Author Topic: When hunting isn't handed down...  (Read 5583 times)

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Offline lenador

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When hunting isn't handed down...
« on: September 24, 2023, 10:27:37 am »
Something I've thought about a lot recently as I take another approach to getting into deer archery hunting. For 10 years I've tried different way to approach hunting. I started off on my own, tried to make friends that hunted, tried to stick to the same public spot, tried new ones etc... I always end up feeling like. I'm spending more time trying to find a spot than actually hunting.
 When you grow up around hunting as many of my friends do they have skills and property handed down over generations and the freinds and connections are deep. My family never hunted and it doesn't matter how persistent I am it seems like there is no way to get into the "in" club without being so eone who has had it handed down. There was a point a few years ago where I was going to start muzzle loader hunting because I felt like it was the only way to hunt with the small amounts of opportunity I find. Part of this is also due to. My location being mostly ag land and thus the areas of public that are huntable are highly pressured.
 This is just a collection of thoughts from today as I went to scout a new spot because my last spot had 2 times the amount of people as usual. The new spot has 11 parking areas and everyone one had a person in it scouting and I was there an hour before sunrise.
Failure isn't a loss unless you cease to move forward from it.

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: When hunting isn't handed down...
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2023, 02:12:34 pm »
I learned deer hunting on my own, there was gun season and bow season when I started, no M/L season. Guns were bucks only, archery was either sex, this was before tree stands came on the scene. I didn't know anything about deer hunting or scouting and pretty much walked out in the woods and sat down hoping something would come by. Back then if you killed a doe, you caught a lot of flak from bucks only crowd.
A few years later the doe populations got out of hand and the state instituted an either sex M/L hunt to get people to kill does, we all bought a M/L and our freezers loved us for it.

We had a good MGT area but access required a strong going 4X4 so I bought a jeep, this was before quads as well. On one of my sit down in the woods gun trips a spike walked by and I killed him, my first deer. I missed a lot of deer with my bow off the ground, I didn't know about picking a spot.

It took a number of years to put things together where I was consistently successful. I found you can get away from the crowd if you go deep enough into the woods. I used to do a lot of "scout" hunting, I would go into the woods and set up my stand in a likely place to just observe. Quite often I would see deer movement but not close enough for a shot. I would move my stand the next day and often kill the deer I saw previously.

I joined a lot of clubs over the years, some good, some populated by jerks completely devoid of any hunting ethics. My best clubs were small ones with less than a dozen members. I found that in most clubs 90% of the members don't know how to hunt and only sit in shooting houses, I had all the rest of the land to myself and couple of other guys who actually knew how to hunt. We killed the bulk of the deer on the club land.

Hunt small game to learn the land, squirrel season usually opens before deer season, take your 22 and have some fun learning where to hunt.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2023, 02:17:25 pm by Eric Krewson »

Offline lenador

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Re: When hunting isn't handed down...
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2023, 04:03:55 pm »
I learned deer hunting on my own, there was gun season and bow season when I started, no M/L season. Guns were bucks only, archery was either sex, this was before tree stands came on the scene. I didn't know anything about deer hunting or scouting and pretty much walked out in the woods and sat down hoping something would come by. Back then if you killed a doe, you caught a lot of flak from bucks only crowd.
A few years later the doe populations got out of hand and the state instituted an either sex M/L hunt to get people to kill does, we all bought a M/L and our freezers loved us for it.

We had a good MGT area but access required a strong going 4X4 so I bought a jeep, this was before quads as well. On one of my sit down in the woods gun trips a spike walked by and I killed him, my first deer. I missed a lot of deer with my bow off the ground, I didn't know about picking a spot.

It took a number of years to put things together where I was consistently successful. I found you can get away from the crowd if you go deep enough into the woods. I used to do a lot of "scout" hunting, I would go into the woods and set up my stand in a likely place to just observe. Quite often I would see deer movement but not close enough for a shot. I would move my stand the next day and often kill the deer I saw previously.

I joined a lot of clubs over the years, some good, some populated by jerks completely devoid of any hunting ethics. My best clubs were small ones with less than a dozen members. I found that in most clubs 90% of the members don't know how to hunt and only sit in shooting houses, I had all the rest of the land to myself and couple of other guys who actually knew how to hunt. We killed the bulk of the deer on the club land.

Hunt small game to learn the land, squirrel season usually opens before deer season, take your 22 and have some fun learning where to hunt.
This makes me want to move away haha. I'm in northern IL, there are no areas you need 4x4 to access on public land. My challenge is all private land is leased out to hunting clubs and private land has a large Mounting people funneled in and IL has public land limits. For example you have to sign in at the lot with a dash permit and the "area" only allows 3 people. The conservation only shows up now and then but you'll have 1 guy show up and full out 3 spots for his buddies. You show up and there is 1 car in the lot but those other guy has the spot filled up for his buddies. Illegal but that's just how it is and I can't really do anything about it. There are areas where you don't have to have a parking permit and only report after a harvest but those areas are typically water fowl only or if they are mixed they are filled up with pheasent and other bird hunters with shotguns.
Failure isn't a loss unless you cease to move forward from it.

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: When hunting isn't handed down...
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2023, 08:32:24 am »
I moved to a different part of the state (N/W Alabama) 40 years ago, there is over 100,000 acres of public hunting land scattered over 6 mgt areas. In this part of the state many of the access roads that go off the main paved road are gated with walk-in access only; they open some of the gates for the scheduled gun hunts, all the gates are locked when it is bow hunting only.

It is unlikely you will ever see another bow hunter in the woods on these areas when they are open for bow hunting which runs from Oct 15 to Feb 13th. There will be some people in the woods on gun hunt days but very few.

When I started hunting deer in 73 there would be a solid line of cars and trucks going into the mgt areas before daylight on gun hunt days and someone behind every tree. Now less people hunt and most people who are serious about it belong to a club and use shooting houses and food plots as their hunting method. In the last 20 years I have never encountered another hunter in the woods during a gun hunt, we have to check in at the permit station before we hunt and check any deer out as we leave.  I have hunted a 30,000-acre area the most, on a gun hunt they may have 100 people check in on the whole area. 4 wheelers are not allowed on any of the mgt areas, this is probably why there are so few hunters, no one wants to walk in, getting a deer out can be a problem.

Offline ssrhythm

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Re: When hunting isn't handed down...
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2023, 02:43:11 pm »
I wouldnít leave Illinois to find better deer hunting.  All you can do about getting access on private is to keep at it.  Build relationships with people you know that have private ground, treat them well, and hope they give you a chance one day.  When I was in Indiana, I got access on three pieces of ground thru working with folks that owned land.  None of it was ideal or even great, but it was something.  Here in WY, Iíve got access from 3 people.  One was from a church relationship, and two are nearby neighbors that I simply went to and asked permission from; I make sure to treat them better than they expect.  If I were you, Iíd scour the internet and local hunting/sporting goods stores and newspapers looking for a hunting club to join while budgeting for that expense.  Be persistent and get your name on a list to get into a club in an area with decent hunting.  In the meantime, get on OnX, find out who owns every piece of ground around you, donít overlook small patches of ground, and go to the owners hat in hand and ask them for permission.  I hate doing it, but Iíve gained permission and made lifelong friends by knocking on doors.  Do all of the above while figuring out what you need to do to get to the public spots first and maximize your public opportunities.  Good luck, and keep at it.

Offline lenador

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Re: When hunting isn't handed down...
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2023, 03:10:46 pm »
I wouldnít leave Illinois to find better deer hunting.  All you can do about getting access on private is to keep at it.  Build relationships with people you know that have private ground, treat them well, and hope they give you a chance one day.  When I was in Indiana, I got access on three pieces of ground thru working with folks that owned land.  None of it was ideal or even great, but it was something.  Here in WY, Iíve got access from 3 people.  One was from a church relationship, and two are nearby neighbors that I simply went to and asked permission from; I make sure to treat them better than they expect.  If I were you, Iíd scour the internet and local hunting/sporting goods stores and newspapers looking for a hunting club to join while budgeting for that expense.  Be persistent and get your name on a list to get into a club in an area with decent hunting.  In the meantime, get on OnX, find out who owns every piece of ground around you, donít overlook small patches of ground, and go to the owners hat in hand and ask them for permission.  I hate doing it, but Iíve gained permission and made lifelong friends by knocking on doors.  Do all of the above while figuring out what you need to do to get to the public spots first and maximize your public opportunities.  Good luck, and keep at it.
My plan this year is to skip early season and hope some of the hype wears off early. I'm going to be persistent at my main spot and like you said try to find some sort of private access. I use Gaia GPS and an app called regrid for scouting and property ownership stuff. I found a spot recently that I may be able to not hunt private land but allow me to have private access to public land. Basically a new entery point that will allow. Me to come from the opposite side without spooking deer from their beds.
Failure isn't a loss unless you cease to move forward from it.