The outfitter will have his hunters over bait stations. I know that he took some bucks that way last season. Because he drops the hunter off and picks them up I do not see vehicles parks so I do not know how hard he is hunting the area. They filmed at least two shows there last year.
I am hopeful that come the rut some of the mature bucks will come on our property looking for the few does that we have left. Do you think that we are better of with the outfitter or all of the hunting pressure that was there before he moved in? Anyone have any first hand experience?
Not good in my opinion if he knows what he is doing which it sure sounds like.
Once his season gets going his pressure may move some deer.
During the rut it's a totally different story and that's where it will help you because he will grow some giants that will cruise to your side once in a while.
I would hunt near his border. :)
It's not the end of the world but deer tend to stay where they have cover, food and safety.
You do not state the size of your property. That will be a huge factor. Also you do not state the number of hunters you have and that will also play into it. How much do they hunt? You do not state the nature of your cover. Is it better than the adjacent outfitter land? Will the outfitter or his hunters trespass? Huge factor as well. If you have an equal amount of land with excellent cover and hunt alone with no trespassing you might be better off.
Good news is that when shot out he will move on and do it somewhere else. Best thing to do is become second in line and when he runs out on his lease, pick it up. Many but not all of these guys will stiff the landowners and run out early so that they will not lease to a commercial operator again. Might lease to a good neighbor.
His comment about "at least 50 good bucks" on 700-1000 acres tells you what his standards and goals are. I average one good buck per 1000 acres every 2-3 years in excellent habitat.
I suspect that you can find the outfitter's history and how he operates by doing a little digging. These guys often move around a lot.
Good luck. In the long term you will be fine.
It does seem like he is spending a lot of money and I do not know if it is sustainable. We communicate and look out for each other land. I like the guy. I just do not know what to expect. Last year he was not as geared up as he is now but my deer sightings were down.
Thanks for the encouragement. I am hopeful that come November the hunting will be good.
How much land do you own? That is the key.
Not sure I would go head to head with him. If he is a bait guy, you might want to have the bedding areas. Find a need he is not filling. Evaluate your strong and weak points.
I'd go about analyzing my personal strengths and weakness involving the deer herd. But, from what you are saying, I'd manage my timber for young succession among older growth, (Uneven aged management), keep my plots in as good as shape as possible and turn/create some native plots as well. I'd create quite a few mineral licks and/or stations, and I'd make sure they had water if I had to dig them a pond.
You never have answered the question about your land size. I assume with 11 plots, you have a bit of land. So, I'd cut some timber as it provides security and year round browse, I'd turn 5 of my plots into native season browse species to offer year round browse. You can get with your local wildlife agency to see what that is. Many have cost sharing programs they offer to landowners to do just that. I'd create mineral licks because deer really hit the mineral and salt hard in summer and stressful spring months, and I'd not put the first pile of food on the ground on my property. I could be wrong but, I'm willing to bet that the big deer treat your neighbors bait piles like the plague before it is over with. Good luck and God Bless
He keeps trail cameras out year around has little to no activity in the summer months.He does get a bit of activity as the does show up in the spring to have their young in the tops.Then they disappear for a while. It all changes and the big bucks show up during his hunts specifically when the rut is in full swing.
If you can make some good protected bedding areas on your property come fall the bucks will show up.
We divided our land up into different hunting areas so that we would not get into each other way. Most of our property sees very light pressure during bow season. I have pretty much exclusive bow hunting on over 300 acres of it on the large piece. There s a little farming and fishing activity but except for trespassers I should be the only one going into the woods. I hunt from the outside in and starting the last week of October will hunt all day light hours for 17 to 22 days before Thanksgivng. I probably will not set foot on the land between now and then. I hunt travel routes, near bedding areas and at times field edges. I do not bait.
On the other hand the outfitter has a lot of great bedding areas and no one goes in his woods much at all as far as I know. He run 40 cameras and I think that all of the hunting is over bait or food plots. He has to access the stand sites often enough to bait them and change cards in the cameras. He has not told me how many hunters he has booked.
We both have cover and water without a lot of pressure on our land. I think that he who has the best food will have the most deer.
There are some good thoughts in your responses. We should do some logging and maybe some hinge cutting to hold more deer. The wood are getting too open. There may ways to improve the food plots with more fertilizer and more care. There may be some mature bucks bedding on us and feeding on him. They sure are not doing any rubbing around our fields so I doubt that they are feeding there right now.
Any additional thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.
I do zero deer management, but don't have a need. I basically have excess deer out my side door. The less pressure they experience, the more they head here to feed and interact. I don't have much interest in competitive deer management where guys are trying to draw deer to THEIR land and constantly making adjustments. Too much hard work and science for me.
Finally: I wouldn't place much importance on an outfitter's statements about seeing "x number of big deer"...so many trail cameras...outstanding food plots and ad nauseum. How much of that talk is driven by a need to extend an ego, while simultaneously sending a message intended to push back against nearby hunters who could be a threat to 'his' big deer? Gamesmanship?
I have way too much experience with this situation as well. I had a farm in SE Kansas. When I first bought the place in 2002, the quality & quantity of deer was amazing. Over a 10 year period we had "outfitters" invade in full force, leasing every parcel of ground they could get their hands on. And they did a damn fine job of that.
The steady deterioration of antler quality in our area was been nothing short of shocking. These guys are booking way too many hunters for the acreage they hunt. They do very little, if anything to truly uphold any trigger discipline with their clients. When guys from out east, down south, or many other places that have large numbers of hunters and small (young)bucks, see their first 120 to 130 inch deer, they lose their minds. Many of our bucks now do not make it past 3 years old. Nothing is more depressing than going past the lodge of the Colorado outfitter, on his Kansas lease, watching the guys from Alabama patting themselves on the back for having 4 bucks on the pole that will not break 125 inches.
These "outfitters" are good at baiting. They are good at establishing mineral sites. Some are really good at putting in food plots. They are good at making a dollar off of over-booked, unsuspecting people who come to Kansas on their hard earned dime to pursue the dream. They are good at decimating a herd by sending sex ratios out of whack because it takes too much effort to actually harvest does when the property (area) warrants it. And I have yet to see a single one work with a landowner on habitat management.
I was a partner in an outfitting business when KS first open their doors to non-residents. We set standards for harvest AND enforced them. We set realistic expectations for every hunter before they sent a deposit check. We rewarded them for helping us manage our herd and expected them to do so. We would book no more than 20 total hunters per season on 4,800 acres. Only 5 of those were firearms guys. Over a 12 year period our average bow kill was 163. NEVER, did we use a bait pile. We had a 150 inch minimum and went to great lengths to educate our hunters what that meant before they went afield.
There are certainly outfits that truly do it right, and I applaud their efforts. But for every one that does it right I can show you four more that do not, and therein lies the problem. The other part of the problem is a pervasive mentality that if "I pay for a hunt, I'm going to come home with something". Folks......if you are happy shooting 125 OR 130 then by gosh knock your self out. I would be the first to congratulate you. But stay home and do that. Don't waste your hard earned money traveling to the "promise land" to wind up saying: "At least I got one".
Any additional thoughts on where having the outfitter is better or worst than having the land having hunting pressure similar to public land would be welcome. Last year we seemed to have poorer hunting than we did with a lot of hunters on their land. The outfitters feeding, baiting, foodplot and minerals have reduce our deer sightings.
Good luck, the profiteers have ruined and destroyed my favorite pastime and one time heritage...
God never intended whitetail hunting to be commercialize, just ask Fred Bear...
Am I the only one that thinks that's way too much pressure?
I wouldn't worry as much about the outfitter next door, I'd focus on limiting my own intrusion on a small parcel.
Wait till the time is right, then slip in for a surgical strike and kill the buck you are after.
Your scent blowing through your small woodlot every waking hour for 22 days in a row would be my greatest concern.
I will not hunt until the rut. Then I go in as surgically as I can. I hunt until I get a big buck taking some breaks to stay employed. If I fill my tag I stop. I have access from a lot of the sides. I have permission to access our property across the outfitters property. I can do a lot of hunting w/o blowing my scent over very much of our land if I approach it appropriately. In the past I have had good action starting in late October right through Thanksgiving if necessary. When conditions are not right or the deer are just not moving I am able to just go to work rather than hurt future chances. In 2011 I did not take a buck and my records show that I hunted hunt 17 days dawn to dusk and some other partial days. I saw big bucks right to the end and shot a B&C buck the next year that I patterned that year. It has been working for me. Anyway that is not why I am not seeing deer now.
Good luck this season.
I have no idea whats going on either we have lost about 50% of deer sightings in the last 2 years.
3 years ago the herd was doing fantastic the last 2 very, very slim pickings.
I think the deer herd is down a lot. I have hunted same property since 1978.
Perhaps this is why we have now become a 2 deer county?
It isn't catch and release and they don't magically reappear after they have been whacked and stacked previous years and now Ohio hunters are feeling the consequences... That is just fact...
Not a bad thing for overall health of the population but can be frustrating to those wanting to see more deer.
Deer are going to be especially targeting food plots, field edges and low browse this fall/winter. With a few exceptions I'm seeing and hearing about very little tree mast available for deer this year. I can find only scattered acorns, no wild cherries etc. Last year at this time I was seeing deer pounding the whiteoaks on my farm, but not so at all today. The more mature timber areas are mostly devoid of deer sign. I've heard several local guys say they aren't seeing deer in their usual hot zones.
I saw hardly any bucks around here all summer. I caught the buck in the picture working the edge of my field after dark, and now I am seeing other nice bucks beginning to show up.
I am sure that you are right.
Although there seems to have been some bad experiences with the number of mature bucks dropping over time if the outfitter kills everything that his hunters can, it does not seem like he will be able to stop the mature bucks from wondering.
I appreciate everyones input.
(sorry to revive this one from the dead)
One piece of info this thread is missing is all the Outfitters land was Semi- Public; in that any adjoining land owner to any of the 6,000 acres could write in and get permission to hunt the ENTIRE 6,000 acres.
Van loads of hunters and Amish would get dropped off and drive all that land and push the biggest bucks to the adjoining lands that were either not hunted or hunted the way Twanger does, effectively and efficiently. That all changed in 2013/2014 when the outfitter got the lease and took back all the hunting rights across the 6,000 acres.
There's another 400 acres that adjoins both of us and it got the same Hammer and Anvil deer drives that the Outfitters 1500 semi-public adjoining acres did. In that ~2,000 acres the hunting pressure, drives, still hunting etc dropped to almost zero in 2013 and has remained that way for about 10 years. In that mix of changing variables NO DOES have been hunted in that 2,000 acres for 10 years.
As just about everyone states on here, your hunting pressure on your land is the biggest factor in holding and having opportunities at mature bucks regardless of Food, Cover and Water or a neighboring Outfitter. The better you manage your habitat- Food Water Cover the more opportunities you'll have ... BUT only if you're disciplined in Where When and How you hunt it.
Newsflash. God does not care about deer hunting.
Thornton once again proves he is a liar and a fool
Newsflash. God does not care about deer hunting.
My fault. Bought some ground and found myself in almost the same situation as the OP
A bigger issue now seems to be a growing number of hunters owning small acreage on my borders and baiting. They are killing a lot of 1 and 2 year old bucks. One piece is 13 acres with bait piles about 30-40 yards off of my property. The way it is setup every deer they kill comes off of my property and dies on my property. They average killing 3 bucks a year and a few does on just one small property. Over time this has an impact on how many mature bucks there are in the area.
In summary, IMO more and more pressure is being put on our whitetails herds with hunters seeking out every hunting parcel of land. Leasing and outfitting are certainly part of it. It is getting harder to maintain the quality of our hunting experiences but it is the best that we can get so we have to make the best of it.
It seems everyone runs a corn pile in ohio....even folks that dont hunt.
Wondering what goyt and stressless (and others) have to say
That man working hard with plots/mineral stations/etc… The results would be obvious.
You have the opportunity to do the same? You’ll see results as well.