I'd still guess it'd be Pronghorn based on what I've heard (I've never hunted them).
But I think people over state how difficult it is to kill a book WT (in the midwest). While I've nearly missed the score and don't have one, I have killed a 3 year old 6 point on public land that would have gone book if he was an 8 or 10, have seen more book animals per hunting day, by far, of any animal I've hunted, and have killed more animals per hunting day (white tail) than anything I've hunted.
I've only hunted WT the past 4 years. Three of those were on public land. In 17 days of hunting public land DIY, I've seen 6 book WT (different animals, some of them on multiple days), shot one (unrecovered), tagged a 3 year old that would have gone book as an 8, and tagged 9 total deer.
Every other animal Ive hunted I haven't even come close to those kinds of numbers.
I'd say that there are a lot of animals that would be easy to get a book animal if you only had a good tag or any tag for that matter. Give anyone a Kaiporowitz DBHS tag or a San Juan elk tag and getting a book animal should not be that difficult.
But if we're talking DIY, public land, on an OTC or leftover tag with a bow, that anyone in North America can purchase and hunt, then I'm putting midwest WT up there.
Killing a P&Y whitetail in the midwest is not that big of a deal. That being said....the vast and I mean vast majority of whitetail hunters hunt east of there. It is a much more difficult task. Ask a guy in PA how hard it is to kill a P&Y deer on public land and you get a much different answer than the guy hunting public in Iowa.
I don't think it gets much more difficult than a DIY PL PY whitetail over about 2/3 of their range.
And I knew there's be some dissenters, which is why I posted my stats. Maybe I've been lucky with my encounters, but many 3 year old WT bucks will make the book and there's seemed to be plenty of them running around in the rut and all it takes is being in the right tree.
As far as Kodiak Blacktails, that completely depends on the year and where you're at. The winter of 2016-2017 had large die offs that were localized. If you got dropped in a place with a lot of deer, I can imagine that it's not that tough. Where I got dropped, there was one book deer within 2 miles of camp as the crow flies and the bucks we hunted were 3-4 miles from camp and I saw 12 or 13 bucks total in 10 days of hunting with about 1/2-2/3 of them being book size. If they were closer, I'd imagine it's a pretty easy hunt, but most hunters are not going to be walking as far as we were, doing 18 hour days.
As far as elk go, with a LE tag, I'm sure it's not an issue, but on an OTC/general/leftover tag, yeah, you can "see" book elk, but off the ground, getting an arrow into one can be quite a challenge. If I hunted WT off the ground, I'm sure my success rate would go down as well. And IMO, it's easier to find a good spot for a stand in WT country than it is in elk country specifically because WT have a home range and elk move around, so if you're in a tree, there's a possibility that there isn't a book elk within 3 miles of you.
I've hunted Midwest whitetails a lot longer than I've hunted elk but my percentage of P&Y qualifier elk is higher than my percentage of P&Y qualifier whitetails and all of my P&Y qualifier elk have been shot in easy draw or OTC areas.
And FWIW, when you're talking Midwest whitetails, there's the Midwest and then there's Iowa, which is a totally different world of it's own. I don't think you can compare the odds (or ease) of killing a P&Y in Iowa with the odds of killing a P&Y in the rest of the Midwest...
I would agree with the antelope being one of the easier ones. I also agree with the Cheesehead Mike in that in my experience P&Y elk is not that difficult. But like with whitetails a lot of it comes down to location.
That's the best answer on here. No one does. It's mostly about individual perception, bias, and habitat.
Going through my bow stats.; I'm 1 for 3 MD, 3 for 13 Elk, 6 for 6 pronghorn, 2 for 6 WT, 1 for 1 BHS, 0 for 1 cougar, 0 for 1 BB, 1 for 1 RMG, 1 for 2 Sitka BT, 1 for 1 Shiras' M. There are a few others but they were guided, as was the cougar.
It might be easy to conclude that any of the 1 for 1 were easy, or, that 6 for 6 pronghorn MUST be easy. But a lot of other factors come into play. My wife is 3 for 6 on pronghorn, hunting the same area. She's not as picky and I've passed on many that wouldn't make book. She's also 1 for 1 on RMG. Does that make it the easiest because it's the only one we're both 100% on? Maybe it has more to do with how much effort we put into certain hunts or how selective we are. For instance, I didn't get my first P&Y elk 'til #9 bow kill. I had already killed 8 bulls in 8 seasons (none record book) with a rifle before switching to bow, so it wasn't so much a learning curve. (I've also killed one with a ML and one with a revolver.) Since I planned on hunting them nearly every year, I thought it would eventually just happen. It didn't until I got picky. 3 of my last 5 made book, and one more of them came really close (252 7/8 by an official measurer). Maybe it's MD. I rarely specifically hunt MD. The one I killed that scored 169 5/8 was killed in it's bed at 30 yards while primarily still hunting elk. (Concurrent seasons are nice). What could be easier?
I admit my bias on whitetails. On a sliding scale I'm much closer to the end that represents 'just climb a tree and wait - they're nearly everywhere', than to the other end, that thinks they are one of the most, if not the most, difficult big game animal. Given a reasonable amount of hunting time, which is more typical of how many hunters hunt them - close to home with liberal seasons, it has more to do with the size of the deer in the area you hunt, than hunting skill. But that's one possible reason some consider them difficult. It would be about as hard to kill a P&Y WT in Alaska as it would a P&Y pronghorn there.
Antelope: 3-5 days Mule deer or whitetail : 5-10 days Elk: 10-20 days
I bet a 260" is even easier eh?
Honestly, I think there is a pretty big misconception among many whitetail hunters regarding what a "book" animal really looks like. Just because a whitetail lives to be 3-1/2 years old or more and sports an 8pt-10pt rack, does not mean it will be a "book" animal. Not one of theses photos represents a P&Y qualifier. I'm betting alot of whitetail hunters would drop the string on bucks of this caliber...especially on a DIY, public land hunt. If you really want a P&Y whitetail...you have to pass these deer.
those are all special deer and exceptional photos.
A P&Y whitetail on public ground is not an easy task...likely one of the hardest.
I know a heap of older guys that have been bowhunting whitetails on public land their entire life, with some "nice" bucks to their name and very few make the P&Y minimum.
I do sympathize with guys that hunt in some locations. My first hunt in Connecticut on my brother-in-law's, and his neighbor's, properties (there's not a lot of public in CT) did not produce even a sighting of a P&Y buck. But in a week of hunting, I did kill the biggest buck I saw. On the last morning, I killed a respectable buck that scored about 121. Area hunters I ran into said that was a pretty good deer for the area. I did see quite a few deer though. But honestly, if that were the ONLY type of hunting I did, I would get bored pretty quickly. I'd either move to somewhere that had good hunting, or just give it up and play golf.
I have three whitetails on the wall that net P&Y. Two of those are entered in the book. One was killed with an 80% let-off when P&Y was still at 65%....so I never entered him. IMO, most people overestimate score without giving much thought to deductions. The buck you saw on my photo page has 150" of gross antler....but nets just south of 135". Deductions are tough on whitetail scoring. I would guess there are not many P&Y qualifiers in the book that gross less than 130".
I'd love to see that buck measured. I'll send you the check to the P&Y Club for the entry fee if you'll get him measured and you can have him entered whether he makes it or not, if you're interested in doing it.
I'd be very surprised if that 3rd buck is under 125. Unless you are a master at making bucks look bigger in photos. Those are all great bucks either way.
I've killed quite a few antelope as well, only a few of them have been book animals and I've had serious bad luck with my antelope spots so on paper they seem easy, not for me.
Beams - 40-2/8 (20-0/8, 20-2/8); Spread - 15-0/8; Tine Length: 39-4/8 ; Mass- 30-1/8 Longest tine is 7-2/8. The 3" G1s don't help.
Total gross just 1/8" shy of 125" .....but more than 3" in deductions will net him >122". For a clean 10pt, I would really have to mess up to be more than 3" off the tape.
I agree the photo makes him appear bigger than reality....but not sure why? My Dad snapped a couple quick shots with a pocket camera before I went to work with the knife. To be honest, I thought he was well into the 130's when I decided to shoot him.
One of the prettiest bucks I ever shot was a 2 year old 10 pointer - I saw him chasing a doe and thought he was a giant - killed him and when I walked up on him I couldn't believe how small he was body wise. Weighed 192 on the hoof and netted 145" with only 4" of deductions! He is a beautiful buck - almost a mirror image side to side - I sent his teeth to a lab as it was hard to believe he was only 2.5 but he was! Shot a 9 pt. buck 2 years ago with a crappy looking rack but huge body - he field dressed more than the 2 year old weighed live! He scored a whopping 115"! Sent his teeth in - he was 7.5 years old on IL public land! Which one was the better trophy (at least in my eyes)?
As to the original question - I've shot 3 bull elk on 4 hunts on public that make P&Y and 3 antelope on 2 hunts (they were on private). Elk were the easiest, antelope the most tedious! Dang hot in a blind in August.
That's just an opinion. Symmetry is a normal and valuable trait in almost all forms of life. But it's also true that oddities are also interesting and valued. P&Y does a good job of categorizing and honoring both, even if some fall somewhere in between. The bottom line - if you WANT to shoot a P&Y/B&C qualifier, you best know what to look for ahead of time. AND actually look before you shoot. If killing a P&Y/B&C animal is the only thing that will satisfy you and make you happy, maybe you're hunting for the wrong reason to begin with. On many hunts, I try for a mature animal that will qualify for P&Y. But I also sometimes just want meat in the freezer. In either case, there is much more to the hunt than just killing.
One of the reasons I became a Measurer for P&Y and B&C was to prepare me for field judging the different species I was able to hunt. I’ve shot a fair amount of animals that came up short for various reasons. It takes quite a rack to net P&Y typical or non-typical.
Agree....third from the bottom.
TO me it isn't whitetails that's the hardest. I've done that. What I can say is that Mule Deer can't be one of them as I've had true monsters at less then 10 yards with no tag. :^(
It's obvious that the majority of people don't agree with me on this and I knew that would be the case, but some guys are insinuating that I'm saying that WTs are the easiest animal to get a P&Y quality animal - but I didn't say that.
If you scroll up, what I said was this: "But I think people over state how difficult it is to kill a book WT (in the midwest)." Scroll up and reread what I said. That's the only claim I made in regards to putting a WT in the book.
And that is a fact. I've missed very few threads on Bowsite over the past 6-8 years and if I had a nickle for every time I've read "A mature white tail is the most difficult animal in NA to get an arrow into," or "A mature white tail is one of the most difficult animals to get an arrow into," then I could buy a Kansas farm.
Difficult? Yes. Top 3? Top 5? I guess it depends on how you define difficult.
There are 30 million WT in North America (they are the most populous of all the NA29). Most of their habitat is within a mile of a road. In fact, most of their habitat is within 1/2 mile of a road. With a few dozen trail cameras, plenty of time off of work to sit stands, and a basic knowledge of the wind, sign, pinches/travel, and how to get into a stand without walking where they walk, anyone can put themselves in a position in the midwest to kill a 125 inch WT and I'm sure of this because I've seen the deer with my own eyes and killed more white tail than any other specie even though I'm a western hunter.
If I can go to Nebraska as a novice white tail hunter and kill 4 deer in 6 days on public land with one of them being a 3 year old buck, I'm sorry, that's just the easiest hunting I've ever done, so forgive my disrespect or my being incredulous.
And a few have noted that a borderline WT is tough to judge on the hoof. Sure, so are any other animals in a hunting situation. But I know how to field judge a WT, whether it be in the field or in a picture. Even if pav's measurment of 122 is correct, I'm still within 5 inches of my guess, just as I was when I hunted with Mike and he shot his 159 inch buck - I was within 5 inches of that deer as well. A few weeks of hunting WTs on public ground - I've seen multiple book deer. And all I did was drive out east with some time Google scouting, spend a day walking the area, and put up a stand. I've filled every WT tag I've ever purchased.
And I had 20 deer a day walking under 25 yards from me, the occasional 125-135 inch buck walking within 50, and I was 300 yards from the road. And that's been the case multiple times in multiple states. I'm a deer choosing the right from left game trail or the arrow being 2 inches right or left from having 4 book deer. I know it's ridiculous of me to say it because they're not hanging on the wall, but I'm sorry guys, that's hunting and that's not a difficult hunt so I won't be convinced otherwise.
The thing that makes mature white tail the most difficult to hunt is the fact that so many guys are gunning for them and the tags are almost all OTC, which messes up the age strata. If every WT in the midwest had LE tags for bucks like so many other species do, people would be killing P&Y caliber bucks by the bucket loads - and they already are: look at the P&Y record book. There's a book just for white tail and then there's the other 28.
Again, look at the book: The P&Y Club's cash flow has been an issue in the last decade in large part because the states reduced the white tail herd after years of managing for max deer numbers in the years of and around the 1980s. Take a look at Ethic - it's a bunch of WT and then a few entries of everything else.
Walking 200 yards and getting into a treestand that you drove 0-30 miles from your bed that holds your warm, soft wife, is not a difficult hunt. I don't care how much offseason prep you put into it. It may be a lot of offseason work and there's certainly a skill to it and some guys are going to be geniuses at figuring them out like the Wensels, some guys are going to figure out how they travel and some guys are going to dump a lot of time into food plots and habitat improvement, etc, etc.
But you don't have to do all that to kill a P&Y caliber WT in the midwest and that's what this thread is about. You may have to go to extreme ends to have legitimate opportunity at B&C caliber bucks (just like you do with every other B&C caliber specie), but in the midwest, an animal doesn't have to be that old to have big antlers. And every state is archery huntable from before the rut, to well through it, which is when the older males become so susceptible to ambush hunting.
I'm sorry if guys are offended by this and I realize that not only are WTs a lot of guy's obsession and that most of you guys know a lot more about WT hunting than me and hunting in general and will vehemently disagree with me, but they're just not that tough of a hunt.
A lot of thinking? A lot of planning? A lot of sitting on your ass waiting? Definitely. And I'm not saying that I don't love every bit of it. I travel east to hunt midwest white tails and AZ Coues deer every year. It's an absolute blast.
But are you really going to tell me that for the average hunter... who is a guy from the midwest or the east coast... when you ask what are the easiest animals to put in the book DIY, that WT are going to be one of the most difficult? Gimme a break! The hard data of the records book disagrees with you. That's evidence-based data.
There are guys that come on Bowsite multiple times a week just asking for guide recommendations for the other 28 and ask basic questions about how to hunt them DIY as well.
I killed a book mountain goat this year and climbed 12K vertical feet and hiked nearly 40 miles round trip to kill it and pack it out. I guess I have a different definition of the words "easy" and "difficult."
Killing mature WTs (for the purpose of this thread - 125+ inch midwestern WTs) on public land DIY requires knowledge, persistence, drive, time investment, and some luck. The only part of that that's difficult is sitting still in the cold for hours on end.
But, I don't think it's easy. I just don't think it's as hard as many make it out to be for the reasons I listed.
That said, putting a good arrow through a net 125"+ whitetail, even in the Midwest, is easier said than done. I posted the photos to illustrate the fact that of all those 125"-135" whitetail bucks people claim to see...only a select few animals in that range will actually net 125". IMO, if you really want to kill a P&Y whitetail, don't go flinging arrows at those 125"-135" animals (especially those with less than 10pt racks). If you miss your 135" estimate by 5"....and you end up with another 5" of deductions (a relatively low number for whitetails)...you end up with "close, but no cigar". If your field estimate is 130" or less....and you have your heart set on a P&Y buck...DON'T SHOOT!
Bottom line, most people would be better off setting the field judging bar at 140"+ for honest net P&Y whitetail sightings. Even that isn't fool proof....as the photo Apauls posted illustrates. Who among us would not shoot THAT deer?
You stated that it takes knowledge, persistence, drive, time investment, and some luck. I know a bus load of midwest public land whitetail hunters with high doses of those things and very few if any public land P&Y whitetails to their credit.
Seeing is not arrowing and arrowing a good mature buck does not mean that it's going to Net above 125".
The reason there are so many entries in the book is because there are millions of whitetail hunters and a vast majority of hunters east of the Rockies only hunt whitetails.
Now, if the question was "what is the easiest NA species to kill?" - Whitetail deer would be my answer.
But you're right, I'd have guessed it on the hoof as scoring higher than it did.
Still, that's not my point. My point is that I'd guess that buck was a tad easier for Adam to shoot than his 2017 moose. I'd also guess that the average hunter would have better odds at that deer than Adam's 2017 moose. Maybe I'm wrong.
I'd guess that Adam left the warmth of his wife's bed the morning he shot that deer. I'd guess that he drove his heated vehicle to where he went hunting and walked less than a mile to where he shot it. Maybe I'm wrong.
Odds tell me I'm most likely right.
I'm not arguing that a book WT isn't a large or mature animal. I'm also not arguing that they're easy to shoot. My point is that, of the 29 big game animals in NA, they're not the toughest to shoot DIY.
Not when you can sleep with your wife, get up and drive down the road in your heated truck, park on the side of the road and walk in 200 yards, and have a legitimate shot at one. It may be fun, it may be challenging, but it's not difficult, no matter how low the odds are.
Of the NA29, it's probably the easiest hunt to plan. From there, it comes down to research and time investment.
For my 2017 moose, you (Ike) mention it is a more difficult hunt than the deer I posted above. I would say, my moose hunt took more effort than that morning hunt for the deer. But if you asked me - which hunt was easier to get a P&Y animal - I would say the moose hunt - and here's why. This moose hunt was my very first moose hunt. I hunted 10-11 days, saw a total of 4 bulls. 2 would have made P&Y. We shot 2 out of the 4, and could have shot a third, only problem was we were tagged out. So we are talking about 4 animals seen, 3 within trad bow range, 1 in compound only range, 2 of them P&Y. My moose was officially scored at 142 give or take a half inch I can't remember exactly, by a certified P&Y scorer. Going by memory. So that is a P&Y Canadian moose. I went on one moose hunt, I am batting 100%. 50% of the bulls we saw I would say would be P&Y eligible, and we got into bow range on 100% of those 2/4 animals. Those numbers spell "easy." The other kicker, is that as far as moose go, it's not like our moose that we killed are giants. Bigger bulls are regularly killed in MB. I feel like if I go back (which I WILL do :) I have an equal chance to kill an equal bull
Now, contrast to whitetails. That whitetail only took 3 hours out of my life on Nov 8, 2009. Your right, if I contrast that day to my moose hunt, he was way easier. All I did was park my truck, cycle 3/4 of a mile, and walk a half mile, climb in my stand, sit there, call and shoot a super nice buck. BUT, and here's where the whole "easy" thing comes into play. How many hours have I chased whitetails? How many of those hours are at peak times? Ie in the moose hunt I was there 10 days, but how many of those hours are "great" hunting hours vs the hours I spend hunting whitetails? How many hours spent scouting? And of all the animals I see and encounter - how many are legitimate P&Y animals? Of the bucks I run into here in MB I would guess 1/15 to 1/20 are P&Y qualifiers. If I hunted a full 10 days during the whitetail rut would I see 15-20 times more bucks in bow range than I did moose therefore evening the odds? I would say no. There's no way in hell I'm going to have 2x15=30 P&Y whitetails in bow range if I was to hunt for 10 days. And that's even if you disregard all the scouting etc that I've put into whitetails to put me in a good spot during those 10 days that I really can not feasibly do with moose. Sure, I prob did do a pile of extra work planning the hunt so that we ended up getting in a good spot, so maybe those are a wash, but the "odds" of running into a P&Y animal are way better moose hunting than whitetail hunting. Especially getting them in bow range. Even if I was somehow to see 10 P&Y whitetails in those 10 days what % of them would a person expect to lure into bow range? 20%? 30%? 50%??? I would venture to say a lot less % than moose.
Which one took less physical effort to deal with? Well is it easier to deal with a 280lb animal or a 1300lb animal? ;)
I tend to agree with Nick in how I assess the thread title, because I would actually take physical effort right out of the equation. Physical effort is a no-brainer. I'm going to give 1000% effort in every hunt no question, but what I like to make sure are in my favor are the odds. I don't care about effort. I can control that part. I need something to stack the odds, and if my goal is just to "GO SHOOT 1 P&Y ANIMAL" I would go to shoot something where the odds are the best, because I know I can make the effort happen.
Put in the time and pick a state that will give you the best chance it can happen every year.
What do you do when your private ground isn’t producing you hunt public. I found the piece this buck came off of while coyote hunting the winter before. All the ground I hunted last year in SD was spots I found while coyote hunting. No P and Y was shot last year there but lord knows I had my chances. I just blew them golden opportunities.
I think your chances of not making the book with a 3.5 year old are a lot higher then you will. Of the 7 bucks I have shot that were 3.5 year old only one made the book. What’s interesting is the 159 Ike mentioned earlier was a 3.5 year old. He ended up netting 154. The others were all in the 120 range in net score.
Hunting and killing a P&Y whitetail on public land is, on the other hand, hard.
Also, those bucks in eastern CO have a much higher likelihood of reaching maturity than in midwestern states. Its not the same game as hunting public lands in the likes of eastern Oklahoma or Kansas.
After living in the west the past 5 years I chuckle when I hear people talk about pressured areas. They don’t have a clue.
They would duck, not move, and I did not anticipate what they were about to do... I had lots of dog deer hunters push them by me in a rush too.
Most of the bucks here I throw a grunt or bleet out to around peak rut come in on a string, stand there, and take my broadhead- whack...
All hunting is pretty much about finding a great location and figuring out the game.
You should see the Mule Deer the past few years we have been seeing. My son killed a toad last year, and I had a hunter kill a monster, also had one rifle hunter miss a legit 220" beast at 200 yards standing there- no do-overs! There was a 42" wide class buck numerous people saw last year, but none of our hunters saw him during daylight. Should have wintered, since we did not have a winter over here.
Oh, and I had a father-son hunt, the son shot 10 shots (all the bullets he had) at a 190 class buck that ran towards us after the first few shots and he never grazed the buck out in an open AG field on the river. He had a melt down, through his rifle down and acted like a big baby to his father. I made them hug and the 30 year old son apologize or I was not letting them get into my truck, it was the last day of 2nd season.
It brings out the best and worst sometimes!
Adam, I totally get where you're coming from, but there's a couple things: First off, you guys could have easily picked a spot where there were little to no moose and gotten skunked. Secondly, I'd ask what your province's success rate is on moose and on WT.
I just don't buy comparing WT to animals like Stone Sheep. If you can run one over with your truck, then it's not in the top 5 in terms of difficulty.
You take your average bowhunter in the US and sit him down and say, "ok, our goal is to get you a P&Y animal. Let's put all these 29 animals on a list and pick out the three that would be the easiest for you to bag DIY."
Are you going to put Stones and Dalls on the short list? What about brown bears and grizzly? Mountain Goats? Mountain lion? Coues? Roosevelt elk? How bout free-ranging bison (not the park and plunk variety)?
There are many guys who come on Bowsite who've killed multiple P&Y WT and yet are 0 for 10 on elk DIY with a bow. I'm not claiming that a 260 elk is any easier or harder to get on public land than a 125 WT on public. I'm just pointing out that for the average US bowhunter, WT is not one of the most difficult to get DIY, as so many guys often times say.
I've read it over and over on Bowsite over the years. "Mature WT are the most cunning/difficult/elusive/etc/etc/etc."
Bullshit. There's literally hundreds of thousands of them within 1/2 mile of a road, right now. Just because guys obsess about them and spend their whole lives chasing them, doesn't make them any harder to kill. They are by far, the most populous and easily accessible of all NA big game. That fact alone cuts down their difficulty level significantly.
The older I get the more I don't really like to be cold. The fall colors and vibe still pull me towards WTs, but finding good places on public is getting to the point I'd just assume spend that time looking for private as it's a better use of ones time in the long run. Here are a couple I've killed off of public in a couple different states. I've arrowed a few more 150ish bucks on public but I can still say that I've spent way more time sitting in pressured areas hoping for these types of bucks that just aren't there vs other species that were much easier to kill on public land and yet make P&Y. Time vs. return has been horrible on net public land P&Y bucks for me.
Not all public is equivalent too. If guys are forming opinions based off of where they've hunted, that's not necessarily fair to the argument. The hunting is crappy right next to both of my homes too - I have to travel. And through research, I've found a couple public spots where I've reliably seen mature bucks. It's just like any other hunt. You can't just settle for the most convenient spot. You have to do your research and probably have to travel.
Jim Dougherty if memory serves correctly hunted a lifetime before he killed one.
An interior brown bear hunt on snowshoes has been by far my most physical hunt and had I been Bowhunting I would not have been successful. This was a far cry from scouting for den sites from an airplane or the snowmobile hunt that so often occurs.
Many mountain hunts fly in and or use horses. Most are guided and much of the work and logistics fall on his shoulders. I have been successful on two DyI dall sheep hunts and they were rigorous affairs. Neither were fly in or horse assisted hunts.
I do agree that a P&Y DYI whitetail is obtainable but not without serious commitment.
They are readily available. They are found in easy to get to areas in comparison. The midwest seems to be eat up with them as Ike's original point alluded too. But, they are wiley. So, I agree with Ike in his midwest claim. Where I differ is, if you hunt them in areas they can't be seen from distances, they simply won't be seen outside the rut much. Living among the hunters teaches them to elude the hunters.
Just my opinion of course. And, just an attempt to put all this in context. God Bless
To add to what Idyllwild said, "I've read it over and over on Bowsite over the years. "Mature WT are the most cunning/difficult/elusive/etc/etc/etc." Bullshit. There's literally hundreds of thousands of them within 1/2 mile of a road, right now."
Not only that, in most areas, they are around humans and human scent almost constantly. Farmers tending their work, homeowners in their yards, hikers, small game/bird/waterfowl hunters, kids waiting for school buses, golfers, etc., etc. Manufacturers of all kinds of gimmicks try to convince you otherwise, but it ain't rocket science. Find some decent sign, climb a tree and be patient. You'll see deer. And eventually you'll see some of the bigger ones in the area. Even with poor management some will likely make "book".
While we are calling some B. S. When we say there are 100s of thousands of whitetails within a half that does not mean that there 100s of thousands. That make P&Y.
Frankly, elk have been easy for me but I know many that would disagree. I would probably make 300 the minimum to make book but it is very uniformed decision since I have only 3 elk on four hunts.
No way in hell is a P&Y WT on public land anywhere near the top of the list.
Ok, Cazador, then answer me this: Since it's no where near the top of the list, then which animals are above it? There's only 29 of them. Which of those 29 are easier for an average US bowhunter to do DIY?
And almost all of white tail habitat in this country is not remote enough to not have a road every mile, which puts them all within 1/2 mile of a road. Anywhere the land is in sections, there is no single square inch that is farther than 1/2 mile from a road. Sure, there's places that are roadless in their habitat, but it's a minority of their habitat.
Perhaps I'm off in my estimations. Perhaps I'm exaggerating. The point remains. There's not a lot of Stone sheep and Brown Bears within 1/2 mile of a road.
I can give you a few public places that you’ll sit long enough not seeing a mature animal, the first 110” deer you see you will have swore was a 160”.
Come back and report how you have done.
My only gauge is seeing what others kill, since I don't hunt out west much. Seems everyone I know that goes to WY after antelope, kills a P&Y. Seems everyone that goes to hunt blacktail, they book. Seems everyone that goes to hunt bears over bait, kills a book animal. Elk, I really don't have a gauge. Either way, I don't think the whitetail is the easiest to kill a book animal, with a bow, on public land. The pressure on these animals isn't the same as other NA29. Even if they live 1/2 mile from the nearest road, they're tough to kill. I hope you kill a book whitetail on your easy 1,000 mile drive to sit on your ass, real soon. :)
One last thing - just cause you see them doesn't mean you'll kill them. Seeing isn't killing.
Ps - the meat deer comment proves my point about not managing public lands. Plenty of meat does....
Mn wouldn’t even make my top 5 of states to shoot a public land P and Y buck. Way to much pressure and way to many 1.5 year old bucks shot during the gun season.
Having said that, Ike, I would say you are experiencing something that is no where near the norm in regards to hunting public land if you are seeing 20 deer walking by your stand on public land. I have never seen 20 deer in a sit on public land and I've not seen that many on a private land hunt in over 10 years. Actually, I've probably only seen that many a couple times in my life... in 22 years of bowhunting... in Illinois. Last year I saw a grand total of 1 buck that would qualify, on private land, and only saw that one because the neighbor scared him my way.
Now I've already conceded that I don't travel; I've never hunted a large tract of managed ground; and and generally I would not consider myself a great hunter... but I don't see that many P&Y caliber bucks. One would think that even with dumb luck, a poor hunter would see more, at least at a distance, if they were there and easy in terms of being visible in daylight hours. As has been well demonstrated, all areas are not created equal, even in the prime states.
To the point regarding travel; I would say that it is a fair assessment that better opportunity is there if one is willing to travel. However, there isn't enough opportunity for a large portion of ALL whitetail bowhunters to hit the high quality spots. They'd soon become overly-crowded low quality spots.
But, for just plain most commonly Book'd animal all you have to do is look at the entries in the Book. When I get the Ethic, the first thing I do is look at the new entries section. Whitetails, then black bears are by far the longest columns with all of the rest a way, way distant third. And though elk has a solid listing to, those numbers could be skewed by the commitment to a draw or the logistical difficulty in doing the hunt for many. More invested, so more expectation equals a higher "trophy" standard.
So if you are measuring Easiest to Book by just walking out the door and hunt, then whitetail, for sure. Most easily accessed by the vast majority of hunters. But, if you are using percentage of Book animals to killed animals, then it could easily be any of the mountain or far north species. Sheep, goat, ox, caribou grizzly and brown bears.
Killing a WT that nets P&Y isn't that hard with the right ground. Killing one on public ground tied to the title of this thread would be way down on the list if one wanted to put "one animal" in the "book"
That has everything to do with it. Its heavily limited. Takes 3-4 years to hunt it, surrounded by private. Add in the fact that after the farmers pick the corn very close by, the bucks go into to sliver of public river bottom.
Most of the guys that draw out there every 3-4 are probably going after a P&Y buck.
Also, its a BIG difference just a few miles to the east in Nebraska where archery tags are truly unlimited and public land gets HAMMERED
Apples and oranges
True. BUT it's a relatively small area. They issue 70 archery tags, 55 ML, and 215 rifle. One rifle hunt and the ML hunt falls during the first archery split at the start of the rut, and the second rifle during the 2nd split. (Archery is divided into 3 periods with gun hunters in between.) And since there isn't a lot of public hunting out there, a LOT of unlimited bird, waterfowl, and small game hunting occurs concurrently. It's not unusual to be peppered by shot while in a tree stand.
Pigsticker - just joking your pic just looks like one t-roy has posted. You're a killer!
The one constant is that for people that have opportunity out their door for good hunting of a species that species is the "easiest" for them to get a P&Y. We all know it's all about location.
Also, you'd be surprised how many bucks head the opposite way when corn is cut. I hunt the plains without waiting 3 or 4 years and trust me, I've had more days than I can count altered by your typical public land activities. NE has great hunting but the rifle factor is a Debby downer hence making a public land trip to NE to kill a book buck a dream at best.
As do several other states as well including Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, etc. Big bucks get killed every year and the majority of those are on private land. It's a challenge killing a PNY buck on public no matter the location as you'll always be competing with others. To cnelk's point, its apples and oranges as Tamarack SWA is the primary habitat corridor in that area.
Idyl - Not meaning to get nasty....I'm not just talking about Oklahoma, there are others as well in eastern KS, etc. that you would have the same experience. I like you have a mix of private and public I hunt annually in the midwest. I'm just saying it can't be done but from not only my own but others here years of experience of living and hunting in these types of areas its an accomplishment not many are able to attain. The dynamics have changed especially from the mid to late 90's to the 2000's. I would personally be a fan if KS went back to limited tags and you could only draw every 2-3 years. The reality of killing PNY bucks on public land there in the 90's was much different there than it is today. That said their WIHA's can be really good spots to hunt given the right features but it's apples and oranges again once you start getting east of I-35 hunting larger tracts of timber with not as many distinct corridors to work with and a much greater population density.
The buck in the picture I posted is no giant but he makes P n Y. That piece of public that year had no one on it during rifle season. It’s only a 200 acre piece. However the piece 12 miles away that’s over 2000 acres is a zoo.
Standing corn in November is your friend in Ne.
I see 20 deer a day and bucks every day in the places I hunt because if I'm going to travel to hunt WT, I go to the best places possible and hunt the very best dates. That's the standard I measured for our hypothetical hunter.
Cause killing one on public land isn't easy.
Next year is your year Ike!
Look, I've done all these hunts that guys are listing, 11 different species DIY. I've never hunted guided. The actual ability for the average Joe to hunt these animals is being understated. Yes, it may take a lot of time as in hunting days. But if that's your only metric to "easy" vs "difficult," then that's why I disagree with so many of you.
And I'll again concede the point that Nick brings up, and it's pretty ridiculous to say it, but if I hadn't had the experience that I've had, I'd keep my opinion to myself. I'm the first to admit that I trust my opinions more than I should, but I shot a 150 inch WT last year and hit it in the humerus. Two years ago, I had another 145-150 inch WT jump the string, was hit poorly, and not recovered. And those aren't the only book deer I've seen in my 4 years of DIY WT hunting.
It's pretty ridiculous for me to make those claims because I don't have the deer on the wall to prove it, but I know what my experience has been. So I guess I have to leave it at that because I indeed don't have the proof to back up my claim. Nonetheless, I'm not that full of myself to make a claim without any background for my belief.
And again, my claim has never been that it's easy. My entire point is that, for the average Joe wanting to get a P&Y animal, one of his best bets is going to be a white tail, as born out by the P&Y records, by the simple fact that they're the most populous and easiest animals to hunt. I've talked with the average WT hunter - many many of them would not even consider hunting deer where 11 foot bears wander. The entire hunt is an absolute non-starter, no matter how many days it takes to fill a tag.
Rick, I've never disagreed with this statement.
I know whitetails much more intimately than any other big game animal species that I’ve hunted, yet my percentage of P&Y class animals of some of the other species is fairly decent. Personally, I attribute a lot of it to luck, plus getting/making the shot when it counted. Location, location, location is a huge factor on any of them. I would think Iowa, Ks, Illinois, Oh., etc P&Y qualifiers would be much easier to kill than eastern/southern, etc states. Hard to kill one if there aren’t many there. Even harder to let a decent one walk in hopes of killing a bigger one. That’s easy for me to do on whitetails, way harder on other species for me. I would not have killed any of those P&Y class elk if a smaller, legal bull had come by first.
Hard for me to say which is easiest. I need a bigger sample size to make an informed decision.
SE Alaska ... POW Island ... but you have to bring your donuts with you.
With all 4 years of your DIY whitetail experience I can’t imagine why anyone would argue any of your logic. You seem to have it figured out.
My first P&Y Sitka, while it took a few days, required me to drive a truck up a logging road, sit in a make shift blind 300 yards off the road, and call him in just like a whitetail. Oh, then I slept in a cabin... No large land carnivores to worry about either.
I hope to run in to an 11' unicorn this fall on Kodiak.
"I've talked with the average WT hunter" - Then you realize that the overwhelming majority of the average WT hunters won't ever see a P&Y qualifying deer while hunting.
Correct. Which is why if they wanted to get one, organizing an out of state hunt in Iowa, Kansas, or several other states, would be one of the easiest hunts for them to plan and execute: They already know how to do it and they have all the gear they need. With most western hunts, most eastern hunters don't even know where to start or can't wing the hunt because they're 100 lbs overweight.
You may have an excellent spot, hopefully Earl and Jimbob don't get a wild hair up their ass this fall and head out for their own P&Y public land buck :)
There are 2 things I've learned during this....#1 being...you cannot kill what is not there, or in numbers so low,that it almost makes it impossible.
#2 being...and I consider this the most important factor. How you hunt deer is nowhere near as important, as to WHERE you hunt deer. All Public is not created equal. Especially, considering the number of bowhunters' in a state like Pa. versus Iowa, Kansas,Missouri, Ohio, Illinois. I've hunted them all and have seen the difference. I've been doing this for the past 20 years or so. Every time I think about it, it just ticks me off, that I didn't start sooner. I"m a slow learner I guess...lol
So there's nine right there that are off the list just by ease of access through guide laws. They're not just hard. They're basically impossible. And I could add more: If you live in the US, you have to draw ME, NH, or VT to hunt Canadian moose DIY - that's nearly impossible. Getting a tag for Tule elk for public land if you don't live in CA is essentially impossible unless you buy the auction tag which will cost you well into the 5 digit range, which rules out your average DIY hunter even though the hunt wouldn't be exceptionally difficult as far as hunting prowess goes. Mt Goat tags are also very difficult to obtain in the lower 48 and then it's a tough hunt in all places except for one unit in UT.
And that's not even getting into the species that are a more difficult hunt. Roosevelt elk, DIY, on public land? I've done that hunt in the rain forest - it was one of the most grueling hunts I've ever done. How bout RMBS: Sure, if you get the 680 tag, it's easy, but with zero points, the odds are worse than 1 in 10,000 of drawing it. With 4 points, you're up to 1 in 5,000. Otherwise, you've got a strenuous back country mountain hunt in treacherous terrain in other places. Iowa has nothing on Canmore. Free ranging bison are not a necessarily an easy hunt, Adams and others I've spoken with or read of, have said that's an extremely difficult hunt, and yet another hunt that is exceptionally difficult to draw.
The thing is, you're looking at this with all things considered equal when it comes to the killing of the animal. And I've agreed with you over and over on that point on this thread. But I'm not looking at it like that. I'm taking all things considered for a DIY hunt for a P&Y animal, because it doesn't matter if a DBHS itself is easy to kill DIY on public land or not if you don't have a tag. To plan a DIY hunt, by definition, you're doing it all yourself, which includes everything from the planning of the hunt, to acquiring the tag, to travel, lodging/camping, the hunt, getting the animal out (even if you pay a packer, you still have to arrange it), etc etc etc.
Even packing an AK moose adds difficulty to the hunt. There are a lot of guys that dream about and don't even try a DIY AK moose hunt because they have no idea where to start with the logistics. So the hunt is a non-starter. Much less a MuskOx. But an Iowa WT hunt? They can do that. Which actually gives guys a chance at a P&Y animals DIY on public land. So what's an easier animal for that guy to put in the book? An animal that he has no hope of killing? Or one that he can actually have a chance at?
And in terms of "difficult," there are, as you've conceded, things that make them "easy" to hunt, as in, the numbers, range, and terrain. Which just makes it a question of travel and time devoted. I think you're stuck in your mindset of your home state of Wisconsin, which is also, no longer a destination hunt for WT. Wisconsin public land? Yup. That's a very tough hunt for a book deer. If I had to do it there, then yes, I'd say, that's a very difficult hunt. But why would any DIY public land hunter go there nowadays? The only reason is because that's where you or your family live. Otherwise, there's better places to go where your odds are better.
Not snow mans chance in hell it would be the whitetail guys...
What about the other 27?
I get it now, you aren't saying killing a P&Y whitetail on public land is the easiest, you're just saying it's easier than what people make it sound to be. Or, are you saying they are the easiest? haha
You're putting your own qualifiers on this - i.e. CPR... live in proximity... etc...
The original question is... "So what places and species do you think are easiest to bag a P&Y on a DIY, public land hunt"
I never said that it was easy. But the ease of hunting them results in it being one of the easier hunts for many to hunt them DIY. And often times, the only chance they have or choose to take DIY, everything else being out of reach for various reasons.
2% public land x 115,500 = 2,310 public land bucks,
10% qualify for P&Y = 231 public land P&Y bucks in KS,
231/700k = 0.033% of deer in KS are public land P&Y bucks,
Those 231 bucks are spread across 1.3 million acres......now, get in bow range and make the shot.
(numbers approximate) ksoutdoors.com/content/download/.../Kansas+Deer+Status+Report+2015+MDTSG.pdf
I found between 200k- 400k public hunting in ks and about 1 million WIHA. The above quote seems to be the average.
And actually not all WIHA is open to deer hunting. Some are pheasant or waterfowl only, etc....but close enough.
BTW, all of my WT hunting has been in NE and WY. I'm hunting IA this year and NE again if I tag out quick enough. I'll probably pull a Kansas tag next year. 2019's gonna be a crappy year apparently.
I have been trying to to hold out for a bigger buck the last 3 years and ended up with tag soup.
I drive an hour to an hour and a half to my public land spots. There's nothing like going to 5 spots 2 hours before sunrise and having trucks parked at all of them during the rut.
Days needed per animal is only one measurement of difficulty. It definitely plays into the equation, but let's pull a number out of a hat and say it takes 20 days per P&Y Stone Sheep and 40 days per P&Y WT. Because it hypothetically takes twice as long to get the WT, does that mean that it's twice as difficult to get a P&Y WT as a P&Y Stone Sheep? Hardly! It means it takes twice as long.
Stone sheep hunts are generally a very rigorous, expensive, and isolated hunt that not everyone can do. Versus hunting WT, which is generally a walk of less than 1/2 mile on flat ground, a 20 foot climb, and then sitting and waiting.
That doesn't mean that WT hunting is "easy" either. It's just another part of it, like time needed.
It's just like intelligence. Some people are super book smart, but can't put together a book shelf. Or one guy is brilliant with math but can't spell well. "Difficulty," when it comes to hunting, is multifaceted.
Everyone knows the easiest is California mule deer in the San Jacinto hills. ;^)
I don't think there can be any argument about which is the easiest to hunt. WT are the most abundant, most widespread, easiest to access both in obtaining tags and finding a place to hunt without a guide, and in the amount of physical effort it takes to effectively hunt them.
Judging by the record book, there are more P&Y qualifiers out there than some species have in total population. So, at least in many areas, the target animals are there. The fact that success rates seem to suggest that it is more difficult than one would expect, MAY have more to do with the skills and/or effort many or most put into it.
Those that claim it's pronghorns, often qualify that by also specifying one or two states, and non-residents typically use a guide. In that case they may be correct. The same goes for Sitka blacktail. I've hunted both and have had a good percentage on P&Y animals. But overall, I put in much more effort just to get there to start the hunt.
In the overall hunting population, there are those who are serious hunters, and many, many more that I would characterize as casual hunters. I would guess that more of those pursuing more niche animals like Sitka blacktails and pronghorns fall into the first group. Many, if not most, that hunt black bears over bait use a guide. Even if they have public access, the baiting process pretty much requires that access be nearby, and it's still a lot of work from what I gather. In other words, more people pursue whitetails BECAUSE they're convenient. Many of those hunters wouldn't even consider bowhunting if they had to make a concerted effort to do so. They are casual hunters.
Not having killed a P&Y whitetail is not an inditement of your hunting ability. It is still hunting after all. My point, and I think some others, is simply that if whitetails are not the best candidate for the best chance at a record book entry, considering everything, it is sure at the top of the list. They just aren't the mythical creatures some portray.
Two years ago, I was in Nebraska hunting public land and stayed at a hotel where 4 guys from the south were staying, doing the same thing I was, although they had access to a farm through a friend besides mixing in public land hunting. I talked with them nightly and we got on the subject of elk. I encouraged them to give it a shot. Only 1 or 2 of the 4 was really interested in giving it a go and I got the impression that it was only an option if I took them. I talked with him for about 6 months after the hunt. I never got the impression that they were going to try. These guys enjoyed hunting enough to do a DIY out-of-state hunt, but despite having the desire, the idea of the hunt seemed out of reach despite me pointing out that it wasn't.
I really wonder, how many guys east of the Mississippi River have killed a P&Y WT on public land AND have killed any of the other 28 DIY on public land as so many aren't even willing to give it a shot without a guide. I know that of the guys on Bowsite, it's not even close - there's a ton of them. But we've established that the guys on Bowsite are generally far more avid hunters than the average.
I'd guess that if you changed it from public land to private, that it wouldn't even be close - that the number of guys with a P&Y and nothing else, would be an incredible ratio. But I bet of public land P&Y animals, there's no other animal where so many people have killed one or more WT and none of anything else.
To summarize my rant, I've made two points, which I still believe and may have seemed contradictory as I've argued one or the other at various points:
1. For the average bowhunter who wants a P&Y animal on public land, WT is one his best bets.
2. Many people overstate how difficult it is to get one because their only qualification for that is how many hunting days it takes - although, I suppose my definition of "difficult" is different than many here, so I'll concede that point.
- Main reason: Hunting pressure. Not trying to offend my western hunting friends with this statement, but unless you have hunted whitetails east of the MIssissippi River, you really don't know the true meaning of the term.
- Second reason: Whitetail deer management. Virtually every state east of the Mississippi is more concerned with population management than quality management. They want people to kill deer and set up their hunting seasons accordingly. Here in Indiana (Midwestern state), we have 16 days of firearms season during the heart of the November rut....followed by another 16 days of ML season. It is a slaughter....and that's exactly what the state wants.
A buck fawn here has very little chance of surviving past 2-1/2 years old....especially on public land. By the time that buck reaches 3-1/2, he has survived three slaughters by either being very lucky....learning to avoid hunters....or both. By 3-1/2, the buck has become much more difficult, but not impossible to kill with a bow. There is also a very good chance the buck, at 3-1/2 years of age, is NOT carrying P&Y headgear (remember my photos? ). Not every buck has the genetics to become a P&Y deer....but the majority of the ones that do will be 4-1/2 years old minimum. That age class of animal represents a very low percentage of the overall whitetail population and has become a very difficult animal to get within bow range. I get trail camera photos of these "ghosts"....primarily at night....rarely get a glimpse of one during the course of a hunting season....and that is on private land.
I've successfully bowhunted elk, antelope, Shiras moose and caribou. Have killed elk and antelope P&Y qualifiers on public land and a near miss on the public land Shiras moose score. I typically get in one Western hunt per year which lasts 2-3 weeks. I honestly believe my odds are better to kill a P&Y animal out west....DIY on public land...than bowhunting for a P&Y whitetail for an entire season on private land I know like the back of my hand. That's not an overstatement...that's reality.
" The vast majority of Public Land Whitetail habitat is either over hunted or poor quality so P&Y animals are scarce."
How would a P&Y Whitetail be easy, if the above is true?
The Public Land criterion didn't skew the argument, it was a part of the question which created the debate and in order to answer it, you must factor in that minute detail.
Most guys have a way they like to hunt then justify “their way” as more superior,sporting,difficult etc.Bob brought the truth.
.There would be very few public areas I would whitetail hunt and if I did my objective wouldn’t be to put myself in the best position to shoot big.
Why even consider public for whitetail? I’d rather be parking my fat butt up in a double ladder on private ground than looking over 6 pack abs at the public ground below.Getting sick even thinking about it.
I agree, Steve! I know some public land spots in Oklahoma that are good. I also know some public land spots in Oklahoma that are REALLY good. Guess which ones I'd spend my time? If someone was to ask me for some GOOD spots, that's where I'd send them. :)
Additionally, Mr Ameen is one of the most prolific bowhunters, and the premier bowhunter of sitka blacktails of the last 100 years. When he speaks, I listen, but him saying that sitka blacktails are easy is like Babe Ruth saying hitting home runs in MLB is easy. No disrespect meant Mr Ameen, but I'm talking about the other 3+ million bowhunters and Genesis, using him as an example is disingenuous - if you've read all my posts, I've said over and over that I'm talking about for the bulk of bowhunters out there. There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of guys, that have zero hope of ever scratching the surface of ability or accomplishment of your example.
And regarding Sitka Blacktails, as I noted in one of my first posts, they may be easy if you get dropped in a place with good numbers. I got dropped where there'd been a local die-off. There was one P&Y buck within 2 miles of camp and my partner killed it. The only P&Y bucks I saw (7-8 total in a week of hunting) were 3-4 miles from camp and over a mountain range. It was an hours-long walk with thousands of feet of elevation gain/loss just to get to the deer. So my personal experience with Sitka Blacktails is they were a difficult hunt. I killed a Mountain Goat on that hunt and I'd say that was every bit as difficult as the deer. The one P&Y class buck I got an arrow in fell 1500 ft off of a cliff and was unrecoverable. No one's having to walk 20 miles a day and climb thousands of feet to hunt WT. You could, but... come on. And certainly, no one's having their White Tails fall 1500 feet down a cliff into a salmon stream where brown bears are feeding...
Three months later I went to Wyoming, walked 200 yards from the road, got into a stand, and shot a 150 inch WT in the humerus on public on day 3. I just can't get over comparing these two hunts because I know my own experiences. I planned that Kodiak hunt for two years. They're not even in the same ball park in some elements of what make them difficult. Again, I'm not saying that killing a book Sitka is easier or harder than killing a book WT. But there are certainly more people, for which killing a book WT would be easier than killing a book Sitka Blacktail, no matter how "easy" it actually is to get an arrow into one once you're actually on the hunt and that is borne out by the P&Y record book having a book for WTs and then a book for the other 28.
Bigdan says elk are easy. I happen to think they're not the toughest animal in the world to hunt either seeing as they give up their locations during the rut. Nonetheless, I read of countless stories on Bowsite and Rokslide where guys from the east go west for public land DIY archery elk hunts and get skunked year after year. Many times I've read of guys being 0 or 1 elk for 10-20 years with a bow.
Bringing up Frank Noska is also disingenuous as well as, no, you cannot speak for him and mentioning a guy who has two super cubs, come on... Again, Babe Ruth. Many of these hunts are going to be easier for him than Joe Blow by the fact that he's set himself up for that to be the case in a way that few have. Yet, I would not doubt for a second that he'd mirror Mr Ameen's sentiments as well. But when you can fly your personal cub yourself to 4 species that the general public can't even hunt, you're not even having a discussion about people who are in the same universe.
I guess easy and difficult have no definition and it's all in the eye of the beholder... (sarcasm)
"Most guys have a way they like to hunt then justify “their way” as more superior,sporting,difficult..."
I agree 100% percent. That's my whole point. I'm constantly reading on Bowsite people say that mature WT are the most difficult. And they certainly are no gimme. But for the average hunter, it's the most likely thing they have a legitimate shot at. And for many, it's the ONLY thing they have a legitimate shot at. And for more than any other NA animal, it's the ONLY animal that a bowhunter will ever kill that's book worthy, and again, the book proves this.
Save some Iowa points, look at the LE tags and better tags/hunts there are around the country, find a honey hole. That's no different than any other species but yet, the average hunter already has the gear and the know-how to do the hunt, whereas they don't for mountain/western hunts or... they have to move...
I admit it's sort of a spin. But in reality, avid hunters who hunt many species of animals are not the average hunter. For an avid hunter, whatever takes the most time is probably going to be much more difficult for him and so I can see how for an avid hunter, that a public land book WT may very well be one of the most difficult. For the average hunter though, the millions of them, the more difficult it is to plan and the physicality and cost of the hunt is going to come more and more into play. The 18 hour days I was doing on Kodiak up and down mountains and across tundra for miles - there are so many overweight bowhunters or older bowhunter that couldn't have even managed it physically, much less have even bothered considering the hunt as possible. But... they STILL have a shot at a book WT. I guess that wasn't a qualification of the OP, but that's what we've been talking about ad nauseum since I brought it up.
What I see are a bunch of differing opinions about the definition of difficult vs easy and a bunch of guys putting words in my mouth. I've not said that getting a book WT is easy. I did claim that it's not in the top 3 or 5 to get a book animal on public land and I'll back that up listing animals: Polar bear. Brown bear. Roosevelt elk. Stone Sheep. Dall sheep. I could list more, but it's funny how everyone wants to make claims about how difficult WT are, but the only animals that get mentioned over and over are Sitka BT, PH, Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain elk, and Black bears over bait.
I think the only thing I'm guilty of is challenging people's ideas about their sacred cow. Tell a Muslim that his religion is baloney and see how he reacts. That's what's really going on here. Any implication that WT are not the sacred cow and people go berserk and straw man you.
I have to agree with what pav explained about whitetails. What Ike said about his experiences also make sense. Here is what most people are missing when talking about P&Y whitetails: the easiest opportunities to kill whitetails meeting the P&Y minimum are west of the Mississippi. That's it.
The really big trophy whitetails are known to come from Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, etc, but we're not talking about those. We're talking about just those that make the P&Y minimum (125). The states west of the Mississippi have a great combination of public land, less hunting pressure, and a relative abundance of whitetails that will make the P&Y minimum.
A serious bowhunter could hunt public land for years in SC, AL, or most any other southern state and never kill a P&Y whitetail, mostly because of their scarcity. When the hunting season is 3-4 months long a buck on heavily pressured public land rarely survives long enough to grow big enough antlers. This has little to do with nutrition or genetics.
A very good friend of mine lives in AL. He is an avid bowhunter - no he's not TBM. He is not on Bowsite. He is about 50 and has been hunting since he was 10. His family has owned 1000+ acres that he's always had access to. He also goes to hunt in Nebraska for a week every year. He kills a P&Y in Nebraska about every other year and has yet to kill a P&Y in AL. (He is not in the physical condition to hunt in the mountains.)
Also, those western whitetails are safe from most of us in the east. If we're going to the trouble and expense of driving for 30 hours or flying and renting a car then most of us are going to hunt something different than a whitetail that we hunt all the time at home.
Ike, I'm baffled by the guys that you met also. Maybe they didn't want to try something new? Maybe they were intimidated by the perceived cost of gear?
Or, maybe he wasn't joking.
I agree 100% and I've been saying that all along. And yet people are saying, "yeah, but in Pennsylvania..." Yeah, it's widely known that most states it's damn near impossible to do it... From my very first post, I specifically qualified my stance as based off of the the very best places to hunt WT.
1. achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties. "an easy way of retrieving information"
We're quibbling over the interpretation of easy is all we're doing here. This is what the dictionary has to say. Is it easier to travel to some far off destination? To climb a mountain or sit in 1000 hours in a treestand? What's easy for Ike may not be easy for Joe. This is all fascinating stuff and incredibly pointless at the same time. In other words, perfect forum topic.
I've gotten a lot of PMs from people thinking that I'm all worked up or upset. I'm really not. I am, though, having a great time with this thread. I've been on the night shift the past week and this thread has been a great pass-time.
Aren't there some animals you basically can't get without "buying" them? I'm really not sure how to go about planning my DIY polar bear hunt but I'll start looking into it right after I move to Alaska so I am allowed to hunt sheep and goats without a babysitter.
Or lets go the other way and say you can only hunt weekends with the odd three day'er thrown in and that includes your travel. And your budget only accommodates one relatively cheap non-resident tag. Then it really comes down to location.
Too many ways to look at "easy" or even "most likely" to Book, DIY on Public. As has been mentioned, the vast majority of NA hunters, target whitetails and many not very diligently. Not many Book deer per ten thousand hunters simply because they're not trying to Book. Heck, many are probably more interested in just killing a day or two than killing a deer! So stats can be and are misleading.
I will probably shoot one or two 18" plus bears in May, OTC, diy, public land, spot and stalk. The toughest part is a sore butt and stiff legs from driving around looking for bears. No pressure, no anxiety and little physical effort. So that definitely fits the dictionary definition of easy, but not available to most NA hunters. On the other hand, I don't see many whitetail, never mind a book buck.
So "Easy" as in effort, or "Easy" as in most likely with enough effort. (and time/money)
Those states are East of the Mississippi.
Ike: What is Rocslide? We’ll look forward to seeing your P&Y qualifying public land whitie kills. The first one is tuff but man o man that second one is really really hard:)
As far as my WTs, I never really wanted one before this thread, but now... :)
Just kidding :)
One of my favorite areas to hunt in ND was the Tewaukon refuge area. Used to have a good supply of big bucks in that area. I haven’t hunted out there since the late 80’s early 90’s.
Statistically speaking Bowsite is not your best random study group. You take twenty regular posters and someone has killed multiple species, Brown bear, sheep, and probably a Booner too. This is not your average Joe’s forum even though we consider ourselves average or below because of who we associate with.