hunting in Pa. vs. Tn??

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Nsghunter

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Hey guys, every pre-season I have the same question in my head: will I hunt in Pennsylvania this year or go to West TN? I figured I would ask you guys for your input because you are my hunting buddies.

Here are the summaries of the two choices:

PA:
I have family in South East Pa where I can stay. Free lodging, cheap food but also have to deal with family while trying to be on a hunting trip ( this can slow you down). I would probably be hunting archery only Nov. 1-15'ish maybe late season jan1-28 and possibly early archery. I don't care for their firearm season dates, they conflict with my home schedule a lot, plus I'm sure the pressure is really high. I would have to purchase a license for pa for my son and I, plus antlerless tags. That would be roughly $300. It is a 12 hour drive one way and then about 30-60 min drive to the areas that I hunt. I always see loads of deer while I am there hunting or visiting, but I have to travel. I love the idea of traveling to hunt and the family that I stay with is elderly, I know that eventually they will pass and I will not be able to ever spend time with them, it is nice to stay with them and see them while I am hunting. Also, because of the family, I can leave my 9 year old home with them if he doesn't hunt. I also enjoy hunting in areas with such high deer densities. They even have hunts in some of the town parks the deer density is so high. The travel time is tough and that is an expense within itself.

TN:
I have some private land I can hunt, that's two hours away but I do not want to overhunt it. I also don't want to over harvest the deer and I do not want to hunt it so often that the locals realize that there is good hunting there and "join me". I have very limited lodging options if I hunt there, so driving is the only real option. I hunt public in my area (1 hour away) with some success and I typically like to go to west tn (4 -6 hour drive) once a year and hunt with some success. I already have my TN license so there is no expense for that, but If I travel to West TN I always have to pay something for lodging and food( I would typically say $70/per day average) . I try to hunt in the quota hunts here but I work every weekend and I can't always get vacation during the time of the quota hunt. I have actually missed three or four hunts in the last six years due to not being able to get off work. For Tn. I like the lower drive times and the fact that I am close to my wife and kiddos even if I am out of town hunting.

I would like you fellas to chime in with any input or suggestions that you may have related to all of this. I am confident that you all have spent time hunting out of town, out of state and or close to home and can help me see other benefits/drawbacks.
 
backyardtndeer

backyardtndeer

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With where fuel prices are, I would have to weigh out the cost factor for each. Is hunting PA going to satisfy your season, or will you continue driving to hunt more in TN. Only you can answer which is best for you.

If I had family to hunt with, I would probably try to make a few trips over five to ten years.
 
R

Rancocas

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I have not been back in Pennsylvania in years, but at one time it was my favorite state for hunting. I took my first deer there back in 1967, and a bear in 1972. The squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, and grouse I took there are numerous. The Pennsylvania Game Lands as well as the national and state forests were great 40 years ago. I don't know how they are now.
Except for one cousin who still lives up in the northwest corner of the state, my other relatives have all died off up there. Nevertheless, I have many fond memories of Penn's Woods and would go back there to hunt again in a heartbeat.
 
S

Ski

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12hrs is a very long drive for whitetails in an area where your trophy potential is near zero. It would also require dealing with the congestion and traffic that s.e. PA is notorious for. Family makes it more palatable for sure, but only you can decide. For sheer hunting purposes, I think there are better options. There are plenty deer right here in TN.

TN also has a broad range of habitat types. I think it would be fun to hunt them all. We got swamps, mountains, ag, river deltas, urban, etc. You can hunt deer in just about any situation you want without ever leaving the state.
 
FLTENNHUNTER1

FLTENNHUNTER1

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Just returned from PA. There are deer everywhere. Public hunting land is plentiful, licenses are cheap. I say buy a big ass cooler and go for it. You won't know how good it is until you try it. Trophy or not (some of us are not concerned with horns but like hundreds of pounds of venison) your cooler should have something in it depending how much effort you are willing to put into it.

Was traveling a road close to primetime on my way to Stroudsburg and literally had to STOP 4 different times within the last hour of light to keep from running over deer either in the road or crossing it. Automotive damage must be a major issue.
 
R

Rancocas

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Just returned from PA. There are deer everywhere. Public hunting land is plentiful, licenses are cheap. I say buy a big ass cooler and go for it. You won't know how good it is until you try it. Trophy or not (some of us are not concerned with horns but like hundreds of pounds of venison) your cooler should have something in it depending how much effort you are willing to put into it.

Was traveling a road close to primetime on my way to Stroudsburg and literally had to STOP 4 different times within the last hour of light to keep from running over deer either in the road or crossing it. Automotive damage must be a major issue.
Ah, Stroudsburg. I used to have relatives in Bangor, a little SW of Stroudsburg. They are gone now. I did plenty of hunting all around that area. Also, NW of Wilkes-Barre, Rickets Glen State Park is where I got my first deer and my first bear. Had to climb up North Mountain. Got caught in a blizzard on the back side of North Mountain once. Couldn't see landmarks, so I just kept walking in a straight line hoping to come out someplace that I recognized. I did. Some good fishing in PA, too. Good memories.
Love Pennsylvania hunting. Don't care much for Pennsylvania politics.
 
S

Ski

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(some of us are not concerned with horns but like hundreds of pounds of venison)

Then it's hard to argue unit-L here in TN. 3 does/day from late September through early January, and plenty of public ground to keep things interesting. It's hard to imagine not being able to close out the season with as much meat as one could possibly want. I completely understand the adventure of traveling out of state to hunt, but his is one of those cases where the grass is greenest right here at home. IMO, unless you have a multi-faceted agenda like the OP with visiting family as well as hunting, then leaving TN to hunt meat deer doesn't make sense. It's pretty rare that I hunt a day without having opportunity to shoot a deer, and it's certainly not because I'm a good hunter. There's just a lot of deer here. That said, I can count on one hand all the 120"+ bucks I've seen on the hoof in the 7yrs I've lived here. As such, I take 7-8 deer per season here for the freezer and use my out of state trips to focus on horns. No rule says we can't have it all.
 
FLTENNHUNTER1

FLTENNHUNTER1

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Back to what the OP was asking…

The PA advantage I see is visiting family and spending time with them before they pass away. Family first hunting second.

For me it’s an easy decision. Hunt PA once and the rest in TN. Win Win.
 
D

Daff

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If it fits in your budget I suggest doing all the above! I always enjoy the fresh challenge of new/ different places. Hunt as often as possible! Spend time with family often never know when someone’s time here will end.
I can say when the end of my days comes and I’m looking back over my life I’m won’t wish I’d worked another day! Oh and money doesn’t have a use in the afterlife.
 
tree_ghost

tree_ghost

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12hrs is a very long drive for whitetails in an area where your trophy potential is near zero. It would also require dealing with the congestion and traffic that s.e. PA is notorious for. Family makes it more palatable for sure, but only you can decide. For sheer hunting purposes, I think there are better options. There are plenty deer right here in TN.

TN also has a broad range of habitat types. I think it would be fun to hunt them all. We got swamps, mountains, ag, river deltas, urban, etc. You can hunt deer in just about any situation you want without ever leaving the state.
Yeah I love our terrain variations. Really cool option to have in one state. In addition you have the ability to hunt a rutting buck from Late Oct to close of season here in Tn with the various rut timings in the state…
 
T

trout

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I grew up in Western PA hunting, fishing, and trapping. Now that I am in TN, I travel back to visit family and trout fish a few times each year. While I have good PA hunting memories, I would rather scout with family and friends than hunt PA. The deer hunting opportunity in TN is excellent. My best friend from PA actually travels with to TN now to muzzleloader hunt with me looking for mature bucks and not necessarily trophy racks.
 
N

Nsghunter

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Then it's hard to argue unit-L here in TN. 3 does/day from late September through early January, and plenty of public ground to keep things interesting. It's hard to imagine not being able to close out the season with as much meat as one could possibly want. I completely understand the adventure of traveling out of state to hunt, but his is one of those cases where the grass is greenest right here at home. IMO, unless you have a multi-faceted agenda like the OP with visiting family as well as hunting, then leaving TN to hunt meat deer doesn't make sense. It's pretty rare that I hunt a day without having opportunity to shoot a deer, and it's certainly not because I'm a good hunter. There's just a lot of deer here. That said, I can count on one hand all the 120"+ bucks I've seen on the hoof in the 7yrs I've lived here. As such, I take 7-8 deer per season here for the freezer and use my out of state trips to focus on horns. No rule says we can't have it all.
Ski, do you hunt public or private? I know unit L has a high doe/day limit but I’ve always wondered if there are really that many does there. Everyday I’ve hunted in Pa I’ve seen doe.

I don’t mean that pa is better, I’ve just never hunted with a high frequency in west Tn to see if the volumes where as high as people claimed.
 
S

Ski

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Ski, do you hunt public or private? I know unit L has a high doe/day limit but I’ve always wondered if there are really that many does there. Everyday I’ve hunted in Pa I’ve seen doe.

I don’t mean that pa is better, I’ve just never hunted with a high frequency in west Tn to see if the volumes where as high as people claimed.

In short, yes there are that many does in parts of unit-L. I'm near Manchester, half way between Nashville and Chattanooga, and hunt public and private. We have several WMA's in the immediate area and on any given day during season, I'd be confident in getting a doe in bow range.

My annual routine is to kill 7-8 does for the freezer, and it takes about a week to do it. I can only butcher one or two at a time so I only shoot one or two in a day, then when packed up in the freezer I hunt again & get another one or two. It's more like meat acquisition work than it is hunting, but we eat lots of venison so I do it. And I rarely if ever shoot a doe on my private land. The rest of the season I chase antlers and do lots of out of state hunting. It's a luxury really. I've hunted places where I'd forego hopes of a trophy because I needed meat first & foremost. This isn't one of those places.

So for a meat hunter, I find it hard to imagine leaving TN in search of does for the freezer. This place is like a grocery store. I buy a sportsmans license every year and it allows me to hunt/fish pretty much everything I want minus elk & the specialty stuff. No extra tags or licenses. My freezer stays plumb full of fish, frogs, doves, turkey, venison, squirrels, etc. I made 125lbs of venison summer sausage last year alone. I can't recall any place in my life where this lifestyle was not only plausible but also convenient. Alaska is a near second in terms of high volume meat acquisition, but it's nowhere near as convenient as buying a single license like here in TN. That said, I've not hunted PA so I can't compare.
 
huvrman

huvrman

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For me it’s all about priorities. If this were my last season to hunt, be with my family, be able to afford to travel, etc, which would I choose. I think for me it’s all about family these days. Once gone, you can never get them back. I don’t like spending my days wishing I had done things differently especially with regard to keeping up family relations. Found that out when I was in Kuwait and lost my older brother to a car wreck in Mississippi...
 
D

DMD

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I don't mean to sound like I'm smarting off, but just do what you want to do. Life's too short to worry about it. Just hunt where you want to and can afford to. And enjoy it. Best of luck.
 

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