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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I watch bowhunting videos whenever I can. you never know when you will see something you can put to use on your next hunt. but have you ever noticed that many of these hunts take place on property that is owned by an outfitter or hunting lodge that gets their share of the kudos somewhere during the video. and you are made to somehow believe that all it takes is a phone call for you to be hunting the quality deer seen in the video. lets get real! I dont know about the rest of the members on this forum, but I cant afford 2700.00 to go guilded whitetail huntingfor a weekend. it wasnt all too many years ago, I could afford to take the family to the ball game and sit in the box seats and eat at the game and do it reasonably. now it seems, baseball games are for the affluent and well off, the out of my price range group. So also is organized hunting quickly finding its niche in these groups. next time you watch a monster bucks XXXX video, pay particular attention to where the hunts take place and then google the ranch at the conclusion of the video. oh, but before you do, see your doctor to assure your heart is up to it.
 

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i used to guide hog hunts (spot and Stalk). we were getting $200.00 a person to go. Couldn't believe people would pay to hunt hogs, but when i did some looking into the outfitters down in south florida, we were way cheap. There are some outfitters charging anywhere from $300 up to $900 to go hog hunting. Seems like the people i know that hunt the high fence game ranches and such, want the experience of the hunt without all the work. lol. But to me , the work involved in the off season IS part of the hunt.
 

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I see your point Predator. But if it makes you feel any better I see alot of Illinois deer hunts on TV as well. Not sure if those hunts were on ranches or outfitter guides though.
 
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if you've never gone on one of those hunts, knocking them seems out of line.

How many deer hunters wish they could shoot a 150 class or better deer? darn few would say i would rather shoot a spike and if they do its sour grapes speaking. well if your goal is 150 or better you got 2 choices; grow one yourself or pay to go where they have been managed. there is a lot more to it than just taking your money and sitting you in a tree.

land leases in areas that can grow those type deer are going for $50+ an acre and most of the lease isn't even huntable. figure 10000 acre of lease to make the math easy, thats a half a million a year. year in and year out if the landowners doesn't dump you for a higher offer. then there is advertising, housing for the client, food for the client, food plots and all that goes with that, insurance, guides to pay, cooks to pay, plus things i'm sure i'm can't thing of. so is $2700 for a true shot at a buck of a life time a lot of money??????? thats for each hunter to decide, but i don't think its a lot.

the outfitters are doing the work it takes to produce such animals where the average joe isn't willing to curb that urge to shoot the little/young ones, manage to what their areas needs are, so they too can have a real chance at the big one if everything is there to make it happen.

now it sounds like i'm all for these guided hunts and i am but its not as simple as being for or against. I've payed the coin to hunt HUGES bucks, IN ILLINOIS. it took about 4 years of planning to make it happen and its for sure not something i can do every year, not even close. was it what i thought it would be? yes and no. First i couldn't help notice that i was no longer a hunter, that had all been done by the outfitter, but i was more of a shooter. that sucked. But i was in the HUGE buck capital of the lower 48 and had a for real chance of a whopper. in fact i passed on a 140 class 3.5 year old because it wasn't much of a reach for better.

This is a discussion that has been hashed and rehashed, and written about, here and is probably good that the truth about the reasons we go on these hunts, shoot the deer we shoot, hate what we don't know, and conversely like what we don't know, and hunt period.

each of us has a goal in hunting, or we should, and that goal is different for everyone and can even change in a single hunter depending on circumstances. all are real and valid and shouldn't be belittled by a brother/sister hunter. Some people are willing to spend big money, they should or should not spend, to hunt big old smart bucks. Some people will uproot their families and move to areas that are more suited for their passions. some people are more willing to sit there and just take what they are given as opposed to making it happen. either way its all good.
 
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I see your point Predator. But if it makes you feel any better I see alot of Illinois deer hunts on TV as well. Not sure if those hunts were on ranches or outfitter guides though.
timber most of the lands/out fitters are fair chase not fences. the fences is the fine you pay for not following the managment plan. for the most part they really do small and few food plots. the deer can grow big there but everyone needs to let it happen which is a hard thing to do. i've been passing on deer here in nh for a few years now, which is something most would not do. is it helping with the size/age class of bucks taken, don't know but i do know i want to shoot more mature animals. want and do are two different things though. i didn't fill a tag in nh last year. once cause i missed and a couple i passed on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All good points.

But I am not knocking the guided hunts so much as the nonschalant attitude that its as easy as reaching into your pocket to make it happen. and if someone wants to pay what I feel is rediculous fees to hunt white tails thats their business. but their is no in between, thats the problem. save the lodging, the meals, the guide servive and open the land for a reduced fee hunt. provide the oppertunity to harvest deer on the same land without the ^fees. you can still impose the same harvest rules as with any client.

Timberghost
those Illinois hunts ARE on the same type of land I am talking about. I have looked into them and placed any thought of participating in those hunts on my wish list. there is just no way right now.

kemster99
I agree, thats not a lot of $$$ for a guided hunt at least at first glance. I have no idea what is actually included in the hunts you offered so I really cant give an educated reply.

The one thing that I get the feeling that happens in some of these threads is what I will refer to as the blind assumption. what I mean by that is, I live in northern Illinois. as most everyone knows Illinois is known as the home of some of the biggest deer in the lower 48. what many fail to realize though is the fact that living in the state does not entitle you or even make it any easier to get a crack at those deer than anyone living in NH or anywhere else for that matter, except the travel expenses, time and liscense fees.
I dont own my own land and like many others in my boat am forced to do any and everything necessary to even hunt at all. myself, I hunt a conservation district, in other words I hunt a deer managment hunt in a forest preserve. we are instructed to shoot anything and everything that is safely shootable. I am fortunate that the district is litterally 20 mins from my house, that makes it really nice. but I still dont get the kind of oppertunities at a 160 class that many would assume I do.
I would guess that it actually even worse knowing those deer are so close by and not getting to shoot them than the oppertunity not even existing.kinda like brown bear hunting in Illinois. it dont bother me as much, because they are not there.
 

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Ronn i think you hit it on the head as to why most of us think the price of outfitted hunts is ridiculous. you become a shooter and not a hunter and those of us who like to hunt lose when the high priced outfits buy up all the good land. There is lots of public land but it is no where near as good as private. Let me give an example, here in kansas we have a lot of walk in access land and most of it is just ok hunting ground. Just cross the road and the land can be fantastic hunting ground and owned by the same guy.. the difference is the poor land is leased by the state for $1 an acre and the good land is lease for $10 $20 or more per acre. Now don't get me wrong land owners should be able to do what they want with their property, BUT the rich "shooters" are ruining it for us poor "hunters". They say golf is a rich mans game but its alot cheaper than hunting.
 
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predator; in IL it is a lot of $$ to get access to these lands in pike, brown, adams county.

but one thing we found is right in amongst this leased properties, the ones being managed by the outfitters, is public land. there was a big state forest, legal to hunt in, right next to the lodge we stayed at. the size of the bucks we saw running across the road, in the dark, right there, you wouldn't believe. I think you could even camp there. in another spot, adjacent to a property that a 200" lived on was a bow hunting only for IL residents only. that deer for sure was running on that public land. if i could remember the name of the ground i'd tell ya. let me look around maybe i can find it.

while there i talked to some of the locals, like at the gas station and such, about access to farms. basically most were reserved for family to hunt on or were tied up in leases. knocking on doors could work but it wasn't very likely.

anyway the point is there is public land that holds these IL monsters that wouldn't require an outfitter, just one's own leg work and elbow greese and maybe a few hoops to jump through. there are places like that in most of those big buck areas, like "yellow bank" in ohio on the ohio river. 15" wide minimum. it has some monsters. millitary bases in big buck country can be a good for do it yourselfers like those in MD, big buck country much like IL.

The main jest of my post is if a hunter wants it bad enough there are ways to make it happen. be it work for years scraping and saving or get out there all summer and work the woods yourself. the latter wold be much more fun, for me, if i were close enough to do it, either way it requires comittment and work. just like the guys on the tv. they made a comittment and worked to make their profession happen.

i think the name of that bow only resident only was "spunky bottoms". no i didn't make that up. from the access point you could see where my buddy shot a 154" brute of a buck on leased ground.

oh and there are some leased lands just as you were asking for. some outfitters have those type hunts at a very reduced rate. its mainly a tresspass fee.
 
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Ronn i think you hit it on the head as to why most of us think the price of outfitted hunts is ridiculous. you become a shooter and not a hunter and those of us who like to hunt lose when the high priced outfits buy up all the good land. There is lots of public land but it is no where near as good as private. Let me give an example, here in kansas we have a lot of walk in access land and most of it is just ok hunting ground. Just cross the road and the land can be fantastic hunting ground and owned by the same guy.. the difference is the poor land is leased by the state for $1 an acre and the good land is lease for $10 $20 or more per acre. Now don't get me wrong land owners should be able to do what they want with their property, BUT the rich "shooters" are ruining it for us poor "hunters". They say golf is a rich mans game but its alot cheaper than hunting.
my question is why is it not as good. i know for a fact there is public ground in il that is as good as the leased land. the reason its "not as good" is in the management of it. public ground gets whacked hard a lot of times and any legal buck is shot or shot at pushing them to safer ground and giving the impression its not as good. aside from the numbers of hunters, and those i mentioned in il the numbers were managed, public ground in these areas are as good. like spunky bottoms in il being sandwiched right between well managed ground the deer are there on public ground. in fact one of the stands i sat was a travel corridor between public and leased ground. I know if i were within a half a day hr ride of spunky bottom i would shoot a p&y every year.

i'll look for the name of the forest and post it for you.
 
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found it. its Siloam Springs State Park near griggsville, il. spunky bottoms is near the il river a little north east of there. thats a 4.5 hr ride from belvidere. about 22 hrs from here. but then again its a 10 hr ride to get to a point where anything is a good long ride from here.

here is spunky bottoms. the yellow west of the road is nice woods. the 200 was seen crossing the road going east a lot by a local that would see him in the morning on the way to work.
 

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down here if florida the state FWC doesn't have any sense of Deer managment. You are allowed a buck a day and i believe it needs a 5" spike to be legal. And the managment area deer get run to death. You will still find some big ol' swamp donkeys, but you have to work your tail off to get to them. Go where no man in his right mind would go. lol. Georgia has alot of lease land. the part of georgia i hunt in , you will see more florida plates on vehicles then you see georgia plates, during hunting season. Lease land goes for anywhere from $7.00 / acre to $24.00 per acre. I know i go up about once a month, and do what i can get done in a weekend. I'm the only person on 380 acres and it is alot of work, but i enjoy it. Lost my train of thought. lol

Anyways if the oppertunity arose for me to go to Texas or the midwest on a guided hunt , i would probably go. But for know i'm content working on my lease and trying to make my little slice of heaven a better place for the local deer population.
I've hunted Washington, Oregon and Idaho and has always been do-it-yourself public land hunting. but i went with friends and the experience made it all worth while. when we did harvest something that was a bonus. A guide would have been nice on some of them elk hunts though. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ronn,
I am not familiar with Spunky bottoms,though I have been to Siloam springs on several occasions. I hunted Siloam back in the first days of my bowhunting if you can call it that.(Im glad I didnt shoot a deer back then, looking back) Siloam springs in itself is a very small area that is set up as a first come first to hunt basis. Its a long drive from Arlington heights where I lived at the time and because of that, it makes any kind of scouting before the hunt verily imposible. While there, I saw no deer. that may be due to the time of the year I was there and the hunting pressure on the area up to thet time. I'll have to look into Spunky bottoms though.

Public land in Illinois does get whacked hard. but the reason is there is not enough public land to sustain the % of bowhunters in the state. too too much land is private, leased or otherwise off limits. and I have knocked on the doors, I stand a better chance of winning lotto and I dont even play.
 

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You guys all make good points. I especially liked what Ronn said about people doing what they need to do to fullfill their passion. In my case, I moved almost 3000 miles from my original home and family - with no job or a place to live awaiting me - so I could get into a prime hunting area.
As for the discussion about actual places to hunt, and DIY as oppssed to outfitters, leases, etc., that's something we all have to decide based on our ability to pay or our hunting skills, or the time we have (or don't have), and also how we, as individuals define hunting.
The resources (land and wildlife) are finite while our population only gets bigger. That's not a recipe for sustained hunting as we have known it in the past. And as the resource to population ratio "shrinks", the resultant supply and demand response takes over.
Most of your comments reflect conditions in the east - and to some extent they are present here too - unfortunately. Still, there is a LOT of room out here. Montana has over 8,000,000 acres enrolled in the Block Management Program (hunter access to private land paid for by the state) and millions more in national forests. With less than a million residents and limited non-resident licenses, it's still pretty good. Even with some of the best areas being leased to outfitters, one can still find lots of game (as well as places to hunt it) here.
 

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Onehorse I have seen that block management in action when my son was out there. It's a good thing. It's a shame more states don't do it. But I'll also say there's more land around than one would realise. But you got to work for it. Pike and surrounding counties aren't the only big buck areas in Illinois. We've been loookin at southern IL, shawnee forest for a public hunt. Do a search for outfitters down there and see the quality. It's there also. Point being, it's out there, but you have to work for it.
 
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bingo southern man.

here in nh there is no shortage of land a person can hunt. there is however a shortage of p&y not to mention booners or deer in general for that mater.

nh, maine, and vt, correct me if i'm wrong bb, have an open land common law. which means if its not posted you can legally hunt it without permission until the landowner says you can't then you must adhere to the landowners wishes.
 

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Without going into a whole lot of back and forth debate about hunting location regarding paid hunts or open public land hunting the one thing that has to be said is .,,,

If you choose to do a paid hunt in most cases (not all) you're Not hunting whether you want to accept that analogy or not, you're simply shooting an animal that's been raised for anyone to shoot. (period)
It's all about profit but it does fulfill someones ego so there's always going to be a target market for those type of hunts......
Personally, I just can't call that hunting especially when compared to public land hunting where you're the one that does the scouting not some guide, you develop the plan of action not some guide, you choose what you want to harvest not some outfitter and in the end you as a hunter are the one that's going to shine with pride rather than a landowner who smiles all the way to the bank....
Even if an outfitter charged only .10 cents to hunt their lands, Ethically?, if it isn't a fair chase hunting, it's just something I can't and won't even consider..

BUT, Whether you hunt with an outfitter or pound public lands for your trophy I'll always respect your decision to go about it however you choose...
 

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I don't think there is anything at all wrong with going with an outfitter. My son and I are contemplating it for 2011. But there is merit for doing it yourself too. I have a friend on the outskirts of Chicago that a couple years ago said he was going public land only. Last year he decided on a chunk of public ground 90 miles from his home and outlined a plan for 13 rut hunts scattered throughout the season. Did his spring scouting, found a buck, picked his tree setups, made a practice run in September, and documented it all. When he showed me his plan, frankly I thought he was nuts. 1&1/2 mile walk in, across a river and into the core area of a buck. Come Novemeber, he did it. First time out, nailed that fellow. I was impressed. No guide, public land, all on his own. It can be done. And people do it year after year. It's just how bad you want it.
 
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bb you're right about going to an outfitter, most outfitters. you miss out on the fun, maybe the most important part of the "hunt", the scouting forming of a plan and tring to execute that plan. it is with an outfitter, again most outfitters, fair chase. there are no fences. I agree i have zero interest in "hunting" a fenced in area. in texas its a normal thing, i guess, to hunt behind a fence even though it is a huge area in the fence.
 

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Yeah there's nothing wrong with using an outfitter it is what it is and that's it.
I think a lot of guys go on paid hunts only to learn that a paid hunt isn't at all what they anticipated,
the scout, the hunt, the harvest...
it's basically as simple as the guide putting you into an already planned location knowing very well what you may see and be able to harvest
and the shooter better know what he's shooting because shooting the wrong animal could cost you dearly.
The penalty of shooing a wrong deer isn't something I'll ever agree with but it's all part of hunting with an outfitter, their deer, their land, their rules...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Buying the farm

My wife knows my passion for hunting and fishing. she also knows I would love to have my own land. and I have done my share of planting the seeds of land acquisition. so

I have started activly searching for just that right piece of land. 20 to 60 acres would be ideal, complete with either pond or river access, 50% wooded w/hardwoods, 50% tillable and/or buildable. I have seen a few that are kind of nice but are rather far away. I would prefer something that I can get more frequent use of. You have to remember the added expense of new property mortagage payments may preclude you from excessive travel opportunties to your haven.

Actually, I could utillize as small as a 10 acre tract if it were sandwiched between ideal properties.
 
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