Are most OTC units like this?

Wrench

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Aug 23, 2018
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WA
I love idaho. Guys think 4 on a mountain is a bust.....but go 65 miles west and 22 guys are working two sections of public land......and scratching out animals.
 

lab-roamer

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Feb 27, 2012
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I'm not the most technical advanced guy but people can pull data off your pics and find the location ??? Can someone explain this too my Dumba$$
 

Maverick1

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Jun 1, 2013
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Part of the reason I moved to Idaho was to enjoy the vast public land and hunting opportunities. Rifle season turned into an absolute joke pretty quickly. Opening day sounds like a war zone and there is someone on every ridge. Campers and tents stack up like a circus. I can only imagine how pissed the born and raised locals are.

Archery was way better for a minute, but this year it seems like it’s turned into the same thing. It feels more like groups of hunters flushing game back and forth until someone gets lucky. Now that I've really gotten to know the unit(s) I hunt it seems like there is virtually no ground that isn't hit. I've hiked ridge to ridge over some really rough terrain and still find boot tracks in the middle between access points.

I cannot stand feeling like I'm hunting for a spot to myself more than hunting for actual game. Is this pretty typical or do I need to start figuring out another unit much further away? If I finally tag a bull the fact that 15 other hunters have been chasing him back and forth until I got the lucky chance shot kind of takes away from the experience of "hunting." I definitely don't want it to be easy and handed to me, but this seems more like luck than skill.

What do you consider normal pressure for OTC units for deer and elk? Are you hunting areas that only you are in, or do you expect to have company there? If you hike 10 miles across the mountains from the nearest access point are you surprised to find boot tracks there? Am I dreaming thinking that I should be able to do a day of hiking and no one else has been there in the last few days or week?


Here's a picture I made of one section of the unit(green boundary). The red dots and lines are just people I have seen(including myself and my route) in one single day. If that's what can be hit in one day I'm guessing that every draw has absolutely been hit and probably frequently. Is this normal? Or way too much pressure?
It can be normal, yes.

I hunted an OTC unit and ran into 17 other hunters over a Labor Day weekend once. That was discouraging.

I have hunted an OTC unit and not come across another hunter for an entire week.

I have also been drawn for a couple of really nice elk tags in a couple of states (NM, WY, AZ) - and been exceptionally surprised/frustrated/disappointed with the amount of ATV’s and others with their “posse” trying to fill a tag. That was a bit eye-opening! (Apply for 8-10-15 years, draw the tag, get all excited, and find out it is more crowded than anywhere else!)

On one of those “premium” tags, it has also been exactly as you’d expect: didn’t run into another hunter in the field, elk were talking throughout the day, and they responded to my calls.

So, it depends!
 

FLATHEAD

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Jun 27, 2021
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369
Overcrowding is why I've started adjusting; as in hunting other stuff/seasons.
I MAY try the muzzleloader season on a local WMA, but will pass on
general gun. Took the week off (Mon-Fri.) hoping not many others will.
Looking at some new duck water today, back water wood duck/mallard
spots. I refuse to join the masses of mud skipper boats out on the bay.
Other than those, maybe hogs and definitely calling bobcat when no other
hunts going on.

Well, scouted my new duck water. 27 trucks at the boat ramp.
Teal hunters were pulling in as I was leaving.
Never knew Teal drew such a crowd.
On to option #37.
 
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CJohnson

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Mar 28, 2019
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Location
SC
I’ll never understand the complaint of seeing other people on public land. Isn’t that the expectation? Come hunt the 2% of the state of SC that’s public and see what crowded looks like. Nothing like having to figure out how to hunt a 100 acre tract with a bunch of other guys who have “If it’s brown, it’s down” stickers on their windshield and get real pumped about blasting 80lb does.

I think it’s been said on here before, but if you want solitude, hunting OTC units during any season might not be your best bet.

Also, haven’t NR tags in ID been capped for a while??
 

Poser

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Dec 27, 2013
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Durango CO
Yeah your right...I have done both (for a good while) and hunting the west is way easier. How many time have hunted the eastern side of the country?

A lifetime of hunting whitetails before moving West @ 40 years old. Explain what you mean by “way easier.”
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
Wait......isn't everyone dying of covid? How on earth can there be "more" people out there than before? :unsure: This seems to be the trend with everything everywhere you go. A pandemic sweeping the world, yet crowds are 10 times of what normal used to be. Something doesn't add up.

Even draw units were way overcrowded this year with hunters, yet they issued the same number of tags as past years.
 

LongWayAround

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Aug 10, 2015
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Old guys complain they can't buy a tag every year like they used to when units go to draw. Then, they complain there's too many hunters in the otc areas.

Young guys move out west after listening to the stories of the old guys. Then, young guys complain about the same things.

It's the cycle of otc life.
 

Titan_Bow

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Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
686
Location
Broomfield, CO
What I have seen in Colorado over the past 10 years or so is a big increase in people hunting deep in the designated wilderness areas. When I first moved here 16 years ago, my first elk season I spent a week in the Eagles Nest Wilderness and saw elk and mule deer and had an amazing experience. I was the only truck at the trailhead. Now I bet that same trailhead would have 30-40 vehicles on Labor Day weekend.
I have a spot I had been hunting in unit 16. I killed my first nice bull up there. 7 years ago, there might have been 8 or 10 trucks at the trailhead opening weekend, and most of those guys were hunting g low and on the trails. Opening weekend, the elk would be completely unmolested and feeding in day light hours in the alpine. On a whim I drove through that trailhead parking lot 2 weekends ago, and counted 37 vehicles, most out of state plates.
Yeah you have to adapt, and find the pockets where pressured elk are hiding, but I do miss the days of chasing relatively unmolested elk. I just do not understand why anyone would roll up to a parking spot, see 30 other vehicles, and think “man, this is going to be a good hunt!” LOL


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I

IDspud

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Sep 7, 2021
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I'm not sure what the scale is on that map.. but holy crap..if your covering that much ground in one single day, you are the one flushing game back and forth. Some of your route lines don't even look possible based on the terrain. Personally I don't see it possible to cover 10 miles a day in "really tough terrain". You are either Cam Hanes or that terrain isn't really that tough. There are a lot of units that yes have some one or multiple people on every ridge hoping to get lucky. Your right it doesn't take a lot of skill and 90% of them either never see anything or never harvest anything. Then there are some units that don't have a crap tone of people people in them and the folks who work their tail off to get into those units earn their harvest.
People who have never hunted the East on opening day can't even fathem what it like to only be able to 100-200 yards around them and see 20 orange hats with in that same area. But you know if your seeing that many people you aren't going to be harvesting anything big bucks. Same as out west. If your seeing someone or multiple people on every ridge your not going to be harvesting any big bucks or elk.
Time to find some where new..I figured that out with in the first dew days of hunting Idaho..saw more people then bucks the few bucks I did see were forkys. Moved to a new spot and yes there are people there but hey I have still managed to harvest great bucks each year.
Definitely possible. Sometimes sliding off the side of a steep mountain to get down or around. I’ve covered so much ground that the hair on the front of my legs rubbed off. I found one place with sign that looked less than a week old.

I noticed that specifically in the last two years I don’t even see more than a forky, maybe a 3 point hanging up in anyone’s camp.
 

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Coveyleader

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Nov 27, 2013
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936
It sure can be. These days, you can pretty much learn how to elk hunt online. That doesn't mean you're going to kill one, but the "jest of how to hunt them" is all over. In short there can be a lot of traffic out there these days.

I don't think you can compare hunting in the West vs East from the orange army context. Deer don't vacate square miles of habitat like elk do, they just go nocturnal. Big difference. 4 guys hunting the same drainage for elk is more than a party. Same square acreage deer hunting, 4 guys is nothing.

I've already put the wheels in motion for next years hunt even though as a group we have done well. But, there is a lot we're going to change no doubt.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
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Location
Iowa
Everyone should experience a opening day of rifle in PA, on public land, atleast once.

Although I will say it’s been getting better as boomers are giving it up and archery participation increases.
I've done 1 WI opening day gun deer hunt....there is no lower class of human than a gun only Midwest/east deer hunter. You can almost hear the Busch lights being cracked in-between the gunfire that started 15 minute before legal shooting light.

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Billy Goat

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Shenandoah Valley
I've done 1 WI opening day gun deer hunt....there is no lower class of human than a gun only Midwest/east deer hunter. You can almost hear the Busch lights being cracked in-between the gunfire that started 15 minute before legal shooting light.

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Its Busch Latte
 

Nickofthewoods

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Oct 5, 2018
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Colorado
I'm not the most technical advanced guy but people can pull data off your pics and find the location ??? Can someone explain this too my Dumba$$
I recall the mods here suggesting that people worried about this should post screenshots of their photos. This has been something I've wondered about too. Is it really that easy for amateur hacker types to get this data from pictures posted on websites like this, or are there more hunters out there that work for the NSA than we think?
 

208-believer

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Sep 16, 2021
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I hunted a notriously packed zone in Idaho this year. At least that's what I kept hearing. This is my first year back to hunting since when I was a boy. I did see a few other hunters, mostly when I tried a trail head. But the majority of the days I went out I was able to hunt a mountainside all to myself. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I enjoyed every step I took out there and enjoyed talking to fellow hunters that I did run into. Wasn't able to put an elk down with the bow, but I'm gonna stick with it and try again next year. Could be a good thing that I'm beginning my hunting journey in today's overly pressured elk zones and I won't have to change old habits. I appreciate all the info on this site thanks guys!
 

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