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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was a fanatical hunter in my youth and hunted at Assunpink primarily from 1980-1997 when I met my current wife and was introduced to online computer gaming. There are large sections of Assunpink that I know extremely well based on the 1-7 days a week I was there during the seasons.

Anywho it was always easy to kick up large herds of deer there and I could find them consistently as they were always in the same spots, and I would kick up and see a LOT.

Just this year I decided to start getting back into hunting and I bought a license and a permit for zone 15 , my ole haunts. The day after Thanksgiving I had my brother push little drives for me in spots that never failed to yield deer in the past decade, and we saw not a single deer.

12/5 opening day of buck season had been a war zone type setting years earlier, yesterday I sat in stand until 11:30am and did not hear a single shot, NOT ONE all morning coming from Assunpink, and I saw not a single deer. After I got down I drove around and spoke to a few other hunters who had the same experience.

Is this what the wildlife managers wanted when they set out seasons where you could kill unlimited deer ?

I wont be going back there for a deer hunt, as far as I am concerned that place should be a bucks only zone to maintain a MAXIMUM number of huntable antlered deer.

Guess I will start scouting Colliers Mills for next year. Hmmmm I better make sure they have a limited antlerless season first.
 

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Now this is just a question. But can it be from all the pheasant hunters that have been walking through that area for the past month that the deer just don't stay there. Hunters in the woods = DANGER
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey Yoda, yea I saw your post today before making mine but I didnt reply as I probably wont be going back there as the deer population cant seem to support any more pressure, although I may try another area :p

On monday morning I parked at the water treatment plant in Roosevelt and used a pair of waders to cross the stream and go back into that large swamp. I also went along Nurko Rd and spoke to some hunters along there.

Perhaps we can hook up on saturday if I can get over being so pissed at the reduced deer population there.
 

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Now this is just a question. But can it be from all the pheasant hunters that have been walking through that area for the past month that the deer just don't stay there. Hunters in the woods = DANGER
That is so true! I used to see deer just about every day I was bowhunting. And then when pheasant season started, I'm lucky if I see a deer every third day.

David
 

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Chris,

Trust me when I say this, there are alot of deer in there. Of course as I mentioned in my last post, they have moved from their usual spots to really secluded ones.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Ringneck, that was when I typically saw all the deer there, I didnt start deer hunting until the 1990's. I knew where the deer would hide from finding them as I chased pheasants at Assunpink, the deer hide very well but you can get to them with a little work.

I doubt its a small game push out of the area, but like I said in my earlier post I have been out of these woods the past 7 years, so perhaps the decline in the population was more gradual than what I percieve.
 

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Chris, your experience is typical of WMA's in NJ, not just Assunpink. To put it in perspective, I've hunted lots of public land in the southern part of the state, and had very bad results. When I started hunting Assunpink a few years ago, I thought it was great. There are many more deer up there than we have down here, so even though you think it's bad there, the herd is still better than most of the public lands in South Jersey.

In my opinion, one of the biggest things that could be done to improve hunting on public lands is to prohibit all driving of deer, except the last 3 days of 6-day firearm. No driving the first 3 days of that season, and no driving during permit shotgun season. This is something the Division should consider for two reasons.

First, when clubs come through and drive State lands, they take over the enitre woods for themselves, leaving those who hunt, but don't belong to clubs, with a ruined day. All sportsmen and women pay for those lands, and should have an opportunity to hunt them, not just the clubs tearing through the woods. I've seen clubs take deer from stand hunters who shot them while the club was doing a drive, the members said since the deer was killed on their drive, it was their deer.

The second reason is that the permit shotgun season is supposed to be a tool the state uses to reduce the deer herd to maintain it at a habitat friendly level. Well, I don't know of any WMA that has a problem with over populated deer herds. We simply do not need to be driving deer and killing everything that moves on WMA's in this state. Hunting without drives will result in a reduced deer kill on those lands, and make for better hunting for all who hunt there, not just the clubs.

The unlimited antlerless season aren't the biggest problem because if no drives were allowed, most hunters wouldn't kill that many deer anyway. It's when a club gets 50 members driving through the piece and killing every deer they see that causes low deer numbers...and it should be stopped on WMA's, there is no need for it because there is no deer "problem" there.
 

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the pheasant hunters that have been walking through that area for the past month that the deer just don't stay there.
I hunted Aspk. since 1970. I still take strolls late winter with my GPS marking deer runs.
There were many more bird hunters in the 70's and 80's(only limited amount of hunters allowed by signing in, a couple of years) and the deer were much more plentiful. one could get lucky and nail a deer with the bow, if they happen catch it slipping away from a small game group. It took skill to put the puzzle together and do it with consistency.
A spike that graduated "Assunpink High" was slicker than "Colts Neck University" buck.
Late last winter, I spent a good amount of time in the jungles there, marking runs. Without a question, the herd has been reduced at least 50% the last 5 years.
Your wasting your time there from today till Sat., unless your driving. The deer will trickle slowly back after 6 day thru Feb., and do very little moving during "any" daylight.
I'd love to leave some cameras set up to see what I can catch, but I doubt I 'd ever see them again.
I'd love to see some "bowhunting only" areas opened on WMA land and parks, for deer and turkey, but I'll probably see my real estate taxes lower first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That makes a lot of sence NJ_Bowhntr, I can totally see how easy it would be for a club to go through those little patches of woods and wipe out the deer herds with a few drives.

To whom do I write to make such a suggestion ? I will try and find out.
 

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This may be wrong, but in my opinion, the pheasant hunters of the past were much better than the ones of today. Why? In my experiences this year hunting deer once pheasant season started, all I hear from these hunters are:
1) Some idiot screaming at their dog. One day I heard some guy screaming for like 30 seconds straight every other minute. That's not hunting.
2) It sounds like World War III out there. That means that either there's alot of birds, which is highly doubted. Or something like 10 shots are being fired at one bird, with all or all but one being misses.

Both of these situations push deer away from public land to private where there's no pressure. Like I said, this is my opinion.

David
 

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Once F&W estimates (based on the numbers per zone) the projected population, regs will change in accordance with carrying capacity of certain WMA's.

It's in the numbers in the deer harvest.

The 6-day drivers will no doubt impact the herd within the WMA's as well as pressure the resident deer into neighboring land. Why would deer return to the WMA when they are safe and well fed beyond the exterior.

I've seen massive bucks and clusters of does among the McMansions approaching Bent Creek Preserve.

The overall population is impacted by property developement bordering the WMA's. This is the problem that needs to be addressed.

Ultimately - if developement doesn't slow from it's current pace, we'll be seeing a similar problem to Princeton's CBDM.

I'm done with Assumpink until Winter Bow. Even then I'll be inclined to hit Allaire, Turkey Swamp and other areas before the big A.
 

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1) Some idiot screaming at their dog.
That is an untrained dog that should not be out there.
Or something like 10 shots are being fired at one bird
And that is one of the many things i do not like about pheasant hunting on state land. But i do love pheasant hunting, My dog is trained and in my group of hunters, if the bird is going down we stop shooting.
 

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To whom do I write to make such a suggestion ?
You need to send suggestions to the Council. I've done it several times but look at who is on the Council...members of the Federation who look out for the interests of the gun clubs first and foremost. It's like beating your head against a brick wall.

While your at it, suggest that baiting be prohibited on WMA's. Baiting was also sold as a tool needed to increase the deer kill in areas with overpopulation problems. Again, I'm not aware of any WMA's with over populated deer herds. It's not needed there and just causes hunters to get territorial, and cause more conflicts.

No baiting and limiting driving to the last 3 days of buck week would greatly improve the hunting experience on WMA's in NJ for all hunters.

Maybe we should get a petition going to implement some regs like that and send it to the next game code hearing.
 

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Ultimately - overkill will not occur from hunting pressure but from a deer population explosion within the non-hunting zones. Starvation, road kill, winter kills and disease usually occurs when the herds overpopulate in the non-hunting areas.

This was the scenario that decimated the herds back in the late 60's and early 70's.

It would be interesting to compare the harvest numbers from 1975 to 2005.

I'd wager the current population estimate to be exponantially greater now than it was 30 years ago.
 

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That is an untrained dog that should not be out there.
I partly agree with you on this one. Ultimately, I think it's an untrained owner of this dog. Remember, the dog only does what the owner trained him/her to do. If the dog is lacking in his/her training, it is because the owner didn't do their part. You can't blame the dog for this.

The other part of this unfortunately is I think that some people feel that yelling and hunting go hand in hand. Let me give you an example (non pheasant).

I was deer hunting yesterday with Chuck7413 yesterday when this bozo comes walking through screaming every couple of minutes. In the background, you could hear this bozo's friend doing the same thing. To them, this is their idea how a deer drive is supposed to be done. To me, hunting should be a quiet activity with as little as possible being made.

David
 
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