Contributors to this thread:
BIGGEST CHANGE ??
What do you believe is the single biggest change in the way people pursue deer over the past, say, 25, years. Not looking to assess if it was a change for the better in your opinion or for the worse, just in order of magnitude what would that single biggest factor be.
As thought starter it could be technological, philosophical, political, informational, etc. based.
As silly a it would be to suggest we build this list without injecting opinions on the pro's or con's of your chosen item lets try to build this list without injecting opinions on the pro's or con's of your item
Reading the Wenzel‘s books
Technology!!! Smart everything, cameras, highly upgraded gear and equipment...
use of electronics, specifically trail cameras/rangefinders
Loss of access to private land
Baiting. Period. Pulls deer off areas that they would naturally be in.
The move towards archery here in PA. There aren't deer drives during rifle season anymore. Also the "growing bucks" philosophy. Food plots and 'my deer' are two things I didn't see 25 years ago.
Technology....they allow even the unmotivated to succeed, once they shake the Cheeto dust off their chest to go look at the trail cam pics....lol Now they want the information to be delivered directly to their phone or desk computer.
Internet, YouTube, TV videos all create unrealistic expectations that fuel the demand for more technology to make it possible to match what "those guys" are killing.
As cold as it is in the stand this mornin- chemical handwarmers!!!!!!!
My age. Not saying if that's good or bad.
Huge increase in popularity of bow hunting, due to a lot of reasons but must include the exploding herd sizes from when archery seasons first opened.
Satellite images (GoogleEarth)
Private property has changed the way I hunt more than anything else. I'm now hunting small sections of property where I once could hunt miles in any direction.
The biggest change for me has been the loss of private access due to outfitting, leasing, and commercialization. For the most part, the days of gaining access to quality private property with a friendly handshake, or perhaps by helping the landowner with chores, are gone.
Trail Cameras by a long shot and I stared hunting exactly 25 years ago.
Technology in the way of cams and internet and weaponry ....... I also believe the introduction of crossbows into the archery seasons has diluted those seasons from what 'archery' seasons originally were .. we now have a influx of more people in the early archery seasons who were gun hunters only, as they are a simple function of shooting as a firearm in form and style ... so now the early archery season esp. on state lands has more boots on the ground and more interference and pressure in the woods ... here, the crossbow kills are now equal to what the vertical bow take is and in some states higher ....
Technological advancement and heightened competitive trends (size of antlers, skull measurements, overall fur size and color, are only a few competitive factors that come to mind)
In PA I would say the point restrictions.
Technology such as trail cameras and access to the internet and all the info.
Attitudes have changed as well, with a "trophy only" or "shooter" or "hit list" mentality a lot more prevalent now than it was 25 years ago.
Without a doubt what’s changed the most for me is the monetization of hunting. 25 years ago I could hunt half the county I live in, so could most locals. Now most decent land is leased by outfitters, hunt clubs or individuals that come out of the cities. Technology has changed how I hunt but the change in the hunting culture has had a much further reaching affect than that.
Food plots and trail cams
Trail cameras, food plots (where baiting not legal), hunting TV shows, and the hunting internet forums.
Trail cams and the Internet hands down
Definition of trophy has changed for many especially when it comes to bowhunting.
I disagree Glunt, it's got to be the Conquest Scrape Maker.
Growth in leased land - loss of easy access to private land Internet - from youtube to boards like this, to things like OnX, google earth etc.
Access to information with the internet. If you are new to hunting, bowhunting, hunting a new species, or new state you can chat with people with much more information than you could find in your small bubble or a few magazine or books. Arial maps, maps of property boundaries, landowners, and topos are at your finger tips. You can get some much more from a states wildlife departments website than you could from their small brochure.
It is huge benefit if you are at the beginning of your learning curve. It makes setting out on DYI hunt vs hiring an outfitter much more doable. It becomes a curse the further along on the learn curve you move because it makes it hard to set yourself apart from others or find that secluded place that a bunch of out of staters also show up at that you have to compete with.
The way you acquire ground to hunt.
Food plots are much more prevalent now that they were when I started hunting in 1984. Additionally, is the tendency to primarily hunt during those key times of the year (late Oct - mid Nov) in order to take advantage of the best hunting. Maybe I was too young in 1984 to recognize that a majority of people did that then, but I certainly recognize the trend today.
Butt-Out Tool no question changed everything, Cough Silencer close second.
Why less young hunters in the woods. What are all these kids doing?
All great answers. Obviously your answer depends on your game and where you hunt. I'm a Midwest hunter that loves to hunt IL. I believe trail cams have changed everything.
Compound bows, historically. Last 25 years, in areas where legal, scoped crossbows for sure. In areas where scoped crossbows are not yet legal, trail cameras and drones.
I believe the biggest change is that the definintion of "hunting" has changed, whereas 25 or more years ago guys read everything they could get their hands on about deer hunting, spent way more time scouting, learning to read sign, and playing a game of chess with the local deer. Contrast that to today and it seems as if most guys plant a plot or place bait and simply sit there waiting to skip all the preliminaries and kill a buck with as little effort as necessary.
SO, my answer is 25 years ago it was about the hunt. These days it's more about the kill. Everything you see marketed towards hunters proves my point.
Everyone is a trophy hunter. Even people who never killed a deer.
Bowsite. We used to go home and whine to only our wives.
Now we can whine to hundreds at once.
I too thought trail cams first off. There used to be only a single way to track deer and learn who, what, and where they were on your hunting ground. You had to be there and invest as much time scouting as hunting. There simply was no other option to gather intel. Whether it was in the woods, in the truck glassing fields for hours in the evening, or setting up an observation stand and sitting it. You had to commit to basically hunting without a weapon, both in and out of season, to get info.
Now you can have all that info with next to no time required other than setting up cameras and gathering data. You can learn as much as you want simply by establishing more monitoring points. You used to have to divide your time between scouting this property or that property, but you could not be in two places at once. Now your ability to "clone" yourself is function of the trail cam budget you can tolerate. Time is no longer a gating factor.
Available information especially from the internet. For instance, I now know what Dot Pretzels are and that a lot of hunters really like them and some really do not.
Manscaping? Asking for a friend....
I think it's when there's too many men on the landscape.
Biggest change? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$/ACCESS...... That's what you need to be able to hunt much nowadays. I'm fortunate in that I've been hunting where I do for close to 40 years, and I'm lucky that my landowner friends are still breathing and farming. But that will end too. I really don't know what I'd do if I was starting out new today here in Illinois.
Deer-view mirror, barely edges out cough silencer for room in my hunting pack!
Woods Walker for the win imo.
Rangefinders....peeps...and the release .....It used to be "hope and pray" and now we all expect to hit the target !!
Attitude. Question was "Did you get a deer." Question was not, "Did you smoke a Mac Daddy."
People are the biggest change both hunters and non hunters.
For me, it’s food plots and habitat work. It has become as much a part of deer hunting as the hunting itself. I like to grow good plots and I like to watch the deer using them. Sometimes I even kill one !
Whitetails, it’s all about controlling the situation - food plots, hinge-cutting, bait/feeders, trail cams, leases, etc. All about manipulating the environment and the animals to facilitate the kill.
Out West, it’s the speed gains and rangefinders that have changed the game the most. About 25 years ago, Randy Ulmer was quoted in an article saying that he figured his maximum ethical range was 35 yards. Now, you’re considered to be a Troll & a Luddite if you’re so bold as to suggest that this oughtta be treated as a 40-yard endeavor.
Either way, we’ve come a long way from sneaking around until you’re close enough that “point & shoot” will get you into the 10-ring...
Quality warm camo. Lets to many hunters hunt later into the season. I used to be the only one around here who hunted into late Dec-Jan.
25 years ago, I was 16 years old and the only thing I cared about was boobs.
So in my personal case, I'd have to say the biggest change has been less interest in boobs.
Although they're still #2 and #3 to bowhunting.
The biggest change in Vermont is attitudes about hunting. Twenty five years ago when land was not posted you hunted it if you wanted. The result was a lot of resentment and a lot of new land posting. hunters who asked permission were still allowed to hunt in some cases. In the last two years I am seeing another shift. People are again Irespecting respectful hunters more. The ball is in our court.
The compound bow. Without it, current bowhunter numbers would be 10% of what they are now. With that fewer seeking access, access would be far easier - along with a reduction in pretty much every other issue listed above.
I need to change mine to the birth of fragmented hunter cliques that resent each other.
The TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT in every aspect of bowhunting
Commercialization and monetization of whitetail deer.