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Author Topic: North central mule deer  (Read 8330 times)

Offline cbond3318

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2017, 05:16:10 PM »
Is there an estimated , as of today, Herd size number?
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Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2017, 05:50:16 PM »
Is there an estimated , as of today, Herd size number?

I've heard somewhere in the 10 to 15 thousand range, a big difference from the 35 to 40 thousand that it was in its hay-day(pre north cascade pass). Thats when the town of Winthrop or Twisp was brought up in conversation and 9 out of 10 people would say "WHERE THE *#*# IS THAT?)

Offline cbond3318

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2017, 06:09:00 PM »
Is there an estimated , as of today, Herd size number?

I've heard somewhere in the 10 to 15 thousand range, a big difference from the 35 to 40 thousand that it was in its hay-day(pre north cascade pass). Thats when the town of Winthrop or Twisp was brought up in conversation and 9 out of 10 people would say "WHERE THE *#*# IS THAT?)

Thank you bigmacc, I would love nothing more than to travel back in time to lay witness to the happenings you and others have described. I'm sorry that you have had to watch the demise of this herd.
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Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2017, 06:34:29 PM »
Is there an estimated , as of today, Herd size number?

I've heard somewhere in the 10 to 15 thousand range, a big difference from the 35 to 40 thousand that it was in its hay-day(pre north cascade pass). Thats when the town of Winthrop or Twisp was brought up in conversation and 9 out of 10 people would say "WHERE THE *#*# IS THAT?)



Thank you bigmacc, I would love nothing more than to travel back in time to lay witness to the happenings you and others have described. I'm sorry that you have had to watch the demise of this herd.

Your welcome cbond and it could get that way again or close to it for the the next generations to enjoy if it was managed correctly, make every unit in the whole darn valley a "QUALITY DRAW ONLY" like some parts of Utah and Arizona are. If something isn't done soon its going to go down hill beyond fixing IMO.

Offline 2506

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2017, 09:55:28 PM »
Game depth isn't biggest problem.  Carlton  fire 2014 is Period!  How much bitter brush is coming back? None! Methow deer need at least 3 easy winters for a chance to " come back"
 Carlton fire burned winter range, yes ceanothus is great for deer and does come back after a fire, have you ever seen deer eat it when there is a crust on the snow when there is 2 ish feet of snow? NO they can't get to it. They need bitterbrush then. Guess what, 90% is gone!  I know of fires in the 70s where bitter brush burned and hasn't come back. I've plowed snow 20 plus years lower Methow, seen 92-93 winter and 96-97, Carlton fire will have longer term effects on Methow herd

Offline no.cen.wa

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2017, 09:41:15 AM »
I agree with 2506 when it comes to fires, 20 years ago a small fire burned upper storer creek. wolf canyon, one of those that goes underground and burns up the roots for 10 ft. or more. It sterilized the soil. That ridgeline was very dense, one of those where you would hear the deer bound away and was lucky to see one long enough to get a shot! That was long ago and some vegetation has just started to come back, 20 years,, not the same ridge. Fires in the last few years have burned up most of my old favorite spots. I think they will be ok in a few years as the fires were not too intense. Time will tell.
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Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #31 on: August 02, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
Sadly, nearly all migratory mule deer herds in the western mountain ranges are a shadow of what they were in the 1950s and 1960s, and have been on a long, slow decline since with short term ups and downs.  I doubt we will ever again see the combination of forest practices and predator control (both government efforts and trapping/fur harvest) that probably resulted in mule deer attaining what was likely an all-time high population rangewide for what had been a fairly uncommon habitat specialist.  In another 50-100 years I predict mule deer hunting opportunities will be highly coveted, limited opportunities - more common than those to hunt a ram, billy or bull moose, but nothing like being able to hunt bucks every year.  I could envision Washington going to true spike for mule deer in eastern WA, just like Colockum elk - with special permits for mature bucks and some doe permits where ag conflicts exist.     
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2017, 11:38:22 AM »
No doubt fires play a role in the decline, but the downfall in this herd started way before 2014. IMO it started when the North Cascade Pass was completed. More and more people started discovering this valley, more people visited it, moved here, built here and hunted here and every year its more and more. Great for the local economy but the encroachment is not great for the deer herd. Now throw in a booming predator issue(I,ve seen more cougar, bear and yotes in the last 10 years than I have seen total in the last 50, a couple years ago I seen 4 cougars in 5 days, all in different areas!) I remember and some also on here remember sitting on a hill at night overlooking the valley and seeing a few twinkling lights around the towns of Winthrop and Twisp and a few scattered lights on the hillsides, sit in that same spot now and it looks like a light show at a concert, lights as far as you can see. I believe its a combination of issues, the 3 P,s-Pressure, Predators, People(and DOUBLELUNGS#4- poof for fires). Mother Nature has thrown fires and tough winters at this herd for ever, the dept has managed the herd around those issues, usually with thinning the herd with doe tags etc. The issues contributing to the slide in this herd cannot be managed with doe tags IMO. I was around during the winter of "68-69" when thousands of deer were lost not to mention livestock and pets(my dad has 8mm film he took of ranchers and farmers bulldozing, cows, horses,deer etc into piles, dumping diesel on them and burning them),the herd bounced back from that, then the pass opened and it hasn't been the same since. A good year of hunting here and there but never like it was when this herd was in the 35,000 range as some of you can verify. Something needs to be done to #1- save this herd and #2-try to get it back to somewhat close to what it once was so future and the next generation hunters can enjoy great hunting for years to come. Will it ever get back to its hay day?, heck no but we can at least try to get it close and at least stop the slide and Actually have a dept that will MANAGE this herd to create Quality Hunting. I would like to see the whole valley go to Quality Draw Only, 3 point or better and open it up for two weeks beginning the middle of Oct. Draw a couple hundred tags per unit, maybe throw in some youth doe hunts when and if needed or even a youth "spike only"hunt now and then :dunno:. I have heard suggestions of an odd-even system (last digit of wild ID#), do away with the late quality tags in the valley, there are other ideas also. Bottom line every year more people are moving here, more are hunting, more are building, more are fencing, more are posting and more and more are becoming anti hunting because of bad experiences (and because a lot are moving here from California :chuckle:). :twocents:
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 11:47:49 AM by bigmacc »

Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2017, 11:45:17 AM »
Sadly, nearly all migratory mule deer herds in the western mountain ranges are a shadow of what they were in the 1950s and 1960s, and have been on a long, slow decline since with short term ups and downs.  I doubt we will ever again see the combination of forest practices and predator control (both government efforts and trapping/fur harvest) that probably resulted in mule deer attaining what was likely an all-time high population rangewide for what had been a fairly uncommon habitat specialist.  In another 50-100 years I predict mule deer hunting opportunities will be highly coveted, limited opportunities - more common than those to hunt a ram, billy or bull moose, but nothing like being able to hunt bucks every year.  I could envision Washington going to true spike for mule deer in eastern WA, just like Colockum elk - with special permits for mature bucks and some doe permits where ag conflicts exist.     

I sadly agree with you DOUBLELUNG, but maybe we could put it off a while longer with some different ideas and management, at least as far as the Methow herd goes we could manage it as a real "Quality area" like they have in Arizona, Utah and others, manage it for trophy-quality opportunity :dunno:...I,m old :dunno: :chuckle:

Offline NOCK NOCK

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2017, 11:54:40 AM »
I could agree with some reduction in hunting opportunity's in the Methow......as long as there is better control of where all those misplaced hunters will move to. 
Saving one herd to decimate another is not progress.  :twocents:

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Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2017, 12:48:17 PM »
I could agree with some reduction in hunting opportunity's in the Methow......as long as there is better control of where all those misplaced hunters will move to. 
Saving one herd to decimate another is not progress.  :twocents:

I hear ya NOCK, and I'm sure some hunters will be displaced to other areas, some west side hunters may stay home and hunt blacktails , some may go out of state etc. I can only speak for myself and my pardners, but we would be there every year, same camp(hopefully one or two of us draw every year :chuckle:) and enjoy ourselves, heck it would be fun to go help others that drew who might not know the area and possibly "guide" them to a big fella(it'll cost em a liver and onion dinner :chuckle:), Heck I think some old timers would be apt to even show a honey hole or two cause the area is draw only (and not open to a general season) to help a tag holder :dunno:. One thing you hit on the head though, there is a lot of "mis-placed hunters " in there and more every year(which is good for our sport, just not good for a deer herd that is in a death spiral) :twocents:

Offline no.cen.wa

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2017, 01:32:29 PM »
Oh good bigmacc, your going to show me some of your honey holes! Course I'm really old and would probably forget by tomorrow 8) maybe. I, like many hate to see hunting limited but that is really the only way to get things turned the right way. I counted up the special permit application fees for deer only, 2 or so years ago, it came to over $500,000.00, just for the application fee. I don't think WDFW will give that money up. They just don't get funded by the state like they used to. People want the chance to hunt each year, maybe a 7 day season? shorter, and still have some sort of special hunts. Just not sure. I don't think they will chance losing the revenue by closing it down.
I remember talking to some Republic area locals years ago, they said"we always buy a license and tag" but don't hunt during the season "cause it's just too crowded with coasties" they fill their tag when the coasties go home!
I'll leave it at that.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2017, 01:53:35 PM »
Oh good bigmacc, your going to show me some of your honey holes! Course I'm really old and would probably forget by tomorrow 8) maybe. I, like many hate to see hunting limited but that is really the only way to get things turned the right way. I counted up the special permit application fees for deer only, 2 or so years ago, it came to over $500,000.00, just for the application fee. I don't think WDFW will give that money up. They just don't get funded by the state like they used to. People want the chance to hunt each year, maybe a 7 day season? shorter, and still have some sort of special hunts. Just not sure. I don't think they will chance losing the revenue by closing it down.
I remember talking to some Republic area locals years ago, they said"we always buy a license and tag" but don't hunt during the season "cause it's just too crowded with coasties" they fill their tag when the coasties go home!
I'll leave it at that.

And I'm sure you got a few honey holes up your sleeve too no.cen.wa and guess what I,m old too and very forgetful :chuckle:.....Ya I know the money thing is an issue,unfortunatly, but they could raise the app. fee a little to apply for the 200 tags per unit to help and hey!, maybe start spending some money on the deer herd and its health rather than other things 8) :dunno:, some of those "other things" are picking off deer every day and more and more of them..... and man I wish those fellas could run their hounds like they used too. I do agree with you though, it is a problem and something needs to be done, what that is? who knows,all we have is ideas to throw out there and who's gonna listen to a couple "old guys" who can't remember anything :chuckle: :chuckle:
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 02:01:03 PM by bigmacc »

Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2017, 05:35:12 PM »
Game depth isn't biggest problem.  Carlton  fire 2014 is Period!  How much bitter brush is coming back? None! Methow deer need at least 3 easy winters for a chance to " come back"
 Carlton fire burned winter range, yes ceanothus is great for deer and does come back after a fire, have you ever seen deer eat it when there is a crust on the snow when there is 2 ish feet of snow? NO they can't get to it. They need bitterbrush then. Guess what, 90% is gone!  I know of fires in the 70s where bitter brush burned and hasn't come back. I've plowed snow 20 plus years lower Methow, seen 92-93 winter and 96-97, Carlton fire will have longer term effects on Methow herd

No argument here 2506, that fire certainly contributed to the "hurt" being put on this herd. That fire did a number on this valley.

Offline UBA

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2017, 07:08:41 PM »
If one herd goes draw only or shutdown it would destroy the other herds as well. I think it should be OTC general tag unless u want to apply for a special permit, then u only can hunt if u draw. Would increase odds for everyone while still allowing everyone to hunt if they wanw, without placing added pressure on another herd. 

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2017, 08:25:59 PM »
Like I've said many times, the whole state needs to be draw only for deer. It's the only way to properly manage the deer with the number of hunters we have.

Offline Ridgeratt

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2017, 08:29:50 PM »
Let me rip the Band-Aid off this topic!

Like I've said many times, the whole state needs to be draw only for deer. It's the only way to properly manage the deer with the number of hunters we have.

Is this for all user Groups that your proposing this?

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #42 on: August 02, 2017, 08:35:10 PM »
Let me rip the Band-Aid off this topic!

Like I've said many times, the whole state needs to be draw only for deer. It's the only way to properly manage the deer with the number of hunters we have.

Is this for all user Groups that your proposing this?

I'm not sure. Something needs to change. As others have said, if you limit the number of hunters in the Methow, those displaced hunters will put excessive pressure on deer somewhere else in the state. We could at least do what Oregon does, and have all rifle mule deer hunting by draw only, while archery mule deer is over the counter tags.

Offline no.cen.wa

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2017, 10:10:17 PM »
A draw like Oregon doesn't do much for me, my 2 hunting buddies and I have tried for 19 years to get a Quality Deer late season tag, not drawn yet! I'd rather have a 2 or 3 day season than have to count on "LUCK" to get drawn, 2 or 3 days would stop many from making the trip to hunt, so less pressure! Of course many wouldn't even buy a tag, so less MONEY! Lose Lose I guess :bash:

Offline AROTTY

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2017, 09:07:16 AM »
Like I've said many times, the whole state needs to be draw only for deer. It's the only way to properly manage the deer with the number of hunters we have.

My proposal would be a week long OTC season for mule deer regardless of weapon and keep the blacktail & whitetail seasons the same. You'd still have a good opportunity if you don't draw a tag, and the herds would get a much needed break.

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2017, 10:34:35 AM »
You can see how flexible they are or how intune they are with management of this herd.  Just look at the number of Quality tags available this year.   How many doe tags were there? 
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Offline bigmacc

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2017, 11:11:34 AM »
You can see how flexible they are or how intune they are with management of this herd.  Just look at the number of Quality tags available this year.   How many doe tags were there?

Yes sir!.... I think one thing we can all agree on or at least most of us is the way this Methow herd has been "managed" is not working. Their are other ideas out there that would create a quality hunting experience, save the herd and make money.....Open minds are NOT a dangerous thing! :chuckle:...............Fixed it, I added the NOT. 

« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 01:16:55 PM by bigmacc »

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #47 on: August 03, 2017, 11:38:07 AM »
I have told the story before. Last year a game agent pulled into our camp with 5 under 3 pt. heads in his truck. And I know he got at least two more that day.

One or two game agents for the Methow is nuts.

All the problems mentioned already plus more game agents and higher fines need to be in place too.

I hate to see it but I would be in favor of shutting down all the deer hunting for 3 years.
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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #48 on: August 03, 2017, 11:45:43 AM »
Well when they bring in 3 or 4 Wardens from SE part of the state on opening weekend you have to figure that they anticipated a lot of hunters. Shutting down the units there would be the way to go but that is not in the WDFW's vocabulary. Just ask Fitkin the biologist the herd up there has never been healthier.

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Re: North central mule deer
« Reply #49 on: August 03, 2017, 05:28:52 PM »
If one herd goes draw only or shutdown it would destroy the other herds as well. I think it should be OTC general tag unless u want to apply for a special permit, then u only can hunt if u draw. Would increase odds for everyone while still allowing everyone to hunt if they wanw, without placing added pressure on another herd.

Everybody take a look at this, it keeps a general season and keeps a quality-special permit season(as it is now), what I think I'm reading here is you can only do one or the other?, either hunt the general with no special app. purchase or put in for a special permit and you sit out the general season that year:dunno:. If thats what UBA is saying here, this is kind of interesting!

 

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