are hunting, they are most likely on an adjacent property. The deer are definitely here in 2-B and 2-D. If you don't see them one or two days, they're out there somewhere -- they did not evaporate and disappear from the woods. Again - hunter movement is the key!
I saw deer every time I was on stand this year. I hunt 5C and had "opportunties" but let deer pass. I did shoot a doe on the 1st Thursday of gun season with my bow.
During the 2nd week of rifle season, I hunted 3C and 3D and saw more deer this year than years past up there. Again I had "opportunties" but elected not to shoot.
I hunted several pieces of private ground where the landowners allow anyone to hunt during both the early archery and the general firearms season in 2A and 2B. I just moved out here from 5B a few months ago, and I definitely saw less deer here than I am used to back in York. That being said, I have pictures of 4 bucks that will all easily make pope and young, which is something I normally dont see in York. I had no trouble finding deer all year long, and ended up tagging several does during archery season, and a buck with my bow on the first day of firearms season. Not one of the ones I was after, but a decent buck nonetheless. The properties I was hunting see a ton of pressure during both seasons. I had to work pretty hard and hunt smart to escape the pressure and figure out deer that had gone pretty much nocturnal very early. I saw deer on nearly every outing during the gun season, both mornings and evenings, all sticking to very thick cover, literally almost inpenetrable stuff. The deer are definitely here, in both 2A and 2B. I'll let you know how 5B is when I get home and whack a doe after Christmas.