Welcome Crowds: Using hunting pressure to help stack up deer

Many shy away from managed hunts because of the crowds of gun-toting hunters. These two men, however, don’t even blink: They simply adapt to make the pressure work for them.

Aaron Toups had laid claim to the stretch of woods around him by nestling in his tree stand long before the first rays of dawn vaulted over the horizon, but he saw something that would make most hunters cringe as the forests around him brightened. Orange shapes began moving about on the ground, and Toups knew what that meant.

“I had four guys walk by me,” the Lake Charles hunter said. “I had three vehicles drive down the road I was hunting on, and then drive back the other way.”

The riot was in full swing, as waves of hunters charged into Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area like ants over day-old road kill.

While most would mutter under their breath and think about where to move after having their area so molested, Toups just sat back and waited. He knew that they wouldn’t hunt long.

And he’d be ready when they were gone.

“They were all out of the woods by 9:30,” he said. “At 10:30, I killed a deer.”

Toups caught the spike easing through the woods after all the commotion died down, and that’s exactly what the lifelong “reserve” hunter knew would happen.

“By 9 o’clock, I bet you at least 80 percent of the hunters are out of their stands,” he said. “That’s what actually pushes a lot of deer to you. You’ve just got to wait.”

Many of these hunters walking out of the woods justify their short time on stands by explaining that they’re stalking, but Toups said that method just isn’t very effective — at least for those walking around.

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About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.