Good luck and STAY SAFE tomorrow to all. Hoping to see pics and read stories. May your aim be true. Hope this freak is still around...
Wisconsin Hunting Reports/Discussion
2022 gun opener
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I appreciate it...I really do. I will figure it out eventually. I've seen deer on almost all my archery sits along with a couple decent bucks so I know that it's possible. Once the firearms season is over, I plan on starting my scouting again. I actually enjoy that part of the prep and it's good exercise. Good luck the rest of your season.
Don't get discouraged. 3 out of the last 4 year's I've shot a buck on the second weekend on public land. Twice on the last day. They may be tired and bunkered down and start moving again or something. But our best hunting has been the second weekend at mid day. My belief is that these deer eat so heavily at night, they lay down and rest and then start cruising again mid morning. This picture tells me that I should have been behind my cabin this year at noon! LOL
Congrats on your harvest. I don't have issue with what anyone shoots as long as you are doing it legally. Heck, I would have been happy with a small buck or even a doe. My experience was not what I was hoping for or expected. I grew up bow hunting with my dad and I just love the sport so much, it would be very hard for me to walk away from it all. In all fairness, even though I scouted as much as I could since spring break last year, I know now it just wasn't enough and I didn't have enough properties in my repertoire that I felt comfortable accessing. I'm not ready to give up yet, but it sure is different from having 350 acres all to yourself and your dad and uncle. Again, maybe it will be time to move on from it and try something new. Who knows. I love the adventure that public has to offer but I guess I wasn't expecting the pressure that these parcels get.
I kicked up a couple of deer while walking back from my stand (private land, Monroe County), but this was the only deer I saw while hunting all weekend, a 5 pointer. Opening day at the last minute of legal shooting hours I fired the shot and it dropped right away. Glad I took the shot because I'll have some meat in the freezer for the year. I only get to hunt one weekend a year for bow and one weekend a year for gun so I'm not picky on the size of the deer. On my camera I set out by a blind I set up I had pictures of deer 3 times in 3 weeks, and they were all on the same day, 8 days before the opener and before the snow came. Once our pond freezes over the deer don't move much through there. Where we hunt there area few bigger bucks, but the soil in that area isn't the best, so we just don't get too many BIG bucks, and I'm ok with that because you can't eat the rack anyway! The choice between meat in the freezer or a big rack on my wall I'll choose the meat anytime. Never have I eaten meat from a BIG buck that tasted nearly as good as the smaller deer do, that's just a fact!
I hope at some point you are able to hunt Iowa, if you only do one trip your whole life, that is the one to do. The experience alone is something I will never forget, there were many times I forgot I had a bow in my hand, and just sat back and enjoyed the show. Something pretty cool about watching 2 world class bucks so locked in on chasing does that they were swimming through a neck deep river to chase her.
Back in 2006 ( at the peak of the CWD slaughter fest that this state and hunters mindsets have still not recovered from) I quit deer hunting all together until about 2013 and took up waterfowling. (unfortunately that takes up even more time and is even more expensive). But I never had more fun hunting than I did in those years. It was amazing, from mid October to the end of gun deer I had every public marsh damn near to myself. Many Many limits were taken opening day of gun deer season, and even the slow days were alot of fun hanging out in a blind or boat with friends.
It's just sad that hunters in this state can't possibly seem to grasp the fact that dead deer don't make fawns. I hunted Iowa this year (it truly is heaven on earth) and i was amazed at the number of deer, and big bucks i saw each day. ALL on public land. In talking with locals, shooting 3 year old and younger deer just isn't a thing down there, they simply don't do it. I talked to many many guys that, on public land, will not shoot a deer under 170 inches, and the results show that mindset works. I had multiple 150 inch deer in bow range every single day, and most days I was within 500 yards of my truck. I don't expect WI to ever be Iowa, just too many people, and not enough land, but its amazing to think about what could happen if only people did not shoot the first deer they saw.
Rant Over LOL
Lovestohuntandfish. This is a very common experience in SE Wis. public land. I hunt some of the Washington co. public and it is very high pressure in gun season. So much so , that you dont even find a spot . Last year , I just kept walking from one stand to the other . I have about 25 stands on about 5,000 ac. By the time I got to a stand ( that I rarely use) it was almost quitting time. I sat there anyway and saw nothing about 50 yds from the US HWY. However, there are times, later in the season that it slows down a bit , but by then , the deer are really shy , and dont move much at all. As for me, I have not done well at all out there. I have 7 yrs . of bow , gun, muzzy and 4 day antlersless and Holiday hunt. I have gotten 3 does in 7 yrs. I wounded a buck and missed on in the last 3 yrs with my bow, so some of it is my own fault. I'm going out now and will surely see too much orange for a quality hunt.
Thanks for posting. I enjoyed your thoughts. I don't think that trip will ever happen for me unfortunately. I am a teacher and I only get 2 personal days during the entire year so scheduling a trip like that would be an impossibility at this time. I posted in a different section of the forum, but I am contemplating giving up deer hunting and getting a bird dog. I would love to move up north to hunt grouse and woodcock during the fall. I've also thought about buying my own land but I don't have kids so their isn't much of an investment reason for me. Plus, my wife would want to use the property to walk and get exercise. I would like it so sit idle until hunting season so there is a bit of conflict of interest on that one. I wish I loved to fish as much as I love to deer hunt...problem would be solved.
Sheep, very possible that it was a gut hit, or liver, although a liver hit deer will usually travel a bit further right at the shot. Either hit can very easily plug the hole, and liver hits are notorious for a bad blood trail. Either hit is 100% lethal however, if you can, i would get a dog in there, may be a long shot at this point depending on snow cover, but if it is hit in guts or liver, that deer is 100% dead, and if anything is going to find it, it would be a dog.
Hockey guy I just never considered the fact that maybe it was a wound before my encounter. That makes total sense. Hindsight is 20/20 and I would handle it differently now. I think I would have waited for my brother and his crew to come over and positioned hunters in escape areas before I walked in. hard to organize that from a phone however.
To the guy from Rock county, you are better off saving your money, and doing a DIY out of state trip every year. I hunt SE WI as well. In the past 4 years, I have hunted Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. I have gone in blind on public land on each trip, and have been in deer all day every day, even when there was other pressure on the land.
I'm honestly to the point where I may never deer hunt WI again until the hunting culture here evolves past the self control of a 5 year old, and the management agency switches from an organization that cares more about revenue generation, to one that strives for greater herd health and hunter experience. Or until I can save up enough money to buy a piece of land.
Don't mean to sounds like a downer, just over the past few years my experiences have showed that spending the extra money for a non-resident tag is certainly worth it. Plus, what could be better than going in to a new area, figuring it out, and taking a deer on a piece you have never been in before?
Camped and hunted southern public in the frigid windy conditions. Fewer hunters and shots overall but we had success. 5 hunters, my brother got a nice buck, I got a small buck and two big does, two of the other hunters shot and missed,and the one guy in our group who never sees deer didn't see any. Tracks everywhere we went to the point I'm shocked I didn't see more on the hoof but that's hunting. To the guy hunting rock county, look at all spots that are private leased for public there are many that get overlooked and are barely touched except for pheasant hunters. Good luck.
I had by far the worst gun opener of my career. So I lost my private land option last year and started hunting public during archery. It was a little bit of a learning curve, but I felt like things were going well. I chose a property in Rock County to utilize during the gun season. I set up on a hill looking into a marsh. I got there an hour before shooting light. I had 5 hunters cross right in front of me and another guy set up 100 yards right in front of me. I flashed my light at all of them but they just kept coming. Also had a warden check me at 930 am. Zero shots on that property, zero deer seen, and everyone but one person was off that property by 1030 am. The warden told me that half of the guys were gone by 830 am. Granted, this property is long and narrow, but I hiked in a mile thinking that I would avoid pressure. Boy was I wrong. Next time I will have to put some more time in scouting and not assume I am deep enough into public land. I also thought guys would be doing drives or walking a bit to kick something up but everyone just sat including myself.
Here is an interesting thought though that I would like your comments on. I was talking with another public land hunter as he was walking out and we were commenting on all the pressure. One thing that we both discussed was how technology like OnX and all the lightweight gear options has really made getting deep into public land accessible. I made the comment that it seems like when I find a spot that nobody has found, I find human sign, a camera, a stand, etc. Then the other guy said something that got me thinking. He said I don't think there is a place anymore on public land in SE WI that a person hasn't accessed. What are your thoughts on this? Is it possible to still find unpressured spots in SE Wisconsin? I obviously have some work ahead of me.