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Author Topic: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?  (Read 1442 times)

Offline Pete112288

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Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« on: September 24, 2020, 02:06:30 AM »
So my dad and I are part of a group that got drawn for a second doe tag and will be staying near St. John opening weekend and hunting within 30 min drive of there.
It turned out that the other friends that drew it with us that know the area cannot make it that weekend so my dad and I are now on our own for the first time ever hunting the east side.
My buddy gave me what info he could for land access and we have enough to go on so we will be there and be hunting one way or the other. I am hoping to get something reserved from the WDFW reserve to hunt program as well. But am concerned I may not be quick enough when that 8am window opens on the day to reserve something.
Anyway, I am not asking for info or anything on the hunting or location however would not turn anything down either haha  ;)
I just am wondering what should I expect of the area when it comes to other hunters if I dont get a reserve to hunt property?
Will it be a pumpkin patch or WW3?
If it were just me I wouldnt ask really, I just wanna give my pops a little heads up. I am in my 30s, he is in his 50s and about ready to hang up his gun. He more or less just looked at hunting as an occasional laxidasical pastime. The only thing he really talked about is always wanting to try hunting the east side just once. So I figured this tag was going to create the push to get us to finally do it before he stops buying his license.
Thank ya much!

Offline Jimmer

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 05:56:14 AM »
Yes, the first two weekends south of the river is a zoo...

Offline elkboy

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 07:28:54 AM »
Probably not what you want to hear, but the modern firearm season (not just the opener) throughout the Palouse units is pretty busy.  A lot of people return to "hunt the family farm".  I would say get away from roads (if possible).  Hunt in or around cover if you can (the area along the Palouse River, for example, or some of the buttes along the Idaho state line).  For access to ground like that, lining up access ahead of time is crucial.  It might be worth a weekend trip over to knock on doors ahead of season.  Just my  :twocents:

Offline KP-Skagit

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2020, 08:09:06 AM »
Hunted 139 quite a bit in college but never up toward Saint John (WSU alum). It can be a definite zoo but there is some great hunting to be had. We shot some real nice bucks and filled several does tags in my time there. The area is a patchwork of land you can hunt and land you cannot but those rolling hills hold more animals than you would think. I always found that weekday mornings tended to be a little less busy, I think a lot of guys were working (or going to school) the evenings saw a lot more activity.

Onx does not help you over there. Whitman County doesn't have the data a lot of others do. Look for reservations or feel free to hunt property. All the animals we shot were on feel free to hunt land. Do your best to mind the property lines. My buddy stepped over one in the snow one day and the landowner confronted him with a gun over it.


Offline ellensburgpo

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2020, 07:02:24 PM »
Opening weekend will be a pumpkin patch as others have said. It gets a little better as the season goes on but deer behavior changes significantly. As someone else stated do not trust onX in Whitman county. You may have luck knocking on doors trying to fill the doe tags. Keep in mind that by waiting until the season is actually here is the same time the landowners get lots of knocks.
KCCO

 The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 1929

Offline Pete112288

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2020, 02:38:28 AM »
Thanks everyone for the replies. I would have had no problem door knocking, but with how this year has been with Covid and my work, I havent had the time to even check my trail cams since the special permit draws came out. And those cams are less than 2 miles down a gated road that I drive by every day for my commute. And I dont see there being any time between now and the opener at this point for me to get over there. I am really crossing my fingers for getting on a decent "reserve to hunt" property. But we will see. The couple buddies that drew the second doe tags 2 years ago went in blind and hunted BLM & "feel free to hunt" land and had their does by 8am the second morning. And a bonus buck to boot. My main focus is to get my dad and I the best chances to fill the doe tags. I will hunt blacktails no problem for my general tag.

Offline MHWASH

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2020, 06:32:32 AM »
Once you decide on a spot, stay there at least till 10:00am. About 9:00 guys will get antsy and start driving around kicking deer out of most of the cover. Hunt every little patch you can, around here deer will bed in tall grass the size of a sofa. It may be the only cover in a wide open wheat field and may not look like much, but they could be there. Once the deer get pushed around, they will bed out in the middle of the harvested fields too.

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2020, 07:25:47 AM »
They know every little wrinkle and bump and use them, north slopes on a hot day, south if it is cold and usually out of the wind.  WT are big into comfort and with no rut movement is for feeding and relaxation.  Pretty good stubble this year, enough to disappear.  And yes, tiny patches of cover, especially with a view are often occupied.  Good luck

Offline Pete112288

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2020, 12:13:56 PM »
Anyone have anything specific to say about the mule deer? Not that I really have a preference to which one, it just seems that some of the response I get seems to mention WT specifically but nothing about the mule deer...

Offline elkaholic123

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2020, 12:17:48 PM »
I have hunted around Revere and mostly see Mule deer but we have taken a couple white tails.
elkaholic

Offline elkboy

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2020, 02:08:25 PM »
Once you get out into the scablands (less farm habitat) the percentage of mule deer go way up.  Most of the places under the plow have a lot more whitetail. Some of the larger buttes have small herds of mule deer. 

Where I hunt in the Almota unit, I have only seen a scattered few mule deer.  But if you get down to the breaks of the Snake, the percentage of mule deer again goes way up. 

Offline Pete112288

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2020, 04:24:54 AM »
Thank ya'll for all of the input. I am taking it all to heart and gonna do my best.
I just hope that having the doe tags will be what gives us an edge to at least get those filled since not every pumpkin out there will be able to go after the does.

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2020, 07:20:13 AM »
You should be able to find some room and the doe tag is a plus for sure.  WT would be the best pick for the table and the herd.  Garb fields are a magnet, good luck

Offline Pete112288

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2020, 10:14:18 PM »
You should be able to find some room and the doe tag is a plus for sure.  WT would be the best pick for the table and the herd.  Garb fields are a magnet, good luck

What are "Garb fields" ? Exactly as it sounds, junky looking fields?

Online elkrack

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Re: Is Steptoe busy during modern opener?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2020, 10:25:21 PM »
Probably garbanzo beans
life's tough its tougher if your stupid (john wayne)


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