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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, my friend and I have been hunting my uncle's property for the past 2 seasons. I killed a non typical 7pt basket rack buck for my first deer on opening day gun season 2013 and a non typical 9pt (big fella- 245lb live weight) during bow season last year. My friend shot a typical 8pt last year as well. The problem we've been running into for this season is that we have less land to hunt than we thought we had compared to the last 2 years. We've set up on a tree that looks out at the intersection of 3-4 deer trails. We thought that we would be seeing tons of bucks on our trail cam but it's 11 days into bow season and we just now got 1 picture of a buck at night. We are a lot closer to the house than previous years but still not close enough to see it. My uncle has always said "the big boys go deep back there," meaning on the 120 acres of land that borders his property that he didn't know someone actually owned and cared about. Now, I killed a mid-sized doe for the bow season opener 10 days ago and all we have been seeing are doe, fawn and turkey. I know that will pick up more later in the month when the pre-rut kicks in and after that in the rut, when the bucks start chasing does, but we have a small parcel of land (about 2.5 acres) to hunt on, with other hunters in the area. So, the big question is what should we shoot from here on out? We would like to manage the deer herd around us but with such a small parcel, and other hunters nearby, it's hard to. We are not sure whether or not to shoot more young doe to keep the adult doe going, and whether or not to pass on small bucks to allow bigger bucks to grow. If we shoot small bucks then there is the chance for some hunter nearby during either bow or gun to shoot the big guys (big guys in our area are 3yr old 8pts) and then we get skunked for the season big-buck-wise. We're really not sure if Deer management is even an option because of the other hunters nearby. We could use all the help/advice you offer on this subject and what to do to bring in more bucks to our stand also. Thank you and happy hunting!
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cold, dead hands ......
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"The 120 acres of land that he didn't know someone actually owned"????? I would love to have listened in on this conversation!

With only 2.5 acres your only hope is to form some type of co-op with your neighbors. You need them on board if you're going to achieve your goals.
 
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"The 120 acres of land that he didn't know someone actually owned"????? I would love to have listened in on this conversation!

With only 2.5 acres your only hope is to form some type of co-op with your neighbors. You need them on board if you're going to achieve your goals.
Let's just say that co-op won't be an option.
 

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cold, dead hands ......
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Let's just say that co-op won't be an option.
I use the term loosely - any cooperation you ca get from neighbors will help your cause (whatever that is).

If you've burned those bridges, you're screwed.
 

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You're not going to accomplish any sort of management on 2.5 acres. Love your enthusiasm and mindset..but you have to be realistic. Clearly you guys are young, just shoot whatever you have a tag for and makes you happy. If that's a doe fawn, go for it..if you want to pass young bucks and wait for Mr Big, that's great too. Just be realistic and know you might be waiting years. Personally, I'd rather see you enjoy success than become frustrated trying to accomplish the impossible and lose interest in the sport all together.
 

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Some optional sites to hunt could take the pressure and suspicion off the 2 1/2 acre site between now and firearm if deer are on to you, somewhat any way.
What you might need to weigh is ,what is acceptable to you as your next targeted deer? Then add it's pursuit to your management goals.
Hunting does there now, or any deer, can reduce odds more each hunt. Depends on what deer have found or will find of your being or having been there.
Without knowing the deer density and their impact on habitat it is hard to know what to kill as far as management.
Getting bucks to feel secure on the 2 1/2 before the rut would perhaps be better than trying to get them near stands beyond having a mock scrape in range of each if on a passing through route.
Too much human presence in a hunting mode might just counter that effort.
Hard to find a balance but specific weather conditions and limited hunts might be a consideration.
Always need to figure if those bucks know you hang out there, and what is involved in their getting there if they want to head that way from a distance.
 

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I'll start by agreeing with the posters above, shoot what makes you happy. On the other hand, if you two want to kill older bucks but settle for less based on your beliefs that others will kill them anyway, how do you know you are not that guy yourself. Maybe the neighbors already have self imposed harvest criteria. I would suggest communicating with other hunters in the area to find out if they have any harvest goals, then base your harvest decisions on what you find.
 

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As hunters we automatically become involved in the management of the deer herd. In that light, I always try to make my decisions on what is best for the population that I am hunting. For me it is simple, and I think this may apply to your situation as well. If deer numbers are high, pass on 1.5 year old bucks and take doe for the freezer. If hunting a low population density, pass on doe and target any buck for the freezer. If you are dead set against shooting young bucks, even in low density situations - pass on them as well. However, realize that if you take this route you may end up with an empty freezer.
In any case, try to do what is best for the population in your area, do what you think is best, and don't worry about what others hunting around you might target. All you can do ... is all YOU can do.
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