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Author Topic: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)  (Read 954 times)

Offline TenkaraTim

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GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« on: August 15, 2017, 07:22:57 PM »
I am fairly new to big game hunting being mostly a bird hunter and last year got very lucky with a good tag in ID where I got to see literally hundreds of deer and pull off a classic spot and stalk to get my first buck after striking out on blacktails here on the wet-side during early muzzleloader season.  This year I have access to a cabin in Mazama anytime during the season so thought it could be a good place to go since I seem to see deer everywhere in the Methow and a few hundred are slammed on Hwy 20 alone each year.   I had hoped to go up during early muzzleloader season since early modern butts up to a trip to CO for elk, I have a multi-season tag so can hit it whenever.   

I just got back from a 3-day scouting trip to GMU 231 since that is the only unit open during muzzleloader and I was a bit disappointed to say the least.   I saw two does up in the National Forest lands only and I was up off Virginia Ridge, Thompson Ridge and Little Bridge Creek as well as wandering around the Big Valley Wildlife Area which I see could have potential if I had the time to set some trail cams to figure out the deer there.  I didn't just cruise the road, but put on about 15 miles hiking on trails and up and down ridges.  The best news was that my dog found grouse.   Of course close to town I almost ran over several deer,  got about 15 yards from a nice buck on the private land where I was staying and probably saw two dozen does. 

Now I'm rethinking the whole plan.  Was I in the right places at the wrong time?  Were the deer either way above me or just below me in the valley, I was at 3000-3600' a lot of the time?   Is this just a tough unit and should I look at 233 or 218 which have higher numbers and stick to rifle season?   Now I kind of wish I'd had time to hike all the way to Gardner Meadows up Wolf Creek to see if there are bucks hanging out up there at 5000' in the wilderness area which would be open during the high hunt.   Regardless I think another scouting trip is going to be in order should I decide to head up there.  Any advice would be very welcome. 

Offline bigmacc

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2017, 08:28:31 PM »
I'm not being negative but the Methow is hurting as far as deer numbers, its just the unfortunate reality, yes you will see the town deer and private property deer, this is your local deer and their numbers are way down too. Check out the "North central mule deer" thread here in the deer hunting section. I myself and some family members have been putting on a lot of miles in a lot of different haunts at various elevations. Just stating a fact here, not an opinion- -the worst deer numbers I have seen in the 50 plus years I've been chasing them around this valley.....sorry, good luck.

Offline OutHouse

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 11:04:19 AM »
I'm not being negative but the Methow is hurting as far as deer numbers, its just the unfortunate reality, yes you will see the town deer and private property deer, this is your local deer and their numbers are way down too. Check out the "North central mule deer" thread here in the deer hunting section. I myself and some family members have been putting on a lot of miles in a lot of different haunts at various elevations. Just stating a fact here, not an opinion- -the worst deer numbers I have seen in the 50 plus years I've been chasing them around this valley.....sorry, good luck.

 :yeah:  It's not looking good anywhere in the Methow. Haven't had such little activity on my cameras (in 231 GMU) in years. Is this cabin bordering NF land? If you can give me an idea of where the cabin is I could possibly tell you what might work close to you. Also, consider getting into the Sawtooth Wilderness.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2017, 11:20:04 AM »
You were in the right place at the wrong time, as in year.   10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago.   Steady decline since......its reaching catastrophic status
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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 12:03:05 PM »
The Sawtooth Wilderness is not going to get you any better as far as deer numbers. The migrating deer that have come out of that area the past 10 years is disappointing to say the least. Your better off to find another area and do some scouting.

Offline horsehunter509

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 01:16:31 PM »
You might do some more reading if you think gardner meadows is open for the high hunt.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 02:09:38 PM »
I needed to read further myself. I thought he was talking his multi season tag.  CORRECT, that isn't open during the high hunt


Quote
Gardner Meadows up Wolf Creek to see if there are bucks hanging out up there at 5000' in the wilderness area which would be open during the high hunt.
[/b]

 :bdid:
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Offline OutHouse

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 03:44:30 PM »
The Sawtooth Wilderness is not going to get you any better as far as deer numbers. The migrating deer that have come out of that area the past 10 years is disappointing to say the least. Your better off to find another area and do some scouting.

Maybe I just got lucky. I walked a good distance of that trail back in early summer and saw numerous bucks that were all looking to branch into 4 pointers. This was on like a two hour hike. So to me the deer numbers in that valley looked pretty good.

Offline TenkaraTim

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 06:44:02 PM »
Yep, it is the Lake Chelan Recreation Area, not the Chelan/Sawtooth Wilderness open during the high hunt.  Seemed like all the open areas were designated Wilderness so I just assumed that was what was open. 

Offline Jpmiller

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2017, 09:17:42 AM »
If it's a big enough parcel just hunt the private land your cabin is on. My old man lives in Mazama and the deer numbers are definitely down but he is still sending me pics of decent to good bucks.

Also bears, still seems to be lots of bears.

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2017, 09:39:57 AM »
I went hunting in Methow valley for my first time last year and it was sad. Most hunters sat on the ridge waiting for deer to move out of private to public land then it became a shooting gallery. The amount of poaching I saw was sickening too, I ran into multiple Fish and Game check points when I was driving to my spot to hike in somewhere. Saw at least 10 heads in the back of the truck that were less than 3 points. I got off the road a couple miles and ditched 99% of the other hunters but only saw does.

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Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2017, 09:43:28 AM »
That's why they brought in additional Game Wardens from Lincoln county due to the higher number of hunters that had it in their mind the Methows burn was the best place to hunt.

Offline cboom

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2017, 09:54:18 PM »
You were in the right place at the wrong time, as in year.   10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago.   Steady decline since......its reaching catastrophic status

Sad deal. When I was in high school around 25 years ago I bow hunted because of the long seasons, with lots of weekends. We mostly hunted Hearts Pass area. Seemed like we would see 50 plus deer every day.  Been up there a couple times in the last few years and couldn't believe how bad it has gotten. The saddest part is I don't see it getting better the way things are going.

Offline Duckslayer89

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2017, 09:59:45 PM »
I'm up in the methow right now bear hunting in an area I usually see tons of deer. Saw 4 white tails in a field and not 1 mule deer. Usually the area is good for seeing at least a ton of doe right before dark. One of the areas he mentioned actually

Offline cboom

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2017, 10:06:41 PM »
I'm up in the methow right now bear hunting in an area I usually see tons of deer. Saw 4 white tails in a field and not 1 mule deer. Usually the area is good for seeing at least a ton of doe right before dark. One of the areas he mentioned actually

And this is the time of  year you should be seeing a ton of deer. That heard is truly in horrible shape.

Offline Duckslayer89

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2017, 10:27:14 PM »
I'm up in the methow right now bear hunting in an area I usually see tons of deer. Saw 4 white tails in a field and not 1 mule deer. Usually the area is good for seeing at least a ton of doe right before dark. One of the areas he mentioned actually

And this is the time of  year you should be seeing a ton of deer. That heard is truly in horrible shape.

Ya it's weird dude. 10 years ago this area was loaded with whiteys and mulies. I was gonna pass on a small bear but I think I'll take a small one out now help the deer. I did call a white tail doe in with my fawn in distress call

Offline cboom

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Re: GMU 231 (or maybe 218 or 233)
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2017, 10:41:29 PM »
I'm up in the methow right now bear hunting in an area I usually see tons of deer. Saw 4 white tails in a field and not 1 mule deer. Usually the area is good for seeing at least a ton of doe right before dark. One of the areas he mentioned actually

And this is the time of  year you should be seeing a ton of deer. That heard is truly in horrible shape.

Ya it's weird dude. 10 years ago this area was loaded with whiteys and mulies. I was gonna pass on a small bear but I think I'll take a small one out now help the deer. I did call a white tail doe in with my fawn in distress call

I never have paid much attention to the whitetail numbers around there so I can't speak about that. But in the last decade or so the muley's haven't been able to catch a break. They have been hit with an increase in predictors, fires, bad winter's. And on top of that way to high of harvest numbers because the WDFW hasn't done a thing to manage the heard.