I did not grow up with Howard Hill or Fred Bear adventure stories.
To be honest, I didn’t know who they were until I was 14 years old and even then, it was because of Ted Nugent‘s television show. Hunting sounded like nothing more than a challenging adventure to me. There was a certain draw to it that I could not quite figure out.
My first real introduction to hunting came from my mentor and uncle. He taught me the ways of the past – tactics he learned from generations who never faced the small properties of modern suburbia. Old tactics were what they called old habits. Buck season became for them a holiday. Big deer drives were the main event, yet I never saw a buck during Buck Week. I found out pretty quickly that the best chances I would ever have to harvest a buck would be with a bow and arrow.
I delved into hunting, putting into practice the traditions I had been taught and reading hundreds of articles by prominent hunters throughout the industry. I sought to apply all of this knowledge only to learn a hard truth: hunting was not going to be easy. My coveted prize was the highly pressured, northwest New Jersey whitetails. If I wanted to hunt them, I knew I’d need to do it different than my predecessors.
So I experimented.
Because of my young age, I did not have much keeping me from the woods. I looked for adventure everyday in the tree line that skirted my back yard constantly adapting my methods. This past year, for the first time ever, I came across a couple books which spoke volumes to the type of hunting methods that I found myself adapting to.
The Urban Deer Complex and Urban Deer Complex 2.0 by A.J. DeRosa and Jesse St. Andre are the first books to capture the experience of the next generation of hunters. All the old saws of patterns, wind direction, and stand location do not really apply to the situations hunters face in the urban mecca of the northeast. The deer here are pressured not only by hunters, but by everyone in the neighborhood just living their daily life. As a result, you are not only patterning deer. You are patterning human activity: other hunters, joggers, dog walkers, traffic, little kids on playgrounds, and every other person whose behavior might affect a deer’s patterning.
Adventure burns in all of us, but we capture it in our own ways. What worked for our fathers might not work for us. Because of this, the importance of adapting is immeasurable, especially in the environment we hunt and live in. The animal we chase has evolved to thrive in a landscape consumed by humans. You can find the next generation of hunters behind McMansions, in suburban lots and anywhere else in the inescapable urban sprawl. Luckily for us, the deer want to be here.
The orange army still marches on.
For some, adventure stops when the season stops. They get their hunting fix and move on with their day-to-day lives. For others, we will never get our hunting fix. The tribulations of the next generation of hunting births madness within us. Buck fever hits us like a high. And like a high, we can never seem to get enough. Each failure causes us to work harder. Each adventure fuels a fire deep inside us. The serene atmosphere of our backyards is untamed wilderness.
The adventure is there. You just have to find it.
bowhunting deer hunting hunting culture suburban hunting urban hunting
Last modified: November 8, 2019
Personally where I live the 150 foot rule is ridiculous. The 500 foot rule may have been too much also. I AM NOT DISMISSING THE 150 FOOT RULE AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL I am however considering it a potential public relations disaster among anti hunters and those on the fence. That is 50 yards from a house.In suburbia that means a many houses. its 40 yards from my house to my property line
I have a lot of suburban woods behind my house and I can’t image some fool in a stand 10 yards from my fence
And my neighbors would freak .a blood trail across lawns would be disastrous and a tirade of angry suburbanites may change local bylaws regarding hunting or may concern land owners to the point they deny complete permission to hunt. Although I have permission to hunt back there I am discreet as possible. Not because I .ashamed but because I want to keep hunting. .
Where that law might be unimaginable in your situation, there are situations in the reverse. Any law change that allows for more hunting or more area to hunt should probably be backed by hunters even when it doesn’t benefit you personally. We as hunters have a responsibility to protect our lifestyle. Which is why you as a smart, respectful modern-day hunter make the right decision that in this case, even though legal; to not take advantage of the law and create a problem. You are doing the right thing and hopefully other hunters do the same.