Gun season no one longer sits. Its push push push. Trespassing, thieves brown and down.
Its sickens me to watch what hunters will do to the herd for the next 2 and a half months.
Id say its over
But that part of it has ALWAYS been there. Actually in reality - the big traditional deer gangs of Sussex County are nearly gone... I grew up into that. I didn't like it much, when I picked up the bow at age 20 it was quite liberating and I learned how to read deer sign, patterns, food sources, wind direction, stand location, and shot selection. I lost interest in shotgun hunting over 20 years ago. So much has changed though, the "traditional 6-day" season really needs to change, starting with TWO buck tags... Ending with "no gun hunting after 6-day, sans a few doe-days".
I sat 6am to 8:30 yesterday with bow, and 2:45pm till dark. All I saw were several fawns in morning and one lone doe, and just two fawns in afternoon. I sat in what is arguably the best stand location I have ever known. However - I already knew that with the full moon and post-rut, the odds of seeing a decent buck to shoot at were as slim as slim can be, combined with all the "pre 6day" activities of all the last minute scouters and bait-dumpers leading up to it. I heard 3 shots in z5/Fredon in morning, and 2 in afternoon. Nothing within a mile either.
I know this much - where I used to dream of taking off the entire week (but never was able to), I now refuse to even waste a day on 6-day. The amount of hunting pressure from archery and the popularity of baiting has these deer completely nocturnal and educated, and the only thing that kept them moving during the day leading up to 6-day was the rut. If the deer were moving on their own - there would possibly be less inclination for the trespassing deer drivers. I say give the deer a break - they earned it.
The way deer hunting has evolved into 5 months of crossbow hunting - I think it's time to separate bag limits/tags from seasons and permits...
1) tags should be about quality and management
2) Seasons and Permits should be about revenue
There is a way to "de-couple" them, as I keep harping 2 flexible buck tags a calendar year, NOT to be affixed to any specific season, permit, or weapon. Antlerless tags must be better managed per DMZ. Also time to decouple WMA's and Public land from general DMZs, they need much tighter antlerless restrictions.
I swear with just a little bit more thought put into it, there is a way to offer a better quality product that keeps the majority happy, while still taking in the almighty dollar...