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The Back 40

Who’s Excited About Deer Season?

Tue, September 23, 2014

As Illinois deer hunters, we have certainly been thrown a few curve balls these last few seasons.  EHD, CWD, poor game management, over hunting, and drought have all made the news too often. 

This, however, is a new year.  The year we can start taking matters into our own hands.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Voluntary Restraint by now.  This is the year to implement it.  Try to get as many neighbors on board as possible.  If your area is suffering from low deer numbers, let the ladies walk.  Let the young boys walk too.  That said, if I am in need of deer meat and my deer population is lower than I’d like, I’d rather take a basket rack out of the herd than a breeding doe.  In a few short years, you’ll have more deer and bigger bucks.  You are your property’s best manager. 

Like most small property owners, I didn’t need the state or anyone else to tell me how many deer to shoot.  When I first acquired my 50 acres, the deer numbers were very low.  The only reason I bought the place was because I knew it had tons of potential.  Although I’ve seen that potential realized the last few seasons, this year I’m feeling particularly proud of my efforts.  As strange as this sounds, I rarely get does on trail camera pictures.  I’d say my pictures are 95% bucks.  This runs parallel with my actual sightings throughout the last few seasons.  This year is different though.  This year I’m seeing does on camera with some consistency.  We haven’t shot a doe on my place in 2-3 years now and I think it’s finally showing.  My buck numbers as a whole appear to be about the same, but the number of quality bucks has jumped this year.  That doesn’t mean I’ll get one, but it certainly increases my odds.  Boy I hope I didn’t just jinx myself. 

Being your own land/game manager can be frustrating.  Neighbors aren’t always in agreement…especially when it comes to letting certain bucks walk or not shooting does.  Our own DNR seems to work against us at times.  It does work though.  I only own/manage 50 acres.  I feel as though my place doesn’t even exist when I hear others talk about their 300, 500, 900 acres hunting paradises.  My 50 acres is proof, though, that you can make a difference…even on small parcels.  My 50 is far from perfect.  There are still several costly things I’d like to do to increase my deer sightings and holding capacity, but the improvements I’ve made so far have really begun to prove themselves worthwhile.  I’m more than happy with the outcome of my improvements. 

I usually only have one buck that I am after, but let’s just say this year I feel a bit more fortunate.  My goal in the past has always been to get the one deer I was after.  This year my goal is to get each of my two kids a mountable buck…or at least one of them.  It wouldn’t be too terrible if I happened to get one as well. 

I hope your season is as great as you want it to be.  Be safe, hunt hard, and enjoy your time outdoors this deer season.  Feel free to share pictures of the one you’re after this year.  I’ll share mine when I’m hopefully kneeling behind him. 

John Soehn


Love your optimism. Most deer hunting blogs and comments on here make me want to run to the pharmacist for some antidepressants or go straight for the bullet to the head.  John, I am also eager to see what season brings. Summer trail cam pics were better than expected Adding to the my enthusiasm. Good luck to you and thanks for the positive article. Its refreshing!

Posted by selfinflicted on September 23

I’m very excited about deer season opening! Been out shooting my GlenDel everyday after work and they don’t stand a chance inside 30! Very good read, I typically find myself optimisitic st the beginning of the season. Even if I never see a deer, I look forward to my time spent on the stand in solitude, as well as afield with hunting companions.

Posted by Illinoisbassnbucks on September 23

I have heard lots of optimism in the past few weeks from hunters. Ahh, but it is early. Give everybody a few months of lacking sleep and no monster buck to call their own and we shall see. Until then, it’s nice to hear positive words! GOOD LUCK!

Posted by Jeff Lampe on September 24

I’m chomping at the bit to get out there.  This will be the first year that one of my kids is bowhunting.  He’s 12, can pull 40lbs and has been practicing like crazy.  We have a few mature bucks frequenting our area and seem be getting more daytime pics of them than in years past. Good luck to everyone!

Posted by jcurri on September 24

Seems like this summer went by real quick, been so busy with work and other projects that I haven’t been down to farm very much, in retrospect that may be a good thing, since I’m not there bumping deer around.  Opening day is ify right now, maybe the afternoon hunt.

Posted by BIGPOND on September 24

Without optimism, deer season would be a horrible grind.  The October lull that I go through on the new place can be very trying.  The last three seasons I went exactly 19 hunts without ever seeing a deer.  Why 19 every time I have no idea. 

My kids, especially my son, have no idea why I belief every hunt will be successful when clearly most are not…when success is defined as a harvest.  “You always think a deer is going to pop out of the thicket at any moment.”  I get that a lot.  And I sort of do believe that.  It’s what keeps me going. 

This will be my very first deer season as a non-smoker.  Hopefully being a non-smoker will make it easier to sit in my stand a bit longer in the morning.  The urge for a smoke has caused me to leave a morning stand more than just a few times.  Hopefully I’ll be rewarded with more deer sightings now. 

Jeff…If I don’t get a big buck this season, it won’t make me cranky.  The lack of sleep you mentioned most certainly will though.  I’m not a morning person.

Posted by Treehugger on September 24

I know I’m excited to start another deer season. I’m a cubs fan, so the start of a new deer season is a lot like the start of baseball season. I just hope I’m in the running for a successful season for longer than the 2 weeks the cubs usually are. It’s always nice to add a nice buck to make a season, but I guarentee a successful season, which to me is being able to relax in a tree while watching nature during a sunrise/sunset. I can’t wait!

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on September 24

CCHunter, when are the Cubs in it for two weeks?!  (this coming from a diehard Cubs fan too!) 

I love the optimism as well.  I try and focus in the positives than the negatives.  We just pulled cards and have some real nice bucks on there and plenty of does.  Looking forward to taking a doe for the freezer then hopefully a good buck for the wall and if I’m super lucky, a GIANT buck that I hold my second tag for (Rarely happens that I fill my second buck tag though)

I like your thoughts on taking a basket rack buck rather than a doe if you only take one deer.  I’d much rather take a single buck than taking a doe that produces one to three deer every year.  We have two does that have triplets this year.  If you want to raise the population, you want to make sure you don’t shoot does like that!

Posted by Bigb on September 24

looking forward to it but not expecting it to be much better than last year. Good luck.

Posted by cuttnstrut on September 25

Being a Cardinals fan, I’m used to watching baseball most of October, helping to pass the time until hitting the woods late Oct/early Nov. Looks like I’ll get to do that again this year!!!

Posted by Gilly1 on September 25

Gilly, Luckily the sting is taken away by having an NBA, Hockey and NFL team that are better than most.  We’ll give you baseball for the next few years, but I have a feeling the Central is about to shift from perennial powerhouses to the teams who have been in the back of the pack for a few years.  Luckily I went to University of Kansas so my hatred for University of Missouri runs deep!  At least Kansas dominates U of Missouri so it all evens out!  smile

Posted by Bigb on September 25

Very excited!  Just not getting my hopes up too much. It’s just good to get out there.

Posted by Andy Meador on September 25

Haha, i like it BigB.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on September 26

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