Collapse bottom bar
Subscribe
Deer Forecasts Tips & Tactics Whitetail

HUNTING’s Whitetail Forecast for 2014

by David Hart   |  August 14th, 2014 7

whitetail_2_bgfHere’s an overstated but critical point when it comes to whitetails: Hunters are largely responsible for the current big buck boom. We are passing up little bucks like never before in order to let them age a few years. According to the Quality Deer Management Association, just 37 percent of all antlered deer killed by hunters last season were yearlings, down from 62 percent in 1989. No single component is more important in the trophy buck equation.

As a result, states that never produced more than the occasional Booner are starting to produce more trophy-class whitetails than ever. Even states that don’t carry the genetics necessary to produce 170-inch bucks are surrendering lots of 140-inchers.

whitetail_arrowMississippi is worth a look thanks to minimum point restrictions and abundant public hunting opportunities. Arkansas is also a great deer state with ample public land and high trophy potential in some regions.

There’s no question, though, that the historic hotspots are as good or nearly as good as ever. Some are even better. Wisconsin hunters, for example, registered 93 bucks in Boone & Crockett’s typical category in 2012, up from 38 in 2000. Other states have slipped.

Illinois, once the go-to destination for big bucks, dropped to No. 8 for the number of typical entries in 2012 and 2013, according to B&C’s searchable database of trophy entries. This highlights the fact that it’s not all roses in the whitetail world.

“Many states are reporting lower fawn recruitment rates, often a result of predation by coyotes and even bears,” says Quality Deer Management Association Outreach and Education Director Kip Adams.

In some regions, habitat loss in the form of aging forests is a major threat. Coyote populations are a consistent problem, and widespread disease has proved to be no joke. The 2012 EHD outbreak was likely the second worst in history, and some areas are still recovering. Only time will tell what this all means.

Top Public Land Hunts
Nobody hunts public land anymore because it’s too crowded, or so the saying goes. Not so in places like the 1.5-million- acre Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. It’s one of the best public haunts for big bucks.

Texas may be mostly private, but Texas Parks and Wildlife offers a number of limited-entry draw hunts on public land carefully managed for trophy bucks.

If you’re looking for a great place to start, check out South Dakota. They’ve got plenty of big bucks, and archery hunters almost always draw a tag via the state’s lottery. The non-resident license is only $200, and there’s plenty of land and opportunity.

Dan Perez's Whitetail Properties is at its core a  business, but they're not only making money, they're making a difference in the whitetail industry.
related

Whitetail Populations in 2014: The Good, Bad, & Ugly

This nation has always treasured the white-tailed deer. Theres no arguing that. But it seems that we are more than willi...

Big bucks on public land may be scarce, but Coshocton County in Ohio might just be an exception. Woodbury Wildlife Area in Coshocton County is the largest public hunting and fishing area in Ohio. There’s nearly 20,000 acres with numerous access points, and if you can stake out a good spot, you might just get lucky.

  • ewok man

    Stop the crap about crossbows I use one due to injury to both shoulders and my sons 15 and 13 play 3 sports and are 4pt., students so they don’t have time to practice shooting vertical bows. I have shot longbows and recurves to bows with training wheels if your ethical it doesn’t matter its still all about placement. the fact my does go to hunters feed the hungry should say it all. We keep one der a year and that’s enough.

    • Jay

      Who said anything about crossbows? WTH are you talking about? The article was about the 2014 forecast.

      • shotz90s

        This is what happens when you fall out of your treestand too many times.

    • Drew

      And i understand if you have a disability or are injured but really you cant take min out of your day to shoot a REGULAR BOW you dont have time to hunt anyways so you mies well just quit hunting if you dont have enough time.

      • MrRight

        let’s see you shoot a regular bow with a bad shoulder….

  • Drew

    Really? Dont have time to shoot a vertical bow thats a joke in fact a cross bow takes more time to reload and arrow than a verticle bow does. I could plug three arrows in the target before you even reload your next arrow. Dont have time please your just lazy.

  • MrRight

    The chequamagon just got another night time visit from the tribes and their spotlights and rifles. the tribes poach and we cannot stop them. now they want to shoot another elk in wisconsin, and another night hunt in october will end a lot more deer.

back to top