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#3654366 - 04/24/14 04:12 PM A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting
Mike Belt
TnDeer Old Timer
16 Point


Registered: 03/26/99
Posts: 17874
Loc: Lakeland, Tn.

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Sort of a Catch 22 thought here....

I've read many posts on here over the years advocating introducing people into the sport of deer hunting; young or old. Fact is, no one wants to be sitting on stand and have hunters walk in on them. With more hunters in the woods it has the potential for happening more often; particularly on public land. Fact is, hunting acreage dwindles more every year. Fact is, the more hunters involved the more marketable available hunting land becomes and the higher the lease prices are driven. Fact is the more hunters involved the fewer deer there are to go around. Fact is the decline in deer hunters will one day silence the voice of reason supporting deer hunting and hunting will fall by the wayside. Fact is, even if hunter involvement increases deer hunting as we know it will still take a nosedive because of the reasons listed above. Not trying to sound pessimistic but any thoughts....?
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#3654405 - 04/24/14 04:43 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Mike Belt]
cecil30-30
16 Point


Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 14150
Loc: Morgan Co

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We are living the good old days of deer hunting right now. With habitat loss and human population growth I really dont see hunting getting much better than it is now.
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#3654481 - 04/24/14 06:15 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Mike Belt]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19279
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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Mike, at least in TN, we have several mitigating factors off-setting many of your otherwise legitimate concerns, especially if you want to go back 15-plus years.

The biggest single factor has been the expansion of the deer herd into areas that simply had few if any deer over 20 years ago. While much land has been lost to development, much more land that previously had no deer hunting now has good deer hunting. There's lots of exceptions, and I'd bet near your home area is one of them, perhaps the biggest one in and near Shelby County.

In the coming years, I suspect we'll see a huge increase in "urban" deer hunting, but much of this will be because it's "convenient" more than an issue of there not being more classic deer hunting opportunities within an hour or two's drive of those "urban" hunters. IMO, most of the large WMA's in TN have fewer deer hunters on them than they did during the 1980's and early 90's, and most have a better quality deer herd now as well.

There are vast areas of both West & East TN that had relatively few deer during the 80's and 90's that now have good deer densities, including my home county of Obion. And many of the West TN and East TN hunters who used to travel to Middle TN for deer hunting are simply now finding acceptable deer hunting closer to their homes.

At the same time, "today's" deer hunter is generally not as tolerant of being crowded with other hunters as they had to be back in the 80's. Not to mention, most of us are not heading afield just to see how many bucks we can kill in a season, as we're also interested in being "hunter-managers" and the overall quality of the experience. It was once much more about just shooting every buck that had antlers over 3" long.

And to those who think that "kill every buck" mentality brought in more hunters, I totally disagree. Back then, people got into hunting, and they mainly hunted things other than deer. Most were hooked on hunting before they ever went deer hunting. Today, it seems to me the people most likely to never get hooked on hunting are those whose first hunting experience is deer hunting, while those who are hooked on a variety of small game and/or waterfowl hunting are more likely to become lifetime hunters.

If anyone wants a true wilderness deer hunting experience, it may be the Cherokee National Forest has never had so few deer hunters. Fewer deer, too, than in times past, but there are much fewer hunters competing for them. I'd say right now is the good ole days of deer hunting in TN, and I don't think it will change much during the next few years.

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#3654535 - 04/24/14 07:38 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Wes Parrish]
landman
8 Point


Registered: 11/15/09
Posts: 2487
Loc: TN & Western KY

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Today the TWRA commission talked about and
asked questions about are we at the max capacity
with most seeming to believe the herd needs to
drop some, but enough does are not being harvested
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#3654648 - 04/24/14 09:04 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: landman]
Bone Collector
14 Point


Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 8967
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

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There are definitely not enough does being shot in some areas, but I agree with Mike on a lot of this stuff. The key to whether Hunting survives is whether or not we keep our public hunting lands. Honestly the only way that happens is more people get into hunting, so we have a large enough voice.

The biggest obstacle we face IMO is greed, by politicians, landowners, and hunters alike. Politicians want to make money by developing, landowners want an arm and a leg to allow you to hunt, and hunters, do not want any competing for "their" deer.

IMO land leasing is the downfall of hunting. It puts up a further, monetary barrier to getting into or sticking with hunting. Some people cannot afford to buy all the stuff and pay for a place to hunt, even if they are already into the sport. Property sizes are dwindling, and land owners want more money....
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“There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
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#3654662 - 04/24/14 09:20 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Bone Collector]
Bone Collector
14 Point


Registered: 09/09/09
Posts: 8967
Loc: Murfreesboro, TN

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Oh i forgot one other thing that is helping hunting decline. this will surely ruffle some feathers, but oh well.

Yep you guessed it Trophy hunting. Back when big buck mania was not the norm, most anyone would let you hunt and no one that hunted there, cared, because A. they had other places to hunt, and B. they didn't care if they got a big buck, they only cared that they got a deer. Any deer was a good deer. Once the horn porn hit the airwaves and magazines, it was all over but the crying. Guys got horn crazy, which is what lead to land leases. Land leasing was not originally a way to get yourself a place to hunt, it was a way to make sure that only people that would hunt the way you wanted to, were able to hunt an area. once the word got out that hunter's were paying, everyone wanted money.
_________________________
Semper Fidelis!

“There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”
General James Mattis

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#3654668 - 04/24/14 09:27 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Bone Collector]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19279
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Bone Collector
Some people cannot afford to buy all the stuff . . . . .

Herein lies much of the perceived problem.
We buy into all the advertising and "keeping up with the Joneses."

When I started hunting, I had a shotgun. One shotgun.
I used that one shotgun for hunting squirrels, doves, rabbits, ducks, quail, and deer. Killed my first deer at age 12, and had killed many deer before I was 20, when I bought my first deer rifle.

I think was also about 20 years old before owning any camo clothing, never realizing there was a handicap to not having them. Of course, back then we also didn't spend any money on "smart" phones, gps units, atv's, etc. Today I go afield with all the bells & whistles, but can't say I enjoy the hunting any more than when I was a poor teenager, deer hunting with a shotgun and whatever clothes I could put together to keep me warm.

My point is that hunting can be enjoyed very effectively without a lot of money being spent on various weapons and equipment. We've just come to think we need everything "as seen on TV" by the infomercial "hunting" shows.

Should add that when I was a teenager, there was no muzzleloader season, and "the" deer season opened a few days before Thanksgiving. Most of November was spent small-game hunting, which is where most people developed their passions for hunting period. Deer season didn't last so long, and we went back to hunting other game soon as deer season closed. Wasn't any "juvenile" deer hunt either, yet more kids became passionate about hunting then than do now, I think because the focus was more on hunting than just deer hunting.

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#3654712 - 04/24/14 10:10 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: Wes Parrish]
AT Hiker
6 Point


Registered: 07/03/11
Posts: 913
Loc: Clarksville, Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
I think because the focus was more on hunting than just deer hunting.


Here is the million dollar statement, sadly as a whole we have lost that. The free market, like it or not, had a lot to do with it.
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In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
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#3654733 - 04/24/14 10:40 PM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: AT Hiker]
deerhunter10
10 Point


Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 3392
Loc: maury county tn

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i agree bone collector for the most part. deer hunting all the way around is a multi billion dollar industry. and people are money hungry and will do anything to keep it that high. i agree and i am one of them i am very secretive about my spots. i worked my butt off for my farms and don't want to loose them not to mention the time i have actually working on the farms. so yes i am selfish about my spots and farms. and i will say i would much rather pay for a lease then deal with public land hunting. i have some MAJOR respect for those hunters and not for me. i agree with a lot that is being said about the overall issues. i am a trophy hunter and i could not even imagine that not being the path i hunt. i love it and it makes it way more exciting for me personally. piling up 5-15 deer a year does not float my boat at all. it would be easy for us that way. i think we are we will see a increase in the herd and big deer, and i decrease in hunters and hunting spots. let face it hunting is not at all in any form a cheap sport. just the gas a lone can break you. not to mention all the other things. last year it seemed like one of the best years in a while about just huge deer being killed. but like in another thread expectations are way to high, cost are high, and overall hunters have changed.
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#3654920 - 04/25/14 07:54 AM Re: A Contradictory Thought On Deer Hunting [Re: deerhunter10]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
Non-Typical


Registered: 03/11/99
Posts: 65401
Loc: Nashville, TN

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Mike,

I would like to see the latest demographics on deer hunters by age. 15 years ago, the great concern was that once the primary group of deer hunters--the Baby Boomers--grew too old to continue deer hunting, there wouldn't be a younger generation to replace them. However, it seems as if we've been seeing a major surge in 20 and 30-somethings taking up deer hunting. I believe quite a few of the most serious deer hunters on this site fall into that age category. But again, I haven't seen the latest demographics. As those of our age group--the last of the Baby Boomers--begin to drop out of deer hunting, will there be enough "new" younger hunters to replace us and keep deer hunting alive?

Another question is, how many deer hunters are needed to keep deer hunting alive? Is there some "critical mass" number needed to economically support the activity? At what economic point can state wildlife agencies no longer function due to lack of funds?
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