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Old 09-26-2021, 08:01 PM   #1
Anvilheadtexas
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Default Deep East Tx Deer Numbers

A few years ago I started a thread addressing what seems to be an issue within the immediate area around my land in Polk County. It seems the overall number of deer has declined and Iím scratching my head to see if Iím the only one in the county or surrounding areas that is observing this phenomenon.

Old thread was https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...umbers+east+tx

Iím am not inquiring about bucks or antlers quality. Iím talking about overall numbers Ö the reality is despite my area numbers seemingly being down, the antler quality and the buck opportunities going into this fall are exciting. That being said I canít remember the last time I actually saw a deer on my land that wasnít on a game camera. And places where it was not uncommon to see a deer in and around the area are pretty barren at the moment. Itís perplexing I have over 200 acres, habitat is excellent, one part of it borders for Carter Pasture (lots of land), overall good neighbors and the hog situation is not too bad now (was a few years ago).

Curious to see what folks are seeing on game cameras and live sightings in and around Polk County. Most my cards show young bucks and a few lookers, but overall it just seems light - especially does.

Lay it on me TBH east tx hunters. What are you seeing?
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:22 PM   #2
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I hunt north of the Sandy Creek store in Onalaska. I’m very content with my overall deer numbers and buck to doe ratio. I hunt 2 stands. At one I expect to see about 10 does and 3 or 4 bucks per sit. At the other I expect to see 10 bucks and 10 does per sit.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:26 PM   #3
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IMO the MLD program destroyed deer numbers in East Texas. 60-100 does tags per year, year in year out really did a number.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Easttxbowman View Post
IMO the MLD program destroyed deer numbers in East Texas. 60-100 does tags per year, year in year out really did a number.
I will let the cat out of the bag… this is my overall hypothesis. However it’s not just MLD. everybody gets two does and this has been consistent for over 15 years. So MLD or not it’s pretty liberal in regards to the number of does that could be harvested. However that there are people in the same county that will swear up-and-down that they have great numbers it just doesn’t make sense.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:37 PM   #5
Drycreek3189
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The place I hunt near Groveton has been MLD for years. There is no shortage of deer. And dang sure ainít no shortage of hogs !
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:38 PM   #6
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Had a place a little place outside Madisonville till 2018. First year you could have hunted from a tree with a brick there were so many deer. Next year the woods cracked with 30 cal fire and the years following very few deer. Like a couple does on the feeder maybe. We found out later poachers had set up shop on a neighboring property and decimated the population for years to come. A few bad apples can destroy a lot of deer quick.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:40 PM   #7
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Our numbers have been going down on one place every year drastically with just a couple of deer shot. We really were not sure why bc the place was big so it wasn’t neighbors. Varmit population was below average I would say. Polk county place
Buck numbers way down on our other place and doe numbers are the same. Neighbors on paper company lease are slaying all our bucks.Trinity county by Polk county line.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:41 PM   #8
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MLD here…its the best…we see a ton of antlered bucks and the rut is a real thing.

Get the doe population reigned in and a healthier herd will emerge.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ∆theling View Post
Had a place a little place outside Madisonville till 2018. First year you could have hunted from a tree with a brick there were so many deer. Next year the woods cracked with 30 cal fire and the years following very few deer. Like a couple does on the feeder maybe. We found out later poachers had set up shop on a neighboring property and decimated the population for years to come. A few bad apples can destroy a lot of deer quick.
Thatís my other fear is that there is a bad apple that I am just not to aware about in the area. I donít think thatís the case however I know my neighbors and theyíre all pretty big tracts land And there doesnít seem to be any stupidness thatís going on.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:48 PM   #10
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dont overlook the fact that deer, like people have preferences for certain areas, to feed and live in,,,,, across the street from me it is common to see as many as 20 deer at a time,, in my wooded land across the street i see 8-10 a year,,, almost nothing but does and fawns on my place,, just an occasional buck now,,,, 10 years ago when i moved here i had 21 different shooter bucks showing up on my little place, mostly at night but they were here,,, but my then next door neighbor was pretty much kill anything all the time,,, so now i will sometimes get 1 mature buck on camera a year and usually one once or twice,,,
plant some food plots and stay away from them
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:50 PM   #11
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I had a similar problem in Freestone County.

The first year I owned the place, there was deer everywhere.

Then the neighbors started really pressuring the properties around me.

Not even killing lots of deer, just moving around another on their properties, and these weren't small properties.

It had a huge impact on the number of deer I saw on my place.

I think human activity is most often the culprit.

The deer numbers didn't really decline. They just changed their moving habits.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Death from Above View Post
MLD hereÖits the bestÖwe see a ton of antlered bucks and the rut is a real thing.

Get the doe population reigned in and a healthier herd will emerge.
I think this is what legacy east Texas hunters are experiencing. They are used to seeing a load of does and maybe a buck per season. Antler restrictions have really helped in balancing the herd for the better as well.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Anvilheadtexas View Post
Thatís my other fear is that there is a bad apple that I am just not to aware about in the area. I donít think thatís the case however I know my neighbors and theyíre all pretty big tracts land And there doesnít seem to be any stupidness thatís going on.
I feed year round and Iím sure that makes a difference in the population. Feed, keep em on your place and watch the numbers go up.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by xman59 View Post
dont overlook the fact that deer, like people have preferences for certain areas, to feed and live in,,,,, across the street from me it is common to see as many as 20 deer at a time,, in my wooded land across the street i see 8-10 a year,,, almost nothing but does and fawns on my place,, just an occasional buck now,,,, 10 years ago when i moved here i had 21 different shooter bucks showing up on my little place, mostly at night but they were here,,, but my then next door neighbor was pretty much kill anything all the time,,, so now i will sometimes get 1 mature buck on camera a year and usually one once or twice,,,
plant some food plots and stay away from them

There is a really good YouTube video about this but I can't remember the name.

It basically says that bucks and does won't share land outside of the rut.

Does will establish family units withe does and fawns. Bucks won't share and move out.

We always try to create habitat that is perfect for growing deer which is perfect for raising fawns.

We don't often create habitat that is good just for bucks.

Buck habitat is a single very tight cover source with plenty of food near by.

Does need lots of cover and places to hide fawns with lots of food.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Greenheadless View Post
I think this is what legacy east Texas hunters are experiencing. They are used to seeing a load of does and maybe a buck per season. Antler restrictions have really helped in balancing the herd for the better as well.
That is exactly what I am seeing at my place although I am not MLD. Last year A family guest took a fine 10 pointer and I bunked up a bow shot on a very fine 8. That being said iím not sure thatís really good or not. Itís nice to know you have a chance seeing a good buck, but itís tough sitting in a stand without seeing anything and watching your ungrazed oats grow. It would be nice to see a deer in oneís Hayfield in the off-season now and again as wellÖbut yeah we have a healthy deer herd.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gumbo Man View Post
I feed year round and Iím sure that makes a difference in the population. Feed, keep em on your place and watch the numbers go up.
We have done that in the past. When I first bought the land back in 2006 the guys who hunted on it would toss a bag of corn in a feeder in October (pretty much was the extent of managing) and the land was covered with deer. We backed off running feeders year round because we did have a little situation with hogs a few years ago. I donít necessarily subscribe to the feeder thing Ö itís really habitat right? thereís a lot for deer to eat in the East Texas woods.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189 View Post
The place I hunt near Groveton has been MLD for years. There is no shortage of deer. And dang sure ainít no shortage of hogs !
I used to hunt and run a deer lease (MLD) in Woodlake Ö. Essentially Groveton. There has always been a good pocket of deer in that area. I remain tight with the guys on the lease and they certainly have had good luck with their program, although this year they said the spotlight survey was very disappointing from a Numbers perspective. Theyíre not so disappointed about the antlers.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:14 PM   #18
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I have the suspicion we're not too far out from there being mandatory reporting on kills. It's already there for other creatures.

The harvest log on the back of our licenses is about the stupidest thing ever since TPWD only sees it if you're being checked by a warden. Mandatory reporting and TPWD getting a more accurate count of deer being killed could be beneficial for herds but I don't want to have to report. lol
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:40 PM   #19
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My lease is in Polk County near the Trinity county line. We noticed a big drop in deer numbers after the 2011 drought. Seems like we have been trying to get our numbers back up ever since then.
We used to get 18 doe tags on 1400 acres and often used them all, along with 5 or 6 bucks. We took that many deer every year for over 20 years. A few years ago we started getting only 10 doe tags for our 1400 acres, and we only use about half of them. The large lease next to us has not shot a doe the past two seasons...their choice to help the numbers. Our herd is slowly coming back to the numbers we saw in past years.
Our Turkey population has exploded in the past two years, likely helped by a lot of clear cutting.
We feed protein year round and throw a lot of corn, but I have often wondered if it is really good for the deer. Protein feed made from ingredients imported from overseas and GMO "roundup ready" corn is not a deer's natural diet. I've also wondered about the risk of a tainted batch of feed making them sick.
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Old 09-26-2021, 09:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native Texan View Post
My lease is in Polk County near the Trinity county line. We noticed a big drop in deer numbers after the 2011 drought. Seems like we have been trying to get our numbers back up ever since then.
We used to get 18 doe tags on 1400 acres and often used them all, along with 5 or 6 bucks. We took that many deer every year for over 20 years. A few years ago we started getting only 10 doe tags for our 1400 acres, and we only use about half of them. The large lease next to us has not shot a doe the past two seasons...their choice to help the numbers. Our herd is slowly coming back to the numbers we saw in past years.
Our Turkey population has exploded in the past two years, likely helped by a lot of clear cutting.
We feed protein year round and throw a lot of corn, but I have often wondered if it is really good for the deer. Protein feed made from ingredients imported from overseas and GMO "roundup ready" corn is not a deer's natural diet. I've also wondered about the risk of a tainted batch of feed making them sick.
That’s great to hear about the turkey. back when I used to hunt down that way, probably not far from you, there was a huge pocket of easterns south of 287 near the Trinty/polk county line. But that was almost 15 years ago.

Your comment on your acreage and the does you harvested is interesting… 10 does for 1,400. For everyone guy that is conservative, there’s that 12 acre tract next to him that…
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:35 AM   #21
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Shocked that you say the hogs are not out of control. We border your property. 2 years ago, a pen would keep the hogs out. Last year, a couple hogs throughout the place would jump into pens. This year, just about every pen has hogs jumping into it. We also have been hammered by the logging company. I'd bet they have cut 1500-2000 acres in the past year on our lease. (thats on our place, they have hit the other 9000 acres also. ) Thats lots of new native growth and lots of new cover coming into the end of summer. As far as deer numbers, Im not sure. We still feed 30-40 tons of protein a year. I think now that we are done with protein for the year you will start seeing a few more deer. We always have some during the summer that disappear in the winter and are gone until the first load of protein in February.

Last edited by DedDuk; 09-27-2021 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:47 AM   #22
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Following
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anvilheadtexas View Post
That is exactly what I am seeing at my place although I am not MLD. Last year A family guest took a fine 10 pointer and I bunked up a bow shot on a very fine 8. That being said iím not sure thatís really good or not. Itís nice to know you have a chance seeing a good buck, but itís tough sitting in a stand without seeing anything and watching your ungrazed oats grow. It would be nice to see a deer in oneís Hayfield in the off-season now and again as wellÖbut yeah we have a healthy deer herd.
LolÖgo hunt where the deer are, not were you want them to be.

And for the record a healthy deer herd should be an outdoors and goalÖif you wanna watch wildlife then go to a zoo
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Old 09-27-2021, 07:54 AM   #24
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No shortage of deer on our place for sure. I'm with gumbo feed more

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Old 09-27-2021, 07:57 AM   #25
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I hunt northeast Polk county and have been MLD on 6,000 since around 2005. We dont have a numbers issue at all. you cant hardly drive the main road without seeing several deer. I dont think I have had but maybe 3 or 4 sits over the last three years without seeing at least one deer. Our biggest issue is we flood or have flooded almost every year for the last 8 years or so. The deer head for higher ground, but as soon as the water comes down they come back. I had the same buck on camera for 4 years in a row, only reason it wasnt 5 was I killed him the 4th when he was 6.5 years old.
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:13 AM   #26
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The population seems fine in my opinion!
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:35 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Javelin View Post
I hunt northeast Polk county and have been MLD on 6,000 since around 2005. We dont have a numbers issue at all. you cant hardly drive the main road without seeing several deer. I dont think I have had but maybe 3 or 4 sits over the last three years without seeing at least one deer. Our biggest issue is we flood or have flooded almost every year for the last 8 years or so. The deer head for higher ground, but as soon as the water comes down they come back. I had the same buck on camera for 4 years in a row, only reason it wasnt 5 was I killed him the 4th when he was 6.5 years old.
Awesome. We are prob close. I bet your lease is on Piney Creek or there abouts. Makes me wonder if itís not an immediate local issue for me when I see posts like yours. Or maybe my expectations are too high?
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:50 AM   #28
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Shocked that you say the hogs are not out of control. We border your property. 2 years ago, a pen would keep the hogs out. Last year, a couple hogs throughout the place would jump into pens. This year, just about every pen has hogs jumping into it. We also have been hammered by the logging company. I'd bet they have cut 1500-2000 acres in the past year on our lease. (thats on our place, they have hit the other 9000 acres also. ) Thats lots of new native growth and lots of new cover coming into the end of summer. As far as deer numbers, Im not sure. We still feed 30-40 tons of protein a year. I think now that we are done with protein for the year you will start seeing a few more deer. We always have some during the summer that disappear in the winter and are gone until the first load of protein in February.
You would think that your planted clearcut and my mature woods there would be this never ending back and forth from one place to the other. I am still waiting. Lol. That being said, I do get a few pictures every year of cruising bucks coming off your place that look protein healthy in both body and rack. Never consistent pictures however. Clearly they are just cruising.

There are some hogs coming out of your clear cut now, but itís not major.
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:53 AM   #29
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Awesome. We are prob close. I bet your lease is on Piney Creek or there abouts. Makes me wonder if itís not an immediate local issue for me when I see posts like yours. Or maybe my expectations are too high?
yep piney creek is out south border and the neches is our north. we end to the east where piney dumps into the river
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:58 AM   #30
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yep piney creek is out south border and the neches is our north. we end to the east where piney dumps into the river
Man, that has to be pretty cool hunting down in there. We are close, but our overall terrain and conditions are night and day. Where do you access this land from?
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:23 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anvilheadtexas View Post
Iím am not inquiring about bucks or antlers quality. Iím talking about overall numbers Ö the reality is despite my area numbers seemingly being down, the antler quality and the buck opportunities going into this fall are exciting. That being said I canít remember the last time I actually saw a deer on my land that wasnít on a game camera. And places where it was not uncommon to see a deer in and around the area are pretty barren at the moment. Itís perplexing I have over 200 acres, habitat is excellent, one part of it borders for Carter Pasture (lots of land), overall good neighbors and the hog situation is not too bad now (was a few years ago).
I have been on a little less than 200 acres in Houston County for the last 6 years and seeing deer similar to you. Couple good options this year, similar property setup, ours being very wooded (actually logged a couple years ago) and pasture on 40%-50% of the perimeter, with hogs down in numbers. I put a lot of hunt time in to help with that.

I put a huge amount of work in trying to get just to where it is now and keep feed out all year long. Just this year I actually have one buck that looks like the big "East Texas deer" I have been hearing about. But he is not a regular, of course

Do not see deer numbers while in the ladder stand like other guys have shown in pictures. I don't even see large groups on camera.

I think it is definitely one of, if not the hardest areas to hunt.

Still have not got a buck.



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Old 09-27-2021, 10:45 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Drycreek3189 View Post
The place I hunt near Groveton has been MLD for years. There is no shortage of deer. And dang sure ainít no shortage of hogs !

Same. And iím only on a 40 acre private place. I hear yalls MLD opening mornings from my set . Never a shortage of shots but i tend to see plenty of deer (if there is such a thing).

Numbers are a few less this year than last, at least at my set. At this point last year I had 5-6 does and 4 young bucks plus two sure enough shooters. This year just 4-5 does so far and one yearling buck. It will all change in a couple weeks.

Pigs have been pretty nonexistent. Im bordered by a huge lease and DCNF just beyond that


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Old 09-27-2021, 11:20 AM   #33
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Seems numbers in my part of Sabine county are on the rise.

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Old 09-27-2021, 12:05 PM   #34
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I would say our numbers are on the rise also in San Augustine/ Sabine county
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Old 09-27-2021, 09:19 PM   #35
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I was hoping to hear what others said. Maybe drags this thread up to the top after season?
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Old 09-27-2021, 11:41 PM   #36
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yep piney creek is out south border and the neches is our north. we end to the east where piney dumps into the river
Old Papermill Pasture ?
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Old 11-25-2021, 04:00 PM   #37
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Enjoying a TG Michalada, I figured it was time to drag this thread back up. It’s Nov 25 and the “early part” of the deer hunting is over. Lots of posts on Tbh and other places stating they are not seeing deer. I am curious to hear folks observations specifically in regards to numbers (not big bucks). I have heard some wild theories… rut is late, acorns, too green, too hot, last winters freeze. My numbers are down and have been down. Saw vert few does. I called does off limits on my place prior to the bow season. Just did not see any deer this summer at all (except bachelor groups on camera).

Kinda curios to hear thoughts. And no, this is not me crying. I took a spike with my bow (live thread) and a nice 8 on the opener. My brother took a 140 on Monday of the opener. It was literally one of the few deer he saw all that weekend. So on paper the season looks good, but man, we just did not see (and have not seen lately) does.
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:03 PM   #38
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My lease is 600ish on the newton/Jasper line. I think this season will make my 10th year and I bet we haven't killed 10 doe in that time frame. Over the last few years our doe numbers have slowly dwindled down to about an average east Texas beer lease numbers. 2 seasons ago the lease next to us decided to declare war on them but it started declining before that. Maybe they had better food sources and pulled our does there for all I know then tried to balance the herd ratio. This year we have the best buck here since I've been on this place though. We hardly ever see fawns so I'm sure our fawn recruitment is below average.
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Old 11-25-2021, 05:27 PM   #39
Native Texan
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Hunt In: Polk County
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We are having our best season in many years as far as deer numbers. I've seen more deer this season than the past 4 combined. A few years of taking very few does is paying off for us and our neighbors.
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:00 PM   #40
Anvilheadtexas
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Hunt In: Polk County
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native Texan View Post
We are having our best season in many years as far as deer numbers. I've seen more deer this season than the past 4 combined. A few years of taking very few does is paying off for us and our neighbors.
We never went hard on the does, but in the last two years we decided to put them completely off limits. It will be interesting to see if the numbers increase in the next couple years. That being said I have no complaints on what we saw in regards to bucks.
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:43 PM   #41
Gumbo Man
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Hunt In: Onalaska Texas
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My deer numbers are still good. I think my slowest sit this year was 7 does and 2 bucks. Normally 10-12 does and up to 10 bucks. Feeding year round CONSISTANTLY has helped me a lot.
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:56 PM   #42
backwoods
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Hunt In: South East Texas
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In southern Angelina county I’m seeing more deer than I ever have although now that I think about it I’m seeing way more bucks than does.

I don’t hunt feeders. I’ll hand toss a small amount of corn out the night before a hunt. I’m my experience, the feeders spook bucks and draw in hogs and the deer here avoid hogs.

I would not be surprised if MLDs and excessive dove harvest has an impact on populations in some areas. Also keep in mind the timber is managed under the current TIMO / REIT structure far more aggressively than Temple Inland did and even more than neighboring piney woods states. Shorter rotations, higher planting densities, etc impact habitat.

The freeze may have hurt as well
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:30 PM   #43
Etxbuckman
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Excessive MLD permits I’m sure have had an impact, but so has doe season lengths, bag limits, and land fragmentation.

I realize it’s **** near impossible to put limits on property size, so the only other option as far as I see is lowering bag limits, or shortening the doe season. A few years ago they went from a four day doe season the 4 days following Thanksgiving, to the first 16 days of the season, and I know full well that’s hurt.
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:43 PM   #44
Grndchecker
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Hunt In: Polk County, TX
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I hunt in southern Polk close to Dallardsville and have been on the same lease for 26 years. Going back as far as when the 13” rule went into affect the doe numbers are down. My lease is only 950 acres, but it is in three sections basically. Connected but just shaped strange.
Bucks don’t live on my lease year round. They show up in September and leave when they shed antlers. Three years ago the timber company strip cut about a third in November and sprayed herbicide in the summer. Deer numbers were way down the past two seasons. This season is a little better overall, but I see three bucks to every doe. Very few does are taken on my lease. I’m the only person that bow hunted this year. It’s normally three of us. I saw deer most of my hunts in October. In November when I hunt a narrow right of way and can see 1000 yards two directions, I have seen above average deer numbers but still more bucks than does.
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Old 11-25-2021, 08:52 PM   #45
Anvilheadtexas
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Seems like the “more bucks than does” thing is real. Thankfully fawns do not come from does or in a few years we might really be in a jam….. oh wait….
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:05 PM   #46
Grndchecker
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I will add that I shot my first 10 point ever this season and my wife shot the best buck ever taken on our lease two days later, a 12 point.
And ever since I put the two feeders I run inside pens the pigs have relocated to feeders without pens on the far side of my lease. That one thing helped deer sightings.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:15 PM   #47
AntlerCollector
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Hunt In: Votaw, Del Rio, Eldorado, Bon Wier
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I have 4,000 acres split between Polk and Hardin. Our deer population is way down compared to years past. We do have better bucks thanks to antler restrictions but overall numbers of deer is very low
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:31 PM   #48
Greenheadless
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Hunt In: Liberty County
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We had not been seeing a lot of numbers until the last couple of weeks. They have been coming out of the woodworks.

I attribute this to the acorn crop playing out.


Having and seeing a whole bunch of deer does not always equate to a healthy deer herd. Our sightings have been up over the past +5 years, but our average weights have significantly suffered.

We are MLD and have been from over a decade.

Last edited by Greenheadless; 11-25-2021 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:32 PM   #49
Anvilheadtexas
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Here is where this goes …. Doe pop continues to go down. Base year fawns (year 1) shrinks which ultimately means fewer 4, 5 and 6 year old bucks. That’s when everybody’s gonna sit up and take notice. Despite numbers being down, there are still good bucks in the woods but these were yearlings five years ago when the numbers were still stable.

This will not be an issue on larger private tracts that do not shoot does and/or are not MLD.

Just a theory.
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Old 11-25-2021, 09:51 PM   #50
RockTippedStick
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Hunt In: Liberty, Tyler, Polk
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My two feeders are showing 2 does/1 yearling and 3 does/2 yearlings every day +/- an extra every once in a while. I also have a group of 2 does/1yearling at a trough feeder at the front of the property most of the time and a few does at the back of the property which come over from the neighbors. these are the usual sets that show up. I have around 250 acres. Bucks have not been impressive this year. 1 shooter that is MIA and quite a few 2-3 year old's. I usually don't shoot does though. Might take one during muzzleloader for the freezer.
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