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vtbuckrulrss 08-04-2003 06:11 PM

qdm=loss of hunting skills?
just a question for everyone, in your own opinions, do you personally feel, and no qoutes please, that through qdm, and more specifically, the planting of food plots, and baiting of deer, that we, as hunters, have lost our woodsmanship skills, and that if those that rely on these methods had to truly hunt, in big woods, that they would go home empty handed, or more importantly, settle on a deer that they may not have otherwise settled on, if they were sitting over a bait pile or food plot? in other words, can those people( done it myself) truly call themselves hunters, or shooters, or even shoppers?

Sling 08-04-2003 07:24 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
Vtbuckrulrss - It all depends on how you define " woodsmanship skill," so I have some questions back at you:

From your post, I am assuming that you do not feel it takes as much " skill" to hunt farmlands as it does big woods, It sounds like you are saying that you cannot be a " skilled" hunter unless you hunt big woods. Is that correct?

Also, it is not safe to assume that QDM is not going on in the " big woods," so in your opinion, is a QDM hunter hunting " big woods" more skilled than one that is hunting farmlands just because of the territory involved? Are you saying big woods are harder to hunt because they tend to have lower deer populations, or are you just saying that differences in deer behavior would make it impossible for someone hunting farmland animals to adjust to the big woods? Is the opposite true?

Is the ability to identify mature deer something QDM teaches people or is that something people tend to learn on their own? Is the ability to age deer a " woodsmanship skill?" Would being able to age deer on the hoof better enable a hunter to take the animal they intended to, rather than " settle?"

Is the ablility to identify problems in the deer herd and make management decisions based those observations considered a " woodsmanship skill" under your definition?

Is the ability to plant food plots, trees, or make other appropriate habitat modifications considered " woodsmanship" under your definition?

vtbuckrulrss 08-04-2003 07:53 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
hold on sling, hold on, lol, i will try to answer ya:

1) hunting farmlands depends how you are hunting them, my beef is sitting over a food plot or bait and considering that hunting, it' s shooting, nothing else. wandering around, sitting on active trails stalking, whether this is in " big" woods or on farmald, this is still hunting.

2) a qdm hunter, in the woods, is a better hunter than one hunting farmlands because there are less deer than in an agricultural setting, thus it takes more skill just to get close enough, without spooking the deer, to identify what they are shooting at, if it is a four point or is it a six, etc. as someone who has hunted both farmland, small wood lots, and large woods, personally, i found the farmland much easier because of the amount of deer. a farmland hunter MAY have a difficult time adjusting, a woods hunter is more used to hunting a wider variety of terrain than a farmland hunter, imho.

3) i think woodsmanship skills would make a better qdmer, because of the methods involved to enable one to get close enough to decide if this is the one that one wishes to take. but, a big woods hunter( or small) will most likely see fewer deer, and thus will/may take a buck regardless of antler size simply because they probably will see fewer deer. aging deer is a learned skill.

4) identifying problems in the herd, as you are describing it, would relate to a localized problem, one to be brought to the dept. attention, and not take matters into ones own hands. this manner of vigilantism will just lead to short term solutions, long term problems. leave those decisions to those professionals being paid to do the job, they have the degree, not us.

5) any farmer can grow crops. those who grow the crops you mentioned are just becoming deer farmers, bringing in their harvest in the fall, just as any farmer does. no, clearly not woodsmanship. how hard is it to contact the local ag dept, pick up a magazine, do some ordering and planting. if you do any of that, you are a farmer, deer farmer that is.

when i say farm hunting, i am speaking of hunting over food plots specifically planted for deer, not over farm crops. also, am i alone thinking that the tv shows are helping to erode our skills, how many times do you see people still hunting the woods vs. hunting in or near food plots? if you were a young and upcoming hunter, don' t you think that you would believe food plot hunting is the only way to hunt?

FL/GA Hunter 08-04-2003 08:03 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?

Poor attempt to stir the pot, man.

1) QDM is supposed to be improving the deer herd by use of food plots, selective hunting, etc. Nowhere in there is ' shooting over food plots.' You might say it differently - hunting over food plots or bait helps erode hunting skills. By calling that QDM, you' re obviously just trying to pick a fight.

2) How else, exactly, are they supposed to keep ratings? Do you honestly think a stalking hunter trailed by his cameraman is going to score on enough big bucks to make a living off the videos? They supply what the public wants - video of hunters killing big bucks. Period. Youngsters learn from their elders, hopefully, and not Jackie Bushman.

vtbuckrulrss 08-04-2003 08:19 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
fl/ga, love your quote at the end, where can i read more of that guy? not trying to stir the pot, mostly just trying to compare i guess a woods hunter/ bush hunter/swamp hunter with a plot sitter. but yes, i like your way better on phrasing it, does hunting over plots or bait erode one' s skills. however, can a qdm plan be done without food and fertilizer? and why plant a food plot if you aren' t planning on hunting around and on it?
totally agree with point number two.

Dan O. 08-04-2003 08:25 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
vt; are you saying that if I hunt the deer trails in bush at the back of my property that I' m a hunter but if I strategically locate a crop at the front of my property in relation to deer runs etc. and hunt near it that I' m a washout?

I don' t believe that a modern hunter will be judged on hunting skill alone. The same way waterfowl hunters get into nesting improvement or fishermen get into spawning bed improvement. Part of taking game should be helping to preserve it for the future. If that means Ducks Unlimited are duck farmers so be it.

Even if you compare some old hunters (plaid shirts, no camo, no scents, cigarette in the mouth) shooting deer what special skill do you attribute to them? More people hunt from tree stands now than ever. Why; because it' s successful. But; you put the stand near a food source or near main trails or at bottlenecks. It isn' t a random selection. If you' re talking about still hunting, it' s much more difficult but people don' t have the time to learn the technique but still want success. I hate driving. I would it as taking much less skill than any plot or wood hunter.

Dan O.

FL/GA Hunter 08-04-2003 08:28 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
There are plenty of people who plant food plots simply to improve the nutrition a deer gets in their herd. There are many other people who do not sit the plots, but hunt the trails to and from them. Actually, if you hunt just the food plot itself, you' re missing out on a heck of a lot of big bucks.

The quote is from The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark. Awesome book, I completely recommend it. I' ve also read Horn of the Hunter by Ruark. The Old Man and the Boy is basically a story of growing up hunting and fishing, Horn of the Hunter is a story of an African safari. Both are either wholly or partially autobiographical.

farm hunter 08-04-2003 09:02 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
I cannot comment on the baiting issue - but would like to comment on the food plot section of your hypothetical.

Personally, I think you have a rather narrow concept of what constitutes a food plot, its use(s) and the methods employed in hunting in conjunction with one or several plots.

The 180 acres my small hunting group manages is old farm land that has not been active for some time. While maybe 75% of it is " wooded" - its a far cry from " the big woods" and never would be due to agricultural and timber management in the area. So our options are to let the remaining fields go to woods - or to keep the fields open. We' ve decided on the feild route - and actively plant/mow about 20 acres in different food types that benefit all wildlife on the " farm" .

OK - now you know my story in a nutshell. I personally have NEVER taken a deer on a food plot - I' ve hunted on them a few times no doubt - but have learned that the odds of actually harvesting a deer, especially a better than average one are better off the plots, - learn how the deer relate to the plots ,and capitalize on their weak spots away from the bedding and feed areas (not a whole lot different than hunting in the big woods). You seem to assume that have a food plot is like shopping for meat at the supermarket - I very much disagree.

Do Food plots take away from the hunting experience??? I' d say its quite the contrary - the more time and effort one puts in on the land, the more one appreciates the deer and the wildlife in general.

I think your point goes more towards " are food plots artificial" and I' d respond that, now your down to splitting hairs. For instance, Hunting farmland or rural property nearby farmed land - is probably what whitetail deer hunting IS in 75% of the country. Food plots are only an extension of current agriculture practice - and is actually more " normal" than the alternative in most areas.

On the chance that your concept of a food plot is some magic seed thrown down around a treestand, back in the woods someplace - I' d say that GENERALLY most of us are not interested in planting little " dessert" plots for to attract deer in hunting season. Food plots, planted as most of us do on this board, is a 365 day/year prospect - and an extension of the hunting experience. Its a way to involve family, friends, hunters and non-hunters alike.

I have no beef with you, you are entiled to your opinion. I simply cannot make the leap: Food plots :: loss of hunting skills as ?????? - I don' t get it.

farm hunter 08-04-2003 09:20 PM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?
vtbuckrulrss -

one last point on the question you raised - " can a QDM plan be impemented in the Big Woods?" - Sure it can.

The cohesive element around QDM is that " all is relative" - and the real qdm concept - is a balanced deer herd -not food plots - Blah - Blah - Blah. It works in big woods, swamps, farm land, sand dunes, etc - but its all relative.

Food plots can " boost" the Carrying capicity - but only locally. At the very least - you want your property, or the property you hunt, to be even with the norm or better as far as carrying capacity goes -

Its not about hunting over food plots.

NorthJeff 08-05-2003 05:47 AM

RE: qdm=loss of hunting skills?

Personally, I think you have some gross misunderstandings of what QDM is, and what is supported by the QDMA. You are obviously very negative towards QDM, and just trying to " stir the pot" . There are quite a few guys on this site that this will not work with. Many of us have been ardent QDM supporters for years, and understand the basics and beyond, and most likely will never change our minds, especially by any of the points you' ve tried to bring forth. Here is what you are missing:

QDM is, and only is....
1. Adequate buck age structure

2. Maintaining population levels at or below the carrying capacity of the habitat

3. Adequate sex ratios

That' s it, period.

The QDMA takes those 3 biologically proven principles of QDM, and adds a few social management aspects, including, education, youth involvement, habitat improvement, cooperation with local law enforcement and biologist, etc..

By talking about food plots, you are only covering one aspect that falls under " Maintaining population levels at or below the carrying capacity of the habitat" . And this aspect, food plots, habitat improvement, etc.., is still bound by maintaining population levels in balance with the habitat.

The 3 principles listed above are what QDM actually is, and what forms the biological, scientific base of the QDMA and it' s beliefs.

QDM can apply anywhere, because anywhere you go those 3 principles apply for the health of the herd.

Another thing you' ll find, as hunters become more involved in the management aspects, as well as education, they not only become better educated in white-tail biology and habitat, but better hunters. Mark Thomas, a national board member of the QDMA, told me last year that it is very important that hunters become better hunters. It' s all about involvement, as education and activities increase, so does the skill level of the hunter. The guys that are out there on their property maintaining food plots, setting tree stands, studying game movements, improving habitat based on deer usage on the property not only become better hunters, but know where their deer sleep, eat, give birth, hide, escape, and live every aspect of their yearly lives. Eduction=involvement=hunter knowledge=hunter skill.

I personally would not even put baiting-in MY AREA, anywhere in the same class. Virtually all baiters around here throw some bait out a week before the season, and sit for a few times during gun season. That' s it. No education, increase in knowledge, skill level, passion, desire, or anything. In fact, around here, the use of baiting by the majority of hunters, and the extreme reliance on baiting for the only commonly practiced hunting method, has seriously donwgraded the skill level of hunters enough that many hunters are getting discouraged and giving up hunting all together. But again, just like food plots isn' t QDM, neither is baiting, so to referance food ploting to baiting to QDM to lack of hunter skill, shows a gross misunderstanding of QDM, food plots, and baiting all together.

So to answer the question, not only is the assumption or thought that QDM equals lower skill levels in hunting incorrect and misquided, but QDM' s relation to food plots and baiting is greatly misunderstood.

I' ve been able to participate in PA' s gun season for the past 10 years. What a difference QDM has made in the big woods! From seeing 30 does and a spike a day in the mid 90' s, to seeing 5 or 6 bucks and 10-15 does a day now, all in the big woods of the Alleghany National forest. Our camp has been in existance for 30 years, with 170 bucks taken. All of the following have increased, over the past 5 year, due to increased doe permits: body weights by age class, rack size by age class, increased buck sightings, hunter success %, size of bucks harvested for total weight and antler size, and buck age harvested. Last year, with the restrictions, buck age class will improve even more. I personally shot the 6th buck I saw on opening day, at 10:00 in the morning. We shot 7 bucks for the 10 guys that stayed at least 2 days, with our 2nd largest buck ever taken, and 2 others in the top 10 out of 170.

So in a nutshell, in the big woods of PA, QDM has done the following:

Improved buck age structure

Lowered deer numbers to targeted carrying capacities

Improved sex ratios

Improved rack size, body weights, rutting activity, hunter success, buck sightings, and best of all....hunter enjoyment. All in the big woods!

Jeff...U.P. of Michigan

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