Top 10 Deer Bowhunting States

ohio gary nov 8 2018The QDMA’s 2019 Whitetail Report points out that bowhunting for whitetails has never been more popular. In 2002 only 15 percent of the total whitetail harvest in America was taken with archery tackle; that percentage rose to 23 percent in 2017.

Check out these numbers from 2019 report:

The 5 states with the most bowhunters are: 1) Pennsylvania (339,600 bowhunters); 2) Michigan (311,000); 3) Wisconsin (246,211); 4) New York (231,000); 5 Missouri (222,717).

The 6 states with the most bowhunters per square mile are: Pennsylvania (7.6 bowhunters PSM; 2) New Jersey (5.9); 3 Michigan (5.5); 4) New York (4.9): 5) Ohio (4.5); 6) Wisconsin (4.5).

The top 5 states with the highest percentage of annual deer harvest with archery tackle: 1) New Jersey (58% of total deer harvest in 2017); 2) Massachusetts (43%); 3) Ohio (43%); 4) Illinois (39%); 5) Kansas (37%).

I add that all the archery statistics above include both vertical bow (mostly compound) and crossbow. Love it or hate it, no doubt the modern crossbow has increased hunter numbers and the popularity of bowhunting, especially in the Northeast and Midwest.

 

 

 

 

Are Crossbow Hunters Killing Too Many Bucks?

crossbow for webBack in 2014, I blogged that Wisconsin was the latest major whitetail state to permit the use of the crossbow during the regular archery season. Since then, the crossbow season in the state has run concurrently with the archery season, typically mid-September through December.

One of the original complaints from traditionalists and vertical bowhunters at the time was that crossbow hunters would kill too many bucks. There is no denying that it is easier (and takes less practice) to kill a deer with a crossbow than with a compound or recurve.

Well, 5 years later, with crossbow technology having increased tenfold, turns out those fears might have been warranted.

WKOW in Madison reports that at a recent Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting, Director of Wildlife Management Eric Lobner reported that crossbow hunters today are killing a larger share of bucks.

The solution would be to “reduce your crossbow harvest by 5,000 to 6,000 animals.”

Lobner presented options for changing the crossbow season, such as ending the crossbow hunt earlier than bow season, to starting the crossbow season later, and even to banning the use of crossbows on weekends.

Adding another layer to the controversy, complaints are coming from gun hunters as well as vertical bowhunters. Many gun hunters think crossbow hunters are killing too many bucks during the rut and before firearms season opens, lessening their chances.

At the center of the new crossbow debate is advanced technology. The improved power, range and efficiency of the crossbow combined with the long deer season accounts for the higher buck kill in WI.

Two things complicate this discussion even more: 1) the ongoing loss of people hunting and buying licenses these days; and 2) a concern for adding more red tape and confusion to the hunting regulations.

No doubt that expanded crossbow seasons, in WI and other states, have increased hunter participation and retention. If you restrict crossbow use, you will no doubt lose a number of hunters. With hunter numbers down significantly across the U.S., the hunting and conservation world cannot afford this.

Also, WI DNR data show that complicated and confusing game regulations and red tape drive people away and may reduce the number of people buying a hunting license, saying it’s not worth it anymore.

Upcoming public comment periods and hearings on proposed crossbow season changes are sure to be raucous and controversial, with both crossbow proponents and critics pounding their opinions and positions. And you can bet other state DNRs and hunting clubs are watching what happens in Wisconsin.

The new crossbow debate is back in 2019. How do you feel about it?

Saskatchewan Bowhunter Kills World-Record Mule Deer

SK 2018 record muleyOn October 1, 2018, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation member Dennis Bennett arrowed the deer of a lifetime in the Arm River area of Saskatchewan.

This non-typical mule deer was panel measured by official Henry Kelsey measurers and scored 293 6/8.  It has been declared a Henry Kelsey provincial record, meeting the minimum score of 200, surpassing the previous provincial HK record of 290 taken back in the 1920s. .

Henry Kelsey and Pope & Young both use the Boone & Crockett scoring technique, with the difference being that Henry Kelsey uses the green score, whereas P&Y and B&C require a 60-day drying period.

Pope & Young, which records animals taken by archery only, has declared Bennett’s deer a P&Y world record with a final score of 291 1/8.

Bennett’s non-typical mule deer now joins Milo Hanson’s typical whitetail as another recognized world record from Saskatchewan!

Source: Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation

Illinois Late-Season Bow Buck

IL flat 2019 jan

Today’s guest post from Flatlander, longtime friend of BIG DEER:  

Hey Mike, reporting in on the last week of the Illinois archery season. We’ve had 10 inches of snow dumped upon us, and the deer are still a slave to their stomachs.

I’ve been playing cat and mouse with a buck we’ve called “Captain Hook” for his unique brow tines. He was elusive during the pre-rut and disappeared for almost 6 weeks.  Most recent trail cams at Christmas revealed he was alive and back, moving among our food plots.

Cold temps and flooded low ground had deer on their feet on the warmest part of the day, when I had a close encounter with Captain Hook on New Year’s Eve. A doe below my stand didn’t like what she saw and blew the buck out of the area. Fast forward to this past Saturday night and the big 10 came in again only to wind me from several hundred yards. I’d apparently gotten sloppy on my ritual of scent control.

I went home and washed everything and stored it an ozone container…scrubbed my boots and even cut my hair short and scoured my body before the hunt. I went in as scent free as humanly possible.

An hour before sunset 33 deer came by including 6 nice bucks, one amazing 12-pointer in the mix but no shot.

The last deer to move through was Captain Hook, following a one horn buck in to the sugar beets. This was his one and only mistake this season, and it was my best day afield this year!

As you always say, “Hunt hard and stay after it. Success will come if diligent!”

Good luck to all in the coming year and God bless, Matt “Flatlander” Cheever

Way to stick with it Flatlander, congrats man!

New Jersey Bowhunter Revitalizes Farm, Shoots 6.5-Year-Old Buck

NJ jeff 2018 buck

In 2016, Jeff Herrmann, long-time friend of BIG DEER, bought a rundown farm in New Jersey and set about making it a dedicated hunting property. The land is 133 acres, 40 of those tillable.

Well into his third year of land management, Jeff has put in 10 acres of beautiful food plots. “What you see in the picture below are primarily brassicas,” he says. “Specifically, groundhog radish, purple top turnip and dwarf essex rape.

NJ jeffs farm plot

The work is paying off. In October, Jeff shot this great big-bodied 7-pointer with his bow. “I believe he was the oldest buck on the property when I bought the farm, at least 4.5 back then.”

Proof that with dedication and hard work, anybody can create and revitalize a personal hunting paradise in a relatively short time, and have the opportunity to hunt mature, heavy-bodied bucks.

Jeff is a largely one-man show who loves to do the land work himself, way to go friend!