Hunting Washington Forum

Community => Advocacy, Agencies, Access => Topic started by: Skyvalhunter on January 05, 2021, 06:17:36 AM

Title: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 05, 2021, 06:17:36 AM
Well here we go with another study. Funny how the WDFW always blames habitat loss and fires as the decline in mule deer population. Not one mention of predators.
http://www.ifiberone.com/columbia_basin/helicopters-to-capture-mule-deer-in-chelan-kittitas-and-okanogan-counties-in-mid-january/article_86740132-4eeb-11eb-a09d-23bad7ae6b2e.html
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Smokepole on January 05, 2021, 06:45:45 AM
Well that reporting is pretty sparse.  No quotes from anyone from the WDFW.  It doesn't cite their website.  Doesn't name the project, or who is managing it. 

My observation in central Washington after a devastating wildfire in 2015 was that predators cleaned house the next two winters.  Wolves and cougars.  The deer had little winter habitat and we had a tough winter with subzero temps and deep snow.  The deer would move to shelter, where they could eat buds and find water -- and the cats slaughtered them.  During the summer, the deer didn't have as much cover -- so the wolves left carcasses all over. 

There was lots of fur and bone here in the winters of 2016-2017, but not any more.   :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 07:43:12 AM
I was contacted by the WDFW this weekend about the study.  It is similar to the one they did last year on my place where they netted deer with helicopter gunners, ear tagged them and put collars on them.  I own winter range and they are looking to see where the migration corridors are for the deer.  He said the deer from last year had a pretty high mortality rate and some of the kills could be pinned directly on predators.  The collars give location updates every four hours.  If a collar doesn't move for 8 or 12 hours they send a bio to see what happened and why the deer isn't moving.  With rapid response they can see if it was a predator kill, poaching or natural causes.  I told the bio I had at least 200 deer on my place and they were doing very well.  I have seen more does with twins in December than I have since the fire in 2015.  I have shot 7 coyotes on my place this year in an effort to control the predation of fawns.  He said that just a couple canyons over from me they found a collared doe the week before that had been killed by a cougar.  Last year the first month after the collars went on a doe ended up dead in a creek bed adjacent to my property.  They thought it might have been a cougar kill but the coyotes had gotten to it also so it was tough to tell.  There was a collared wolf in the area but the deer collar and wolf collar were not in close proximity at any point.  The wolf was old and had left the pack, it has since died.

I think WDFW knows predators are a problem but they are having difficulties getting quotas increased when our beloved governor keeps rejecting their proposals to increase quotas.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 05, 2021, 07:58:58 AM
I guess I would like to see the results of their study without having to do another public records request like I have been. I mean its the sportsmen that help pay for these studies.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 08:05:00 AM
I think they are trying to understand the migration pattern and buy the land that is in that path so it doesn't get developed.  Deer migration is like the salmon returning to spawn if you put up a dam in the river it blocks the salmon.  If you put a housing developement or apple orchard in the middle of the deer migration route that is no good either.

I have been buying up land for 5 years to save the winter ground.  I was contacted by a solar company and offered a lot of money to allow them to fence off my land and cover it in solar panels.  I said no because that was hundreds of acres of ground that hundreds of deer and hundreds of elk winter on.

It is important work they are doing and gives them the data to prove that certain habitat is vital to protect.  There is tons of ground around me but only certain areas hold the deer and elk.  Those are the areas they want to confirm and protect.  And of course if they can confirm that predators are impacting the population adversely that helps with their argument to increase quotas. 

I think most hunters believe predators are a problem.  If you have data showing that 100 deer received collars and 40 of them ended up dead due to predators you can easily connect the dots.  The same can be said if 40 of them end up hit by cars or poached.  They need to put up fencing if car impacts are the issue or get more field officers if poaching is the issue.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: boneaddict on January 05, 2021, 08:07:41 AM
                                Zzzzzzzzzzzz
                      zzzzzz
                 Zzz
           zzzz
   Zzzzz
  Z
 8)
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 08:09:39 AM
I guess I would like to see the results of their study without having to do another public records request like I have been. I mean its the sportsmen that help pay for these studies.
I think this is an extension of last years study.  I feel like these are normally a two to three deal if they can continue to get the funding to keep the study going.  A one year study could be flawed due to a whole bunch of variables.  If they can spread it out you can eliminate some anomalies.  The collars are supposed to last for four years.  They put collars on deer last year and are doing it again this year so they should have 5 years worth of data in four years when this latest round of collars quite working.

It's a slow process but also very thorough, good information hopefully leads to good decisions.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: bearhunter99 on January 05, 2021, 08:17:54 AM
My only issue with this is the timing.  I get it that they are trying to figure out migration routes but why can't they put the collars on in the summer when they aren't stressed by the cold and snow already?  Last year we saw them with the helicopter and by the time they were done the deer were beat and heaving with mouths open.  How many die from running them up and down the ridges in the snow? 

On another note, we have a doe that hangs out around our house that has a collar and tags in both ears.  If they have a collar on it why do they need the tags in both ears as well?  She just looks defeated and sad, both ears are always drooping and never perk up, which I assume is from the ear tags?

Maybe somebody else can shed better light on it but I don't get the timing or the need for tags when they have a collar that can be used as identification. :dunno:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Sandberm on January 05, 2021, 08:49:10 AM
Interesting Rainier10. Thanks for sharing your perspective and for helping the deer. The allure of green energy money is real and tempting.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: KFhunter on January 05, 2021, 08:55:41 AM
My only issue with this is the timing.  I get it that they are trying to figure out migration routes but why can't they put the collars on in the summer when they aren't stressed by the cold and snow already?  Last year we saw them with the helicopter and by the time they were done the deer were beat and heaving with mouths open.  How many die from running them up and down the ridges in the snow? 

On another note, we have a doe that hangs out around our house that has a collar and tags in both ears.  If they have a collar on it why do they need the tags in both ears as well?  She just looks defeated and sad, both ears are always drooping and never perk up, which I assume is from the ear tags?

Maybe somebody else can shed better light on it but I don't get the timing or the need for tags when they have a collar that can be used as identification. :dunno:


May -  big fat and pregger
June - dropping fawns
July - nursing
Aug-  its hot
Sep - hunting starts
Oct - hunting
Nov - late hunts
Dec - hmm, not much going on? Holidays
Jan - good time to dart/net
Feb - winter stress sets in
March - winter stress and starvation setting in, very low energy reserves
April - deer are most vulnerable to starvation as reserves are used up and they transition rumen to green up
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 08:58:30 AM
The winter roundup is because that is when they are concentrated on winter ground and easy to get to. The 2-300 hundred deer on my place become 50-60 in summer and fall. KFís post has the timing broken down well.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Karl Blanchard on January 05, 2021, 08:59:40 AM
Thanks Rainier! You are doing important stuff up there. People like to just wag fingers at predators but USABLE winter range and preserving migration corridors is as important as it gets. Look at what lengths WY is going to in an attempt to preserve those corridors and habitat. They are way ahead of the curve when it comes to being proactive with mule deer preservation.

As for the timing of netting and collaring, you can't capture deer when they are on top of a mountain in the rocks, brush, and timber. Its more safe for all involved to net on the winter range down in the open sage country. This is a good time to do it as the weather is mild right now and critters look to be healthy considering our drought year we have had  :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Karl Blanchard on January 05, 2021, 09:00:39 AM
You guys type faster than me  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 09:02:36 AM
Not sure on the reason for tags in both ears and the collar. The tags are easy to read on my game cameras. Doe #308 is the one that died near my place. When they found her the collar was there but both ear tags were missing, probably eaten or torn off by the predators.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Bushcraft on January 05, 2021, 09:05:33 AM
I think they are trying to understand the migration pattern and buy the land that is in that path so it doesn't get developed.  Deer migration is like the salmon returning to spawn if you put up a dam in the river it blocks the salmon.  If you put a housing developement or apple orchard in the middle of the deer migration route that is no good either.

I have been buying up land for 5 years to save the winter ground.  I was contacted by a solar company and offered a lot of money to allow them to fence off my land and cover it in solar panels.  I said no because that was hundreds of acres of ground that hundreds of deer and hundreds of elk winter on.

It is important work they are doing and gives them the data to prove that certain habitat is vital to protect.  There is tons of ground around me but only certain areas hold the deer and elk.  Those are the areas they want to confirm and protect.  And of course if they can confirm that predators are impacting the population adversely that helps with their argument to increase quotas. 

I think most hunters believe predators are a problem.  If you have data showing that 100 deer received collars and 40 of them ended up dead due to predators you can easily connect the dots.  The same can be said if 40 of them end up hit by cars or poached.  They need to put up fencing if car impacts are the issue or get more field officers if poaching is the issue.

Thank you for being a steward of the land our wildlife needs to survive. Well done.  :tup:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: hunter399 on January 05, 2021, 09:16:17 AM
I do like to hear study's are going on.
How long does it take to figure out migration routes.
How long does it take to figure out depredation pattern.
Will we have answers 25 years from now when the last 10 deer are standing. Seems to me WDFW do these study's when they really don't want to deal with the problem.
Its like biden starting a committy or something.
You just pour money and talking at something with little results.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 09:20:18 AM
You nailed it Wyoming Karl, not only are they ahead by gathering migration routes they arenít as developed or densely populated as Washington so they have a way better chance of keeping those vital corridors open.


Sandberm the all mighty dollar is powerful. Green energy pays well compared to open sage and property taxes. Everyone wants a little piece of paradise to put a cabin or trailer on. My land value has doubled in the past two years for recreational use. Iím not selling. It puts extra pressure on the migrating deer and the local deer. They need a place to be secure. We do allow hunting on our place for kids, seniors and we have done wounded warrior hunts. We can control the harvest that way while giving the wildlife some space.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: hunter399 on January 05, 2021, 09:27:39 AM
You nailed it Wyoming Karl, not only are they ahead by gathering migration routes they arenít as developed or densely populated as Washington so they have a way better chance of keeping those vital corridors open.


Sandberm the all mighty dollar is powerful. Green energy pays well compared to open sage and property taxes. Everyone wants a little piece of paradise to put a cabin or trailer on. My land value has doubled in the past two years for recreational use. Iím not selling. It puts extra pressure on the migrating deer and the local deer. They need a place to be secure. We do allow hunting on our place for kids, seniors and we have done wounded warrior hunts. We can control the harvest that way while giving the wildlife some space.

Even though most of my comments have some kind of negative to them.
I will say good for you,keep up the good fight there ,sounds like you got a good patch of Washington. :tup:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 09:40:55 AM
The frustration about these studies is real and valid. Sportsmen with boots on the ground see whatís happening but there are very few of us. Itís the non hunters that need to be convinced and that is why the studies need to be done to have proof for those that arenít out in the woods.

The reason they take so long is the variables, weather, fires, development and hunting pressure all play a role and those things change year to year.

In 2014 I had 4-600 elk wintering on and adjacent to my ground. 2015 was the fire, they moved and we had maybe 30. Each year since the fire we have seen increased numbers as the habitat rebounds. We arenít back to the numbers we had before the fire but we are getting there. A study of deer in 2016 would have completely different results than a study this year.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 12:49:14 PM
Most of my neighbors are cattlemen, they are not open to the study because they have concerns the results may impact their livelyhood.  That is a valid concern.  This study and results can be used in many ways.  A half glass of water is a half glass of water but there are those that will argue it is half full and others that will argue it is half empty even though it is the same glass of water.

I just want them to have the most accurate numbers then the arguments can begin on how to interpret that information.

My hope is that they learn what the corridor is and then use their limited funds to buy that land and keep it undeveloped for the deer to use.  I also hope that they learn that predators are having a huge impact on ungulates and work to decrease those predator numbers.

There is a chance that someone will argue that predators are struggling to survive because of low ungulate numbers and they limit hunting opportunity to give the predators more of the annual harvest.

There is also a chance that they determine that cattle grazing in the corridor is impacting food available for ungulates and regulate the grazing industry more by limiting access to that corridor or even putting restrictions on private land use within that corridor.

It is important no matter what side you are on to follow these studies and make your argument for your point of view.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease and when there are so many players with stakes in the game you have to squeak loud and often.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: jstone on January 05, 2021, 01:09:49 PM
First off awesome Rainier10.
Should they not already have the migration corridors in documented history?
I have hunted the Swakane forever!!!! That is a good example of bad management up on those hills. Houses creeping higher and higher into their wintering grounds.
Not sure about the cat count in that area? Havenít seen cat tracks for a while. Lots of yotes! These Bioís just get a college education and think they know it all. Go out there and live it.!! Experience the out doors and the animals. Talk and listen to the hunters. Hunters are the knowledge of the woods. Well some are!!

Great topic
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 05, 2021, 01:31:19 PM
I am not sure they do have information on this area, this is a small study area for this survey, hiway 97 to vantage north of I 90.

Swakane is a prime example of a ton of issues.  A whole new thread could be started for that but I think what would apply to this thread is we don't want to make those same mistakes with the naneum deer.

One of the sections that I bought in the winter grounds used to be DNR land, perfect for wildlife, never going to be developed.  Then in  2008 the rocky mountain elk foundation worked out a land swap with the DNR to consolidate their land into a larger block by trading dnr land outside of the large block for private land inside the large block.  What they got was a huge block of DNR that was open to all hunters what they lost was important pieces like the one I bought. I went to a timber company first in the land swap and after they logged it they put it up for sale and I bought it.

Hopefully after this study the WDFW will be able to recognize land that is used as the corridor and be able to buy it up.  Luckily I bought the section and have no plans to develop it but it could have just as easily been purchased by someone who wanted to build houses, break it up into 20 acre recreational properties, turned the whole thing into an RV, ATV, UTV, ORV park or put solar panels on it since it is also in the Kittitas Solar overlay area.  All of those generate money for the developer and for the county in tax revenue and all kinds of other revenue streams from gas to groceries and food services.

Everyone wants to make a buck and in the end it's the wildlife that suffers.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: idahohuntr on January 05, 2021, 02:28:06 PM
Well here we go with another study. Funny how the WDFW always blames habitat loss and fires as the decline in mule deer population. Not one mention of predators.
http://www.ifiberone.com/columbia_basin/helicopters-to-capture-mule-deer-in-chelan-kittitas-and-okanogan-counties-in-mid-january/article_86740132-4eeb-11eb-a09d-23bad7ae6b2e.html
Based on the 16 billion hunting forum posts from people asking what rural western state/area is the best place to move - I would put habitat loss/degradation from a booming human population as something that ought to terrify any mule deer hunter.  Whether the east slope of the Cascades, the Boise foothills, the Colorado front range...Habitat loss/degradation is orders of magnitude more concerning for long term declines and future lost opportunity for mule deer hunting.  Make no mistake though...there are a lot of economic interests from many different industries that would prefer hunters focus on non-habitat factors.  :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Ridgerunner on January 05, 2021, 03:47:31 PM
While I agree with the study and think it will provide some interesting data, I feel that it is probably at least 40-50 years too late.  I fear the habitat loss, predator issues etc, have capped the carrying capacity of the range to a much lower number than it would have otherwise been if the state had been more proactive decades ago.  I'd still like my kids to be able to see some deer when we go out, but it would have been better at the higher numbers.  I remember in the early 90's when I first started hunting how many deer there were, how I wish I knew what I was doing back then instead of being a wet behind the ears teenager trying to figure things out. 

I applaud the actions Rainer is taking, he's got some real skin in the game. 
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: bearhunter99 on January 05, 2021, 04:40:31 PM
First off. Thank you KF for that timeline.  I guess I had just never considered the timing of other aspects and especially this year the winter has been mild enough so far.

AND thank you for the information Rainier and for the stewardship.  It gets tougher for the deer every year and habitat loss, especially wintering grounds is a huge part of the equation.  I hate the Chelan Douglas Land Trust and all of its hippies and idiots that use the land and think everything should be public but it does provide some much needed protected wintering range.

You learn something new every day!
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: actionshooter on January 05, 2021, 08:54:40 PM
I was contacted by the WDFW this weekend about the study.  It is similar to the one they did last year on my place where they netted deer with helicopter gunners, ear tagged them and put collars on them.  I own winter range and they are looking to see where the migration corridors are for the deer.  He said the deer from last year had a pretty high mortality rate and some of the kills could be pinned directly on predators.  The collars give location updates every four hours.  If a collar doesn't move for 8 or 12 hours they send a bio to see what happened and why the deer isn't moving.  With rapid response they can see if it was a predator kill, poaching or natural causes.  I told the bio I had at least 200 deer on my place and they were doing very well.  I have seen more does with twins in December than I have since the fire in 2015.  I have shot 7 coyotes on my place this year in an effort to control the predation of fawns.  He said that just a couple canyons over from me they found a collared doe the week before that had been killed by a cougar.  Last year the first month after the collars went on a doe ended up dead in a creek bed adjacent to my property.  They thought it might have been a cougar kill but the coyotes had gotten to it also so it was tough to tell.  There was a collared wolf in the area but the deer collar and wolf collar were not in close proximity at any point.  The wolf was old and had left the pack, it has since died.

I think WDFW knows predators are a problem but they are having difficulties getting quotas increased when our beloved governor keeps rejecting their proposals to increase quotas.

WOW! Thanks Rainier... that is awesome and I am glad there are people who are looking out for the wildlands!
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Boss .300 winmag on January 05, 2021, 09:24:21 PM
If the state doesnít know the migration routes by now, they will never know them.😉
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: jstone on January 05, 2021, 09:47:27 PM
 :yeah:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 06, 2021, 11:37:35 AM
Well here we go with another study. Funny how the WDFW always blames habitat loss and fires as the decline in mule deer population. Not one mention of predators.
http://www.ifiberone.com/columbia_basin/helicopters-to-capture-mule-deer-in-chelan-kittitas-and-okanogan-counties-in-mid-january/article_86740132-4eeb-11eb-a09d-23bad7ae6b2e.html
Based on the 16 billion hunting forum posts from people asking what rural western state/area is the best place to move - I would put habitat loss/degradation from a booming human population as something that ought to terrify any mule deer hunter.  Whether the east slope of the Cascades, the Boise foothills, the Colorado front range...Habitat loss/degradation is orders of magnitude more concerning for long term declines and future lost opportunity for mule deer hunting.  Make no mistake though...there are a lot of economic interests from many different industries that would prefer hunters focus on non-habitat factors.  :twocents:

Habitat loss is huge where I am.  I bought 20 acres there 20 years ago.  It is a township with a homeowners association.  There are 180 20 acre lots.  They were sold in the 70's to military guys mostly, "own a piece of washington".  Most didn't ever use the property it was a $6,000 investment that they forgot about.  That 3,600 acres was great habitat and it still is except for the fact that those lots have sold and now instead of 8 or 9 people using those 3,600 acres there are 100 active property owners bringing 3 hunting buddies with them spreading out over archery, muzzy and modern hunting seasons.  Most get a multiseason permit so they can hunt all season.  When they are hunting they are driving there quads and side by sides around scouting.  There are roads everywhere so you can get to all 180 of the lots.  That habitat while good is not preferred by the deer and elk because there is no escapement, no where to hide there is always someone chasing them to hunt them or get their shed antlers.

This area is in the colockum, one year during modern firearm there were 13 spikes and 4 cows(cow permits) shot in one day.  It was a slaughter.  The herds got pushed out of the NF and down into the private where every guy and his hunting buddies were ready for them.  I haven't seen that many spikes in the area at any time since then.  That was about 15 years ago.

Habitat isn't so great when there are 200 guys hunting a 4 square mile area.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Wunderlich33 on January 06, 2021, 12:28:00 PM
When I grow up I wanna be like Rainier10!!! Thanks for your dedication!!!  :IBCOOL: :IBCOOL:
I just gotta grow up... My wife tells me that all the time...  :chuckle:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 06, 2021, 12:56:09 PM
When I grow up I wanna be like Rainier10!!! Thanks for your dedication!!!  :IBCOOL: :IBCOOL:
I just gotta grow up... My wife tells me that all the time...  :chuckle:
I think your boy said it too!!
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 06, 2021, 01:20:54 PM
When I grow up I wanna be like Rainier10!!! Thanks for your dedication!!!  :IBCOOL: :IBCOOL:
I just gotta grow up... My wife tells me that all the time...  :chuckle:
You are already just as passionate as I am.  We all do our part in one way or another.  I am blessed to have the finances to do it on a big scale but everyone that buys hunting gear, guns and ammo are technically helping hunters and wildlife with every purchase.  Being involved with the season setting process helps.  Every little bit helps.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 23, 2021, 08:32:59 PM
Sounds like they wrapped up netting deer for the year. 22 more collars, purple ear tags, last year was white.  Hoping by late spring they have all moved on and just the local deer are hanging out here.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Karl Blanchard on January 23, 2021, 10:23:35 PM
Sounds like they wrapped up netting deer for the year. 22 more collars, purple ear tags, last year was white.  Hoping by late spring they have all moved on and just the local deer are hanging out here.
thanks for the update rainier  :tup:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Jingles on January 24, 2021, 05:45:49 AM
Sounds like they wrapped up netting deer for the year. 22 more collars, purple ear tags, last year was white.  Hoping by late spring they have all moved on and just the local deer are hanging out here.
They either finished or are waiting for another chopper after crashing
 the one in Winthrop
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: wolfbait on January 24, 2021, 08:22:49 AM
The Methow has a plenty of "habitat" just not many deer..

Primary reason for ungulate decimation is overstocked predators, they can "study" migration routes etc. till the cows come home, but it they don't control the predation there won't be anything left to migrate. :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Alan K on January 24, 2021, 08:56:06 AM
It seems like the biologists are always looking for some obscure cog in the wheel to blame population struggles on, while always glossing over the direct take. They ignore the problems that unchecked predator populations have had, be it wolves, bears, cougars, and humans in the case of ungulates, or seals and humans on salmon.

I think it comes down to their begging for study funding. The studies already show that predators take an exorbitant amount of game. They have to find new things to study in order to secure funding. Tough to get grant or landowner money to study something that has already been established. It's like needing a study in 2021 to understand the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  Nobody is going to throw money at that study.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: bigmacc on January 25, 2021, 09:50:42 AM
The Methow has a plenty of "habitat" just not many deer..

Primary reason for ungulate decimation is overstocked predators, they can "study" migration routes etc. till the cows come home, but it they don't control the predation there won't be anything left to migrate. :twocents:

 :yeah: BINGO,

We know of 20 or so migration routes give or take(some blend together at certain points), we know where most originate, where they stage, where they stall and where they end depending on snow depth and temps. Those routes back in the 50,s and 60,s had thousands of deer move through in a 3-4 day period when the time hit, 70,s and 80,s, still thousands, in the 90,s the numbers started to decline noticeably. The early 2000,s, the largest numbers we seen come through one particular area was around 300 over 4 days, went into that same area a few years ago and counted 41 over 4 days, this last year 11. you see the trend. Back in the 90,s predators began being coddled, how their numbers were controlled became restricted and the wolf was "officially" on the scene. Don't even get me started on some of the migrations my dad used to see or what my great grandparents witnessed going back to the early 1900,s, my great grandma and grandpa seen one migration in the Methow back in the early 20,s or 30,s I believe that they watched come down a particular ridge that numbered over 2000 and took over 3 hours for the herd to pass. Theres a study for them(WDFW), it started in 1917 and didn't cost them anything, deer numbers are decimated, predator numbers are up, we have been eyewitnesses of it.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 25, 2021, 10:10:20 AM
I was over there this weekend. All you have to do is drive from Pateros up to Twisp and look at the side hills. There has been plenty of snow over there to push the deer down lower. Problem is there is very few deer. Thus you see very few deer trails in the snow. It doesn't take a special study of the migration routes to see where the deer travel in as much snow is there is now. The deer I seen were in peoples yards and close to the town of Twisp. This year there is no helicopter survey so they have the Bio's driving around counting deer. Am I missing something? 
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 25, 2021, 10:10:37 AM
Sounds like they wrapped up netting deer for the year. 22 more collars, purple ear tags, last year was white.  Hoping by late spring they have all moved on and just the local deer are hanging out here.
They either finished or are waiting for another chopper after crashing
 the one in Winthrop

The first time they asked if they could have access to my property my buddy said I should have said yes if they would let me shoot the net gun.  When I mentioned it I was told the choppers and net gun work are hired out and no WDFW are in the choppers because of the crash rate and losing WDFW officers or bio's was just not worth the risk.

This year I just gave them access again and didn't pursue being in the helicopter, not a risk I am willing to take.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Rainier10 on January 25, 2021, 10:11:58 AM
I was over there this weekend. All you have to do is drive from Pateros up to Twisp and look at the side hills. There has been plenty of snow over there to push the deer down lower. Problem is there is very few deer. Thus you see very few deer trails in the snow. It doesn't take a special study of the migration routes to see where the deer travel in as much snow is there is now. The deer I seen were in peoples yards and close to the town of Twisp. This year there is no helicopter survey so they have the Bio's driving around counting deer. Am I missing something?
I am only familiar with the study in the ellensburg area, GMU 328.  The article mentions other areas but I am not familiar with those or if they even happened.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: bigmacc on January 25, 2021, 12:54:26 PM
I was over there this weekend. All you have to do is drive from Pateros up to Twisp and look at the side hills. There has been plenty of snow over there to push the deer down lower. Problem is there is very few deer. Thus you see very few deer trails in the snow. It doesn't take a special study of the migration routes to see where the deer travel in as much snow is there is now. The deer I seen were in peoples yards and close to the town of Twisp. This year there is no helicopter survey so they have the Bio's driving around counting deer. Am I missing something?

I don't think your missing anything, the Methow herd is just not the priority it once was. Like I have said many times, not just on here but to anyone that will listen including WDFW folks, this herd has slipped down many rungs of the ladder. The population of the valley is changing, the old guard of ranchers, cowboys, orchard owners etc. are being replaced by transplants from Seattle, California and other locals and they are bringing their politics, they frown on hunting and love their predators, "because nature should balance populations, not hunters"(that was told to me by one of the "skinny skiers" as Jingles calls em when I was doing some scouting a couple years ago). Hell, Don is selling the Chewuch River Ranch and getting out of Dodge, like him or not, his family are some of the old guard that are leaving. I have talked with other locals I know who in a nutshell have said, I quote, "the valley is turning into a real s@#t show". I remember as a boy watching some of the "deer roundups", my grandparents new some Game Dept. folks who would let grandpa know when they would be doing them up by Sullivans Pond (some of the old net posts are still there), they would run deer into corals made of net and trap them then tranquilize and tag them, we would watch from a hill with binoculars. This was back in the late 50,s, early 60,s when they were really studying the migration routes in the valley, my dad remembers he, grandma and grandpa having many conversations with Game folks. Back then the Methow herd was on a pedestal, it was the pride and joy of the dept, like I've said before it was at one time the largest migrating herd in the country, estimated numbering between 35-40,000 head at its peak. I have ran into many, many different study groups in the valley over the last decade or so and the majority have been studying "other creatures" rather than deer, not saying thats bad because they need to know the impact  those "other creatures" are having, but on the other hand this isn't rocket science, this particular herd has been decimated over the last 25 or so years, deer numbers have plummeted, predator numbers have boomed, not that complicated.....HMMM?...... :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: wolfbait on January 26, 2021, 08:24:56 AM
 :yeah:

The rest of WA will eventually look just like the Methow, in the 2010-2011 the UW and WDFW were doing a deer study on the Golden Doe, they were walking though fresh wolf kills to get to the deer nets. Their study was to find out the impact wolves were having on the deer. What a joke.
By the way that was the same year they claimed the Lookout pack was down to just a few wolves, friend and I showed them pictures of several wolves we got on camera in just a few weeks, they stuck to their same BS story.

This is just another bogus study, pretending they give a damn about the ungulates as they protect predators above all else :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Ironhead on January 26, 2021, 08:49:04 AM
I was over there this weekend. All you have to do is drive from Pateros up to Twisp and look at the side hills. There has been plenty of snow over there to push the deer down lower. Problem is there is very few deer. Thus you see very few deer trails in the snow. It doesn't take a special study of the migration routes to see where the deer travel in as much snow is there is now. The deer I seen were in peoples yards and close to the town of Twisp. This year there is no helicopter survey so they have the Bio's driving around counting deer. Am I missing something? 
What they are really doing is checking how much the Wolves have affected the migration Patterns of old compared to what we have today. They have known the Migration trails and patterns for decades.
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: bigmacc on January 26, 2021, 10:59:33 AM
True, they have known the migration trails for decades, problem is there are very few deer using those trails, not nessasarily because they have changed routes (tho some have changed) but because there are drastically reduced numbers of deer period, at least as far as the Methow goes. We know of a couple routes that about 11-12 years ago moved one drainage over basically(approx. 6 or so miles), we had been finding lots of cougar kills for about 4-5 years straight in the old route when we were doing our post season November scouting. We found dozens of cat kills one year, couldn't find the cat but the area was obviously his "open buffet". The deer adapted, the deer switched turf to make it to their winter range, we have scouted that "new" route during post season for the last few years, just not many deer period. My great grandparents discovered a staging area back in the 1920,s, my dad and I seen over a thousand deer gather over a 4-5 day period in this particular area many, many times in November, they would hold up for days with more and more deer trickling in each day, deer would come in from 3 or 4 small routes and "hang around" then move out, wed go in there one day and they would all be gone. My dad said that area had been like that since he could remember when grandma would take him in there as a boy back in the 30,s. Have not seen any signs of wolves in there, no sign of cats in this particular area but over the last 25 years the numbers have declined steadily, now you can't even tell it was once a historic staging area for a historic herd, I haven't seen more than 20-30 deer in there at one time, during "prime time" for over 15 years, hell theres a a lot of years lately that I haven't seen a deer in there, over 3 or 4 days. Im not anti study, I'm pro common sense, at least for the Methow its simple, like I said, not rocket science. Yes, migrations routes have been tweaked because pf heavy predation, at least whats left of a "migration" in the Methow, yes predator numbers have boomed over the last 25 years, yes those growing numbers of predators eat deer and eat more deer every year, yes, deer numbers are less than half of their historic numbers and continue to drop, it doesn't take study after study after study to verify this, more AND growing numbers of predators equals less number of prey animals, common sense, more predators eat more deer. There are no elk in the Methow anymore(there were some at one time), there are no caribou, a small number of moose so deer are the main target of predators in this particular valley, bear numbers have exploded, cougar numbers have exploded, coyotes are everywhere and wolves have taken hold, once again, not anti study, just pro common sense, save some "study money", at least in the Methow. Predators are AND have hammered this herd, plain and simple. Common sense- aggressively getting predator numbers in check=growing the herd numbers, that is, if thats a goal, like I said the Methow valley is changing politically, soon hunters will be frowned on over here.

I know I ramble about the Methow, its what I know, my family has history there and so do I. I know other study areas in other parts of the state have different issues, but one thing is common, the more "other things" that are killing our deer and elk, the less that there will be for hunters and future hunters, whether it be over harvesting by the tribes, or growing predator numbers that have exploded since the gloves were put on over how we hunt them to name a few. IMHO predators are the number one issue concerning our big game herds, sure there are others but predators are number one by a long shot, bears hammer fawn and calf crops as well as coyotes also, cats kill a deer per week on average(how many cats do they claim, its well underestimated by many), and now wolves are growing and spreading, once again, Im not anti study, im pro common sense. Save some of those millions spent on study after study and put them into predator management and bettering our big game herds, a blind man can see (without studies costing millions over the years) that there are much more predators on the landscape and all seem to be growing in numbers, if you've spent decades out there especially, you have seen it year after year. Its hard to tell what the "big picture" is concerning our herds, it used to be to take care of the herds and bring in more money from tag and license sales, now I think we as hunters in this state have been surpassed by other money, they still get our money because there are still some game animals out there, they don't want to just discard us, at least not yet..... :twocents:
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: Skyvalhunter on January 26, 2021, 12:00:26 PM
I was over there this weekend. All you have to do is drive from Pateros up to Twisp and look at the side hills. There has been plenty of snow over there to push the deer down lower. Problem is there is very few deer. Thus you see very few deer trails in the snow. It doesn't take a special study of the migration routes to see where the deer travel in as much snow is there is now. The deer I seen were in peoples yards and close to the town of Twisp. This year there is no helicopter survey so they have the Bio's driving around counting deer. Am I missing something? 
What they are really doing is checking how much the Wolves have affected the migration Patterns of old compared to what we have today. They have known the Migration trails and patterns for decades.
You have to have deer of a amount greater than what there is to do the study then. When the deer stay in town or close to houses its easy to say study done no wolf impacts. So when the deer stay close (mostly does captured) to the houses and are killed by cougars, yotes, cars(used to be major in the Methow now not so much) you get the same thing study done or inconclusive due to lack of data. It would be much easier if you were going to do the study you mentioned is to use the already collared wolves and see their migration as they go where the deer do. I am just tired of these tax payer studies that come to the same BS conclusion of no impact. 
Title: Re: Another Mule deer study
Post by: wolfbait on January 27, 2021, 12:59:26 PM
Friend of mine here on H-W said he talk to a biologist at one of the wolf meetings, the biologist told him they wanted to drop the ungulate herds by 80% using wolves-predators. He also said they will ruin the migration, he is being proven right.

The propaganda message that habitat is the problem shows it to be pure BS even more so today, due to the loss of deer and more habitat than we have ever had. Deer are surviving the on slaughter of predators by living in town or close to homes and even along the busy county roads, meanwhile the few out in the brush are scattered far and wide, eventually ending up in predator scat.

WDF&Predators along with their partners, the Fake Environment groups are seeing their plans come to fruition.