Thought I'd share this...it is a study done back east, but I think you can draw some conclusions about western hunting from it.
The short story is that Penn State did a study of a 114,000 acre portion of public hunting land and counted hunters in various locations. In the forest of the east the blaze orange wearing hunters are highly visible from the air after the trees lose their leaves.
What did they find?
- Hunters were three times less likely to hunt an area for every 1/3 of a mile from the nearest road.
- Hunters are 1.5 times less likely to hunt an area for every 5% increase in slope.
- 87% of hunters hunted on 56% of the land available.
Now I imagine that guys in the west are more willing to walk than these Pennsylvania whitetail hunters, but you can still draw conclusions. In this case if you were willing to walk a mile from the nearest road you would see NINE TIMES fewer hunters than you did in the first 1/3 mile.
On this map yellow denotes high hunter concentrations and blue denotes areas of few if any hunters. As a backpack hunter guess where I'd be?
Last edited by RockChucker30; 04-24-2014 at 10:06 AM.
Ultralight Hunting Backpacks
An interesting addition to the map would be... where are all the deer!
Very interesting, and as a Midwest public-land whitetail hunter, those numbers pretty much confirm what I've always experienced. I try to select hunting sites with limited access, fewer entry points, parking lots, etc. That can be hard to find, though. I suspect to an extent the tendency to hunt nearer to roads is driven by the fact that we tend to bring animals out whole while you guys out west break them down in the field. Sometime its required by law:
In instances where deer are checked in
while the hunter is still afield, the deer may
not be dismembered while afield beyond
quartering the animal. If quartered, all parts
of the carcass (except the entrails removed
during field dressing) must be transported
together and evidence of sex must remain
naturally attached to one quarter.
(from the Illinois hunting digest)
If you have to bring the carcass out whole (or all at once), and your old, young, have a physical problem, etc., dragging a deer out 2 miles might not sound like such a good idea. However, it does leave some room for those of us willing to walk a ways.
Here in TN one of the best public land places to hunt is within site of the road believe it or not. You have hunters who walk the average distance, and hunters who hike it in...very few people hunt that close to the road but some of the most successful hunters do.
With that said, Im all about solitude. So Im going as deep as I can, its more than killing a deer for me...its the adventure.
We've all experienced or heard the stories of the lucky ones who kill record book animals right off the dirt road after you just hiked 14 miles with 80lbs to get back to your truck after not being successful and there's the toad in the back of the truck that just got shot off the road. All I can do is just reflect back on those 14 miles and days of solitude in God's country and realize that I was truly the successful one. Back to the article though, lol and it is definitely the general rule of thumb that is you can get at least 1 mile from any road in any state then you have just beat 95%+ of the hunters, period. Those stats is what I live for even if it means I see less game due to the fact that I am not traveling 50 miles of dirt roads in a day. I personally would rather enjoy a quality backpack hunt and not kill anything then shoot a 180" buck of the hood of my truck, JMO. Thanks for the article RC30.
-Introduce someone to the outdoors this year-
Genesis 27:3 (NLT) "Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me"
I've been backpack hunting for a few years now and I have to say it has very quickly become my favourite hunts of the year. It adds an element of adventure and discovery to the hunt. Even a short weekender where I hike in 3-5km gets me into some incredible areas around here where I am almost certain not to see another person. My partner and I always set up camp on one of the many high alpine lakes in our region so we can combine some cutthroat fishing with our hunting, I've even gone swimming on early September hunts after a particularly gruelling hike in. The scenery and the solitude make the effort worthwhile even when, as so often happens, no big game gets taken. We don't get a chance to do a lot of scouting except for summer hikes with the family so most times we pick an alpine lake using google and hiking guides and really kind of head in blind. I've never been disappointed with where we ended up, however if I had to take time off work or drive a great distance I would probably want to know more about an area before packing in a long ways. In the end the backpacking I have done have made some unsuccessful hunts into some of my most memorable hunts. Success isn't all about killing for me.
I agree there are not many hunters out west willing to walk over 1 mile either. Some hunters I met last fall couldnt believe I walked in nearly a mile in the mud to get an antelope. I thought it was an easy hunt! When I look for leftover tags 1 of the biggest things I look for is chunks of public land where I can get atleast 1 mile from any road.
"Now two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I fee. One is the colors that fly high and proud The red, the white, the blue. The other one's got a rattlesnake With a simple statement made "Don't tread on me" is what it says and I'll take that to my grave. Because this is me. I'm proud to be American and strong in my beliefs. And I've said it before but I'll say it again 'Cause my family's always fought and died to save this land. And a country boy is all I'll ever be."