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Author Topic: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer  (Read 7599 times)

Offline Smokepole

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2017, 09:07:55 AM »
A quick fix won't help.  A comprehensive recovery plan is needed that addresses:

harvest of does
harvest of bucks
mortality of injured deer by various hunting methods
road kill
winter kill
wolves, bear, cougar predation
loss of habitat due to extreme wildfires
loss of habitat from development in winter range
etc. etc.

As one of these threats worsens, so do the others.  They are linked.  Treat mule deer as if it were an endangered or threatened species.  You can't just pick one action and expect the results you want.  The threat to the deer comes in many forms, and grows exponentially.   :twocents: 


Offline bearpaw

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2017, 09:52:28 AM »
Well, that about sums up the single idea approach.  Everyone has their ideas of what needs to be done.

How many of these ideas are supported by data?  As far as the "doe" question goes, how many doe (or antlerless) deer are taken each year in this state?  In each unit?  How do those number of "antlerless" compare to the total number of deer in the state or in the units where the antlerless deer are harvested?

I don't have these answers.  I do, however, know that any "solution" that actually works is supported by data and sound reasoning.  While stopping the harvest of antlerless deer may SEEM like an intuitive solution to the problem of low deer numbers, does the data support that?  Does someone want to pour effort into a perceived solution that may not be supported by data? 

Suppose there are 4000 deer in a unit, and each year, 50 antlerless deer are taken from that unit.  Say that 40 of those antlerless deer are female with the rest being young antlerless bucks.  Will saving 1% (40/4000) of the population each year is going to make a difference in deer numbers?  Of those 40 female deer you save, how many survive the winter, predators, vehicles?  If you assume that of the 4000 deer, 3000 of them are does (I have no idea if this is right) but in buck heavy harvest areas, I expect there are more bucks than does), you are saving 40 of 3000 female deer.  What is the impact of an additional 1.3% of the doe population on the herd for the next year?  5 years? 

I have no idea of these numbers are anywhere NEAR the truth.  I don't have a solution.  I don't even know if there is a real problem as I've not looked up deer population trends for the past 20 years.  I'm not "for" or "against" a ban on antlerless hunting.  My point is that everyone has a "solution", and those solutions tend to be based on perception and not data.  If you want to make an impact, present an argument to the governing body that has DATA associated with it, and real analysis that shows results.  If you do not, you OR the governing body has NO idea how impactful your solution is. 

Now, I understand that REAL DATA is hard to come by, and it takes work, and most people have no idea of where to get the data, and if they did, it would probably be somewhat difficult to gather and compile, so guess what?  It's too hard! to get the data.  It's much easier to go with perception, which is highly emotional. 

So on and on we go, people throwing out emotional based solutions that are as varied as the personalities on this forum and no solutions get implemented because there is no data supporting how the solution may change the status quo. 

I know this idea is going to be met with hostility.  Nobody want's to hear that their "perception" isn't necessarily valid, or enough "evidence" to base real changes on.  And nobody want's to be faced with the task of collecting the data, if it even exists.  So my observations will not go over well with anyone who has an emotional based "solution". 

Now, just remember, before you go on and tell me "Well, if you have all the answers, what does your data tell you?" 
I don't have the data.  I have not decided to wade into this mess.  I just spend most of my hunting time in other states.  I don't profess to have the solutions or the data or the desire to do any of this.  But if you are so motivated, take some advice and start with the data.

You bring up some good points to consider regarding data. I'll offer this, deer management is not a new thing, states have been managing deer for decades and numerous studies have been done in state after state. It's a pretty well know conclusion that antlerless harvest is increased to reduce herd numbers or to reduce herd growth. When herds decline many states reduce antlerless harvest until herds rebound. I'm not sure how many times the wheel has to be reinvented before everyone understands that a wheel rolls downhill without being pushed? Just some food for thought regarding all the other deer studies that have been done all over the west!
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Offline Oh Mah

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2017, 10:44:21 AM »
More need to get out and take coyotes and cats to save the herd period.Anyone who hunted the 300 units should know this to be a fact.This year there were yotes during the day during season chasing the deer daily.you couldn't walk a road back to camp without seeing cat tracks or scat every 100 yards or less in 342.  :twocents:
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Offline GoldenRing270

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2017, 10:47:40 AM »
These are all great ideas. I would suggest we start by removing the general archery season on mule deer does. This is something simple that can be accomplished relatively easily. Compound bows have come a long way in the last 10-20 years. Someone can walk into a bow shop and get set up and shoot a doe at 20 yards on the same day. Another concern is the season dates. Archery season starts on September 1st but mule deer doe season begins on Sept. 15th and goes to the end of the month. Many of the high country mule deer does begin migrating to the valley floor around mid September. At the very least why not have the season open on the 1st and close on the 15th? That way the majority of the migrating does will not be effected. Also, from what I have witness and based on talking with game wardens it is a law enforcement nightmare. The first half of September is fairly mellow but on the 15th when mule deer doe season opens all heck breaks loose. It is very common to see hunters standing in the middle of the pavement flinging arrows at does on private land. The doe is wounded and runs a few hundred yards to die and rather than risk getting caught the shooter just drives away. Of course people break the law during all the hunting seasons but the mule deer doe archery season is by far and away the worst. There are a significant number of lazy unethical hunters driving private roads/highways flinging arrows. What possible harm could come from taking away a general season on female mule deer? I just checked the regulations and it is against the law to harvest female crawdads.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 11:06:05 AM by GoldenRing270 »

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #49 on: November 18, 2017, 11:00:42 AM »
Cutting doe harvest makes too much sense,The dept. not doing this years ago is why so many WA. hunters feel the way they do about the dept.

Dang don't they realize it would leave more for the wolves to eat.  :o
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Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2017, 11:31:14 AM »
The problem with real data to support an argument is most of the real data comes from WDFW. And we have seen how WDFW can skew the real data to match their goals. Look at how many wolves WDFW says are in the state compared to how many people on the ground are seeing. I saw wolves in the Alpine Lakes in 1997. I called WDFW and was told by Bio "no I didn't"....um ok...

My point is if we rely on the state to make data driven decisions about our deer herds we are in essence leading the herds to slaughter.

My opinion is that the wolves in this state are WDFW's tool to decimate the mule deer herds. The hound hunting ban didn't have the immediate desired effect ( although its catching up to us the last few years) so now its the wolves turn.

You can reduce deer harvest through draw only, eliminate antlerless tags, and so on. But the real factors are predators and habitat.  :twocents:

Offline Humptulips

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2017, 11:55:04 AM »
I'll throw something into the mix. It seems most people on here are all in on ending doe tags.
How do you think this will effect the Department financially? I believe the multitude of special permits have become a money maker for the Department.
How are you going to replace money lost if you do away with doe tags?
Would you be willing to back a license increase if it was for the good of the herd?
I believe that has to be addressed before any proposals go anywhere.
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Offline fishngamereaper

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #52 on: November 18, 2017, 11:59:59 AM »
I'll throw something into the mix. It seems most people on here are all in on ending doe tags.
How do you think this will effect the Department financially? I believe the multitude of special permits have become a money maker for the Department.
How are you going to replace money lost if you do away with doe tags?
Would you be willing to back a license increase if it was for the good of the herd?
I believe that has to be addressed before any proposals go anywhere.

A valid point. But look at it this way. If the deer herds in general continue to decline the state will loose a lot more revenue than what a few doe tag sales brings in.

Offline Elkcollector82

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #53 on: November 18, 2017, 12:02:33 PM »
These are all great ideas. I would suggest we start by removing the general archery season on mule deer does. This is something simple that can be accomplished relatively easily. Compound bows have come a long way in the last 10-20 years. Someone can walk into a bow shop and get set up and shoot a doe at 20 yards on the same day. Another concern is the season dates. Archery season starts on September 1st but mule deer doe season begins on Sept. 15th and goes to the end of the month. Many of the high country mule deer does begin migrating to the valley floor around mid September. At the very least why not have the season open on the 1st and close on the 15th? That way the majority of the migrating does will not be effected. Also, from what I have witness and based on talking with game wardens it is a law enforcement nightmare. The first half of September is fairly mellow but on the 15th when mule deer doe season opens all heck breaks loose. It is very common to see hunters standing in the middle of the pavement flinging arrows at does on private land. The doe is wounded and runs a few hundred yards to die and rather than risk getting caught the shooter just drives away. Of course people break the law during all the hunting seasons but the mule deer doe archery season is by far and away the worst. There are a significant number of lazy unethical hunters driving private roads/highways flinging arrows. What possible harm could come from taking away a general season on female mule deer? I just checked the regulations and it is against the law to harvest female crawdads.

Iíll be more then happy to give up general archery Doe. Unless your a youth, senior or disabled hunter. Then you can still have a general doe season. But I think every unit east of the PCT should be draw only for rifle. No general rifle seasons on the eastside. Along with making the westside a 2pt or better area. Go away from the any buck. Again unless your a youth, senior or disabled hunter. Along with elk hunting. Eastside should be draw only for rifle, archery and muzzy. You donít draw you hunt the hand full of spike only units or you head west. On the westside it should be 3pt or better. Take that toutle unit and turn it into a gereral area. It ainít worth a poop anyways. On the youth, senior and disabled doe and cow tags. Make them early season before the start of select weapon season. So for archery it would start a week before and go for 5 days. Same for muzzy, rifle. General deer season for rifle stay the same. But take the late season and turn each unit into a draw. Change the late east side late season from 20 days to 14 days. Westside would be for 10 days right after elk season. Take and make additional cougar tags available. Have a statewide quota not a gmu quota. So once 1,500 cougars are killed the season closes tell next year. Just my  :twocents:

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #54 on: November 18, 2017, 12:30:44 PM »
I'll throw something into the mix. It seems most people on here are all in on ending doe tags.
How do you think this will effect the Department financially? I believe the multitude of special permits have become a money maker for the Department.
How are you going to replace money lost if you do away with doe tags?
Would you be willing to back a license increase if it was for the good of the herd?
I believe that has to be addressed before any proposals go anywhere.

A valid point. But look at it this way. If the deer herds in general continue to decline the state will loose a lot more revenue than what a few doe tag sales brings in.
Exactly,If they are using sales to determine actions they need to start using the brains they have because if they don't the money train will soon crash and ill bet the antis will not be there to fill the state income void.
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Offline Come Get Some

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2017, 01:40:30 PM »
Has anyone addressed the fact that we have a very large population of hunters in Washington. One of the largest hunter per game numbers in the US. With poor winter survival rates and the growing number of predators as well as disease there is no wonder our herds are dwindling. If the WDFW were half as serious about managing the resource ( ALL RESOURCES) as they were about generating revenue by managing the people we might actually get some results. It doesn't only stop at the deer herds, Elk, Fish and fowl are all declining in this state. Too many save the world liberals that are only interested in political agenda's.

Offline Rob Allen

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #56 on: November 18, 2017, 01:53:31 PM »
I am no expert but i have listened  to a few.
 I think Mule Deer winter range at least where i live is getting developed into agriculture, especially wine grapes!

I think with  wildlife the first thing you should always look at is habitat quality. Food water and places to live and hide.
In short mule deer need more places with  less humans.
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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2017, 01:59:47 PM »
Declining mule deer numbers are not just a WA problem.  It's a western United States problem.  And not one state has been able to solve it.  The best thing that can happen for mule deer numbers we can't control and that is mother nature.  Hard winters destroy mule deer herds.  Anything that we can come up with is a small bandaid on a fatal wound if we have a bad winter.
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Offline Branden

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2017, 02:15:19 PM »
I live in ND now. I was here through a few tough winters. After 2 hard winters in a row they cut rifle tags across the state from 142,000 to 44,000. Absolutely no mule deer doe harvest was allowed. Fast forward the deer herd is on the rise last. last year there was a 34% increase in mule deer this year a 16% increase. So they are increasing rifle tags and all but one unit has mule deer doe tags in it. That is management. The free for all that Washington has going is not management. Its amazing what happens when you cut back on tags how the deer herd can come back.


Take a unit like Swakane for example. A lot of the deer are migratory there. They get hunted in the high country from archers, then the high hunt. Then regular general season which is fairly tough to hunt the migrators at that time but a few guys have it figured out. Then there is a 20 day late rifle hunt. Then an archery free for all again. How is that management? The population in Washington is to big to have general seasons if you want quality hunting. As for the indian issue I read on here once that its only legal for them to hunt as a general hunt if there is a state general season. Someone might look into that. Kinda like bighorns goats and moose. I don't think they can just go out and shoot one like they can deer and elk. I could be wrong though.

Cutting all doe hunting would help. Its at least a good first step.

Offline jackelope

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #59 on: November 18, 2017, 02:36:26 PM »
The Yakama and Muckleshoot tribes have draw tags for sheep and goats. I talked to a couple tribal goat hunters this year. Not sure about moose.


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