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Is Your Deer Season Too Long?

December 19, 2013
Is Your Deer Season Too Long? - 6

With deer seasons wrapping up around the country, the old complaint mill has started to gin up. We’ve been hearing a whole lot grousing in the past couple of weeks about the length of the deer season. Granted, most of the complaints have come from my home state of New York, but we have received enough from other areas to make us think that there just might be something to it.

Here’s a cross section of comments: “We’ve been chasing deer since October 1 and it’s just too much. No wonder we haven’t seen a buck in 3 weeks.” Another weighed in with: “How do you expect these deer to get any age on them when the gun season runs for a solid month—everybody’s shell shocked, the deer and the landowners.”  More than a few are blaming extended seasons with declining deer numbers. “Everybody has a pocket full of tags and 2 months to fill them in. No wonder all the deer are gone”.

The view from 30,000 feet is pretty interesting. And boy is it ever a varied landscape. On the low side we have Illinois and Ohio each with 7-day gun season. They are part of the five Midwest states have gun seasons less than 10 days long. That generally means one weekend and a handful of weekdays. The average length of Midwest gun season for whitetails is 13 days and we all know what comes out of the Midwest.

On the other end of the spectrum, is the Southeast where the average length of the gun season is 68 days—Georgia and Alabama hunters enjoy more than 100 days to hunt deer. Now that’s a heck of a season. Seems as if long seasons were a problem they would have shortened them by now?

It’s tempting to look at Midwest deer hunting and conclude that short seasons mean big bucks. If it were only that simple?

So what’s the answer? Kip Adams, a QDMA spokesperson, believes there may be no right answer. He has spoken with deer and deer hunters in over 20 states and is quick to point out that deer seasons are not as simple as the number of days they run. As far as keeping populations in check, some states get the job done in 2 weeks while others need 2 months. Hunter density and hunter enthusiasm has a lot to do with it. As far as big bucks go, well, it’s pretty hard to beat the Midwest but there is more to growing big bucks than a short deer season.

So let’s see what our fellow Outdoor Life deer watchers think about season lengths. Are you happy with the length of your state’s deer season and why or why not? And while you are thinking about it, how would you change it?

Comments (6)

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from 6phunter wrote 29 weeks 5 hours ago

any time a buck is out of velvet the season should be open .WITH hunter numbers going down and the bag limit going up, the deer population remains in check. THE car insurance industry is making sure deer numbers are kept low, and that's a fact.

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from peteyraymond wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

I agree 100% with huntfishtrap. If you think the season is open too long, just don't go hunting. Period.

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from wisc14 wrote 30 weeks 5 hours ago

seasons are not too long in wisconsin.

the reason bucks are bigger in the midwest than the south is because mammals of the same species tend to get larger the farther north one goes

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from ddop32 wrote 30 weeks 6 days ago

South Carolina, atleast from the Piedmont (middle portion) to the Lowcountry are overpopulated with whitetail. These regions have an abundance of swamps, rivers, and dense forest with big mature whitetail that obviously have plenty of cover from predators and hunters. As a native South Carolinian, I have seen 14 point 200-240 lbs bucks on countless occasions although I haven't been able to get one over 215 lbs myself. In these game zones, the season starts August 15th and ends January 1. Over the past 10 years, coyotes have magically boomed after being a very rare occurrence for years. Many speculate that DNR tried to increase the number of coyotes to control the whitetail population even though this is detrimental to other wildlife. Like I said, this is speculation and good luck getting DNR to admit that, but ten years ago you would maybe hear of a handful of sightings every year all on one side of a certain county. They were isolated. Now, they are in cities like Mount Pleasant, SC. I work in Mt. Pleasant, and I personally watched DNR clean out 5 dens 3 years ago in a 48 acre area. Now, I have to slow down pulling into work to let pups walk by. If you want proof of the numbers of whitetail, call any auto body shop between Orangeburg county and Charleston county and ask how many cars they fix on a weekly basis because of deer.

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from horsethief wrote 31 weeks 4 hours ago

The deer seasons in Kansas are not too long. Archery season starts in the middle of Sept and goes until Dec 31. Muzzle loader season is the second half of Sept. Rifle season is a week after Thanksgiving and goes 10ish days into Dec. The warmer weather in Sept the cooler days/nights in Nov, and then then the flat-out cold (or outright decent) hunting days of Dec make for a season of a decent length. Deer are running scared after the second day of rifle season, but at the same time they're moved out of their normal "hang out" areas into places where they're more likely to be spotted by hunters.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 31 weeks 16 hours ago

I find the people who whine that the deer season in their state is too long amusing - they act like someone is forcing them to hunt for the entire season! Just because the season is open doesn't mean you have to hunt, and change doesn't (or at least shouldn't) always have to come via legislation.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 31 weeks 16 hours ago

I find the people who whine that the deer season in their state is too long amusing - they act like someone is forcing them to hunt for the entire season! Just because the season is open doesn't mean you have to hunt, and change doesn't (or at least shouldn't) always have to come via legislation.

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from ddop32 wrote 30 weeks 6 days ago

South Carolina, atleast from the Piedmont (middle portion) to the Lowcountry are overpopulated with whitetail. These regions have an abundance of swamps, rivers, and dense forest with big mature whitetail that obviously have plenty of cover from predators and hunters. As a native South Carolinian, I have seen 14 point 200-240 lbs bucks on countless occasions although I haven't been able to get one over 215 lbs myself. In these game zones, the season starts August 15th and ends January 1. Over the past 10 years, coyotes have magically boomed after being a very rare occurrence for years. Many speculate that DNR tried to increase the number of coyotes to control the whitetail population even though this is detrimental to other wildlife. Like I said, this is speculation and good luck getting DNR to admit that, but ten years ago you would maybe hear of a handful of sightings every year all on one side of a certain county. They were isolated. Now, they are in cities like Mount Pleasant, SC. I work in Mt. Pleasant, and I personally watched DNR clean out 5 dens 3 years ago in a 48 acre area. Now, I have to slow down pulling into work to let pups walk by. If you want proof of the numbers of whitetail, call any auto body shop between Orangeburg county and Charleston county and ask how many cars they fix on a weekly basis because of deer.

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from horsethief wrote 31 weeks 4 hours ago

The deer seasons in Kansas are not too long. Archery season starts in the middle of Sept and goes until Dec 31. Muzzle loader season is the second half of Sept. Rifle season is a week after Thanksgiving and goes 10ish days into Dec. The warmer weather in Sept the cooler days/nights in Nov, and then then the flat-out cold (or outright decent) hunting days of Dec make for a season of a decent length. Deer are running scared after the second day of rifle season, but at the same time they're moved out of their normal "hang out" areas into places where they're more likely to be spotted by hunters.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 30 weeks 5 hours ago

seasons are not too long in wisconsin.

the reason bucks are bigger in the midwest than the south is because mammals of the same species tend to get larger the farther north one goes

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from peteyraymond wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

I agree 100% with huntfishtrap. If you think the season is open too long, just don't go hunting. Period.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 29 weeks 5 hours ago

any time a buck is out of velvet the season should be open .WITH hunter numbers going down and the bag limit going up, the deer population remains in check. THE car insurance industry is making sure deer numbers are kept low, and that's a fact.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)