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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning everyone,

Many of you know I frequent the Arcadia Lake (Edmond) deer management draw every year. This year marks the 15th year, I believe, it's just a fun little hunt being here in the city, it's too convenient for me. I've seen and heard a lot of things in my years hunting out there: mt. lions, pigs, hunter harassment, poaching, etc. This year was a first for me. They have incentives for shooting does, they take the top 15 heaviest does and let those hunters draw in early the following year before the main draw. It just increases your odds of getting to hunt the zone/time you prefer.

Well, last year I shot a smaller doe, which I was certain didn't make the top list. They called me this week to let me know I made the doe preference list. I was surprised, because it wasn't a large doe, so I asked what place I got. They said I was 16th overall, shocked, I asked exactly how I made the list if I was 16th. Apparently someone on the list got in trouble or didn't follow the rules so they got kicked, so everyone on the list moves up. For that guy it means they can't hunt out there anymore; too bad for them. I'm sure there have been others over the years, but that's the first I've heard of that got trespassed; I'll have to try to find out what he did.

Which of course this is a good seque into a little advert for the hunt, in general. If you guys didn't make any other draw and want to bow hunt deer in city limits this fall, Arcadia Lake is a fun little hunt for 4 days. It's easy to forget about because it's not listed on the controlled hunts application or page. The rules and info can be found on the Arcadia Lake Events page. It's not a bonus hunt so any harvest still counts towards your state limit, but I find it a lot of fun regardless. The deadline for submitting your application for the draw is 8/18 this year. Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I always thought that Arcadia hunt would be a walk in the park with all the folks out there feeding them. Never applied though, we have enough deer at our place so just left it for those needing a place to hunt.
It depends on what zone you're hunting. Some zones have feeders lining the property line, others are a bit more secluded. Hunter harassment has become a real thing out there. A bunch of Edmond residents aren't happy about it.

Regardless, the first few weeks are usually pretty good, after that the deer get leery and they are just as hard to hunt as anywhere else. The zones are only 40-60 acres each, give or take, and you can have up to 4 hunters per zone every weekend. I did the math and it's around 1500 acres divided by up to 100 hunters every weekend, that's 1 hunter per 15 acres. Once BP opens up the bow hunters recede a little bit.

I've never checked the success rates, but it's pretty easy to get on does out there. Dandy bucks, is a bit harder. Two years ago I was up to my ears in bucks, saw 14 different bucks in 4 days, but not a single one I really wanted to shoot. Last year, in the same zone on the same dates, I couldn't buy a buck and was up to my ears in does. I missed one, shot the second, and missed a third doe all from the same tree. 14,16, and 18 yards respectively with the longbow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’ve thought the Arcadia hunt always to be interesting but at $75 a hunt it seems pretty steep. I always figured I’ll save my money and put it towards truck fuel and head to a wma, but to each there own

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I wrangle with the cost every year when I apply, it was $50 for years. I told myself if they went up any I'd quit going, but it's been $75 now for 4-5 years maybe, and most years I hunt two weekends out there. I only hunt public so my only costs are my gear and gas, no leases, feeders, corn, etc. for me.

It's close and convenient for me, 1/3 of the distance to my local public spot. Not to mention the deer quality is far better at Arcadia. I've never seen a B&C class buck at my public spot I've hunted for 6 years, at Arcadia I just haven't shot one yet. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey Bratch,

So sorry I missed your comments (I can't believe it didn't notice). I hunted zone 7 last weekend 6-9th. It was tough, high humidity and I believe the full moon screwed with them. I saw 9 does, almost all of them in bow range, but no shots taken.

I've hunted zone 11 before. If I'd seen your comments I was going to tell you to walk all the way around to where 10 and 11 meet. There's a, kind of, valley back there with a pond in the middle. The deer transition through there and bed on that side. Several private properties next to that zone put out corn feeders and the deer simply walk back and forth across the private to either side of zone 11. I've seen plenty of deer and a couple really good looking bucks on that zone, 8 or so years ago.

Zone 11 is tough because it is so narrow between private and the water, but it's definitely huntable.

I'm supposed to be hunting zone 6 next weekend as a buddy hunter with a friend who drew that zone. You can still buy any open unit and hunt out there again if you want. I've hunted 5,6,7,8,11, and 24 over the years. Done a bunch of fishing in zone 4 and 9. Never set foot on 1-3, or 13-23. You can count on an opportunity to shoot a deer practically anywhere out there though. I like hunting 5-7 because it's behind a locked gate and the road has been closed the last 5 ish years due to a tinhorn getting washed out and the road has been demoed. It's a steep 30 foot embankment on either side you have to walk down, then back up. It makes for a real long walk. I shot a doe on 6 last year and I ended up dragging/pushing a cart, literally, a mile to get her back to the truck. A lot of folks don't want to work that hard for a deer though.

Apparently vandalism out there has run rampant. The hunt managers told us about all the gates that got ran over opening weekend. The lock to 5-7 was busted, but ODWC replaced it by the time I hunted out there. I don't understand what is wrong with people. Some pothead kids met me out there on the road as I was walking out Sunday afternoon. They were screaming and playing music real loud, smoking a joint. They about crapped their pants when I walked out of the woods in full camo, backpack with hunting saddle on, longbow in hand. The were so confused they couldn't speak. I said "Hi" and kept walking to the truck, didn't hunt that evening.

With all the urban development, I guarantee the hunt at Arcadia is in peril, will probably not exist in 5 more years which is just sad. I've had a lot of fun out there, shot several deer. The folks who work at the lake are always friendly and nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey Bratch,

Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions. Like I said, it's been years since I hunted 11, but I do remember it pretty well. I've been hunting Arcadia since 2007, only missed one season I can recall. Don't be afraid to hunt up close to those briar patches where the deer bed. Find one good trail coming out where you can setup a blind or a near tree and just camp out there, eventually something will come through. I had a patch where I was covered up in acorns: white oaks, burr oaks, persimmons still on the ground. I was scared to look up when the wind blew for fear of losing an eye, it was raining acorns. I hunted that spot once and ran a camera there for 3 days, not a single deer came through. However, the does did cross the road every night to go to private property where there's corn feeders. They were still very much in their summer patterns two weeks ago.

A lot of the deer in that area walk circles, they'll use one trail to get onto private property, then another to exit it, make a circle through public and then back to private. Sometimes that circle takes one day, sometimes 2-3 days. That's been my experience on that part of the lake anyway.

You mentioned saddles. I just bought my first one this summer and I've been hunting out of it exclusively so far this season. It took some trial and error, but I actually like it. There's a major fidget factor though, and I'm starting to worry I move too much in mine. I'll probably switch to a hang on or my climber later in the season when my sits extend beyond 3-4 hours.

Have fun and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I really wanted to go out this weekend but looking at the weather Thursday and maybe Friday morning are going to be the only decent weather. Still debating but hate to pay the $75 for a day and a half.
If my buddy hadn't drawn this weekend, I wouldn't be going back, too hot. The third or fourth weekend is usually my favorite time to go as it cools down a bit and pre-rut activity is usually popping off. Usually bucks are starting to scrape and show up in daylight. I barely got off work Friday so I'm planning to run out there after work Thursday for a short evening set and then hunt 3 days.

I found out there's buck tags left so that's a big motivator to go. Usually those are filled by now or getting real close to being gone. I'm not real keen anymore on paying $75 to go shoot a doe, even 3 does now that they upped their quota, even if it means getting on the preference list for next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Hey Bratch, no dice. I hunted Thurs night after work through Saturday eve. I saw a handful of does and only got to draw my recurve back once. Right when I was about to release an arrow she bolted. I was still-hunting my way back to the truck Saturday night and came across some does heading to private property. That was my only shot opportunity all weekend. Didn't go Sunday at all, too hot and windy.

It was hard, the deer were still keying in on corn feeders on private property. My buddy hunted over a draw blanketed with acorns and saw one doe the entire time.

Anyways, I really hope there are some buck tags left the weekend you go, that's a prime weekend. There should be 5 buck tags left, currently so you never know. Best of luck to you, I'm done with Arcadia for this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
You gave it every chance available. Sorry to hear you didn’t score but that’s hunting.
Oh yeah, I gave it a good college try. That part of the lake has become kinda difficult to hunt. So many homeowners run feeders all year, the deer just sleep underneath them all day and don't really go back to the "woods" until it gets too cold for them to go out and refill the feeders or rut kicks in and does run for cover.

There's plenty of season left and the best parts should be ramping up the next few weeks. Nothing to be discouraged about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
You got your eye on any other public land hunts?
Oh yeah. My weekend plan fell through to go visit the folks, so I'll likely go to my regular public spot this weekend. Need to look at the weather/wind to figure out the details. I'll be pounding the public pretty hard the rest of the year, got a buck and some pigs picked out I'd love to slip an arrow through. I'm trying to wrap my head around Lexington WMA, would like to try some hunts out there later in Dec-Jan when the pressure, hopefully, drops off a bit. Never been there though.

My old hunting buddy extended an invite to hunt on his property. He's acquired some of his neighbor's property so he's got a pretty nice spread out there now, 400+/- acres. I'm still just a bit uncertain about rekindling that friendship after the stuff that happened a couple years ago. I won't go into details, but he was having some major emotional/behavioral issues after years of substance abuse and I didn't feel safe around him anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Hello y’all. Going to zone 6 next week. Be my first hunting trip so hoping to harvest some meat.

Any pointers for an new fella? Excited as this has been a journey of trying to learn a life skill at an older age. Lot to experience and learn for sure.

I’ll be hunting from the ground. Trying to keep mindful of wind and scent.
Hey ChicagoMike. Welcome aboard. I just hunted 6 this last weekend. Good thing you're a ground hunter, there aren't too many good, mature trees to climb on that zone. There is some timber in spots. A lot of the timber is scrubby blackjack oaks, not great for stands. Watch out for briars and blackberry bushes, lots of locust trees too, there are plenty of thorns and spines on zone 6. My legs are currently cut all to hell. There's a couple good mowed paths to get through the zone though.

It's also worth mentioning, it's a half mile walk from the truck just to get to the closest edge of your zone. If you're concerned about dragging a deer out very far or walking, zones 5-6 aren't a great choice. Generally, the hunt manager will not help you retrieve a deer either. I shot a doe in there last year that ran to the north end of 6, it was literally a one-mile drag back to the truck.

There was almost no activity for us last weekend. If I were you, I'd probably hunt hard up close to the thicket edges, you'll know what I mean when you see them. It's like a jungle in some spots and the deer weave their way through. You might get lucky and see a coyote or two walking the mowed paths at twilight, those are fair game if you see them. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Good luck Bratch and Mike. Friday does look like it could be a bust, but you could have 3 good days.

Mike, the guy on 7, two weeks ago never found his "nice buck" so he's probably still prowling around 5-8. Based on what he told me and the blood I saw, it looked like a brisket/muscle hit, not fatal. They told me there was a nice 6 and a nice 8 in there. Of course, everyone's definition of "nice" is different so take that with a pinch of salt. I know first hand there's plenty of does to choose from in 6.

Bratch, the only thing I can tell you is I had some friends who commuted to/from Tulsa about every day and he used to swear by seeing some "good" deer on the side of the turnpike near your zone in the evenings driving home. He was kind of a trophy guy and I'd trust his judgement of "good" or "nice".
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Know this is a stupid question but Something I forgot to ask the hunt manager said you need a physical tag. Is that something I need to get from dept of wildlife?
No question is a dumb question, unless you're ACJ.

Anyways, others have hit the nail on the head, just about anything with your info will work. I like to keep duct tape and a sharpie in my truck for field tagging. Wrap around leg, write CID, license #, name, etc. and you're good to go. I always have a sharpie in my truck to touch up my info on my stands/sticks since I hunt public, and that's a requirement as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I was was walking up the 250 yard long hill to get to my car this morning I was debating if I really want to shoot one this weekend.
Hey Bratch, I do have some honey-dos to do this weekend, however, if you get one down and need help dragging one out, seriously, send me a DM. As long as I'm not tied up doing something else, I'll be glad to come help you drag out a deer. Or just send me a DM and we can swap phone #s if that's easier. Same goes for ChicagoMike.

I don't mind helping and with my slow start to the season, I just want to put my hands on a deer. lol

The rest of you don't go getting any ideas, I'm not a for-hire mule. Just offering my service this weekend since I'm not really doing much else and Arcadia is about 20min from the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
@Archer22 are you running cellular cameras or regular cams in Arcadia? If cell I was curious if you had noticed any difference in ATT or Verizon? I’m thinking about adding cams for next year
I just ran regular cameras. Set them up on the first day of the hunt and would check them daily. I've got a card reader I keep in my pack. I'm too cheap for cell cams.
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Sorry to hear you didn't have any luck Bratch. Late season is tough. You'll get another chance out there next year.

I think I'm going to wait to buy in after the draw next year. I don't want to commit to a weekend until I get a chance to see the weather forecast. The two weekends I hunted out there the weather was warmer than average and deer sightings were pretty piss poor. I found one very half-hearted scrape the last trip out there at the end of Oct, they just weren't getting in the mood. There's deer all over that lake so I'm not particularly married to a zone, although I do have favorites.

Good luck the rest of this season.
 
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