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garrymny

Slowest year ever in the Alabama Swamps

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I've hunted the Iroquois Wildlife refuge extensively and exclusively for the last 15 years. It is the closest public land for me to hunt. I don't have access to any private property. I can tell you this is the slowest year I have had. Very few deer sighted. Not alot of tracks in the snow. I can tell you my deer scouting started last January and February during the government shutdown since I was out of work. I canvassed huge swaths of the swamp walking miles. I put out trail cameras in September. I started hunting archery October first. In archery I saw four bucks. Two small ones, and three shooters but no shot. Only three does! I've hunted three days in Rifle and have not seen a deer. Now, I'm sure by now many reading this are thinking I don't know how to hunt. This is my 44th year of hunting. Only once in 44 years have I not taken a deer. I've taken by my estimate 60 to 70 deer, two elk, 25 gobblers. I am a still Hunter,  and a stand hunter. I hunt both PA (where) I'm from, and NY. I cannot explain what is happening in the refuge with the deer population. There is extensive cover that is impenetrable to a man. My belief has been the deer become nocturnal by rifle season. But that doesn't explain my experience earlier in the year. 

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While duck hunting there this year the creek was up at least 2', hence high water in many spots and it happened beginning of November might have pushed deer out of normal areas.
Also I live and hunt on Attica, deer have been nocturnal since crossbow or our armed like they were. Pretty much 95 percent of my trail cam pics are at night, even does.

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Yes, I find every year the deer especially bucks become nocturnal. With the cattails and impenetrable multiflora rose and thickets, you are not going to get them once they go nocturnal. The only possibility is a rut crazy buck, or very inclement weather to make them get off their feet in daylight. But I can usually take a doe or two, and I usually pass up a small buck or two during Rifle. Not so far this year though. Tough year.

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IMHO, crossbow's popularity have the deer acting like it's gun season two weeks early. If it weren't for the rut, I think they'd have disappeared by opening day. It's not all the banging that gets the deer riled up, it's the constant intrusion into their bedrooms.

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My neighbor was out there today. He said he saw alot also bagged a nice old 9pt.
Iroquois and Tonawanda are huge areas.
If you can get nack off the road 45min + walk or more you should see deer. I used to hunt it but the drag just about kills you.

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On 11/23/2019 at 3:26 PM, Duckman1 said:

My neighbor was out there today. He said he saw alot also bagged a nice old 9pt.
Iroquois and Tonawanda are huge areas.
If you can get nack off the road 45min + walk or more you should see deer. I used to hunt it but the drag just about kills you.

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Believe me that's not the issue.  I go farther than 90% of the people. I even had to debone a doe and pack the meat out two years ago. I think several others have pointed out one reason, the crossbow season is the new Rifle season. I saw a marked increase in hunters on first day of crossbow 

Edited by garrymny

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On 11/22/2019 at 2:23 PM, Gator said:

IMHO, crossbow's popularity have the deer acting like it's gun season two weeks early. If it weren't for the rut, I think they'd have disappeared by opening day. It's not all the banging that gets the deer riled up, it's the constant intrusion into their bedrooms.

I believe you are right. A very marked increase in pressure on the first day of crossbow. So they have the deer in nocturnal mode. In addition, the relative lack of quantity of tracks in the snow I saw in January and February of 2019, shows a reduced number of deer. Coyote? Maybe disease? I saw several deer on my August trail cams that looked like sick skeletons. I wondered if they had cwd they looked so bad. Not sure what, but definitely sick and diseased. Could be they had just been wounded or something. 

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Well i used to be a diehard bow hunter until i hurt my shoulder. Now i cant wait for crossbow. Until that time bow hunters have been in the woods for a solid month. How long has it been since the opening of bow was the 15th of the month. There is alot of variables to throw in this equation. Its just a matter of time before crossbow starts tje same time. Just my opinion and im sure many will disagree.

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9 hours ago, thumbburn said:

I will bite...... why is it no bow course needed to crossbow hunt?.... IF it is the same... killing by cutting and bleeding..then why a mzldr permit required.....


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Please, let's not derail this post into an argument over crossbow versus archery hunting. I personally use bow, crossbow, inline mz, flintlock, and rifle. This is about the slow year, lack of deer sighted in the Iroquois National Wildlife refuge this year, and possible reasons. Thanks.

Edited by garrymny

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Crossbow is the new gun season? Hahaha. You guys kill me. They are loud but not as loud as a gun. They have put some more hunters in the woods but not nearly as many as gun season. I would think the youth season would cause more issues with the deer than crossbow hunters. Guns going off in the middle of bow season will change a deers pattern for sure. The one property I hunt, everything seemed to be different this year. Deer were nocturnal and hunkering down during the day during bow. Not the norm. Was it weather? Coyotes? It definitely wasn’t crossbow hunters since this all started well before the season was open.


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I agree that gun season puts more stinky bodies in the woods, but crossbow is having an impact. IMHO, the noise isn't the relevant factor, it's the human scent trails caused by people walking where nobody's been for many moons. It definitely changes deer movement patterns. Heck, even archery does. Crossbow just amplifies the issue. The rut is the one factor that evens out the odds, otherwise I think that deer would disappear by November. I hunt will all legal implements, too, and so have no vested interest in promoting one over the other. Heck, the way that stands have taken precedence over drives the past decade, I think that the impact of gun season has been minimized significantly versus the 80s and 90s, when everybody walked around mid-day. I would imagine that public land hunters would likely see more changes in behavior due to crossbow with more boots on the ground.

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1 hour ago, GAMBLER said:

Years ago there were way more hunters and less scent control technology. How did anyone kill a deer back then?


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For one thing, there was no posted land. This spread hunters out back then. In NY, it was shotgun only and saved alot of deer. I was raised on rifles in Pennsylvania so know the effectiveness of s Rifle versus a shotgun. Now, with everything posted, public land is hunted very heavily. This has a huge impact. I can hunt the swamp most of the day,  not see a deer. Get in my truck and drive home and see deer feeding in the open Fields in broad daylight. On posted land of course. There was very little shooting the the first day thus year.  I don't have a theory yet for this year, being slow, but I appreciate the comments and ideas. One thing I'm pretty sure of, once rifle season gets here, in the swamp they are nocturnal. That, along with the astronomical amount of impenetrable cover, is a tough combination. 

Edited by garrymny

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Here are tons of factors that can lead to slow hunting.

Crops
Weather
The rut
Human interaction ( crossbow hunters, bow hunters, small game hunters, duck hunters etc.)
Size of the deer heard
To blame crossbow hunting is ridiculous.


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Here are tons of factors that can lead to slow hunting.

Crops
Weather
The rut
Human interaction ( crossbow hunters, bow hunters, small game hunters, duck hunters etc.)
Size of the deer heard
To blame crossbow hunting is ridiculous.


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Well sounds like a anti cross bow hunters.
People didnt complain when the season got extended 15 earlier. Well suck it up. This is a freakin joke. We r are hunters. We have to deal with real life decisions. Way to many variables to say its one thing
Good luck and lets wack some bucks.
By the way i did not know you could debone and pack out at Iroquois or Tonawanda.

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Hey, I'm not knocking crossbows!! I hunt with one. I'm simply saying that crossbows have an impact by increasing the number of people in the woods. It's not rocket science. More boots on the ground equates to more scent and spookier deer. The same thing happens during gun season, undeniably...we all see the results. Back in the day, before scent control was a "thing", lots of folks wandered around mid-day and pushed deer to each other.  With all of us stand-sitting these days, it happens less. So, do I "blame" crossbows? No, of course not. But i acknowledge that they have changed and are likely to continue to change deer patterns. Just like weather and food and access and all the other things that we try to use to predict whitetail behavior. One more part of the equation. And we will adapt. And deer will hit the dirt. But not today, for me at least. I hope that this front gets things stirred up.

 

And posting twice doesn't make you twice as wise, Gambler :rofl:.

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hi guys, so no deer walking because we are sitting to much.  I wonder why.  Is it because the ladder stands are so comfy. Is it because everything is posted?  Are we all getting soft.  Just wondering.  

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I pushed a lot of deer during  this  duck and pheasant season .  Saw plenty of kooks and poachers. Guys walking around with rifles weeks before season opener. Deer were bedding in flooded timber . Cant tell u how many carcasses my dog found with just the head cut off. Or just the backstraps removed.  Almost every parking area had deer dumped within 50 yds.  REAL HUNTERS , with basic knowledge/ skills were in short supply.  I cover miles and miles, running a ridiculously conditioned gun dog . To be blunt, I could write tickets sun up ,to. Sun down if I was DEC. Carlton hill and iroquois were dumpster fires in my opinion.  Crossbow hunters aren't the problem.  

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The original posting was for the Alabama Swamp/Iroquis area.......the land of constant gun fire and human interaction since the beginning of time.  Nothing has changed.

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