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Author Topic: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer  (Read 3776 times)

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.
Bruce Vandervort

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.

I’ll 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 don’t 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 ain’t 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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Offline NOCK NOCK

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #60 on: November 18, 2017, 04:49:11 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.


THIS is exactly what WE don't need. You are dividing hunters based on FEELINGS. Seriously, not saying it doesn't happen, but don't point fingers without FACTS.
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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #61 on: November 18, 2017, 05:28:47 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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Offline DaveMonti

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #62 on: November 18, 2017, 05:48:02 PM »

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!

I have no doubt that cutting the doe harvest will result in a faster rebuilding a population of deer.  However, what is lacking in the argument is "how many does are harvested each year".  I am sure the numbers are out there but I don't really care enough to look them up for WA. 

I know when I research harvest statistics in Montana, I see the buck and antlerless harvest numbers.  Some of the units have a high number of  bucks taken, 500-600 or so.  These same units might have only 50 "antlerless" deer harvested, which are not all does.  So, how effective will cutting out the antlerless harvest be in a unit like that?  What I am saying is that if you want an effective solution, you need to go to the data.  I can guarantee you that if you stop shooting 40 does a year in a unit, you won't see a noticeable difference in the numbers in 5 years.  So, is stopping the doe harvest a real "solution" even though it's intuitive?  Do you want to lobby an organization to do that if it's not really known if that is an effective solution? 
The answer to the question of "Will stopping doe harvests in a unit dramatically increase the deer population in the next 3 years?  The answer is that it depends on the number of does taken relative to the overall population. 

So your solution, while intuitive, and maybe even backed by studies done elsewhere, is something you will get behind without even knowing how many does are taken a year, and therefore the impact of your solution is hard to predict.  Now, it may be valid, but it may not.  Add to your solution another 15 solutions that other hunters feel will make a difference, none of which are supported by data, and you have this thread.  A bunch of ideas which people "feel" are the solution, but NOBODY IS PRESENTING ANY DATA! 

If I were a decision maker in the state, and everyone came to me with their solution and not an bit of data to back up a single solution, guess what?  Status quo. 

It may be that in the Methow, a thousand doe are taken a year.  That's a substantial number.  However, I personally really don't know if there 1000 does taken a year, or 72.  No data means your solution has no real basis of effectiveness even though "studies have shown...." 

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #63 on: November 18, 2017, 09:41:28 PM »
Nothing to do so I done a little figuring.
Dave mentioned how not killing 40 does wouldn't make much difference.
I made a few conservative assumptions. Each doe raises one fawn, not twins ever.
50/50 split between the sexes. Assume no depredation. I know, pipe dream. Those 40 does at the end of 10 years end up being right around 4500 deer almost half of which are bucks.
So lets say we kill half the bucks out there every year. That still leaves around 3450 deer, 450 of which are bucks.
Unscientific seat of the pants figuring on the back of an envelope but that is the potential my friend.
We just need to come up with a way to protect our breeding stock.
 
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Offline Jimmy33

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #64 on: November 18, 2017, 09:48:21 PM »
OTC mule deer archery and draw for everything else


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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #65 on: November 19, 2017, 09:13:33 AM »
A lot of talk about ending all doe hunting. I agree with DaveM...back it up with data/facts. What are the consequences of doing so.....

Carrying capacity; Habitat has a carrying capacity, much overage to that capacity is not good for any of the critters in that area. We then end up with a unit that is overpopulated with does and not enough bucks to breed them all. How is that benefiting the herd growth?
This year for example, I spent 40+ days deer hunting, I saw way more single does than ones with fawns. Why?
It could be they were not bred, had their fawn/s killed by a predator or human, not enough food to survive, vehicle strike, etc .......
Having lots of does in an area does increase the deer population......but does it increase the huntable population, or just overload the habitat?

Like others have said, this is a multi headed snake, it makes Medusa look like she's bald,  :chuckle:,
Hunters need to think with their brains and make logical, statistical, factual suggestions, not ones based on their feelings.

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Offline GoldenRing270

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #66 on: November 19, 2017, 09:19:57 AM »
If it was all about the data Washington would have done away with antler point restriction years ago. There is plenty of data from other states that shows it has a negative impact on genetics and is not a good way to control harvest. For this reason many other states stopped doing antler point restrictions. Also I'm sure that there is plenty of data on how antlerless harvest effects population growth but this is very simple biology that anyone can understand. Removing the breeding does will negatively impact the overall population for future years. I would like to see us look to the future from a harvest standpoint rather than the what we can get away with at the current moment approach we have been using.

As pointed out by Humptulips even if we stop a seemingly insignificant number of does from being killed it will have a great impact on the population of the herd in the future. Data or no data, not killing females just plain makes sense. I am sure its the same for you guys and gals but I am saving a couple spots on the wall for my daughter should she decide to hunt and I would love it If she could have even better opportunity at mule deer than I have had.

It is so easy for us as hunters to point the finger when it comes to the problems mule deer face. The saying goes... if your pointing one finger you've got 3 more pointing back at yourself. I haven't done all the research but based on a few figures I've read somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 deer were harvested by hunters between the 2014 and 2015 seasons here in the Methow maybe more. No one was complaining. Now fast forward to this year and here we are...

It sounds like Nevada has things close to figured out. I wish Washington and all the states across the west would collaborate with each other. It would be a simple way for every state to learn what works and what doesn't.

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #67 on: November 19, 2017, 10:53:04 AM »
I thought I would share this comment from anther forum. The commenter is from Nevada.

"Lions are out of control in most of the west.

Mule deer are hurting in most of the West.

Simple arithmetic"
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Offline Oh Mah

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #68 on: November 19, 2017, 11:24:11 AM »
 :yeah: any hunter on the east side would agree i dont know about the west side. cats are everywhere.  :yike:
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Offline GoldenRing270

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #69 on: November 19, 2017, 12:21:34 PM »
It would be great if hound hunting came back but I don't see it happening anytime soon in this state. I do however believe that removing general seasons on mule deer does is something achievable and will help the deer population. I feel like it would be best to invest our attention toward a foreseeable positive change. One step at a time approach and to me this seems like the easiest most effective hurdle to start with.

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #70 on: November 19, 2017, 01:04:32 PM »
:yeah: any hunter on the east side would agree i dont know about the west side. cats are everywhere.  :yike:
I think it is very much the case on the peninsula.

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #71 on: November 19, 2017, 04:18:28 PM »

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!

I'll do you a little favor and do some work for you ie doe harvest. But you'll have to also listen to my opinion. 

It's a tough job managing a herd when there are so many variables you can't control. Drought, snow pack, fire, habitat loss and more are all working against you. Plus, in nature, in a natural setting, deer herds don't maintain a level population. (neither do any other species) It's all about the roller coaster of ups and downs, from highs to lows.  But hunters don't want that and many won't accept it. They want it to always be high.  That can't be done. it's against the laws of nature. The more you push for high years, the more there will be low years. That's how it works. The best that can be done is to have a middle range of not so high highs and not so low lows. And that takes a lot of work and data. Even then, nature can throw a dog turd in the punch bowl. I believe that is what has happened to the mule deer herds in this state. Two back to back winters with little snow, then two summers of fires burning up important range, especially winter range and then even a normal  snow year can devastate a herd that is dependent on a greatly shrunken winter range.  When the guys who study the herds tell you the herd needs to be reduced so the range recovers, I'd believe them. What point is there to increase the herd before the habitat can support them? That just makes any recovery that much longer. And hunters won't accept that either. What the managers need is public support and a patient hunting crowd. Let them do their job and trust that they are doing the right thing. As habitat improves, they will let the herd grow. Right now they want the herd reduced for the purpose of rebuilding the range.  Personally, I'd rather see the deer harvested and utilized by hunters than to die out on the winter range. 

Now here's the harvest and doe harvest for you of all the 200 units, the last 5 years.  Notice the increase in doe harvest in 2014 was 549 does over 2013. That's the whole increase for a total of 28 game units or an average increase of less than 20 does per unit. In 2015 it was even less at 229 more does taken for an average of about 8 does per unit more.  2016 was 172 more does than 2013 or and average of about 6 more does taken. Note for those same years, the buck harvest was also higher. in 2014 there were 924 more bucks taken  for an average of 33 more bucks taken per unit. in 2015 it was 2,541 more bucks taken for an average of almost 91 extra bucks taken per unit. In 2016 the buck take had dropped down to 172 more bucks than 2013 for an average of about 6 extra bucks per unit.

2012 - 941 does taken, 4,402 bucks, 5,343 total
2113 - 817 does taken, 4,182 bucks, 5,009 total
2014 - 1,366 does taken, 5,006 bucks, 6,372 total
2015 - 1,046 does taken, 6,504 bucks, 7,550 total
2016 - 989 does taken, 4851 bucks, 5840 total
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Offline DaveMonti

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #72 on: November 19, 2017, 05:51:34 PM »
That's good stuff Stika_Blacktail,

If I'm reading this right, the highest doe (or is it antlerless) harvest was in 2014 at 1,366 animals.  You mentioned that this is for the 200 series GMUs, of which there are 28 GMUs?  If this is correct, that means that the average antlerless harvest per unit in 2014 was 48 antlerless per unit.

That's good data.  Now the analysis and potential results after 2, 3, 5 years?  I'd be interested to see this, making realistic assumptions where data doesn't exist.  For example, how many of the 48 antlerless deer per unit were doe?  What is the harvest rate of doe relative to the total population?  What are the rates of other causes of death that might impact the offspring of the "saved" doe? 

As I said, I realize not harvesting doe will likely result in higher future populations, but the data and the analysis will show the impact of it.  In other words, how much will the population grow in 2, 3, 5 years?  Do this for every solution and you find the solution, or a set of solutions which will have the greatest impact. 

There is a LOT to this issue, lots of potential solutions, lots of data and assumptions that will have impact on the analysis. 

Offline Oh Mah

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #73 on: November 19, 2017, 06:24:21 PM »

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!

I'll do you a little favor and do some work for you ie doe harvest. But you'll have to also listen to my opinion. 

It's a tough job managing a herd when there are so many variables you can't control. Drought, snow pack, fire, habitat loss and more are all working against you. Plus, in nature, in a natural setting, deer herds don't maintain a level population. (neither do any other species) It's all about the roller coaster of ups and downs, from highs to lows.  But hunters don't want that and many won't accept it. They want it to always be high.  That can't be done. it's against the laws of nature. The more you push for high years, the more there will be low years. That's how it works. The best that can be done is to have a middle range of not so high highs and not so low lows. And that takes a lot of work and data. Even then, nature can throw a dog turd in the punch bowl. I believe that is what has happened to the mule deer herds in this state. Two back to back winters with little snow, then two summers of fires burning up important range, especially winter range and then even a normal  snow year can devastate a herd that is dependent on a greatly shrunken winter range.  When the guys who study the herds tell you the herd needs to be reduced so the range recovers, I'd believe them. What point is there to increase the herd before the habitat can support them? That just makes any recovery that much longer. And hunters won't accept that either. What the managers need is public support and a patient hunting crowd. Let them do their job and trust that they are doing the right thing. As habitat improves, they will let the herd grow. Right now they want the herd reduced for the purpose of rebuilding the range.  Personally, I'd rather see the deer harvested and utilized by hunters than to die out on the winter range. 

Now here's the harvest and doe harvest for you of all the 200 units, the last 5 years.  Notice the increase in doe harvest in 2014 was 549 does over 2013. That's the whole increase for a total of 28 game units or an average increase of less than 20 does per unit. In 2015 it was even less at 229 more does taken for an average of about 8 does per unit more.  2016 was 172 more does than 2013 or and average of about 6 more does taken. Note for those same years, the buck harvest was also higher. in 2014 there were 924 more bucks taken  for an average of 33 more bucks taken per unit. in 2015 it was 2,541 more bucks taken for an average of almost 91 extra bucks taken per unit. In 2016 the buck take had dropped down to 172 more bucks than 2013 for an average of about 6 extra bucks per unit.

2012 - 941 does taken, 4,402 bucks, 5,343 total
2113 - 817 does taken, 4,182 bucks, 5,009 total
2014 - 1,366 does taken, 5,006 bucks, 6,372 total
2015 - 1,046 does taken, 6,504 bucks, 7,550 total
2016 - 989 does taken, 4851 bucks, 5840 total
great points here.  :tup:
"Boss of the woods"

Offline wolfbait

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Re: A Proposal for Washington's Mule Deer
« Reply #74 on: November 19, 2017, 06:50:54 PM »
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:

 :yeah: :bash: :bash:

Too bad there wasn't this much concern before the WDFW wolf plan came out, now that the deer herds etc. are plummeting everyone is for cutting seasons, something that should probably have been done years ago, which WDFW have in the wolf plan.

But that won't stop the on going slaughter, maybe prolong the outcome. If you have an uncontrolled wolf population pretty soon you don't have any ungulates.

 Carry on......

 

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