Contributors to this thread:
Western Hunting Ruining Your Whitetail?
How many of you guys feel this way? Since I have started hunting mule deer and elk more and more, whitetail hunting just isn't as interesting for me. Don't get me wrong, I still plan to sit in the treestand but it just doesn't get my blood going like it used to. I know in a few weeks I'll be siting in my treestand dreaming of bugling bulls and stalking open country bucks rather than focusing on my deer hunt. It already has me thinking of ways to do more western style hunts and not hunting whitetails at all anymore. Anyone else in the same boat?
I agree, I have cut back on my whitetail hunting considerably. I still make at least one trip to the Midwest yearly however I have all but quit whitetail hunting at home. I can get better hunting in a week or ten days in the Midwest then I could in two months home so that's a factor also. That said I would rather be on my feet chasing other game with a bow.
I still enjoy whitetails during the rut....but admittedly not quite as much any more. The treestand is a good place for your body to physically recover from mountain wear and tear!
Sorta. When I first started western hunting it was all I could think about except for the month of November. I'm calmed down on it a little now though. I still greatly look forward to November and December whitetails, and I look forward to western stuff as well.
In fact, I've been a little depressed. Just came back from my second western trip of the year, and I won't be going back until 2019. I'm having a hard time with that. It's true I have a big overseas hunt scheduled for 2018, but there's just not enough time or money to do all the hunts I want :)
Im the opposite. I grew up in the west hunting elk and mule deer, now I'm hooked on whitetail
I think about elk all the time. I don't get as jacked for deer season as I did because of my western hunting but I still like to shoot deer just as much as I used to....and to be honest with you, I think it will actual help my hunting as I am not so gung ho about jumping into my best stands and burning them up before the time is right.
Being from Colorado and bow hunting elk for the past 26 year, hiking, hiking, hiking up and down the mountains looking for elk does wear and tear the body down and I can not wait to JUST set in one or two places, tree stand or on the ground and hunt white tail deer. ZEN meditation for sure and good for the body, mind and soul. PS, and freezer if you get one. my best, Paul
I'm kinda like Bake regarding this (except the whole overseas hunt in 2018 thing, unfortunately). After my first western hunt, all I could think about were elk and the mountains. I felt ruined for whitetail hunting- when in a whitetail stand all I had on my mind was elk hunting. However, I've come full circle on this and I really love my time in the stand hunting whitetails. It's kind of feels like my roots and where it all started for me, and it feels really good to do. That being said, I think about elk hunting every single day of the year...
I really enjoyed sitting in a treestand in eastern Colorado hunting whitetails. But moving to the Northwest Corner, it is an 8-hour drive to hunt, and we have fabulous hunting literally 5-minutes from home for Mule Deer. I do miss the whole experience of the river bottoms and style of hunting.
After a total bust of an elk hunting trip, I can't wait for the whitetail rut here in WI. Deer hunting never gets old.
I agree Brotsky. Even during deer season elk hunting occupies most of my brain.
Growing up hunting whitetails was an "adventure". After a few years of being in AK the appeal of deer hunting in a tree stand has been lost. I think I could get into spot and stalk whitetails with primitive weapons, but hunting animals in the mountains and tundra changed my general outlook.
I like both but western hunting spoils a guy with all the public land. I love not having to worry about trespassing and love the wide open spaces and the critters that live there.
God bless Teddy Roosevelt.
Western hunting along with access problems ruined whitetail hunting for me. I used to have some great farms to hunt but they were lost to leasing or being purchased by someone else for their own recreation. It's just the way it is these days.
I've thought about buying or leasing and I may still if the right deal comes along but I've decided I'd rather do western hunts and other adventures like Alaska or a different country. I work for some people who have fantastic farms purchased just for hunting and usually get an invite to hunt a few days. Killing a big buck there wouldn't mean as much to me since there's not much effort on my part other than climbing the stand and shooting the animal. But I sure do love and appreciate the time I get to spend on those farms just watching the rut and maybe thinning out a couple does for them.
Born and raised here in Elk country, and I can honestly say that my body is beginning to tell me that a LOT of Whitetails and tree stands are in my future...
I enjoy taking a short walk to the back of the wife's family farm in Michigan and sitting in the woods waiting for sketchy whitetails. I like eating them more than mule deer. I'm a meat hunter. I'll shoot the first fat doe that offers me a shot, in October. I will not wait until November and pass on bucks all month waiting for the monster. I don't care what I'm sending an arrow at I am almost equally excited. I enjoy all hunting pretty much the same, deer, elk, turkey, rabbits.
I went with JHA last year and that took away some of my fire for whitetails.
I went CO elk OTC - DIY this year and that cured me...can't wait for the whitetail rut to start!
It is all fun, different conditions of hunting.
I still enjoy local whitetail hunting enough that I won't schedule any out of state hunts during the month of November. I'll make an exception for a DBH hunt ;-)
What I find most striking though, is the near total lack of interest in western hunts by most of my fellow home-state whitetail hunters. So many guys know not what they're missing!
I've got 75 days (minimum) of whitie hunting ahead this season. Nothing gets me going like Whitetails.
I read all these responses and all I can think is "Isn't America great?" We have so many choices as bowhunters that we can all choose to pursue what makes us happy! Truly a first world problem! :)
I love wide open spaces, long walks and adventure. Walking out to my tree stand in the morning doesn't offer me much of either anymore. I will say that my favorite part of whitetail hunting is getting to hunt with my dad, my daughter, and my better half. Spending the time in between sits and in the evenings surrounded by your family talking about the things you love is pretty tough to beat. I do think also that over the years I have relegated myself to our inferior stands now for so long to give them all opportunities that maybe I've burned myself out on it sitting long hours and seeing less game.
I have the same feelings after my every other year elk hunts. Part of the problem is how whitetail hunting has been redefined. We should say whitetail "sitting". Whether in a tree stand or blind. It's just what is now accepted as hunting. If we get back on the ground with them, don't use anything artificial to attract them and then try to stalk close enough for a shot, the thrill should come back. We put in the work finding the right tree, planting plots, checking cameras, etc. Then on the day of the shot, we are just sitting. The work for the shot at an elk I think helps to make it feel more rewarding and exciting. More like hunting.
Nothing in my world of hunting compares to elk hunting BUT, what I love most about elk hunting is not so much the elk themselves as I do LOVE them but the wide open spaces and beauty in which they live for a city feller use to hunting on a 100 acers or less the seemingly endless grandure of the mointains literally takes your breath away.
I grew up in MN and lived for whitetail hunting.....until I moved to Colorado. Now it feels pretty ho-hum. It's still fun though. I do look forward to my one trip per year where I just have to sit in a treestand and relax, that's a welcome break after hiking up and down hills for two months.
I'm ruined. I still like whitetail hunting, but it pales in comparison to elk hunting.
Growing up in the midwest it was all whitetails. Once I started western hunting I wished I had started a lot earlier in my life. Now, since I still live in the midwest I still sit in treestands in the fall and dream about my next western hunting adventure more than about whitetails.
Count me in. I'm an elk-o-holic. All I can think about is the three weeks that I chased elk last month. This evening I'll sit a stand on my farm for whitetails. But I haven't given it much thought yet.
It really appeals to me to grab my gear and go for a hike. So, yeah, effectively, maybe hunting out west some has tainted the whitetail game for me. Treestand hunting just strikes me as such a production, now. Very bad for my bowhunting.
I've been hunting "Out West" for about 7 years now. Been hunting Whitetails here in WI for about 40 years.
I have more action in my 9 day hunt out West than I normally do in an entire season here. More bucks seen (Mulies & WT), so much more land, so many fewer hunters. I still hunt WI Rifle Season, but it's more tradition, and the group I hunt with than having a high quality hunt.
So, yeah, Western hunting beats Wisconsin hunting my a Mile.
Yes times 1000.
No comparison. I live the mountains!
Yep, ruined me to. I cant stand the thought of sitting in a tree hoping a deer walks by when I just got back from roaming all over thousands of acres in search of elk and mule deer. Whitetail hunting is all luck around here, does he walk by your tree when you are there or not, if he doesn't you cant kill him. I'd gladly trade my PA Novembers for another western September!
Its getting pretty hard for me to hump the mountains anymore, especially with a pack on my back. Whitetails and Antelope blinds are starting to look pretty good to me.
I grew up hunting elk and Mule deer. Love hunting them. I've never hunted whitetail out of a treestand. I hunted whitetail once and killed a nice buck on the ground at 17 yards.
I will say that coues deer hunting is awesome! That's an addicting hunt! But it's spot and stalk too so like my normal hunting for mulies and elk
When I lived in Missouri I had tons of property I could hunt from 15 minutes away to 1 hour 30 minutes away. I would at least get out 3 times a week to hunt from Sept-Jan. I moved to Colorado 6 years ago and I have only been back once to whitetail hunt. The only thing I do miss is being able to hunt such a long season.
That is me for sure Just told my wife last night after the year I have had I may not even go and just focus on my other hunts
Having lived and hunted in Alaska for 40 years I no longer climb mountains or slog through miles of wilderness that is only accessible by boat or plane although now it is a fond memory. Sitting in an easy chair up a tree waiting for the deer parade in Wisconsin suits me just fine now. And if I get one I just haul him to the truck with the ATV.
Yup, I'm hooked on hunting the mountains! I only gave local hunting a halfhearted try last year. That said, I still love going out of state to try for the big whitetail bucks.
Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. I use to live in the whitetail woods until my first trip out west. Still like whitetails, just not as much
I look forward to my annual whitetail hunt as much as any mule deer or elk hunt I do. Having hunted elk and muleys for almost 50 years, I just don't get as excited as I used to. There is something about hunting big Whitetail bucks in the rut that is addicting to me. Brotsky, my favorite state to hunt Whiteys is in your backyard too!
Nothing I would rather hunt than whitetails here in MO and IA. I'm actually in a stand right now waiting on a giant. I hope anyway.
I've hunted almost every big game animal in North America and they are still my favorite.
Here is a photo of the one my boy took three nights ago on our farm. Maybe I enjoy watching him hunt more than hunting myself.
I have contemplated this thought many times over the last 10 or so years. Whitetail hunting from a tree or the ground in my home state of Michigan is something I cherish. Unfortunately I have never been financially able to buy hunting land and have no family who owns any. Still , by hunting state land and a small piece of private land near my home , I have had a bunch of great hunts and also been able to feed my family the best meat money can't buy for my whole adult life. Some time ago I had a life changing experience! Long story short, I became friends with a couple of guys from southeast Arizona and they introduced me to a whole new realm. The first time I was out to hunt with them we drove waaaay out to a remote place , put our packs on and hiked in the dark out across the desert to a pretty substantial hill. We were on top by the time it was gray morning light and they said "find some deer". After about 30 minutes of glassing Jim said " got a group with 3 bucks ". He told me where to look and there they were , about a mile away! after slithering our way along with the herd for another mile ,as they fed and milled their way to their beds ,they all found spots in the shade to spend the day . Jim and I spread out and with our glass, kept eyes on the bucks. Or should I say a bucks ear and two tines of a rack .we sat in that blazing desert sun downwind of a spread out herd of 20 or so mulies for probly 3 hours , when a doe stood up and walked quartering toward me. Hot on her tail came a 3 point. They got to about 50 yds then made a hard right which brought them across in front of me at about 20 yds. All I had for cover was a little mesquite bush with no leaves and an ant hill!! Somehow I got drawn and settled and cut er loose!! Had a hard time pulling those cams over sitting on my butt with my legs crossed but I got it , and I got that 3 point!! I had never really HUNTED deer till that day, I had ambushed them. The learning and experiences that have occurred in the years that followed, while hunting giant country in the West are things I never would have been able to comprehend had it not been for my friends , Jim and Creed ! As bowhunters y'all need to try it!! That public land is OUR land !! It's not that it's better than sitting in a tree stand or ground blind , hunting eastern deer , it's different! And it's a blast!!! I have gone west to hunt every year since and it's made me a better hunter and much more appreciative of being a hunter!
I feel exactly the same way.
I am with MQQSE, I would rather hunt big whitetails more then anything else. Big is relative to where ya hunt. Nothing like matching your wits with an old mature whitetail. Shawn
We hunt Whitetails a little differently. Big country, back pack style, wilderness areas where we sneak around and, move a bunch. Always have. Before ever hunting out west, I much preferred that over the typical stand hunting scenario. I do set treestands from time to time but, it is nothing more than going through the motions. While there, I am thinking of our November deer hunts, elk hunting, and spring gobblers. Which is also done in big country where you can literally walk until you drop.
Setting waiting for hours in end in a treestand is simply something I do just to hunt; between the wilderness deer, turkey, and western hunts where a gy can be proactive and ACTIVE. So dearly do I love this kind of hunting. If I were forced to always set stand whitetail hunting, I'd probably quit doing it. God Bless
The perfect storm kilt my whitey chasing in MO ...2012 EHD, corn prices spiked, CRP disappeared, CWD showed up, brown its down crew leased neighbors farm.....so ya the west is where I focus my efforts now.
I'm opposite......grew up bowhunting western critters. My one and only whitey hunt was far less strenuous.......I actually relaxed a bit and enjoyed the deer stand. I look forward to another shot at that.
Western hunting has cut into my Whitetail bow hunting. My home state season starts 1st Sat in October and I usually only have 3 or 4 days to hunt before I head west for Mulies and elk. Wish I had more time to hunt at home.
I'm with Paul. I run and gun so hard all Sept that I just can't wait to hunt whitetails from a tree. So relaxing. Just climb, sit and repeat. It's a great way to end the season for me and I really look forward to it. Nothing beats elk but man by the time late Oct hits, I'm ready to just hang...literally.
I should also mention.....nothing ruins me worse then a big buck coming my way when I'm in a tree. I can come unraveled in an instant. Something about that.
Not me! I don't get to excited about the muledeer for the most part, I look forward to September and elk then whitetail get the nod October through December. Living in Denver metro, it's over twice as far to my area I hunt deer than where I like to hunt elk.
I'm another western guy who travels back east to white tail hunt. This year will be my 4th year hunting midwest white tails and Coues deer. I wouldn't really classify Coues as "white tail hunting" as people think of it, as it really is a western-style hunt, but I'm addicted to both and look forward to my week in November/January hunting each.
The thing I enjoy about white tail hunting is all the animals you see. Hunting other species, you may go days without seeing your target animal. I've never hunted white tails where I didn't at least see a couple in a day and usually see several. Killing a mature animal may be a challenge, but it really is a target-rich environment if you're out for meat or wanting to see your prey.
My first archery elk hunt was ruined the minute a bull was screaming at under 100 yds. Deer became ho hum. Something to pass the time. Until elk hunting. After elk hunting I was done. Now Physical issues have put off elk bow hunting. I have a brother that's 72 that has had cancer for 15 years. It's managed but just had a leg amputated from infection after surgery. I decided four years ago I would not bowhunting for elk but would rifle hunt Mule Deer on the ranch we hunt in Oregon. Have to choose one hunt. I don't know how many years we will be able to hunt together. I will sacrifice elk to enjoy my remaining time with my brother. My dad died when I was 12 so my brother picked up taking me hunting and fishing after that. I owe a great deal to him.
I love both still. Then again elk hunting changed the way I hunt whitetails. I have absolutely zero aspirations to be a landowner with food plots, naming deer and the whole 9 yards. To each their own but I was not cut from that cloth. Big woods mountain whitetails specifically get me going though...
As obsessed as I am with elk, the logistics and physicality are completely exhausting. Not to mention the time away from family and expense. I gotta admit I feel a lot of pressure on myself to kill an elk for some reason. Dropping damn near a grand on a tag probably. Elk are a full blown addiction for me. I took a year off this year and honestly didn't miss it as much as I thought I would.
Whities, I have over a million acres of public land within a decent drive and the fact that I can leave work a bit early and spend an evening in the fall woods watching the leaves change and smelling that glorious fall smell, I hope will never be lost on me. Someone else said, it's just totally zen and I couldn't agree more.
Then the whitetail rut...it is such a remarkable build up of anticipation knowing any second the buck of a lifetime could trot into your life chasing a doe with that dumb lovey eyed look they get...
All year long I live for hunting out west these days. However there is no place I would rather be in November then in the Midwest chasing whitetails.
Mopeds are cool until you ride a motorcycle.
Honestly, I do enjoy hunting whitetails, but they generally don't incorporate as many aspects of "the hunt" for me, so I don't enjoy them as much as spotting and stalking.
Love relaxing in a stand hunting whitetails after chasing elk for weeks, can't wait to do so!
This thread and all the comments about the difference between out West and Whitetail hunting makes me think of some of the whitetail TV guys and their comments... "Man, we've worked so hard for this buck".
Lol, really?! (Roll eyes)
"Mopeds are cool, until you ride a motorcycle"
That says it all right there. I enjoy putting around on my moped here in PA but head west to ride the Harley at every opportunity. No comparison.
Yes except when I have an Iowa tag like this year.
Someone made this comment on here years ago and I like it. It happened when someone that had never hunted elk said it sounded like elk hunting was a lot like turkey hunting. Someone came back that turkey hunting was still fun after you shot the turkey.
I have had plenty of offers to come back east to hunt A Whitetail buck as I do not have one in my TR, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky and Mo, but that month of November I am almost always, year in--year out in some Sheep camp helping someone out that has drawn a tag, my home state unit (s) BARETOP or Sheep Creek ~~ Rocky Ram or in December down on the Vermillion Cliffs unit in Az. helping on a Desert Ram tag friend.
Plus sitting in a tree for hours and hours would KILL me!! haha
Good luck, Robb
I never met an animal that I didn't want to hunt. It's all good for me.
After hunting Caribou, every whitetail, no matter how big, looks dinky.
X3 Paul. I equate the hunting season to the rut. Just like Brotsky says we have so many options and types of hunting available. Start out with elk and mule deer running and gunning like crazy and up and down. Then that is finished and we can recuperate in a tree stand and get our deep thinking and priorities straight in the tree stand.
Since I started elk hunting deer give me very little enthusiasm. Last year when I returned from my elk hunt I think it was 2 weeks before I even unpacked my bow. Probably 5 weeks before I hunted with it. This Saturday will be the 3rd Saturday of our PA archery season and I have very little desire to go sit in a tree for hours on end hoping something walks under me. I guess that is why I like elk hunting. It is way more interactive with the animals and the woods. Probably will spend this weekend with the kids on a jr pheasant hunt.
4X Paul It may be an age thing,but I reallie,reallie look forward to the November rut in Wisconsin.That said I feel the same about open country mule deer when its time to do it.
I was getting that way, but this summer / fall was waaaaaaaaaaay too busy for me and I haven't sat a deer stand yet. Usually I've passed on a decent whitetail before the end of August. Was so busy any minute I had for hunting was spent preparing for moose. I'm now in a situation where I am really yearning to get in a stand and hear that crisp crunch of leaves...
Early season I hunt farmland but come November i"m in Northern WI hunting the big woods county and paper lands. The options are endless and w/ the wolves chasing them around a more wary animal I can't imagine.
For me it's simple. I'm totally hooked on whatever I happen to be hunting at that time; turkeys in spring, elk and deer in September, whitetail in October and November, coyotes in late winter. I love it all and can't imagine losing that feeling anytime soon.
I'm a Oklahoman now living in the west. Primary urge for me to move was hunting and recreation. That said, I still go back to OK or KS an hunt whitetails every November. Right now, I'm really looking forward to that hunt!
If I rode a 4 wheeler to my food plot and got into a box blind to hunt then I would probably feel the same way. My annual three whitetail hunt is typically more rigorous than the 4 elk hunts that I have been on to date. That includes a backpack elk hunt in Montana. I have no desire to shoot a rag horn bull or invest the time and money that it takes do it to satisfy my quest for an adventure. Now if I draw a premium elk unit then that is another story.
Hunting out west has definitely changed me. I still get fired up to hunt whitetail here at home but I love hunting anything I can and I love to go and experience new species in new places. My goal is to try to hunt a new species each year and hunt big whitetail somewhere each year. The biggest change that I have seen in my personal hunting here at home is after hunting some areas in the Midwest and Alberta where a 120" buck is small, I seem to not get stressed out about getting on a "big" deer here in NJ and now just focus on an older buck and take some does.
As some above me said, it didn't ruin whitetails for me; but I appreciate it for a different kind of hunt. I'm absolutely hooked on elk now and love getting close to a bull bugling, but I still get pretty excited when I hear a buck chasing a doe in Wisconsin heading my way as well. Same feeling when my golden gets birdie and I hear that sweet cackle of a rooster as he hits the air before I let him have it.
I grew up and hunted in Wisconsin for most of my life, I hunted on family land in Buffalo county and shot some nice whitetails. But after my first trip to Colorado archery elk hunting, I was ruined on whitetail, whitetail became a filler hunt between elk seasons. So when my wife asked if I would consider moving west, I jumped on that chance right away, So a few years ago, we moved to Montana and have not hunted whitetail since, between elk, mule deer, antelope and bears, I don't have time to chase whitetails. Now saying that, I did see a decent whitetail buck last week elk hunting, and no, I didn't chase it, as I don't want to use my deer tag on a whitetail.
I grew up in CO, and though I had my first successes as a deer hunter up in MN, CO has always been Where It’s At for me.
CT Whitetails... hardest part is getting onto property where there ARE some. My very limited experience on public land here has been so bad that it’s more than I can do to get myself pumped up to take on the Mission. Getting more enjoyment these days from coaching my boys’ hockey team (though I think I am using the word “coaching” a bit loosely!). Doing the best I can with it.
But honestly, I’d rather hunt Elk six days and get to full draw once on a cow than hunt deer for 6 months and kill a couple of “book” bucks by sitting up a tree somewhere....
I like EATING whitetails well enough, but hunting them here doesn’t begin to compare...
So after reading all these, the majority thinks whiteys are boring and pretty much Shxxhouse luck....and after all these years I figured out it for the most part really is. We dress it up with all the wizmos/gizmos and drama to make it a "hunt". Now for me to make it interesting/challenging I go simple. Watch movements and go at it from the ground with natural cover, mixing things up kinda makes it interesting.
I grew up whitetail hunting. I grew into western hunting and fell in love with the mountains. I have 3 of the 4 NA sheep. There is a big whitetail buck I am currently hunting on my place. My BIL asked me, if I could only get one - a Rocky to complete the slam or that buck - which would it be?
I honestly couldn't answer him.
I love both.
My western MO hunting has not ruined me for my eastern KS hunting. I enjoy both the same:)
Brotsky...I will keep my answer simple: YES
I think my personality is just more suited to elk hunting than deer as I like to move and put the sneak on critters rather than watching them skirt me out of bow range, or left wondering if I should have sat my other stand.
I never thought I would see the day come.... but....... If I am completely honest then yes, I would have to admit whitetails don't hold the same power over me that they used to. If I had to pick between filling my buck tag or my bull tag every year, then the decision would be an easy one in favor of elk. Not quite there with antelope, but I enjoy hunting them as well.
That all said, I still absolutely love sitting in a tree waiting for an unsuspecting whitetail to come into range. Whitetails are my roots and I will always love to hunt them. Every rack is unique and no matter what anyone says I still strongly believe that a mature whitetail buck is one of the hardest trophies to kill. Obviously a lot of guys do as there are way more of them and way more people hunting for them, but I think a mature bull is much dumber and easier to put an arrow into than a mature whitetail buck. Elk are big, loud, and stinky, where as whitetails are small, cagey, and sneaky.
No, but I don't hunt whitetails from a treestand often either.
Killing a big whitetail in open country stalking from the ground takes a hunter with great skill. Not very many people can accomplish it.
I hunt elk like you fellas hunt whitetail! ground blinds and tree stands. But we do only use 1 tree stand and its not often, its in the foothills of the cascades on farm land ,its the best way for the situation and it works MikeC
I got hooked on going out West as soon as the first hair on the back of my neck stood up on the initial bugle that I was able to hear with my own ears. I look forward to the cool September mornings in the mountains almost as much as the frosty ones back here in Illinois. If anything though, I'd say Western hunting has made me really appreciate the whitetail hunting even more. Catching up with a truly mature 5.5 years old or older buck is very challenging, but physically and logistically it is so much easier than killing an elk or mule deer in the back country. It's so nice to be able to get a four-wheeler within a few yards of a downed animal and the fact I can hunt mornings and afternoons and not have much of a work impact is a major plus too. I plan to hunt out West as long as my legs will carry me, but it hasn't taken away from my whitetail hunting one bit.
They are each hard in ways different from the other.
Where I hunt WTs, a 150+ is a helluva lot harder to come by than a record book ram, moose, elk, pronghorn, mountain goat, or bear (black or grizzly).
Is the hunting less physical? Sure.