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Hunting "Mature Whitetails" in Ohio.

finelyshedded

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I’ll checkout the podcast sometime Dave, thanks!
Got home early tonight and the same big group of does and a few bb’s out behind the neighbors like they are 5 nights out of the 7 every week and nary a buck cruises through regularly to see if the young ones are coming in heat this late. Certainly not all of the females in this group are bred I wouldn’t think. My camera has only captured video of two dinks passing through checking on the little 3-4 cups of corn my FIL puts out every day around 3:30pm but it’s long after the corn is gone and in the middle of the night.
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I just stumbled across this thread while I should have been working... Anyways my Stimmy comes tomorrow so I wont be broke, thus I keep reading.
I'm over in Pa. and used to look to Ohio for Monsters back in the 80's and 90's when we had 10,000 does to every buck over here and 50,000 does to every 8 point it seemed. We also had a million hunters too! Now we have like 15 years of antler restriction and huge doe allocations with a better ratio and the hunters are about 50% less and most are older.



*************By the way, before I forget, can someone point me to this smoking the clothes idea?*************



So over here the hunting has gotten better and better! I hunt public and public private mix, so my deer are spending at least part of their time on State Gameland's. What I am seeing is more and better deer, better buck to doe ratios and very little actual hunting pressure. The hunters here still seem to hunt panic escape routes or in the middle of wide open timber and no more than 100 yards from their access road.

Now I do not consider myself to be an accomplished Big Buck hunter, but the last 6 years have been very fortunate and God blessed for me over here.

I've killed 3 straight nice (to me anyways) bucks on the opening Wednesday evening between 4:40 and 5pm. Then I got brow beat into leaving my honey hole to go to my camp (2 partners) in the big woods of Jefferson County Pa. with 50,000 acres of Gameland's starting right off the back porch. There I still hunted from 7am to 1pm while seeing 6 bucks, no does and no hunters, on opening day on Gameland's before I shot a 10 point. Then this year I returned to the Wednesday evening at 4:40 game plan, but shot my 11 point on 11/11 during archery.

I hunt land others can but won't. I hunt edges exclusively. I scout via Google Earth and particularly like going back in time to see the area leaf free. I will stay clear of the areas I intend to hunt but observe them with optics from afar and never hunt them till the set up is...well...not perfect, but on a close wind that ALMOST favors the buck but keeps my position safe till the shot. I don't hunt stands per say, but move in and pick a stand at the time of the hunt. I almost never hunt the same stand twice and usually am perched on a folding stool. Once I see a pattern I move in. I won't hunt it the same way again until I have removed the buck. I find that mature animals play king of the hill and that I can kill another good buck in the same manner in the years that follow. These edges are where they travel to and from their bedroom along where they can safely scent check for does and danger.

I hope that helps someone else too! This way I am not spooking deer and am hunting them as they do their thing naturally. But i do not compromise my sets just because it's hunting season. I'd rather stay back and scout their weakness then capitalize when its right then spend hours in the woods warming cold metal... I hunt like a trapper. Where's the den tree, where's the food/sex, where's the run. I find this type of approach works well for fishing also. I would rather spend hours hunting with my electronics then find a hot bite and spend an hour catching, rather then sitting next to the pack that formed on the first guy's lights as he runs out early to yesterday's hot spot and drags everyone else out to him because, "There's the pack let's go there!"
The pack sets in the woods in tree stands and stumps along easy access in the woods too hunting over open woods rubs that are 100% nighttime made by any self respecting 3 year old back too!

Thanks for the opportunity to share folks!
 
I either need to get spell checker, hire a publicist or proof read before hitting send. trouble is i am leary of spell check because Satan lives in my phone and changes key words in my texts to get me in trouble...

A woman sent a picture to her husband of her in a new dress for an upcoming event they were going to. He texted Woo Woo and Satan/spell correct changed it to Moo Moo!! If i have to explain that to you then you are already single! :)
 
Great read…I’m a little slow getting to this one.
Ive been deer hunting for only 5 years. I can’t seem to figure this out….I’ve got 84 acres of mature forest…lots of great habitat….scrub/brush, mature oaks, water etc. I’m buffered by over 100 acres to the north….this guy pulls about 3 bucks a season…..98 acres to the East…doesn’t get hunted….300 acres West of cattle fields/some woods (hunted lightly)…and some small parcels to the North.
I rarely see older mature bucks over 3.5 years and that’s pushing it. We have tons of deer…but nothing to shake a stick at. I’m lucky to catch a 10 pt on my trail cams.
I don’t have food plots or feeders, but I’d think the natural habitat that I have would produce more. ???
 

Fletch

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Great read…I’m a little slow getting to this one.
Ive been deer hunting for only 5 years. I can’t seem to figure this out….I’ve got 84 acres of mature forest…lots of great habitat….scrub/brush, mature oaks, water etc. I’m buffered by over 100 acres to the north….this guy pulls about 3 bucks a season…..98 acres to the East…doesn’t get hunted….300 acres West of cattle fields/some woods (hunted lightly)…and some small parcels to the North.
I rarely see older mature bucks over 3.5 years and that’s pushing it. We have tons of deer…but nothing to shake a stick at. I’m lucky to catch a 10 pt on my trail cams.
I don’t have food plots or feeders, but I’d think the natural habitat that I have would produce more. ???
Deer hunting is puzzling... We have 200 acres in Pike County Illinois... The most gorgeous deer hunting property in Illinois... Also the thickest in the area for cover... We've been managing it for big deer now for over 5 years... Hunting pressure is minimal on surrounding farms, yet I doubt we'll ever shoot a booner there... Strange to say the least...
 

giles

Village idiot and local whore
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If you want to compete naturally, you need to get a professional opinion from a Forrester in your area. That is all I'm saying. Personally, I'd try and create as much bedded as possible. Talking about some serious timber hinge cutting around February/March. South facing slopes...all of them. Lol
 
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Stressless

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Keene, OH
Here's a bit of what I've done with a closed canopy forest.



Sweat equity brother... best of luck!
 
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at1010

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@Smawgunner2

I am happy to provide any opinions/suggestions from my own experiences, at any time. I will say with 100% certaintiy, between my farm and the neighbors being cut in the past 10 years, the hunting has become better, each year.

Here is my quick take
1. Can deer live in closed-canopy forest? Sure! Deer thrive in secondary successional habitats.
2. Deer are concentrate selectors - meaning they eat the highest and best quality food available, even down to the specific leaf on a bean plant. This means they also will find the pockets of the best quality food/habitat and spend a large distribution of their time in said pockets based on this fact. Note - a deer's range is conservatively 640 acres (sq. mile).
3. Invasive treatment - this is very important. Yes, deer will eat MFR and AO but it is not nearly as nutritious as our native plants - not to mention, it will choke out our native plants.

Soo, what are good next steps for turning a 20,30, or 40+ into a solid piece of whitetail hunting paradise?
1. Set realistic goals, unfortunately, the neighbors will have some impact on your hunting. However, not all is ever lost, huge bucks get killed on highly pressured public ground every year. The likelihood of your property and surrounding having the same hunter density, isn't very likely.
2. Contact a forester. I would start with your state forester. It is free!! They will come to your property, walk it with you, evaluate what needs doing, give you a timber mgt. plan.
3. Consider a consultant forester - these folks are worth a lot, as long as they are trustworthy - they will manage the mgt. plan, manage the quote process, the logging process, etc. VERY HELPFUL!
4. Contact your NRCS office with your state forestry plan and see what monies you can be awarded for completing the work! How great is this, better deer habitat, and you get paid?! Fantastic!!


After meeting with these folks you can find areas that need "reset" maybe a highly populated maple grove - no value to wildlife and just shading out good potential forbs. This may be an area they mark as a reset - to help release some oaks and natural regen in the area - once the non-natives are treated.

Deer make a living at 3ft off the ground and below. If much of the property you are hunting and neighbors you can see a long way- that is not good deer habitat, quail, turkey nesting, etc.

Hope my ramblings help!
 
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at1010

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Deer hunting is puzzling... We have 200 acres in Pike County Illinois... The most gorgeous deer hunting property in Illinois... Also the thickest in the area for cover... We've been managing it for big deer now for over 5 years... Hunting pressure is minimal on surrounding farms, yet I doubt we'll ever shoot a booner there... Strange to say the least...

What is the problem there? If this was a pocket in Ohio, I would highly suspect there are genetic or epigenetic impacts that are causing an increase or decreased antler size, this takes a long time to reverse but can be done..proven by Mississippi State U.

Are you getting pictures of booners? Are we talking net booners or gross?

A mature whitetail (5+), in that area of IL, on some of the best dirt in the USA, should be able to grow 140-150s all day long at maturity. With the occasional genetic freak being over 170.

1. Age
2. Nutrition
3. Genetics - this one we can't control

But in your area, if number 1 is met, gosh dang the others ought to fall in place!
 
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Fletch

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What is the problem there? If this was a pocket in Ohio, I would highly suspect there are genetic or epigenetic impacts that are causing an increase or decreased antler size, this takes a long time to reverse but can be done..proven by Mississippi State U.

Are you getting pictures of booners? Are we talking net booners or gross?

A mature whitetail (5+), in that area of IL, on some of the best dirt in the USA, should be able to grow 140-150s all day long at maturity. With the occasional genetic freak being over 170.

1. Age
2. Nutrition
3. Genetics - this one we can't control

But in your area, if number 1 is met, gosh dang the others ought to fall in place!
Al.... Like I said puzzling... Farm consists of several fingers of woods with CRP and cedars between these fingers... Approx. 60 acres is tillable which is planted in corn or soybean every year... Plus adjacent farms have crops yearly... Now here's the kicker... The first year we had numerous bucks 150 + on trail cameras prior to the season... We did not harvest one of them that year... The next year we had high expectations for these future hall of fame bucks... Well didn't see one or have any on camera...Where did they go?? Since then we have harvested numerous bucks in the upper 140's low 150's, but nothing exceptional... Now many would be happy with deer in that range, but I'd like to get at least one booner in my life... This year we have 4 cell cameras running and not a single decent buck... There's no food plots on the property ( don't have the time needed to do them when property is 1000 miles away... And too expensive to have someone do them ) But as I said earlier there are crops on and surrounding farms have crops... Well see this year...