Muzzleloader Hunting Maryland’s Chesapeake Forest

Recently, we took a trip to Maryland's eastern shore and hunted two of the lands that are part of the Chesapeake Forest lands. The two lands that we hunted were E A Vaughn and Pocomoke State Park.   Granted, we went after the start of muzzleloader season and after the two week rifle season, but we didn't see anything, you can read more about our outings by reading our Maryland’s Eastern Shore Deer Hunting Trip 12/16/2012 – 12/20/2012.   Even know we didn't see anything we did learn a lot on that trip and is what I plan to share with you in this post.

The first part of hunting any new land like this is scouting, we spent all of Sunday and the middle of the days we hunted scouting the areas we were hunting in order to attempt to give us the best chance at seeing and harvesting a deer.  We learned that Maryland's eastern shore is very different than hunting central Maryland in the sense that everything is flat, the types of trees are different, and the predominant bedding areas seem to be in the swamps rather than hillsides and thicket.   The other side of that is where there has been clear cutting taking place, whether it be current or within the past few years the deer use those areas.  Depending on the age of the pine trees, they are used for either bedding/cover or in the younger states when other things can grow around them they are used as feeding areas.

The other fact we learned is that after rifle season in those areas, I believe the deer have been pressured beyond the point where they are willing to come out before dark.  I believe those deer have become completely nocturnal after all the shooting and traffic from hunters during gun season.  I am shocked by this since this happens in a lot of public lands right after the gun season.  This is a normal fact of over hunting/pressuring an area.  Plus, you have to think about those that are lucky enough to get shots, that is a lot of noise over a two week period that these deer just are not use to.

We also have to look at the difference in weather, food sources in combination with the hunting pressure and on top of all that you are on a post rut time period.

I did like some of the areas that we found while scouting and believe these areas could be great bow hunting or early muzzleloader hunting areas.  But with all of these other factors we learned that the first week of late muzzleloader season this year might possibly of been the worst time to try these areas.  You add up never hunting there before, very little knowledge of the deer normally act, where hunting pressure has been, and what food sources the deer are targeting, and only a half day of scouting and the odds were stacked against us.  We were lucky enough to have several people pass along a few ideas on where to try and where to scout, but even that only increased our odds slightly.

Overall, it was a fun trip, got to see some new areas, and learned a lot to use should we decide to head back there next fall for a bow hunting or early muzzleloader hunt.

Do you hunt E A Vaughn or Pocomoke state park? Or for that matter any part of Chesapeake Forst and want to share your thoughts or insights? We would love to hear from you and welcome your thoughts and insights!


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