Gun Pushing Deer Hunters VS Stand, management & bowhunters....

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by Sligh1, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    So, I didn't "actually" mean a "VS" each other to the EXTREME context. starting this out with a little bit of a Controversial post & I don't think it's bad to have a little debate on here either ;) I'll keep it civil & please do the same:).

    Here's where my post comes from & little context.... I spent a day with a close friend who is a "casual hunter". He's not a serious manager & he would say, he goes out hunting a few times a year for some "action" & "fun". His group does eat the meat but they would admit, they do it for the event as it would be cheaper & easier to buy meat from the store. Some of the guys eat the deer & some of them make sure others get the meat as they don't eat it. This group & several others he knows drop the meat off at lockers for HUSH program. "FUN, ACTION, TIME WITH FRIENDS, TRADITION, ETC" would be what many in the group explain the reasons they do this yearly event. Most in this group are just out for gun season with a few guys who do bowhunt as well. I felt this good friend & his group represented what a lot of groups are out there to do & why. Now, I talked to them about the "goods & bads" of what they do... Here's almost exactly some feedback I got....

    -We try and shoot older bucks but it usually doesn't work out like that. Quite a few younger bucks & button bucks. Try and educate some of the guys but most of the time, we just realize it's not gonna work.
    -Get sick of being stopped and getting into "tense situations". "YEARLY" either: someone crosses into where they aren't supposed to be (on accident) or the neighbors who want to "manage" seem to get into it with them for a variety of reasons... let's say some of those reasons are: The neighbor's are genuinely A$$holes. The neighbors do see some safety issues like wizzing bullets, etc. Some neighbors are burnt on tresspassing. Some don't like what the group is doing (right wrong or indifferent BUT - law is law & if it's not on your land, most would say "no place to talk"). Some just want to chat & be decent. It really seems to run the gammit & spectrum & I see good & bad folks on BOTH SIDES OF THIS.
    -Access is worse every year. Pendulum is swinging where more & more landowners do not want gun pushes on their land.
    -Land managers & stand hunters are uptight, too obsessed with antlers & some think they own the deer.
    -Most of the guys we hunt with are ethical, safe & law abiding. We do get some new members who are not and they usually don't get invited back.
    -We love it & have had a blast every year doing it. We'll continue to do it as long as there's access & deer to hunt.
    -There's plenty of "stand hunters" who are slobs as well, bad shots, continually shoot young bucks even as experienced hunters, don't shoot does, etc.

    My buddy owns a good bit of land & gets a lot of access. He also says he does get sick of babysitting & fighting & being the point of contact with every issue they have. I totally understand this part would not be fun to deal with.

    The groups I know, most don't have interest in sitting or have a deep concern about management. Most I know think it's a bit too boring & not the experience they want to have.

    OTHER SIDE:
    OK.... So, I will openly admit, I would never allow pushes on my land & I won't do them. I'd be on the "other side of this discussion" - no doubt. With that said: I have done pushes in the past & had some fun doing them. As I've grown as a hunter & aged, I sure know my place is not to tell others how to hunt or what hunting is. Dividing hunters is not the goal or desire of this post either, just constructive thinking & some debate. I do respect the right to do what you want on your land. I won't allow drives on my land but I won't say a thing to my neighbor that does. I don't like gun pushing & all that BUT.... There's some perspective or big picture things I personally want to think about & I'm sure there's things I'm dead wrong about!!!! Here's what folks on "THIS SIDE OF THE POSITION" would say about pushing, the one week hunters, etc....

    -There's few mature bucks out there and the gun hunters shoot a vast majority of younger bucks, making it a lot harder to find or have mature bucks around.
    -Way too many deer get wounded in gun drives, running deer are the norm. Finding the dead deer after season is horrible.
    -Shooting at running deer or fast paced- little room to judge age or make management decisions in those scenarios - or even pick out a button buck.
    -"20 guys" that did pushes, if all 20 had sat in the evening, they likely would have gotten bigger/older bucks (or does) & more of them.
    -Dangerous & recipe for trouble. Most I know who have been here for enough time know what it's like to hear a whizzing slug or have bullets hit close by or even seen an accident. Almost all guys I know have had to constantly deal with guys trespassing or "oops, I thought this was Jim Bobs land" & get rid of people often who are trespassing.
    -A feeling that the reasons or simply ACTIONS of gun hunters express that they don't care about age structure, proper deer #'s, sex ratios, etc.
    -As a land owner or manager, this is the time of year that's "Stressful" & can expect an ARRAY of problems, most of which of concern are the illegal problems.
    -Land managers would take the position "if you held off on XYZ age class & only shot those above that.... You could have older deer to hunt EVERY SINGLE YEAR & everyone would be better off" "WIN/WIN FOR EVERYONE".


    That's my lil tangent for tonight. What I think goes through both sets of hunters minds when I really try and understand each side. Some of us fit into both groups. LET'S BE CLEAR: we are BOTH HUNTERS & on the same side. How we view this issue: sure, we have a vast difference of opinion. I personally don't think either group is entirely right or entirely wrong. I also think there's bad apples in both sides of these groups or guys. I was going to say "kinda like Republicans and Democrats" (but we all know there's really no good Democrat! ;) ) You get my point though.

    Let's call a spade a spade here.... The landscape is shifting though. Gun drives will become less & less. Access is a big one & guys who want to keep it from happening on their land is another reason. BUT - is that good or bad???? I can argue that it's both good & bad!!!!! ...... Managers will have better ground, more deer & quality deer and more folks will be interested in hunting that land, the bordering land, etc - helps everyone. Lower access hurts the little guy who wants to get into hunting though. State land gets worse every year & on areas that "suck" - new hunters might just throw in the towel (yet, some of the reason areas "SUCK" is because they get blasted to heck). There's no black & white answer here. No magic bullet. It likely will work itself out with the access & land changing hands- for good or for bad. Is there any middle ground here where these two groups could better get along & see some common ground? I don't know.

    My deep thoughts & long ramble for today. If you have any thoughts, love to hear em. Spirited debate - GREAT! Being a d-bag, not so much. I get it folks, two sides to both stories. sorry for the long rant. Fire off :)
     
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  3. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 Well-Known Member

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    Outsiders opinion here:

    Iowa is one of the few states where the shotgun guys still “push” the property. It’s not like it doesn’t happen on occasion in my state (MN) but rare anymore. Guys I know in other states, same trend, most guys sit in stands or blinds.

    We find a lot of dead deer down in Iowa after the season, due to the deer being hit and not found. That’s kind of frustrating. I understand it’s tradition, but I personally don’t understand the thought process of chasing deer off your property?

    That’s being said, some guys like the tradition and it’s a social gathering and I’m glad families get together and hunt as a group.
     
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  4. bigbuckhunter88

    bigbuckhunter88 PMA Member

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    I fall into both categories. Get doe tags for shotgun season to hunt with family and friends. Mostly hunt small sloughs and areas nobody else hunts. The biggest thing I see happening is access being lost and the guys who do it for tradition and fun will throw in the towel. Hunter numbers and license sales are already hurting, and if that number continues to fall I dont see anything positive coming from it. There will come a point in time where we will need all the voices we can get.
     
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  5. loneranger

    loneranger Well-Known Member

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    With disease increasing we may ALL be seeing less deer and deer hunting may decrease. Every type?
     
  6. sirrloin

    sirrloin PMA Member

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    I'm relatively new to hunting. My father-in-law got me started 5 years ago but I've been fortunate enough to be on both sides. That being said I never had a good experience with any of the two seperate groups I was brought to for pushing.

    Both groups on seperate years got stopped by the DNR for reported trespassing and one for allegedly shooting out the back of a truck at deer. Not to mention the brown and down mentality is not my cup of tea. Someone shot a pair of yearlings and I was told one was being left not to waste a tag. Everything you're taught in hunters ed about taking good shots and being ethical seems to go out the window.

    I enjoy the concept of putting in your time and doing things right to have bigger, healthier deer around your property. I think that's where the average weekend hunter gets lost. You don't appreciate the work and effort that goes into it for most people. The ol' gove a man a fish ot teach him how.

    Private seems to be the way of the future. It might not be good for the casual hunter but for managment its hard to argue against it. I constantly see private guys going out and planting trees and other plants to help out.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
  7. flugge

    flugge Well-Known Member

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    I mainly bowhunt, but also stand hunt during slug season if we are after a certain deer (work doesn't generally allow me to late muzzy).. our group back in the day went from 40 guys to no more group because everyone was tired of little bucks, and when a big one came out everyone went stupid. It was dangerous. I don't argue with shotgun drives, as they are effective at killing deer, just hate the running deer. I had to put a young 10 down this year that had holes in his neck and back from a straightwalled cartridge (talked to the group and confirmed running deer and "pry" to far). The areas we hunt now are in the CWD area, and I see that being the bigger problem (excessive doe kill off/late season hunts) and the numbers dwindling. Old timers that pushed ground for years are to the age they cannot do it easily anymore, most of them liked seeing pure numbers vs killing too.
    We don't allow pushing on our 30 acres in Allamakee, mainly due to only about 12 acres is woods. Hence why we stand hunt, but its a funnel piece and deer constantly work through. I think another 5-7 years, there wont be many drives at all in the entire state, just due to the shift of people. I am fine with it, it will be sad to see the traditions die.
    One of the biggest, untouched problems I see though... People are building houses everywhere. New housing developments popping up in prime deer country, making it harder and harder to be 100% safe too
     
  8. isu22andy

    isu22andy Active Member

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    Id argue is going to very county by county area by area. There are VERY few pieces in my county that dont see a shotgun push at all. Id almost say in the 5% percentile range. However we dont see trophy deer here as much as you do other places. Its the way it is . 160 is a true trophy thats gonna be spread around texts around town. Its the idiot groups that are piss off the large farmers around here that will shut down shotgun pushes..

    Another question I ask, I always see all these big top land managers preaching hunter numbers are dying and they take a kid hunting - thats great . Then what though ? You kick the kid to the curb and say sorry kid go grind it on public I dont want you shooting my 3 year old 130 inch deer? Or well I took 2 kids last year , now I got 40 other ones that hunt here? How do you manage that ? Im sure theres quite a large percentage that say well damn I went a shot my first doe out of Bowtech84s muddy blind and it was awesome. Ill go ask the neighbors, well the neighbors are after a 170 incher they have on camera, and so is the next one and dont want junior shooting it and the next one .. Then he finally does get access, and doesnt see shit freezes his ass off cause hes not in muddy blind on a highly managed ground and ends up giving it up.

    Also another question for the landowners, do you fulfill all your hunting needs on your smaller more affordable pieces? Or do you still ask permission ?
    What happens when you ask a landowner to hunt and he says well thats fine but I or my nephew want to deer hunt your 40 acres ???
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  9. kazbass

    kazbass New Member

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    I understand the party hunting/ driving is a tradition here but the guys wound way to many deer... I'm gonna say probably 60% of the deer hit are not recovered.. probably higher... most guys won't even take the time to follow a blood trail.. and to make semi auto straight wall rifles just adds to the issues.. just my 2 cents..
     
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  10. Kaleb

    Kaleb Member

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    Who cares? People can do what they want on their land so long as it’s within the law.

    Topics like this shouldn’t keep anyone up at night.


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  11. goatman

    goatman I hunt days ending in Y

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    I don't do pushes as I hunt small acreage. Having hunted deer since the late 60's pushes were the norm. We introduced many young people to hunting with ethics like no trespassing and safe shots. This new norm of deer management limits the number of young people with no access not just for deer but also rabbits,squirrel,coon hunting,quail and pheasant among other activities. I manage now and don't do any other hunting on my ground but I will never go to the neighbors and try and push my agenda. To each his own as long as it is legal. I have neighbors who walk through their 20 to get to their stands on our fenceline and ask me not to put a stand to close to their's for fear of a whizzing bullet. I suspect they would shoot past our fenceline. That's how a 20 becomes a 40. No I don't like what deer hunting has become. I have another neighbor who owns a bare 60 (row crops) with two trees in our fenceline ask me not to hunt my stand I bow hunt because he thought it was turned just a little towards his field. The stand is off the fence 30 yds and I own a timbered 80. He has a stand in each of the two trees. Neighbors have a total of 7 stands on the fence on that 80. Folks you have to share or or will never be fun. And for the record I would be perfectly happy with all the deer seasons ending the end of Dec. like it use to be here in IL. To much pressure on the deer these days. Iowa you still have it great with no gun seasons during the rut. You also have it good with all day hunting on turkeys. Would love to do that here with archery. Be thankful with what you have and let people do their thing legally.
     
  12. rutnstrut

    rutnstrut PMA Member

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    Not trying to start an argument but Id bet straight cased rifles as long as theyre not underpowered set ups like a 45acp high point carbine will lead to far less wounded deer than a slug gun... 45/70s, 450Bushmasters, 50Beowulfs are going to be substantially more accurate making it far easier to make well placed shots
     
  13. isu22andy

    isu22andy Active Member

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    It must look like this in your area with all them wounded deers
    [​IMG]


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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  14. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good discussion and certainly things for me to keep in mind personally. Ironically, I have had conversations with 4 people surrounding this very topic in the last few weeks. These are conversations with acquaintances and friends that have lived here their whole life and view the deer drive as the norm. The conversation has started out with the other person asking what are the keys to harvesting bigger and or more mature deer. My response to the question is always the same. Provide enough security cover with relative proximity to food and NEVER go in there except one time of year to shed hunt or to recover a deer. This isn’t rocket science and I think most people on here understand this. This is what I set up on all my farms and these are not big pieces. As time goes on the deer figure it out.

    My observation is that people need to answer the fundamental question of what success looks like for them. This is a personal thing that I or anyone else cannot answer for them or even worse tell them what it should look like. If success is simply having fun and the most fun they have is deer drives then that is what they should do. If success is wanting to be able to hunt larger and more mature animals on a CONSISTANT basis then they should stop the deer drives. It is the classic case of you can’t have your cake and eat it too. So people start playing this out in their head and really just have to make decisions on what they want to do.

    Overall I see things shifting away from the deer drive. I know of one group that has stopped and another that is heading that direction. IMO this shift is likely to continue moving forward. Access is harder and harder and peoples mentality seems to be shifting.

    Here is a question for the management side folks. Say you have a really good farm. Would you rather be in a giant management block with neighbors that are all doing the same thing or be in an area that sees some shotgun pressure and isn’t really managed that well. I think the knee jerk answer is to say everyone wants to be in that management block. I have started to question whether that is actually the better hunting. If everyone in the management hood is planting tons of food and has lots of security cover the deer are going to spread out all over the hood. On the other side you have the only security cover that isn’t getting pushed out every year and the only standing food in town. The tradeoff is there will be way more younger deer shot in the unmanaged area, but the most dominant deer are going to claim the best area which is on your farm. I think you can have success both ways and it is not as clear cut as it may seem at first glance. Something to think about.
     
  15. rutnstrut

    rutnstrut PMA Member

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    I get that people dont like pushing... But not everyone that does it is a tresspassing, lead flinging unruly hillbilly.
    With the warm temps this last weekend and the fact that several of my buddies had several tags left we got a group together and did some drives with muzzleloaders just like we would during shotgun season only everyone had to fill their own tags... 2 days of hunting we shot 11 deer total and 2 good bucks... Nobody tresspassed, no wounded deer, nobody got shot or hurt... Some private ground and a lot of public ground.
    If people use their heads and think out drives then its very effective, and safe as well. I think were most people go wrong is they pay no attention to wind direction and just surround a junk over cover walk at a normal speed nonstop "chasing" deer instead of just giving them a nudge which leads to a lot of running shots.
    Our drives are basically a few guys still hunting a section from one end to the other preferably with a cross wind and if not then the wind at their backs and a few more people stand hunting the opposite end. One of the drives we do takes just over 3hours and half the deer that get shot are shot by the "drivers" and half the deer shot over all arent even running because they didnt have someone hot on their trail they were just being slowly nudged along. We set up the posters in areas we know the deer will slow down or stop and stage up before they decide what move to make next so A LOT of the posters shots come from being in the right spot knowing where theyll all meet up before making a change in direction or leaving the cover and most of the shots are at standing or walking deer.
     
  16. Sod Savage

    Sod Savage Member

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    LOL!!!
     
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  17. Jdubs

    Jdubs Active Member

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    It comes down to management of numbers. The hunting groups simply take more deer and manage numbers more efficiently. BIG BUCKS are not the only goal of the DNR and may not be a goal at all. Killing adequate numbers of deer every year is an important goal for many reasons; with shot gunners being the primary tool.
     
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  18. JNRBRONC

    JNRBRONC Moderator

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    Fewer and fewer drives around my area as land has been fragmented into housing and small acreages. Back in the early 90’s, pick up loads of orange would be constantly going by the farm as they pushed the river bottom. I think they lost permission for the land (or key parts) they used to push.


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  19. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    As a life-long Iowan, I have lived through the changes in the goals and techniques of deer hunting and I have participated in plenty of deer drives back in the day, although I cannot now think of the last time that I did, preferring to now ambush them from a stand/blind. I have mixed feelings about all of these things. A few thoughts come to mind...

    1. Safety - Were it not for stand hunters falling out of stands, there would be a gigantic difference in terms of the relative safety of stand hunters v. push hunters. There is no question in my mind that push hunting brings many more risks to bear than stand hunting. Many more hunters hit the woods once per year with their slug gun than the normal archery hunter and with that relative lack of experience comes the tendency to make safety related mistakes AND a gun is much more of a threat to others than a bow.

    2. Controlling deer numbers - the easiest way to make many farmers happy and take out more "crop eaters" is to sweep the timber a couple/few times each December and fill some tags. For all of those people that prefer that the deer numbers stay in a zone that lets them avoid them on the roads and not eat a big percentage of their crops/gardens...pushes are great.

    3. Fun and camaraderie - I really enjoyed the requisite planning and strategizing for a push, but also the group dynamics afterward where successes were feted and celebrated AND failures were too! :) Push hunting is much more fun with groups than sitting still waiting for deers to wander by. :)

    4. Age structure management - clearly stand hunting allows the hunters to be very selective and allow certain deer to survive from year to year. Virtually all of the older bucks that we have taken on our farm over the years have been passed in previous years, sometimes as many as a dozen times or so over 2-3 years. Not very many farms that are being pushed each year can say that.

    5. Wounding - this is highly variable depending upon how the hunters conduct themselves, but unfortunately, many groups do not hesitate to sling plenty of rounds at running deer and that does lead to very high losses.

    Both methods have their strong suits, both are legal and if done safely, just fine by me.
     
  20. cybball

    cybball Active Member

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    I started out bow hunting in 1993. Loved sitting and watching deer and everything else that came by. Then several years later, a group of high school buddies and myself and my brother started slug hunting and doing pushes. In all honesty, it started off being a ton of fun. Hanging out with my friends, laughing, and shooting deer. Eventually, the dynamic started changing in that group. The guy that had the "permission" from the landowner started telling everyone he was going to sit for a while and for everyone to show up later and push. Greed and weirdness began. Then the last season of it, had slugs fly past me, and I personally took a shot at a running deer on a hill side that was frozen. Slug ricocheted over the hill and over the draw my brother was in. Then one guy brought some related nephews and their buddies, who ended up wandering into areas they were told not to be all day long. It just got too dangerous and hard to manage with people we didn't know. Even I was guilty of pulling the trigger when I should not have. We bailed and the whole thing broke up. I now love sitting, with either my bow or during shotgun season or muzzleloader. It's so much safer and I'm in control of myself. I now have a 20 acre place and we sat this season. I think we benefited by the push going on at the neighbor's place, but didn't partake in it directly. I'm fine with deer drives, when done correctly and safely. But there tends to be a lot of poor decisions from beginning to end in that annual chase of a huge buck. On my place now, it's slower paced and fun. I'm going to keep it and teach my kids about hunting the safest way possible. My kids can shoot any deer they want. I want them to enjoy the sport and learn. Absolutely no limits for them (as for inches or age). Only encouragement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  21. 2-bucks

    2-bucks PMA Member

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    I own land and trophy hunt for bucks there. I do drives with a small group (5-10) in shotgun too. Some years we drive my place, some years we don't. No trespassing or crazy blasting. Our wounding rate is less than 1 in 10. I hate to admit it but my rate on bow hunting is worse than that. There are slob groups out there. I don't know of any around me currently but I hunted with one such group after moving to Iowa 25 years ago. I chose not to keep hunting with them. Of the group I do drives with more than half would not hunt deer if not for doing drives. They shoot whatever makes them happy and puts meat in the freezer. It ends up being mostly does. I don't begrudge anybody for legally shooting any deer.

    I hate slob hunters of any kind and support legal ethical ones of all kinds.
     
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