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Discussion in 'Newspaper Articles' started by Teegate, Jan 26, 2005.
So, they kill all the deer and are now angry that there are no more to kill?
I will try to keep this brief and vaguely understandable.
Pennsylvania is going through now what we went through in NJ about 25 years ago.
When NJ started becoming more liberal with the number of deer, especiallly does, that you could take in one season and increased the number of days you could hunt them, the old schoolers lost their minds.
I think Wisbang is old enough to remember gun clubs in NJ banding together and applying for doe permits and then burning them.
Well the biology behind keeping doe numbers low appears to work and there has never been more deer in NJ than there is now.
I have my grandfather's NJ hunting licenses and game laws from 1910 up through the early 1920's and the deer season was 4 Wednesdays and the limit was one deer.
Pennsylvania, still to this day, allows only one buck per year (no matter what you took it with) and only recently allowed doe hunting during their rifle season. They recently added an antlerless only early muzzleloader season in October 3 years ago.
They have also added antler restrictions (3 points or better to one side) to encourage more mature breeding deer.
This has reduced the kill during their most popular 2 weeks of rifle season and is one of the reasons the complaints about the lack of deer are proliferating.
The long time PA. hunters think that allowing the extra doe kills will decimate the populations.
The outgoing head of the PA. game Commission Gary Alt is blamed for bringing in all of the new "science" and contributing to the decline in deer numbers.
I have a friend in Lycoming County who believes Alt is the Antichrist.
There is a whole big picture out there that has to be analyzed objectively and there is no doubt deer numbers are down in some of the ecologically stagnant forested areas where there is limited food sources.
Where I hunt it is always tough. No agricultural areas, no people and hundreds of square miles of mature maple, black cherry and a few oak.
In other areas of Pa., deer numbers are way up but most Pa. hunters, including me, don't change there hunting area beyond the limits of their camps that have been established for generations.
There is a great article in this month's Pennsylvania Game News that speaks to this whole issue.
With Alt gone you may see some regressive changes this year.
To summarize: The deer aren't gone, give the "new science" a chance and if you really need to kill a deer, change your location within Pa. or come to NJ.
I remember having two weeks of antler hunting & one day of doe for those lucky enough to hae 'won' a permit from the county. You'd see 40 - 50 doe per day in buck season. Our butcher would see close to 100 deer in the first day. The state antlered kill would be over 250,000
The first day of buck was a day off from school & 99% of the hunters were in the woods. 89% of the deer harvest was on the first day. Any buck trailing a doe [second rut] would be gunned down by noon. Swamps & the like were driven out by the clubs & we'd see on state land where the adjoining private clubs had driven the state forest out the Sat or Sun before opening day. There was marginal hunting on the first Saturday of buck.
Less than 1% of hunters would be afield for the second week & we would often hunt farmland 'round home instead of going up to the Poconos w/ monor success. Most often we'd be listening to all tha shootin' in Jersey cause their gun week is during PA's 2nd week.
I hunted from age 11 and finally downed a button buck in the first doe season after graduating college. Our camp goes back to the 1920's & if you are there you get a share of the meat. Our family & friends were our guests and Dad & I often would work around the standing guests to stir something up.
Mailing doe permit applications involved a midnight drive to the post office of the county seat & joining the line of locals stuffing the mailbox w/ applications. Locals bought most of the supply and most of them considered it an 'investment' 'cause they'd poach if they needed meat so buying the permits kept them out of the hands of the 'invaders' that hunted mostly on the state forest. We were lucky and got a few doe permits most years & the few we shot were shared w/ the camp. Alot of the other cabins on the state land were not that lucky we see only a small percentage of guys hunting on doe day.
The age of most Bucks kept declining & any deer w/ more than 6 points was thought to be 'big' and most deer were spikes & 'Y' bucks under two years old! Opening day 1988 our camp took three deer, 2 spikes & a Y buck. We would look for a nice fat doe & the state had increased the number of doe permits so we got them more frequently plus the state had expanded doe season to three days & we started going (3) days for buck, the saturdays & (3) days of doe. I remember 1998 having each hunter in camp bag a doe.
Since then I have not been personally successful. Since dad is now 74 and can't walk; I end up roaming around to push deer to our guys since they pay the bills for having the camp so their success is mine too.
Funny thing is the locals we've gotten to know say ther are more deer than ever & Dad is seeing them alot in the off season. We took a doe to the butcher after opening day and all he had were (2) buck & our doe. It was strange not seeing a line of cars/trucks waitin' to off-load.
I support the efforts of the Game Commission and am just sad that I've had (2) doe permits plus my buck tag go unfilled these past three years since I feel I'm due.
With the license running July thru June I now plan to go spring turkey hunting for additional time in the woods [got a lot of camo gear in the after x-mas sales], to try something different & a chance to explore different areas for future deer hunting.
With all the housing intruding around the area, the deer are finding it easier to 'hide' during the season by staying closer to populated areas where the have superior food [shrubs] and are not hunted...I don't know if the traditional stands we've been using since the 20's will ever be 'good' again although the 'amount' of deer has always been cyclical.
The state is logging and fencing in large tracts of the state forest using deer proof fence & gates to make areas where, they hope, the real flora & fauna of the woods will grow. The video of the first experimental enclosures show the potential for a tremendous re-growth. The latest Game Commision news report indicates that they are not going to make any changes, for now, to the season and bag limits for deer ecxept where the harvest reports indicate the need for aditional doe removal. several counties around philadelphia will have longer extended seasons. They are going to have more "junior' hunter special events to increase interest in younger hunters. Seniors get extra doe days in September along w/ muzzleloaders and it only has to be a flintlock in the after X-mas muzzleloading season. You can use cross bows in Phila county...things are still changin' Hope they get better...
Our 'In Camp' joke followed the line of thought that surrvivor bucks are, for the largest part, nocturnal & we were joking that PA is too late we've already shot all the deer w/ genes that allow daylight eating & it's time to invest in night vision goggles...
The antler restrictions are one thing that is definitely working in the area we hunt.
We hunt Gamelands No. 13 in Sullivan County which is predominantly hardwood forest.
Our group of 6 got three 8's on monday morning this year in deep woods.
Best year we had since I started hunting there in 1989.
We saw very few spikes and y's.
I hunt that early muzzleloader too and usually fill a doe tag then but not this year.
I am heading out right now to hunt this last Saturday of NJ permit shotgun.
I am going to wrap up tonight with some winter bow here by the house.
The deer are really on the move with this cold snap.
My thermometer is reading zero right now.
A group of PA friends went deer hunting and paired off for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck.
"Where's Henry?" the others asked. "Henry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail," the successful hunter replied.
"You left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?" they
"A tough call," nodded the hunter. "But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!"
WoW!, Tough call...My Bro-In-Law lost one. He shot a doe on the first day, good blood trail, followed it almost 1/2 mile, Ends w/ out a final puddle in a low growth area along the road...must have dropped in front of a 'Road Hunter' who jumped out & grabbed it & tossed it in the back of a truck...I'd think it's quite common!
Antler restrictions can work in reverse. My cousin saw a large deer w/ huge curved spikes. There are a few 'Big' racked deer who stay close to an older development near our camp. This old buck was a former dominant buck who has reached old age. My cousin described a big old deer with only main beams therefore a 'mature' spike protected by the need for three on one side rule.
Locals won't shoot him, too tough to eat; they'll poach a doe instead...