Dogging Bear Quota Hunt

Buckman18

Senior Member
It's aggregating to have them tagged but last several I've killed its either been on a management hunt and check station was open or they have come to the house. I just tell them where its at if I ain't there. The local wildlife tech's are A+!
This is true. Not sure if it’s appropriate to name them, but the local guys in Habersham, Towns, Rabun, and White are top notch.
 

Heath

Senior Member
Respectfully, I couldn’t disagree more about cutting back deer season on the NF. If the deer limit in the mountains is two, twelve, or forty, it’s not going to make much of a difference. The number of doe days in the mountains are, thankfully, so few, that no one is going to legally harvest many does anyway. In the lower elevations of the mountain counties, there are plenty of deer around the settlement, just not up on the high ridges of the NF. And, let’s not forget that the overwhelming majority of the NF that is more than a 1/4 mile deep NEVER sees a deer hunter. That said, I’ve killed many a mature buck on those high ridges, what they lack in numbers they make up for in age structure. It’s lonely at the top in the cold of December, but the eatin’ is good. :cool:

Reducing hunter opportunity in the mountains is not the answer. The NF gets so little hunting pressure, hunters impact is negligible. For those of us who also hunt the Mtn of NC, most would agree that the GA mountains have far more deer, even now, than NC. The NC season is a whopping 3 weeks and has been for decades. I think GA has the hunting seasons set perfectly. Just need to add spring bear, and get rid of more hogs.
I guess it must depend on our own points of view. When I grew up we had no deer in western NC. It was big news if someone saw a buck. Now, Macon county has far better deer hunting than I see here. I actually prefer hunting up home over here because of it. Less pressure and more food equal better hunting. Macon county doesn’t have more food, but they sure have a lot less pressure.

I’m not saying deer don’t exist still but they have fallen off drastically in the last 15-20 years. The only consistent is bear numbers exploding. I don’t agree that hogs have much to do with it. They’ve been here for longer than most are aware of. They were here in certain places when deer were thicker. They have spread out in other areas they weren’t typically in but that’s about it.

Here’s another question I’ve always wondered? Why spend so much time and effort trying to establish deer when they are never going to thrive in the mountains anyway. Seems it would make more sense to work with what we have and have proven we can support. Bear and hog country is what this is, it will support them in large numbers, why not cultivate it instead of eradicating them to make room for something else. Just something I’ve never understood.
 
I guess it must depend on our own points of view. When I grew up we had no deer in western NC. It was big news if someone saw a buck. Now, Macon county has far better deer hunting than I see here. I actually prefer hunting up home over here because of it. Less pressure and more food equal better hunting. Macon county doesn’t have more food, but they sure have a lot less pressure.

I’m not saying deer don’t exist still but they have fallen off drastically in the last 15-20 years. The only consistent is bear numbers exploding. I don’t agree that hogs have much to do with it. They’ve been here for longer than most are aware of. They were here in certain places when deer were thicker. They have spread out in other areas they weren’t typically in but that’s about it.

Here’s another question I’ve always wondered? Why spend so much time and effort trying to establish deer when they are never going to thrive in the mountains anyway. Seems it would make more sense to work with what we have and have proven we can support. Bear and hog country is what this is, it will support them in large numbers, why not cultivate it instead of eradicating them to make room for something else. Just something I’ve never understood.
I like bear meat better than deer. Don't care much for the hogs. With that said I'd rather hunt deer any day of the week. I just don't get into bear hunting like deer hunting. I think the vast majority of folks that hunt the mountains feel the same way. I will agree with you that we have to many bears and I do think that's a good portion of the problem. The deer population just can't stand 2 different predators. If either bears or yotes were gone I think the population would grow again. Yotes are here to stay but bear numbers can be controlled better. I hope the dogging season goes well and everyone has fun but it's not the way to get numbers down. If it was nc wouldn't have as many bears as it does. Supposedly they have about 4 times the population as ga if the numbers are accurate.
 

Buckman18

Senior Member
I guess it must depend on our own points of view. When I grew up we had no deer in western NC. It was big news if someone saw a buck. Now, Macon county has far better deer hunting than I see here. I actually prefer hunting up home over here because of it. Less pressure and more food equal better hunting. Macon county doesn’t have more food, but they sure have a lot less pressure.

I’m not saying deer don’t exist still but they have fallen off drastically in the last 15-20 years. The only consistent is bear numbers exploding. I don’t agree that hogs have much to do with it. They’ve been here for longer than most are aware of. They were here in certain places when deer were thicker. They have spread out in other areas they weren’t typically in but that’s about it.

Here’s another question I’ve always wondered? Why spend so much time and effort trying to establish deer when they are never going to thrive in the mountains anyway. Seems it would make more sense to work with what we have and have proven we can support. Bear and hog country is what this is, it will support them in large numbers, why not cultivate it instead of eradicating them to make room for something else. Just something I’ve never understood.
Again, I disagree with the premise of your message. I've never deer hunted in Macon County, and have only bear hunted there if that's where the dogs ended up after being turned loose near Buck Creek, but I have been all over Clay and Cherokee Counties. There used to be scads of deer in Fires Creek and Buck Creek. My parents tell me stories from the 60's-70's of seeing dozens when riding through Fires Creek, and all the campsites around Buck Creek being filled up with deer hanging in many on opening week. Today, there are very few deer in either of those mountain ranges and, instead, plenty around the settlement. Bears are all over those areas now, and then weren't nearly as common.

In Georgia, same story regarding Chattahoochee, Swallow Creek, Lake Burton and other nearby WMA's. You should take some time to research the harvest records on these WMA's before the late 80's, and I think you will see that your claim about deer never going to thrive in the mountains is simply not accurate. Bears are cool. We value bears. They certainly have their place. But good deer hunting is what the overwhelming majority of us in the mountains prefer, and would prefer a bear sighting as an occasional bonus instead of the expectation they have become.
 
We can hunt hogs with dogs on USFS lands any time bear and hog training season coincides with a open game animal season. We have to use firearms legal for that game species.
Years ago we were able to hunt during any game season except firearms deer season then they made this official training season which shortened us out of bow season and all but the last 3 weeks of turkey season.
No hunting at night. And no WMA’s except a few trial quota hunts a few years ago and supposedly we can hunt during this new coyote and hog season in May on WMA’s but one game warden says we can and another says we can’t. The printed regulations still say we can’t!

It’s a common misconception though and really wordy. Other states have far easier to comprehend printed laws.
Tell me where it says I can hunt and take hogs with dogs on USFS land please.
 

Heath

Senior Member
Again, I disagree with the premise of your message. I've never deer hunted in Macon County, and have only bear hunted there if that's where the dogs ended up after being turned loose near Buck Creek, but I have been all over Clay and Cherokee Counties. There used to be scads of deer in Fires Creek and Buck Creek. My parents tell me stories from the 60's-70's of seeing dozens when riding through Fires Creek, and all the campsites around Buck Creek being filled up with deer hanging in many on opening week. Today, there are very few deer in either of those mountain ranges and, instead, plenty around the settlement. Bears are all over those areas now, and then weren't nearly as common.

In Georgia, same story regarding Chattahoochee, Swallow Creek, Lake Burton and other nearby WMA's. You should take some time to research the harvest records on these WMA's before the late 80's, and I think you will see that your claim about deer never going to thrive in the mountains is simply not accurate. Bears are cool. We value bears. They certainly have their place. But good deer hunting is what the overwhelming majority of us in the mountains prefer, and would prefer a bear sighting as an occasional bonus instead of the expectation they have become.
Again, same thing here. Hearing second hand isn’t research it’s wives tales. I have equally as many resources that say different about the same areas you speak of. I didn’t hear people, I grew up in it. Buck creek is loaded with deer right now! Actually, I have a friend who buys his out of state license to deer hunt where you say there aren’t deer. That area really doesn’t count anyway because Rainbow springs is a huge tract that was privately ran and hunted for the last 45 years. That I know of for certain. It’s kinda an outlier when you talk about mountain hunting because it’s not normal circumstances. Heck we never used to have to break dogs off deer cause there weren’t any to run anyway!

I think old management numbers show there were some deer before the bear explosion, they weren’t thick, just at a normal level. Now they are extremely thin. What was it 2 or 3 years ago, only like 15 bucks taken off 4 or 5 mountain WMAS combined. That’s like around 100,000 acres with 15 bucks tagged out. I can kill that many in Clay county in a week now.

I thought everyone knew the bear numbers are wrong. Have you actually been and watched how they surmise these numbers? It’s laughable to say the least.

With all due respect, I think your view of history is clouded by what you want to see or want me to see. Every historical book states that deer were basically eradicated in our area during the fur market days. Every one on every side of where you claim there used to be scores of deer says they didn’t even know people deer hunted because there just weren’t many. I’m gonna guess your relatives are talking about down around Chunky Gal and the bottoms seeing deer in the early 90’s in those fields.???
That’s right after the major restocking and closing of deer season because the biologists feared the deer wouldn’t survive.
Didn’t north Georgia have a similar restocking by Smithgal? Because deer numbers were obsolete? Maybe 60’s or something like that. You can’t just choose certain time frames because they line up with the data you want to portray. There’s always been an ebb and flo of game. Mostly due to food, habitat, and predators. We can’t do much to alter habitat now that the feds put a stop to that. The mast is always changing some years it’s great and some years not. The only thing you can do easily is control predators. Bear, coyotes, and you and I.
 
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Heath

Senior Member
The game management sections of State are charged with keeping all wildlife numbers in balance. That’s the whole reason we invented the Game Warden position along with seasons and bag limits. Throughout history at different times animals were hunted for food, trade, depredation, and sport. At this time we are in need of more take of certain animals and less take of another to help regulate numbers. It’s a fairly simple concept. Yes, hunting bear with dogs can be a highly productive method and help with that problem. Still hunting alone just isn’t getting the job done.

Another note about population numbers. Don’t put to much stock in population estimates. They are often wrong. I was reading a study about some Gorilla that many more scientists and biologists were working on than a state department employs. They estimated that there were only like a 1,000 left and on the brink of extinction. Then they found like 5,000 or something. It’s been to long since I read it but it was a huge margin of error!
 
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Heath

Senior Member
I heard that as well, just another smoke and mirrors by the state to do away with us dog hunters. Give us 9 days and take away 21. Make us think we win but we got the shaft again.
 

Heath

Senior Member
Have you had confrontations with turkey hunters? I don’t see anyone hunting the mountains anymore. I see a few opening weekend and maybe one or two when they are gobbling but Ive saw as many hog hunters as turkey hunters the past few years. Why does one take precedence over the other. If turkey hunters wanted more turkeys, it looks like they would welcome hog hunters. But, it’s not about bettering the wildlife. It’s about me me me me me.....
 
Well I’ll tell you the honest truth, I’ve been on both sides. I was hunting this past May and we had an absolute tear down one morning. Dogs cold trailed one a long ways and ended up going several miles from where we turned out. Went to a different road to try to cut the hog off and there was a truck parked where we wanted to be. We went up the road and could hear this guy working a bird that was fired up a few hundred yards off the road. Not long after that the dogs walked the hog right over top of the gobbler and ruined it for him. He was pretty upset to say the least.

I’ve also been the turkey hunter as well though. Used to turkey hunt FS lands above Lake Rabun and the old Burton WMA a lot. Had many, many instances where I would get in early and set up on a bird, then have somebody dump the box right where my truck was parked shortly after. Turkeys don’t like it a whole lot when 20 plotts on a hot track race under their tree. Them places have gotten real popular with dog hunters in the past several years so I avoid them if I want to turkey hunt.

As I get up in age I seem to understand other people’s point of view a lot more than I used to when I was younger. I don’t want to lose the May season, but I can see why it would happen. A kill season for bear seems like an even trade for the May season when I look at it from other perspectives. This kill season is a lot bigger win for the houndsmen than I think we realize. I think the state is really sticking their necks out for us on this. I would much rather have an opportunity at 10 days to kill a bear with hounds, than the 15 days you can kill a hog during the May season. I don’t even hunt the last part of it because you can’t kill a hog if you get on one.
You are correct about the conflicts in both sides. That area gets dogged pretty hard seems like. I was on wildcat couple years ago early August towards the back. Seen 6 or 7 trucks with dog boxes parked that morning. All had nc tags. Didn't think dog season was open but don't keep track either.
 

jbogg

Senior Member
As has been said many times, the dog Hunt need not be scheduled when it is. Back it up a few weeks and there would be a lot less Bow hunters raising Cane. One of the main reasons the DNR stated as to doing away with the May training season was due to so many private property owner complaints of dogs on their property. I have heard and read of many a bear race going for several miles. When the dogs get turned loose on Trail Ridge road which is in the center of Chattahoochee WMA it’s only 1 to 2 miles up the hill and you are crossing the Appalachian Trail and off Of the WMA. Can any of the dog hunters on here explain to me how you call off a pack of dogs once they have left the property where they are permitted to run? It’s an honest question as I truly have no idea. Seems like a recipe for even more conflict. There are lots of weekend backpackers on the AT that time of year.
 
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jbogg

Senior Member
I was also at the meeting and heard them say they wanted the hunt to be as high quality as possible for the houndsmen. That time of year is prime for bear movement which equals a better experience for us, which is why they did it. The houndsmen didn’t choose the timing of the hunt, so that’s not on us. I wish it would have worked out better for everyone as I wouldn’t mind the hunt being moved back. I’m sorry it’s not that way though. I truly hope we can see past any disagreement because at the end of the day we’re all bear hunters no matter the method and we may end up with arms locked together fighting for any type of bear season one day soon.

As far as keeping dogs within an area there’s no foolproof way to do it. They can’t read or know they’re not supposed to go somewhere. You can reduce the chances of them leaving however.

Only turning out on hot tracks.

Hunting the core of a property.

Having dogs that run to catch the bear or hog, not run just to chase it. There’s a big difference.

Having good technology such as an Alpha system where you can tone recall your dogs. This means your dogs know to come back to you when you tone their collar. This is a questionable practice however as you can mess up a good dog quickly by shocking or toning at the wrong time or too often.

I don’t think this will be quite as big an issue as you may think. The way I understand it Chattahoochee and Chestatee are combined for the hunt and that’s a huge area. I don’t think I would have a problem keeping my dogs in an area that size. I have been wrong before though and like I said there are no guarantees.
That’s a fair answer, and I appreciate your response. Make no mistake, my problem is not with hound hunters at all, but rather with the DNR‘s decision to schedule the hunt so early. One of the hound hunters on this thread even commented on how tough the heat can be on dogs. Pushing the hunt back four weeks would result in cooler temperatures For hunters as well as dogs, and the Bears are even more active In late October as they are deep into hyperphagia and moving more than ever in search of food. I have never known any hound hunters, but I have always been intrigued by it. There is a group on YouTube called “The Untamed” who put out some very good content. Their dog hunting videos are excellent.

I do not like to see anything that divides hunters. There are less of us every year according to hunting license sales, and if that does not change I fear that one day in the not so distant future our kids and grandchildren may not have the same opportunities that we do to enjoy hunting on public ground.
 
Jbogg this last point you make is the most important imho. It might not feel like it when people are fightin over public land spots but hunting and the culture and values that surround it are quickly dissapearing. If you have never lived/worked near an urban/suburban area you might not see it but most young people want nothing to do with hunting and hunters. Heck they dont even want you to have the guns you hunt with. Small country towns with good people raisin good kids will be out voted by the masses of anti hunters bein raised in the cities. It seems like part of the problems the dog hunters face is the new people to the mountain communities who, to say the least see any kind of hunter as an ol hillbilly redneck that just wants to murder lil cute animals. You add in the fact the dogs sometimes cross property lines an here we go with calls and complaints. I support private property, but i dont feel like this would have been an issue a generation or so ago. I live in a foothills/upper piedmont county and all the old fellas that hunt talk about how you could just walk over to so and so place and hunt and not worry about it.this is most likely gone from most places in the south or anywhere. I do feel like they could have timed the dog hunts better but that ship has sailed for now. Maybe they will adjust it later so everybody wins. For now we need to stick together and make sure we are hunting with respect to each other and try to keep the bad apples from causing problems for the rest of us. Thanks for listenin!
 
Well I’ll tell you the honest truth, I’ve been on both sides. I was hunting this past May and we had an absolute tear down one morning. Dogs cold trailed one a long ways and ended up going several miles from where we turned out. Went to a different road to try to cut the hog off and there was a truck parked where we wanted to be. We went up the road and could hear this guy working a bird that was fired up a few hundred yards off the road. Not long after that the dogs walked the hog right over top of the gobbler and ruined it for him. He was pretty upset to say the least.

I’ve also been the turkey hunter as well though. Used to turkey hunt FS lands above Lake Rabun and the old Burton WMA a lot. Had many, many instances where I would get in early and set up on a bird, then have somebody dump the box right where my truck was parked shortly after. Turkeys don’t like it a whole lot when 20 plotts on a hot track race under their tree. Them places have gotten real popular with dog hunters in the past several years so I avoid them if I want to turkey hunt.

As I get up in age I seem to understand other people’s point of view a lot more than I used to when I was younger. I don’t want to lose the May season, but I can see why it would happen. A kill season for bear seems like an even trade for the May season when I look at it from other perspectives. This kill season is a lot bigger win for the houndsmen than I think we realize. I think the state is really sticking their necks out for us on this. I would much rather have an opportunity at 10 days to kill a bear with hounds, than the 15 days you can kill a hog during the May season. I don’t even hunt the last part of it because you can’t kill a hog if you get on one.
That turkey hunter should have killed the hog and had way more meat than a little ole turkey, guys probably would have helped him get it to the road. That tom would have been there the next day but not the hog...
 

Heath

Senior Member
Used to be, when
It wasn’t the fact that the hog ran him over, it was the fact that several hounds and curs fighting a hog spooked the gobbler and he flew to the next ridge a mile over. I don’t know if he ever had a shot at the hog anyways, he just wasn’t happy that we ruined his hunt. And if he is like me he doesn’t have the ability to hunt every day like we wish we could. At several times during my life I’ve only had one day a week to hunt. So if you only have one day then it doesn’t matter if that gobbler will be back there the next morning. I understand why he was upset, and he had every right to be. I looked at it from his perspective when it happened and I figured I would have felt the same way.
Totally agree!
But you said you turned loose far from where he was hunting and bad luck just caused your paths to cross. I’m in agreement about people being disrespectful. I know all to well about folks parking right beside my truck and helping themselves right in behind me. My point is, it’s not just dog hunters as it happens to me far more by deer hunters during deer season. Should we stop deer hunters because of the few bad apples or should we all be a little more respectful and realize we don’t live in our own little worlds and everyone should have to cater to me!!
Trust me, them boys don’t catch and release near as many as they let on. What needs to happen, is put a stop to all the road riding and hunting in big gangs. Then the problems would diminish greatly. I hunt both, but was taught by my daddy that everyone had the same rites as me. I shouldn’t interfere with another mans hunt if I could help it and shouldn’t be too upset if mine gets messed up on accident. But we don’t live in a world where decency is very abundant. You think it’s fair to me that some punk messed up a Turkey hunt and now my season gets taken away. Your fooled if you think they will stop with this. They’ll come after the rest of it too!
 
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jbogg

Senior Member
One other thing. They may be taking the May season but this is the way I see that particular situation.
We lose 23 days of hunting, however we gain 10 days of a kill season. Those 10 days to me are worth at least 30 days of training. Way more fun since we can actually take bears and a more kid friendly,less crowded experience with it being a quota hunt.

Now look at it from these bow hunters perspective. They lost 10 days of hunting. What did they gain from it? Nothing, nada, zilch. If this had happened to us houndsmen we would cry and scream bloody murder and say everyone hates us. I know because that’s what I would have done years ago.

The big picture is simple-Dog hunters lost but gained some back. Bow hunters lost and got nothing back. I don’t blame them for being upset! I would be too!
I appreciate your perspective since you have been on both sides of the fence. I hunt with both bow and gun, and there are a lot of guys that like to hunt bear early with a bow when they are still climbing the white oaks. The early rifle hunt starting just a week after the bow opener and then followed immediately by a ton of dog hunters for nine days makes the prospect of taking a bear with archery equipment an even tougher proposition unless a man is able to get it done in the first week. Chattahoochee and Chestatee will get real small real fast with that many dogs running. I understand that it won’t affect deer movement a few weeks later, but I would be surprised if there is a bear left on those two WMAs for the final two weeks of bow season which reopens the day after the dogs finish running. The bears will resume their normal patterns within their normal range eventually, but it sure won’t happen overnight. With that said I don’t blame the dog hunters and I wish them success. Just wish the DNR had given a little more thought to the timing.
 
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