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Giving up on NJ deer and switching to squirrles


Hondo

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I'm seriously considering giving up on deer hunting in NJ and start concentrating on squirrles with my air rifle. Hunted hard last year and never saw a deer once from Sept to the end of Oct. This season is looking the same as last year. To say my frustration level is high is an understatement.Been hunting deer 20 years now and I have never had seasons like last year and lthis year. In the past I would at least see deer in the woods but now it's a big fat ZERO. I hunt public land and I have a lot of good areas that I know of to sit stands since I've been hunting these woods for 20 years.

Going to be looking up squirrel recipes on line.

 

 

 

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I'm sure Ms Grit has some good recipes.

 

I feel your pain about the deer.  Our public land spots that used to be great for deer are all dried up too.  It can be depressing, sit after sit, without seeing a deer.    

 

Maybe she will chime in on this post.

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I went with the old Sheridan silver streak the other day with my friend. And when my buddy showed up he had a pellet gun that looked liked he could take out a terrorist a mile away. But out of the six squirrels we got total between us. I made squirrel pot pie and the one I got tasted the best.

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I'm in the same boat as you, except I've been hunting almost 40 years, and am constantly in the woods (retired) so I scout about 10 hours for every one hour I hunt. The Division has done a nice job of acquiring land for the WMA system but they have done an absolutely horrible job of managing those lands for deer. They have effectively ruined the deer hunting on tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of acres of pretty great habitat. I've put in 10 hunts on 3 different WMA's this year and only seen 2 deer; a single, small doe, twice, from the same stand. Yesterday I hunted a small piece of private land I have permission to hunt and usually see deer on it. Shot a big, dry doe before 5 pm and saw a few other deer with her. Problem is, the piece is a long, narrow 10 acres (you can see from one property line to the next) and can only support one hunter at a time. Landowner lets others hunt but only wants one guy at a time there to reduce conflicts, so I don't get there often. This might be the first year I don't actually buy a permit for permit bow season. It's just not worth it for that one piece, and some shot-out, ruined WMA ground. I have places in Ohio, Maine and Pa to go. 

 

There have been some really nice deer killed this year in NJ, but it's truly a stark example of the have's, and have-not's. If you have private land, you can have good hunting, if you are stuck on public land, you're screwed. 

Edited by DV1

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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I'm in the same boat as you, except I've been hunting almost 40 years, and am constantly in the woods (retired) so I scout about 10 hours for every one hour I hunt. The Division has done a nice job of acquiring land for the WMA system but they have done an absolutely horrible job of managing those lands for deer. They have effectively ruined the deer hunting on tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of acres of pretty great habitat. I've put in 10 hunts on 3 different WMA's this year and only seen 2 deer; a single, small doe, twice, from the same stand. Yesterday I hunted a small piece of private land I have permission to hunt and usually see deer on it. Shot a big, dry doe before 5 pm and saw a few other deer with her. Problem is, the piece is a long, narrow 10 acres (you can see from one property line to the next) and can only support one hunter at a time. Landowner lets others hunt but only wants one guy at a time there to reduce conflicts, so I don't get there often. This might be the first year I don't actually buy a permit for permit bow season. It's just not worth it for that one piece, and some shot-out, ruined WMA ground. I have places in Ohio, Maine and Pa to go. 

 

There have been some really nice deer killed this year in NJ, but it's truly a stark example of the have's, and have-not's. If you have private land, you can have good hunting, if you are stuck on public land, you're screwed. 

Well said DV1, the whole WMA is a joke anymore

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I have to admit, I was very concerned even on my private lands last season. This season I am seeing a lot of young bucks in Z5, but the doe numbers and fawn recruitment still seem to be rather low.

 

Appoint me deer biologist for one year and these are some absolute changes for starters:

1) Two bucks per calendar year, starting in January. You shoot a January buck, it means you only have one more tag the rest of that calendar year.   You can purchase up to two tags and you can purchase them when ever you want, and use them during any season any weapon. The days of 6 buck tags are long gone, and by having flexible tags, it will eliminate the "had to fill my fall buck bow tag before permit bow" mindset.

2) Three antlerless per calendar year is the standard, per license including all seasons combined. This is the baseline rule - and can be overridden "up or down" based on DMZ or special "control hunts" like some that involve UBNJ, etc. Does anyone REALLY "need" more than 5 deer per year ?

3) All DMZs default to regs 1 & 2 unless otherwise specified.  Only zones that can truly sustain "unlimited antlerless" will override the baseline regulation for antlerless

4) WMAs, and any "state owned"  or "federal" land will be managed as their own DMZ and not part of a broader, wider DMZ.  Federal land along Delaware river can be split into separate DMZ, but not to be mixed in with private land DMZ.

5) The baseline public land  regulation shall be - 1 buck, 1 doe per calendar year, per hunter, within each public land DMZ

6) Public land deer hunting ends after two full weeks of January.

6) The practice known as "deer drives" shall not be permitted on public land (this in of itself, will help rebound the public land herd within 2 years)

 

I hope that's not too draconian for y'all, but I think it's a good start.  It provides a practical common-sense approach with minority focus on improving buck quality and age, while also helping to rebound the decimated public land spots..   

 

I realize someone will chime in with "I see tons of deer on public land"... Well if you do - you should keep that to yourself because you would be in the minority and that can change in a hurry when 10 masterbaiters figure out where you are seeing all the deer on public land.

Edited by JHbowhunter

Nothing spooks deer more than my stank… 

16 3/4” Live Fluke Release Club

I shot a big 10pt once….

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Zone 3 has short restricted seasons and hunter numbers and harvests here are down, but we are experiencing the same lack of deer.  This can't be due to over hunting or long liberal seasons. 

 

We had 3 hard winters in a row, our forests have been allowed to grow into a single aged stand of mature trees with little understory, and the coyote and bear populations have grown significantly.  Up here these are the things that have wiped out our deer herd.  Changing the seasons and number of tags will make no difference for us. 

 

We need to manage our forests, knock down the populations of fawn eaters, and hope for a few mild winters.  Fortunately they have started Forest Stewardship plans on our WMAs and the bear population will be less significant after last year's and this year's hunt. 

Edited by Rusty
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Well said DV1, the whole WMA is a joke anymore

I have a bit better perspective because a few of the WMA's I hunt now, I hunted when they were private, before going public. Others hunted them then too, nothing was ever exclusive but we managed to do a good job of keeping deer numbers in check, without totally eliminating them. Now, places that held deer before are barren. Land that would support several hunters because there were enough deer to use most of the habitat, can really only support one or two people because deer numbers are so low, there are only a few places you can hunt the few deer there. The Division and F&G Council have absolutely ruined the deer hunting on thousands of acres of habitat that used to offer pretty good deer hunting opportunities. 

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Why not squirrels are AWESOME. As I am generally done deer hunting by mid November I send afternoons with the air rifle picking off the little buggers. A lot of squirrel noodle soup over the winter gets made and pot pies are always a favorite, this past winter I got creative and made sausage, FYI it takes 16 squirrels to make 5 lbs of sausage lol note the tails to mark the squirrel sausage

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Edited by Roon

Not a complete a$$ hole just one of the dingle berries that hang off it.

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