The end of things …

Carlos

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It could be just the seasons of life, so to speak.
There's a hog hunt at Catoosa this week, maybe you'd enjoy chasing them for a change of pace?
 

DMD

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Jan 16, 2006
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East TN
I've been there. I'm 58 now. Went through some big life changes 3+ years ago. On top of that, lost my 1000 acre lease I'd hunted for 20 years and had so many great memories. I thought I'd just quit. Not in a pouty way, but just a "maybe it's time now" way. But, I started hunting some public land. I started expanding to and exploring other public land...it was like when I first started hunting. New places, new excitement, new scenery, new puzzles to unlock. It really ended up firing me up again. Now, I'm looking at the possibility of getting on a new lease - just thinking about the privilege of learning a new tract and figuring out good spots to hunt, has got me excited. I'm in good health and good physical health for my age. I run regularly - 3-6 miles at a time. I can still hike in long distances with 30-40 lbs on my back with no problems. I am really excited about this new phase in my deer hunting. I'm living proof - There is life after a long time lease is gone.
 

Carlos

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I've been there. I'm 58 now. Went through some big life changes 3+ years ago. On top of that, lost my 1000 acre lease I'd hunted for 20 years and had so many great memories. I thought I'd just quit. Not in a pouty way, but just a "maybe it's time now" way. But, I started hunting some public land. I started expanding to and exploring other public land...it was like when I first started hunting. New places, new excitement, new scenery, new puzzles to unlock. It really ended up firing me up again. Now, I'm looking at the possibility of getting on a new lease - just thinking about the privilege of learning a new tract and figuring out good spots to hunt, has got me excited. I'm in good health and good physical health for my age. I run regularly - 3-6 miles at a time. I can still hike in long distances with 30-40 lbs on my back with no problems. I am really excited about this new phase in my deer hunting. I'm living proof - There is life after a long time lease is gone.
Wow! Way to go sir, that's awesome to hear.
 

WilcoKen

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May 26, 2015
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I thought I'd just quit. Not in a pouty way, but just a "maybe it's time now" way. But, I started hunting some public land. I started expanding to and exploring other public land...it was like when I first started hunting. New places, new excitement, new scenery, new puzzles to unlock.
I think we can apply this to many areas of life--not just hunting. Great post!
 

BSK

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Mar 11, 1999
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Nashville, TN
I'm curious what caused this shift for you. Was it the frustration of how hard that can be? Accepting limitations of what most areas in TN can produce?
Although I was successful many times, I realized that kind of hunting isn't fun. Being successful ended up being more of a relief than a moment for celebration.

I realized having fun with my family was far more satisfying.

Although ironically, once I started looking at hunting as just a chance to have fun, my opportunities to take one of the best bucks on the property each year hasn't declined. Over the last 5 years I've either killed or had the opportunity to kill one of top 3 bucks on the place each year. And I'm free of all the pressure I used to place on myself.
 

Bgoodman30

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Nov 21, 2016
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I've had the good fortune to deer hunt for over 40 years. I can still vividly remember my first hunt and that first buck! But, it's starting to feel like it's winding down.

While I'm getting older, my health is still good, praise God, the situation at Ames is changing for the worse for the deer club especially.

The deer population is very diminished. For me and other members, our average deer sighting is about one for 10 hours on stand. That's are hard pill to swallow. CWD has taken out many of the older bucks and with no antler restrictions, it's open season on anything with horns. To make matters worse, a huge portion of the land has been sold and will be unavailable next season.

I can't see deer hunting anywhere else. It would be difficult to start over, especially knowing CWD is pretty much everywhere within a reasonable drive.

I'm not sure what the silver lining is here. But I know I will continue, Lord willing, to enjoy the outdoors.

I am sorry to hear this and I fear our county is not far behind.. Although from what I am reading it seems like more of the issues are created by humans (including TWRA) and less CWD? What I mean is if the antler restrictions were still there and seasons went back to pre CWD do think it would really be this bad? What if Ames was in a vacuum and no one knew about CWD in the herd how many mature deer do you think would be lost?
 

Flintlocksforme

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Aug 28, 2019
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I remember seeing the changes over the years too. I went on my first successful trip at 10 in 1979. If you were around then you clearly remember the antlered deer slaughter fest of the 80s. In high school I tagged out in rifle season in 5 hunts. Back in the paper tags / checking stations days. The local GW was at a career event about that time at our school. He found me and congratulated me and said I was probably one of the first to tag out by the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was his way of telling me that he knew I was done for the year. All 4 bucks were 1 1/2 old but one that was 2 1/2 year old 8 point. We killed about a dozen bucks or more each year between my father and I ever year back then. 80 percent-90 percent would get a pass today. Luckily I had friends that duck hunted and there were still quail to hunt.
Bottom line is the bucks are growing bigger than I could ever imagine back in those days. I see it getting nothing but better as more and more lose interest because they have set the bar too high (not hunting if you don't have a trail cam pic of a big one), CWD, or just getting old.
 

bowhunterfanatic

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Sep 14, 2009
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McNairy County
Wonder if some of this is the current hunting climate. Just seems like hunting means something different than it did when I was a kid.

That, and we just see so few mature bucks that get us excited it's just not the same. Figure if I didn't run cameras might not be as bad.

I've hunted 75% less this season than prior years. Just can't seem to to find that same excitement.
I've struggled with this a bit. Just can't seem to find one I want to shoot this year. I've run cameras harder this year than I probably ever have before and I'm just not turning much up and what I have or did turn up is either dead or totally disappeared on me.
 

Dumbluck

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Oct 23, 2021
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Nashville
I am sorry to hear this and I fear our county is not far behind.. Although from what I am reading it seems like more of the issues are created by humans (including TWRA) and less CWD? What I mean is if the antler restrictions were still there and seasons went back to pre CWD do think it would really be this bad? What if Ames was in a vacuum and no one knew about CWD in the herd how many mature deer do you think would be lost?
I wonder this as well, when I look at the regs for CWD zones I can't help but think that thier goal is to decimate the deer population especially the older age classes by allowing rifle hunting as much as they are. Personally I think the regs are pure garbage for CWD zones. As soon as they implement them in the counties I hunt, I'm out. I'll spend my money in another state to hunt.
 

BSK

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Mar 11, 1999
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Nashville, TN
I wonder this as well, when I look at the regs for CWD zones I can't help but think that thier goal is to decimate the deer population especially the older age classes by allowing rifle hunting as much as they are. Personally I think the regs are pure garbage for CWD zones. As soon as they implement them in the counties I hunt, I'm out. I'll spend my money in another state to hunt.
That is EXACTLY their goal. The theory being, you can't spread a disease between animals that don't exist.
 

Carlos

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Dec 5, 2014
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That is EXACTLY their goal. The theory being, you can't spread a disease between animals that don't exist.
Do they not understand that if deer hunting ends, so does the agency?
Seriously- they don't have anything without deer hunting.
 

Rabbitkil

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I too am feeling the dwindling down feeling buddy. But, I have experienced the "1 deer per 10 hrs hunting" scenario for as long as I've hunted here in East Tn. So that's not so much of an issue for me, it's just that the drive to get out there has diminished , and I do admit that part of it is the mindset of when I go, I may not even see a deer, and then dwell on the time that I could have spent at home with my family. Hope things can somehow turn around for you out there.
I was about to say the same about hunting East Tennessee, there has been years I've but caught a glimpse of deer
 

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