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2021: Strange deer year to date: My observations

northcedar

Active Member
Trail cam activity very low for 3.5+ bucks over here in IL this year so far. I run them year round on fields and plots. Fortunately turkeys made a decent rebound at my place this year. I know that's been actively discussed here. I think my few hens had good reproduction and survival this year. I finally had my first shooter buck (150s) show up in the middle of the night on 9/26. I agree the deer are hot and laying low... haven't quite moved into their fall ranges yet. Our creek stopped running weeks ago and I'm praying EHD doesn't come around. Hard to believe it's nearly the 2nd week of Oct. 80s forecast this wknd!
 

Rous14

Active Member
I think fewer and fewer people put their deer in the record books therefore it doesn’t get the attention it used to.


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Have heard this suggestion before and there’s probably some truth to it. In some ways though I can’t help but think that it would be a fairly important metric to continue to track as deer managers and passionate deer hunters. I’ve often wondered to myself if something is affecting horn growth on the macro level like glyphosate (as an example) or some other unknown reason. We don’t really have a great way to measure it which means even if there was something going on in theory we really wouldn’t ever know.
 

Rous14

Active Member
I

I don’t disagree that less people are putting their deer in the books but most areas I frequent are just now getting back to a normal deer herd after the EHD pandemic in 2012 and subsequent years. Fewer numbers also correlates to fewer big scoring deer. And I think the big scoring deer are even rarer in lower populations because there are less bucks that get by and those genetically superior deer get harvested as they are the biggest deer in the herd and we lose a few extra years in the herd rebound for higher scoring deer to make there top end potential. If that makes sense to anyone else. Just my opinion but I’m a numbers/stats guy.
Have voiced basically this same exact opinion in many of campfire and deer camp conversations. Agree w you wholeheartedly. It’s one reason why I haven’t harvested a doe on my farm since that ehd breakout in 12. I hunt in IL and the herd numbers haven’t been this low since late 90s and the numbers of big deer being killed as a result are a fraction of what they were too.
 

Rous14

Active Member
I think there are many stud deer getting harvested that aren’t paraded on social media.


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Definitely. But that was true 10 years ago too and was certainly true before social media existed obviously. The question is as it relates to the BC entries being significantly down over the last call it ten years is how much of that is due to way high % of folks not reporting them vs there’s just way less booners. Probably a combo of both if I had to guess.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Definitely. But that was true 10 years ago too and was certainly true before social media existed obviously. The question is as it relates to the BC entries being significantly down over the last call it ten years is how much of that is due to way high % of folks not reporting them vs there’s just way less booners. Probably a combo of both if I had to guess.
I think in a way entering deer into record books has become taboo. Dunno why. Personally I never have and never will. To me it feels like self promotion which I loath personally.
 
Same with the exception of one buck on new Macon County farm (MO).
Last year couple years seemed like i had 2-3 shooters on camera by now and 5-6 mature bucks id smack later on in season. But as others have mentioned weather is coming and will see them show. Ive noticed activity pick up the last week or so. Ive only seen one really good acrape site in my travels thus farm.


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meyeri

PMA Member
My cams have been slow too. When it comes to the record books, notoriety in the hunting world usually means competition and people moving in on your turf. Of my pool of friends I know zero who enter their bucks.
 

Rous14

Active Member
My cams have been slow too. When it comes to the record books, notoriety in the hunting world usually means competition and people moving in on your turf. Of my pool of friends I know zero who enter their bucks.
I’m assuming they never have though right? I’ll never enter a buck in to the books if I’m ever fortunate enough to kill one either. I just wonder how many guys that used to do it have stopped. That’s really the question along with if a majority of hunters aren’t entering them anymore is it potentially a problem as far as measuring herd health, the effectiveness of habitat management, etc....
 

Rous14

Active Member
I think in a way entering deer into record books has become taboo. Dunno why. Personally I never have and never will. To me it feels like self promotion which I loath personally.
Agree with this entirely and am the same way.
Only issue I think about as I’ve stated in a couple of other posts now is that we don’t really have a good way of tracking age structure or antler size which in theory could be problematic.
 

sep0667

Land of the Whitetail
I think lack of pics/sighting is just due to the weather. Minus it being cool in the mornings and seeing fields picked and trees starting to change color it hasn't felt like fall yet. Its been warm. Today is Oct 6, Christmas is only a little over two months away and it basically still feels like summer. Its been 70' and 80's so far all of September and into October. Suppose to be 80's this weekends and looks warm into next week too so far. Its warm, they just are not moving yet.
 

203ntyp

PMA Member
I think it's more than likely they are feeding on mast crops in the cover right now and don't travel much. I've noticed this for many years during mid September and mid October. I haven't hunted yet due to that and warmer weather and don't plan on going out until after October 20th. No sense in getting them wise to you early season, patience pays off when you don't over hunt a spot and wait for the right time to make your move. The 1st sit in a stand is usually your best opportunity if you time it right. They are there somewhere!
 

deerman54

deerman54
This year is the best acorn crop we have had in over 10 years. We have a barn in a oak timber protected by many cameras. The yard of this barn is filled with deer day and night eating acorns. Our clover and brassica plot cameras have very few pictures. Unless your cameras are in a timber I can see why your numbers seem to be down. We also buried a plastic barrel which we keep filled with water in the timber to keep the deer away from the non flowing creek hopefully protecting from EHD. We have a camera on this buried barrel and it has thousands of pics every time we check it.
 

Wi transplant

PMA Member
I feel the acorn mast crop is underestimated this yr . Wait till the 3rd week oct the cameras will start popin!

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Bassattackr

Active Member
Mast crop isn’t as big here (In MO) as it has been in previous years. We had a pretty stout late season frost that killed a lot of the buds, and with it a lot of acorns. FWIW - I have much more food this year in my plots than previous years but my camera pics haven’t been any different, worse actually..

Super slow year for me camera wise, slowest I’ve ever had in terms of mature deer by now. I have one 3.5 year old, that’s it. The rest yearlings and 2 year olds. And we had a LOT of good 2 year olds last year. Some disperse obviously, but of the 5-6 2 year olds, have only seen one. One photo at midnight in July, that’s it. Crazy..

Most bucks start showing up in early September, but not this year.
 

hesseu

Active Member
I know I'm 4-5 hours south of y'all, but it seems like weather wise October now has September weather from 5-7+ years ago. I think it's just cyclical, but from the looks of it our whole October could be short sleeve weather every afternoon. September has now also become the driest month of the year in terms of rain. If your weather is anything like ours down here, I wonder if that has something to do with it. But....November is coming :)
 

OMB

New Member
Cameras on normal food sources for this time of year have turned up below average results at our place in NE IA, but I'm chalking it up to the acorn crop and not worrying. I left to head into the office for a few hours the other day around 11AM in the suburb that I live and stopped and counted 11 does and fawns pounding acorns under a white oak tree in a neighbors yard.

Spending this weekend getting everything in its correct duffel bag with the intent of grouse hunting the next few weekends up north and being in the tree around Halloween. Definitely not anticipating seeing the early cold fronts that we had last year at this point.
 
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