Big Game Hunting

Does Wisconsin deer hunting really suck?

11/30/23 @ 7:48 PM
User since 11/29/01

 I hear so many people say when they went out west, Kentucky, Missouri , Iowa , Nebraska , Kansas and they say the hunting is great. Even North and South Dakota. Everyone says it is great. Is it really true? As for me , I never hunted out of state except Minnesota 20 yrs. ago for bear . 

Displaying 16 to 30 of 58 posts
12/9/23 @ 10:10 AM
User since 2/28/13
wskiphUser since 9/3/11
"Back in the day ..there were so few deer..you had to shoot a forkhorn minimum 1.5 inch fork to be legal"

When and where did you come up with a 1.5 inch fork to be legal ?
From What I remember, from at least back in the 1950's a legal buck was a minimum of one 3" spike antler. I also remember around the late fifties, my dad shot a spike buck, that one antler was 2-7/8 and the other was 3-1/8. The warden said you just made it.  

12/9/23 @ 7:22 AM
User since 1/10/19
Make a list of the top ten whitetail states and Wi is somewhere on that list.   I believe as a whole we hunters are spoiled as we have both good numbers of deer and some truly giant specimens roaming out there. The vast amount of public land to explore is varied and fantastic. Could things be better? Sure, cwd, wolves, too many hunters and tags are issues, but hunters from all other 49 states come here to hunt so it can't be that bad.   If you think otherwise feel free to spend the first week of Nov in another state.   Good luck to all the hunters.   
12/8/23 @ 7:26 PM
User since 9/3/11
Deer hunting in Wisconsin does not suck. It just cycles 
Most people whine about it ..don't do the work
Scout areas find the deer then go hunt them.  There are always deer available maybe not in bid numbers...it is what it is
Low deer numbers never discourage me 
Back in the day ..there were so few deer..you had to shoot a forkhorn minimum 1.5 inch fork to be legal
At that time time very few wolves in WI 
Stop whining ..go hunt

12/8/23 @ 8:46 AM
User since 7/20/09
I ran into that in some of my previous spots.  People would say 'just shoot a doe' and all those lines....I hardly ever saw does.  I bet it was 5 bucks to 1 doe.  This past season was the first time I think I saw more does.  Not going to claim its a public vs private land thing because there are a lot of variables in it, but that was my case anyways.  Less does on public lands I hunted.

I used to joke that you had to go get your doe the first week of archery season because after that its just orphaned fawns walking around aimlessly.  Not fully the case as it was a joke, but not that far off either.
12/8/23 @ 7:13 AM
User since 1/19/02
I just wonder with "ALL" the doe tags and doe hunts and doe harvesting, why come 9 out of the 10 deer you see are always does?  You'd think you'd see just bucks over time. 
12/8/23 @ 6:31 AM
User since 10/3/12
What ss Esox said, too many hunters. Ive thought this for a long time.  Hunters in Wisconsin have a tendency to be a fearful, feuding and jealous bunch and these are the kindest words I can think of considering the behaviors Ive seen and heard.
12/8/23 @ 12:15 AM
User since 4/13/22
As always looking forward to the hunt & being outdoors doesn’t suck , look forward to it every year.  In my 4 decades of hunting many states & Canadian provinces , I believe what has made Wi “suck” is the quality of the hunt & the reduced deer sightings . No other states  shoot the amount of antlerless deer year after year that Wi does with all the antlerless tags & the many different seasons leading to hunters shooting whatever deer they see and it has become common each fall . Antlerless shooting reduces next years fawns & sub 3” antlered bucks & button bucks are shot in high numbers . Don’t have exact dates or exact numbers but in the early to mid 90 ‘s and before not many antlerless  tags meant selective harvest & see deer & more bucks each fall . In th late 90s the free extra antlerless tags started & ever since a hunter gets up to 5 extra tags in some counties , some counties none . Of course some areas have plenty of deer each year & maybe the southern part of the state is better than the north but generally speaking talking to other hunters in different counties even though some have shot a buck big or small sightings are down. Between to many antlerless permits , to many seasons , roadkill , wounded by hunters or predators wi shoots to many antlerless deer yearly . I’ve hunted 5 states & 3 provinces of Canada which have wolves . Tomorrow we head to Nebraska for a muzzleloader hunt until next Friday. Starting this year NE went to a draw limiting the number of out of state hunters like some other fine whitetail hunting states , maybe WI should look into that . Have 3 baldy tags & 1 buck but don’t shoot  does  . This will be the 4th trip to NE & last trip an average day was up to 80 deer with many antlered . Couple pics from this year . 1st is a small buck in th north woods following a doe , 2nd buck in the north woods shot near our land the 2nd week , 3rd hard to believe but a car kill last weekend  , almost made it another season . 🦌
Does Wisconsin deer hunting really suck? photo by Steelhead88
Does Wisconsin deer hunting really suck? photo by Steelhead88
Does Wisconsin deer hunting really suck? photo by Steelhead88
12/7/23 @ 11:52 PM
User since 12/7/05
Ok, so a protected albino doe lived 9 years in a county with few to no antlerless deer harvest, I would expect that. I do have a hard time buying that a wild deer lived 18 years...even in captivity, that would be a hard sell for me personally, but I don't know the circumstances of that particular situation, so will not try to refute that claim.

My point was that in a state like Iowa, the genetics and conditions are ideal for growing HUGE deer in less time than other states. With really only coyotes and CWD/EHD controlling populations outside hunters, which they have far less of than here in Wisconsin because they actually control non-resident license sales and charge a premium to NR hunters to hunt there, it is no wonder they have reputation they do. Am I saying Wisconsin should charge $500 for NR? No, but we can charge more than $165. Heck, even Michigan charges more than Wisconsin and few would argue that deer hunting in Michigan is better than here. It is a complex situation, I'm sure, but it does not seem like they take much input from hunters to heart when it comes to making or changing policy. I'm sure areas of Iowa suck to hunt or don't have as many deer or big bucks as well...deer are not evenly distributed across the landscape. I think the large tracts of land owned by farmers in Iowa combined with the agriculture and hardwood/mast crop timber make it an ideal deer factory. It also seems like from what I have seen and heard, the Iowa DNR does not take the 'kill everything' approach to CWD like WDNR does. That also may factor into the equation...
12/7/23 @ 6:46 PM
User since 3/17/09
Master Piker,  When we built our place in Vilas there was a adult albino doe in the area, she lived for another 9 years before being killed by a car.
  Also while building, eating breakfast at the local spot daily, the converation started about how old deer are. A local resident said that they had a doe fawn with a large white patch on its head. They said that deer lived 18 years 
12/7/23 @ 8:41 AM
s.s esox
User since 12/22/14
Yes for 80- 90% of WI our deer hunting sucks. It's simple. Too many hunters and mostly too many deer. I've hunted Iowa since nonresident tags were a $150 and I could knock on doors to hunt 1000 of acres. That has obviously changed, but quality deer hunting hasn't changed. Older deer, and healthier buck to doe rations. Iowa is deer hunter fantasy camp. If you enjoy deer hunting and it's important to you need to stop making excuses and start hunting out of this state. 
12/7/23 @ 8:16 AM
User since 7/22/12
Speaking of the Lakosky’s, Tiff shot an absolute hammer recently.  I’m guessing it’s in the low 200’s. 
12/7/23 @ 6:57 AM
User since 12/7/05
I disagree with the "every Wisconsin hunter that shoots an eligible buck enters it in the book" comments...I have 7 shoulder mounted bucks on the wall, 6 of which qualify for P&Y and zero of them are entered (not to mention a several European mounts that fall into that same category). There is no reason to enter them in my opinion. You don't get money (it actually costs money), it's a pain to have to wait the 60 days to have them scored...would rather have them in line at the taxidermist or already hanging on my wall...There is just no upside to it IMO unless you want to pump your chest and tell everyone you have a buck entered in the book? In fact, like a couple of others have posted, I do not personally know anyone that has entered a buck in the book, and only know one person who has ever had a deer officially scored. It was his first 'trophy' buck and was the second largest buck shot in that county with archery equipment that year.

I also love it when people mention the Lakosky's, Drury's, etc. from Iowa. Most of the ENTIRE STATE of Iowa is prime agricultural land with no wolves and some of these TV celebrity hunters own or lease HUGE tracts of that land and can manage it for 200" deer. Lee Lakosky doesn't have to worry about letting a 170" buck walk only to be shot 200 yards away on the neighbor's 20 acres next door. When you own 800+ acre farms, you can manage them pretty effectively, especially when neighbors who also own huge tracts of land have similar hunting goals and standards. I own about 30 acres in SW Wisconsin and I don't think anyone within a couple miles of our land owns more than 160 acres. I can let (and have let) P&Y size bucks walk only to find out they were shot by a neighbor 30 minutes later. It happens. I'm not mad, but it happens. 

I think that the southern 1/2 to 2/3 of Wisconsin is prime deer habitat that once you figure in the nuclear wasteland that is the Northwoods, it takes the state down a notch in terms of big deer potential. I don't think that the general population in Wisconsin enters any more deer per-capita than other states. I think it is a matter of with the agriculture and diverse terrain in Wisconsin, it can grow book deer in 3-4 years when other states may take 5-6 years. Let's face it, a lot of Iowa bucks can qualify for P&Y at 2.5 years old. Those same bucks that would qualify at 2.5 years old are B&C bucks at 4.5, which I don't think happens as much in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has more urban sprawl, predators and hunters than Iowa. Does our deer hunting suck? Depends on your location and metrics. Around my land, there is a solid ag base with plenty of timber and the steep hilly terrain conducive to growing big deer. We have a high deer density. Other parts of the state do not. It just depends.

Also, for Yamatroller...how long do you think deer live? No deer in Wisconsin (other than maybe a rare doe) 'lives several years'...Northwoods wolves or not...Most deer are lucky to hit 5 years old, especially bucks...it ​is the food source, hunting pressure and cover/terrain that allows them to get to be 'book bucks'...Some of Wisconsin has that, some (a lot) doesn't. Iowa and Wisconsin are apples and oranges...
12/7/23 @ 2:05 AM
User since 5/7/06
In my opinion a buck on in wolf country in Northern Wisconsin doesn't stand a very good chance of living more than a few years. Years ago before wolves our group hunted National Forest and shot anything with horns and still shot a wall hanger at least every other year. But now we can barely find a scrape or a rub in our old hunting areas. Deer Hunting in Northern Wisconsin has changed a lot in the last 10 to15 years and not for the good unless you hunt private land close to town. Yes today's Wisconsin deer hunting Sucks compared to most other states!!!!
12/6/23 @ 8:22 PM
User since 11/29/01
Just wrapped up my muzzy season with 1 deer and 7 afternoon hunts on public land ..  Ya that sucks,, but that is ok too. Funny thing is, I live 1 mile from really high pressured hunting public land and I get huge bucks on the cam on my 4 ac. parcel.. Where they go  in the day , i dont know . Two yrs. ago I found one dead that I got on the cam one year. it is 12 points and about 19" inside . Long ties too. Strangely enough , I get most pics in December . Also , about other states not all jacked up about a " book buck"... I knew a guy who grew up in SW . Iowa. His dad and grandpa are farmer. He hutned when he was a kid but doesnt bother anymore. He never could understand the big deal Wisconsin hunters getting all jacked up about big bucks. His dad has 1,000 ac. and 300 is woods . He told me he never really had to go out on day 2 to get a buck. He never bragged and rarely brought up deer hunting. The just wait for a big one . Also, I knew an old man that hunted Boulder Junction , Wis. in the 30's . He had a 14 point buck on the wall and many others not quite as big. It truely was beautiful . There are thousands of those bucks hanging in the barns up north  and no one knows it,,, or cares, but get some hob knob kid that  gets a big one and he will think he is all that cause he watches all those buck vids .
12/6/23 @ 4:08 PM
User since 4/2/10
Good discussion on buck sizes. Like everything out there, what is considered big differs by each person.After every season I reevaluate what my realistic expectations should be regarding what bucks I want to shoot verses what I see. I can sit here and say I want to shoot 4.5 year old deer only. Realistically I have probably seen 1 in person in over 20 years on my land and have maybe 5 pictures in that time. I have passed plenty of 3.5 year olds, but I don't think many others in my area do. I think about how many times a buck has been seen and passed by other hunters over it first 2.5 years of life, how many different properties was it on? In most of Central Wisconsin,  could be 10 to 20 properties and 20 or more hunters. Very low chance a 2.5 year old survives that gauntlet. Now Iowa or Kansas, maybe 3 or 4 properties and 6 hunters? Much better odds. Yes Wisconsin can grow some big deer but way to manybhunters and too many different property owners to have a realistic chance at growing a large amount of quality deer.
Displaying 16 to 30 of 58 posts

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