Do you think it’s easier to kill a big buck, let’s say the most mature buck for the area, over a food plot or a bait pile? And which area will have the biggest deer, a non bait or a bait state?
(I’m from Alberta, Canada and we can’t bait for deer and food plotting specifically for deer hunting is very rare, grey area for being legal.)
If Ohio had the hunter numbers that Iowa did, we could most definitely keep pace if not beat the quality of deer killed there.
Either situation could produce the bigger deer IMO. I really think thats a wash. The hunter numbers is the big factor, IMO.
as to your second question...with all other things being equal i think a non baiting state will produce more mature deer because people who hunt over bait tend to be less selective.
Good plot all the way.
Big deer do not like to venture out into open areas. Not like I’ve experienced elsewhere. Bait piles can be placed near bedding and cover. Allowing big deer to stay in a comfortable vertical cover.
I also think Trail cams are a factor in that people can put a bait pile out and get pictures of any deer that actually hits the bait. Whereas the same is less likely true for a plot. Which allows someone to really focus their effort on a bait pile that may be drawing a good deer. Whereas a plot that is drawing a good deer, they may never get a picture of or have very few pictures of that good buck.
The number of "big deer" killed over bait piles far exceeds those over food plots. It's simple math, the overwhelming majority of folks don't and won't take the time to plant a food plot. It's far easier to dump a pile, and train an animal to come to a certain 5'x5' spot in any setting. People are weak, and weak people need easy buttons.
Plenty of people use bait where legal and don’t where not legal. I guess sitO judges people off of corn :)
Most mature bucks seem to be the most vulnerable during the rut. My logic would lend me to attracting the most does possible in order to attract the big bucks. Bait piles seem like they should attract does correct? Why then would that not translate into better opportunities for big bucks?
i think they call that "nimby."
years ago there was a prominent traditional bowhunter that railed and railed about how unethical hunting bears over bait was.
then he wrote an article about how he shot an elk...quartered and packed out the meat...and then proceeded to shoot a bear over the remaining carcass a couple days later.
If you don’t see a difference between capitalizing on an ephemeral food source where it lies and habituating a bunch of bears to associate human presence/activity with a reliable food source in a specific location (of your choosing)…. then you don’t see it.
I do not care if folks bait, I have done it before and likely will at some point in the future. It does not compare with the sense of accomplishment I get when I kill a mature buck without baiting, a food plot or calling. Just patterning and hunting. But I am not above using any of the methods. It is just a helluva lot harder to do it without a manipulated food source. It would be even better if I could do it off the ground (but I never have in my home state (SC)). Each thing that makes it harder, like a compound bow is to a rifle or a recurve is to a compound, increases the satisfaction/accomplishment. But I won't belittle any of it. But to not acknowledge what makes hunting easier is foolhardy.
I’ve done both. Extensively. Baiting in southern WV, where the habitat is so diverse due to logging, mining, and agriculture in south eastern counties of this state, is futile. I know because I gave it an honest try.
I fed year round. I created mineral licks in these baiting areas. I stayed out except to go fill up 55 gallon drums elevated off the ground between two trees, with 3/4” skidder cables. You had to do that to keep bears off of them. These feeders would feed for three weeks between fill ups. So, I did not pollute these places.
I hung cameras over every one of these feeders. I found that often, within the first day or so of hanging these feeders, I’d get pictures of big bucks. Sometimes three or four together in summer time. But, in all those photos, I’ve only got a second pic of one of those deer. It was on Night two when he came back to clean up the bag of apples I’d thrown out below the feeder the day before. That’s it. Not one of these other deer ever came back to a feeder. I’m not talking about 10 deer or two feeders here. I’m talking about 10 feeders spread over 30 miles apart.
When you are running cameras and continue to get these deer in the area but, never on the feeder cameras, that’s got to mean something. Especially the number of times and locations this occurred.
I also had three food plots totaling 5 acres on some property I had exclusive access to. It was a larger parcel, over 500 acres. And, it was mountain land and farm bottoms.
I bought the timber off this property, set up the harvest plan, supervised the logging, and was given permission to plow and plant those plots in the valley. I knew this area like my own yard. It had a good deer density and there were some real studs that called this place home.
Anyways, While the deer rarely fed in the plots due to the explosion of natural growth from the logging, they’d feed in the old pasture I kept mowed around it. Often times just browsing through the plots but, never relying on them. So, I know the plots didn’t spook them even though the deer did t use them consistently.
I also baited on that same property. I saw a lot of big deer there. But, in four years of planting and mowing those plots, and running the feeders there, I never got the first picture of a big buck at the feeders.
While a logger who cut for me hunted 150 acres of his own property, on the same mountain 4 miles away, and killed huge deer every year I did this experiment. He had a rule that his brother and father both adhered to on his property. No baiting.
That with what I was experiencing other places feeding corn convinced me what I claimed. Around these parts, baiting educates deer. There’s no debating that in my experience. And, I know a bunch of hunters around here that would testify to the exact same results.
That may not be the way it is other places. But, that’s the way it is here. I promise. And, While I don’t care to set over bait, I would indeed still be doing it if big bucks visited it.
But, by the same token, most doe’s abandon food plots the same way. Once again, in my opinion because they get pestered so much by younger bucks once the pre rut gets going.
My experience over those 4 years leads me to that conclusion. You get does, fawns, and bucks visit them still. Just sparingly. And, the young bucks will out number the does and fawns in visits during this time frame.
As the rut progresses into full bore and into the back side, the doe’s will start to return.
Anyways, for me, the lack of deer sightings, the knowledge that it’s futile, and the lack of enthusiasm to set and watch a bait pile makes it a no brainer to me.
What gets the deer and nicer bucks in bait here, is dictated by weather. Been really mild, so activity is slow.
He has numerous well maintained food plots throughout the property Each food plot has a wildlife watering station and a feeder and or covered feed station where he feeds corn treated with Ivamec.
He gets some amazing pictures of Very large buck deer, world record raccoons and very healthy Turkeys
Catch to all of it, he allows no Deer Hunting. Upland birds and Dove. Amazing to see big bucks in the plots during the day
Place is truly amazing. Ive been up several times and really enjoy it a lot
Never asked him if they had a stray dog problem. He is death on his coyote population though
It’s easy to say how another should hunt. When you aren’t hunting there. And, it’s also easy to assume hunting is the same for all whitetail deer.
How many guys used to hunting the Midwest agriculture, could go to Alabama and kill deer as easily? I’m betting zero. I’m not saying they aren’t as good a hunter. I’m saying you’ll see more deer in one season in the Midwest than you’ll likely see in 5 years in thick country.
It’s not because there is more deer in the Midwest either. It’s because they gotta be karate range in order to even see one in thick country.
How do you up your odds then? Because we all have limited time. What would you do to ensure yourself the best odds of getting a deer in range? Keep bouncing around till you get lucky?
That might work sometimes but, it surely isn’t a productive way of maximizing your chances the limited time you do have. However, planting or throwing out a food source sure does up your odds. See how that works?
On the flip side, how do you get a deer in orator country to stroll within 40 yards of you? I’ve hunted wide open places where deer get pressured. They learn quick that danger lurks in the trees and brush. How do you get one of these deer within 40 yards of you in that kind of country? See how that works.
I got zero problems with people baiting. And, while I dont fool with it anymore, That doesn’t mean I’m a more ethical hunter. It means the boredom, the amount of commitment it takes, and the results it creates just don’t equal out. I imagine that coin could be flipped to just the opposite of my experiences. Depending on where someone is hunting.
It’s like crossbows. Who in their right mind would trade that for a vertical bow. If you are interested in the greatest thrill during a kill, no one would. Same as shooting deer over bait. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t rationalize it as a plus.
So, there is No need to ridicule or rationalize what another chooses. You aren’t walking in that other guys boots. Just be happy you were blessed enough to get to hunt.
If someone wants to set over a pile of corn, it’s their loss in quality to do so if they have other options. If someone is setting over it because they need to in order to be consistently efficient, I’m sorry that’s your pediment. But, I ain’t judging you for it. Just glad that I have choices that prevents that from being me.
Hogs…..ain’t got anything good to say about those bastards ! The state could have gotten ahead of that problem years ago but it’s too late now. It was mostly because of hunters, because they wanted something to hunt besides whitetails. It was Pandora’s box, and it has not only opened, it has turned upside down. If we don’t have more hogs than deer right now, it won’t be long until we do. I also believe that the state would suppress the actual hog numbers if it suited them. I don’t think they know, or care, how many hogs we have. For instance, I never see herds of deer numbering in the twenties, but I see hogs numbering in the twenties quite often. In Texas, there are only two kinds of people where hogs are concerned. Those that have them, and those that are gonna have them.
I guess I just don’t get why anybody cares how someone else approaches a legal activity when it has nothing to do with him/her. How does me feeding corn or having a food plot affect you sit0 ?
Shots fired!!!! I question the masculinity of any man that doesn’t shoot a Hoyt!!! Years of observation!!
Usually any corn piles left over from cleaning combines or up by the bins are dumped down by the woods. They don’t last long. Get hit by 100 does a night…. Bucks eat it too but unless you had plenty of money to continually put it out I can’t see where bait would be more productive than a good plot. Most of our plots are 1/4 to 1/2 acre