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Big Game Hunting

Does Wisconsin deer hunting really suck?

11/30/23 @ 7:48 PM
INITIAL POST
ihookem
ihookem
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 46 to 58 of 58 posts
12/5/23 @ 3:08 PM
.Long Barrels
User since 12/9/14
Define suck.

We have highly pressured deer and a horrible age structure in 90% of the state.....  So yes,  it sucks if your intention is to hunt for 4.5+ year old deer.  If you like to just kill things,  we have plenty of brown animals with 4 legs running around in about 65% of the state.  Hunting in Northern Wi is not even hunting,  it's hanging out with family. 

So I think everyone's definition of suck will range.  I think WI is possibly the worst state in 90% of it to kill a truly mature buck.  High pressure,  crap age structure.  To me,  having 200 acres and  someone in the family kills a 140 a year is not good hunting.  

In most farmland areas,  WI is a great place for kids to start hunting,  plenty of dumb young deer to kill.

If you are cool with killing a 135 inch 4.5 year old 10 pt,  that's great.  Then you may kill a couple in your lifetime.

Plain and simple,  it's over pressured and most deer are not left to grow older.  It's as simple of an explanation as anyone would need.

Disclaimer:  I know someone will be butt-hurt, so if you own 500 acres and you shoot a couple big ones,  good for you.  


12/5/23 @ 1:38 PM
northernexsposure
User since 3/15/08
Ihookem, When I said I was on the edge of farm country I wasn't kidding.  My land is thick swamp and has farm fields on 3 sides,10 minute drive north from my place and its just big woods with not many deer.  They are night and day difference in just a few miles.
12/5/23 @ 7:43 AM
ihookem
ihookem
User since 11/29/01
Northernexposure, I am about 25 mi. north of you . There is a huge difference from where your land is and mine . I've always been sure that south of HWY 8 , the deer hunting starts getting better.  There are a few farms here and there mixed with big woods.I ma sure the winters are noticably milder and less snow most years.  My land is on the Price Sawyer co. line about 4 miles north of the N.E. corner of Rusk co. The closest farm is 2 1/2 mi. north of me and it is only one farm, there is nothing but public land for 18 miles to my west , there are only a few farms 5 miles south of me and to the east toward Phillips there are a few farms that are about 4 miles away . It makes for slim pickens for deer. Thankfully , I can ussually get a deer down in on public land in SE WIs. 
12/4/23 @ 3:57 PM
northernexsposure
User since 3/15/08
Wisconsin deer hunting is fine in my opinion(except for north of hwy 8).  I live in central WI with plenty of public land within ½ hour of my house.  A lot of deer in certain places in those woods.  I also own 60 acres on the Rusk/Taylor county line.  This is the edge of farm country and has a heathy population of deer, not as many as central wi.  The public lands at both of these areas hold mature bucks (130”-180”).   I use the public land near my house or at my land to get a deer or two for meat since populations are high there.   Then go deep in the public land in search of an older buck.  Over the past 5 years either me or my teenage son have been lucky enough to harvest a 115”-140” buck each year.  It’s not easy but what does it really mean if you can walk in anywhere and harvest a nice buck.  I believe this is the case as long as you stay south of highway 8, from what I hear that is tough up there these days.
12/2/23 @ 7:13 PM
Dave1234
User since 9/8/09
I love it.  We have 400ac.  We are basically big buck only until after thanks giving. So far we have shot 1 nice 10pt and 3 does.  We try to shoot 6-8does a year so the doe only hunt next weekend is another excuse go hunting! Last year we shot 4 does in the doe only season so I like that season.  We have neighbors who shoot anything that moved and try to fill all their tags because that is their legal right.  This year I had 5 doe tags.  Who needs that??? It was a war zone on their 80ac.  We shoot 2 crippled that came off of them.  I never hunted out of state but I have thought about it.  Yes I know we
R not the normal hunting camp.  I have cousins who hunt way up in Douglas county and have seen less
And less deer each yr.  This year 8 hunters saw 2 deer in 3 days.  I get the tradition and the family aspect but that sucks!   They also said there no hunter up there anymore so no one is move the few deer that r there around.  I stay in the central farm land.  Good luck to those that r still out trying!
12/2/23 @ 6:28 PM
Fishlovme
Fishlovme
PRO MEMBER User since 6/22/01
I don't mind our deer numbers.  I think they're in good shape, other than up north where the wolves are. It may never bee the same up there again, but the deer will rebound some.  What I have a problem with is all of our seasons!  a youth hunt, I have no problem with that. long bow season? Probably too long! And then the muzzleloader season, 4 day anterless season, holiday hunt, and in some areas bow season in urban areas go all the way until the end of January! I wish the DNR would go back to our normal seasons, no need for a holiday hunt, muzzleloader and antlerless!  Just my 2 cents. I see plenty of deer where I hunt.  Getting a deer or two is not difficult.  But that's not true state-wide.
12/2/23 @ 7:16 AM
44/45
PRO MEMBER User since 3/9/11
When I drove up north on the Thursday before the gun hunt, I came across only one fresh road kill. And that was in northern oconto co. When we had deer, it was always no less than five road kills! Just saying for comparison. I don't know what today's Management goal is, but year's ago it was 19 deer per square mile. I'm guessing it's more like 5 in the last few years. I have a small food plot, and normally I would see 6-10 trophy mature bucks show up in November. The last several year's it been 1-2 mature bucks.
12/2/23 @ 6:20 AM
yamatroller
User since 5/7/06
YES, compared to other states public land Wisconsin Deer Hunting Really really  sucks!!!  I hunted public land in the National Forest in Northern Wisconsin forover 50 years, it used to be great but now it's not even worth the effort. Been out west 2 of the last 3 years and there's an unbelievable difference. This year even though numbers are supposedly down we still seen hundreds of deer out there. I seen more bucks in 1day out there than probably 3 years here. If it wasn't that now we hunt private land here I wouldn't even deer hunt in Wisconsin anymore. 
12/1/23 @ 12:07 PM
cm1234
User since 8/3/12
I think this questioned can be answered a few different ways. If we are comparing private managed ground to private managed ground I can't answer that, as I do not have experience out of state in that regard.

However, if you compare public to public, it's not even close. A little background, I hunt at least 2 other states besides Wisconsin every year. In the last few years I have hunted Iowa, Missouri x2, and Ilinois x2. Next year will be Ohio, and possibly Indiana. In my experience the public hunting in these states is absolutely better than it is in WI. In each of these states I was on deer, and big deer, my first time ever stepping foot on the properties I hunted. I could pick a spot on ONX, and walk in completely blind and be on them right away. Those days are few and far between in WI, and I hunt all over WI. Hunted 12 separate WI counties this year, all public.

Biggest differences I noticed were:
1. The DNR in each of these states, at least the guys i ran into, were extremely friendly and helpful. I was never once asked to present my license in any of those states if you can believe that. The entire conversation was "how's it going, having any luck, are you enjoying your time, here's my card, if you need help finding them, or even helping with a recovery, give me a call" When is the last time you had those kind of experiences here?

2. The public I hunted was actively managed for deer habitat. There was select cutting, hinge cutting, prescribed burnings, waterholes, and food sources all done by the DNR on public lands, designed specifically for the deer. I ask again, when was the last time we saw that here? Seems all our DNR spends money on is CWD propaganda, and butterfly prairies.

3. The resident hunters, and neighboring landowners were by far the nicest, most helpful hunters I have ever met. There were multiple occasions where a local hunter and I were parked in the same lot and got to talking. There was ZERO animosity sent my way by any of them, in fact, I had multiple locals showing me trail cam pics, and giving me suggestions on places to go. A couple guys even shared their access paths to their stands on ONX. I exchanged numbers with each local hunter I met, and was offered recovery help from all of them. A few we even ended up drinking a few beers post-hunt. To top it off, I had multiple occasions where neighboring land owners would see me getting ready at my truck and pull into the lot to talk. These guys would share where they were seeing deer on the public ground, and every single one told me if I hit one and it crossed onto their property that i was good to go to retrieve, most also offered to bring a 4 wheeler around to load the deer up. I did have 2 guys offer to let me hunt their land, free of charge. Again, I ask, when was the last time you could say you had these experiences in WI?

Some of these hunts I killed on, some I didn't. But all of them were an enjoyable experience that I feel was worth the tag price, kill or not, and I plan to return to these places as often as I can. To be honest I am getting very close to just hanging it up in Wisconsin altogether. I feel better spending the hundreds of dollars on tags to hunt out of state than I do to spend the 25 to hunt Wisconsin. 
12/1/23 @ 11:00 AM
Direwolf66
PRO MEMBER User since 2/21/20
I was able to spend 4 days in the woods up north with 2 of my teenage daughters, no way does that suck
12/1/23 @ 10:58 AM
C-P-R-#1
User since 2/14/08
When I bowhunted North Dakota say 10+ years ago, for multiple years, the Mule Deer and some whitetail deer numbers were crazy high, but this was on managed bow-only land, but also on some nearby public land.  But take into account the human population of ND at that time was about equal to the amount of all deer hunting licenses sold here in WI.  It's easy to maintain deer herd numbers when only 50,000 licenses are sold vs. what, 420,000 gun licenses only here in WI?  750,000 all weapon type licenses?  ‚Äč
12/1/23 @ 10:30 AM
Johnny Wishbone
User since 8/15/18
I've never been out west to Kentucky, but I can confidently say that Wisconsin has some of the best deer hunting in the lower 48.
Displaying 46 to 58 of 58 posts
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