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Author Topic: the Methow is even worse off than I thought  (Read 28506 times)

Offline bigmacc

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #255 on: May 09, 2019, 05:35:41 PM »


I know I have mentioned it before, but I had a cousin that was 10 years older than me, we both had the same interests of working for the Game Department here in Washington, he ended up getting many scholarships and ended up getting a couple different degrees, I pursued baseball :chuckle:  He ended up actually in Idaho, working for their Fish and Game, he moved up the ladder quickly and became a "big shot" eventually but when he could pull it off, get away or find time he knew where he could find big bucks when hunting season rolled around, he ended up in the Methow every chance he could and he killed some monsters, some pictures were of him that I posted in the past. I will not mention his name or what he did for IdahoFandG but he was a genius as far as how "we all could get along", hunters, prey AND predator. Before he passed we talked extensively about the Methow herd and what has caused its downfall. With all due respect for others on this site who don't agree, there Is a predator problem in this state folks, for some its obvious, for others it hits different chords but for those of us in this state who hunt, there are more and NEW apex predators to compete with and that is a fact. Is it affecting our hunting?, yes in some areas, not yet in others, its up to everyone of us as hunters in this state to write in, make calls, talk to wardens, bios and managers, etc. what ever chance you get talk to a "Game person". We did it for years in the Methow and a lot of what you see as far as road closers go(making people hoof-it) into different migration routes etc. are products of my family(especially my dad) being in the ear of these guys constantly, to benefit NOT him as a hunter but this Mule Deer herd he loved....just a little more family history, sorry.

Offline Igor

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #256 on: May 09, 2019, 08:07:54 PM »
I have another theory with regard to hunting in the Methow.  First, I will posit that the deer herds will never recover to what they were in the "good ol' days".  I believe that this is mostly by design.

In years past the local economy (Winthrop in particular) made big money by attracting hunters and fishermen.  I would now say that yuppies and millennials have replaced sportsman as the major source of income for the local economy........mountain bikers, rafters, cross-country skiers, horse-riders, etc.  If you spend any amount of time in the Methow you can't help but see them everywhere.  They are there all year long, not just during fishing and hunting season.  And they spend big money.  The local Inns, motels, and restaurants are designed to attract those folks, and not hunters.  Sun Mountain Lodge, Freestone Inn, Hotel Rio Vista, Mt. Gardner Inn, The Virginian Resort......the list goes on.  Hunters just don't stay at those places.......they cater to the crowd with more money to spend all year round.

Years ago if you went into Three Fingered Jacks or Antlers during hunting season, you saw lots of hunters.
That's just not the case any more. All of the local watering holes are populated by the afore-mentioned yuppies and millennials.  A number of the once-great fishing lakes now have rules and regulations tailored expressly for non-consumptive fishermen.  We used to take our kids to Davis Lake, Moccasin Lake, Little Twin and Big Twin Lakes.  Those lakes are no longer kid-friendly.......they are "selective fishery" lakes.  Guess who that benefits?

I have personally observed anti-hunter sentiment in the valley. My personal observations have led me to
believe that there will be more and more effort made to attract the yuppie and millennial crowd, and this could include making less effort in the area of game management because the source of revenue for the entire valley has shifted.  Hunting and fishing are just not that important as a revenue stream, so the emphasis is now on the people who actually spend big money in the Methow.  Increasing the mule deer herd in the Methow is no longer a priority for the WDFW.

Just my 2¢............
molṑn labé

Offline MtnMuley

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #257 on: May 09, 2019, 08:10:19 PM »
Well Igor, you nailed that assessment.

Offline Tjv28

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #258 on: May 09, 2019, 09:14:33 PM »
The “yuppies” are not the ones hurting the mule deer population.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #259 on: May 09, 2019, 09:41:00 PM »
I have another theory with regard to hunting in the Methow.  First, I will posit that the deer herds will never recover to what they were in the "good ol' days".  I believe that this is mostly by design.

In years past the local economy (Winthrop in particular) made big money by attracting hunters and fishermen.  I would now say that yuppies and millennials have replaced sportsman as the major source of income for the local economy........mountain bikers, rafters, cross-country skiers, horse-riders, etc.  If you spend any amount of time in the Methow you can't help but see them everywhere.  They are there all year long, not just during fishing and hunting season.  And they spend big money.  The local Inns, motels, and restaurants are designed to attract those folks, and not hunters.  Sun Mountain Lodge, Freestone Inn, Hotel Rio Vista, Mt. Gardner Inn, The Virginian Resort......the list goes on.  Hunters just don't stay at those places.......they cater to the crowd with more money to spend all year round.

Years ago if you went into Three Fingered Jacks or Antlers during hunting season, you saw lots of hunters.
That's just not the case any more. All of the local watering holes are populated by the afore-mentioned yuppies and millennials.  A number of the once-great fishing lakes now have rules and regulations tailored expressly for non-consumptive fishermen.  We used to take our kids to Davis Lake, Moccasin Lake, Little Twin and Big Twin Lakes.  Those lakes are no longer kid-friendly.......they are "selective fishery" lakes.  Guess who that benefits?

I have personally observed anti-hunter sentiment in the valley. My personal observations have led me to
believe that there will be more and more effort made to attract the yuppie and millennial crowd, and this could include making less effort in the area of game management because the source of revenue for the entire valley has shifted.  Hunting and fishing are just not that important as a revenue stream, so the emphasis is now on the people who actually spend big money in the Methow.  Increasing the mule deer herd in the Methow is no longer a priority for the WDFW.

Just my 2¢............

Igor, if you have only read half of my posts through the last 5-6 years, you will know you have repeated in (some cases) exactly my thoughts, almost to the word. Many folks I have hunted with going well back into the 50,s are gone, some of coarse that my dad hunted with back until the 30,s are gone, and my grandparents(plus great) are all gone,  a very few folks of who are descendants of the original 1917 camp are still around.. Many trips (and goose chases :chuckle:) that I have been sent on by some very "respected" folks who worked for this states Department of Game back in the day paid off in some of the biggest bucks some will ever see.I posted some of those pictures years ago going back to the 1920,s only to find out from another that my familys pictures were being copied at an alarming rate(I am not tech savvy and was worse back then :chuckle:)but now my grandkids are helping me out a lot as far as how this whole thing works. They are and will carry on our camp, between my brother and I, most are girls that will be killing and dragging :chuckle:, my great grandma killed over 50 bucks and I have told personal stories to some on here how she drug most out herself, not all but most(some here remember the superman story) and named a few hills and landmarks in the valley, some of which were used for years by locals and State folks. The thread I started years ago about my familys history of hunting in the Methow have actually resulted in more than one question about where we hunt and even a few folks approached me about a book writing :chuckle:, and like many others on here Ive been offered good money for locations or being guided :chuckle:, we hunt the Methow, no secret, and it is nowhere even close to the bar that was set 30 years ago let alone 40, 50, 60 and 100.  My dad, my grandparents, uncles, myself and friends have killed over 800 bucks over all these years (not a brag, but a fact) and every one was a Methow mulie. Many memories of hunts, local folks, ranchers and packers visiting our campfire, many, many other hunters at our fire, Game Dept. folks visiting our fire as well as a few of all spending holidays with us at our home through the years. I have tried to stay humble explaining my passion and history of this herd and hunting it, some have challenged me, some have embraced me, some have stood with me shoulder to shoulder as far as our/my passion for this herd and my background, to you all I am grateful and respectful of YOUR time hunting, sharing your memories and respecting this once mighty herd. For now I am going to bow out, its getting a little rough in here :chuckle: I hope a few have enjoyed my stories and opinions concerning the Methow herd, I will say one last thing which I have said many times, it is a shame what has happened to this herd, its a shame some of you really don't know or had the chance to experience it "in its day".... so long.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 09:52:47 PM by bigmacc »

Offline SuperX

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #260 on: May 10, 2019, 07:47:52 AM »
I can't see the logic behind WDFW catering to the mountain bike / yuppie crowd.  Are they hoping to get rich on parking slips?  I think they are just cruddy at managing anything but the revenue stream and ironically that means they would not turn their back on hunters IN THIS CASE. 

I look back at what has happened as civilization encroached on white tail habitat - they adapted and grew beyond any known historic numbers.  I suspect Mule Deer will find a way to adapt.  Even if that means moving into the housing developments and away from their traditional habitat.  Even though they have specific foods they prefer, I am sure they'll learn how to survive on lawn clippings and rose bushes.
 :twocents:

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #261 on: May 10, 2019, 08:08:50 AM »
What about the fact that the whitetail deer are in the Methow currently

Offline SuperX

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #262 on: May 10, 2019, 08:11:43 AM »
What about the fact that the whitetail deer are in the Methow currently
just curious, how are they doing? 

Offline davew

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #263 on: May 10, 2019, 08:12:41 AM »
It's pretty obvious that there is a predator problem. 

If the root cause of the mule deer population decline was development in the valley, you'd see lots of deer on the remaining undeveloped winter range.  NOT TRUE

If the root cause of the problem was the burned off winter range, you'd see lots of deer on the remaining unburned winter range.   NOT TRUE

If the root cause was hiking and mountain biking yuppies scaring the deer away from the trails, you'd see lots of deer away from those trails.  NOT TRUE 


I've got a trail cam hanging on an apple tree, looking at a salt block in a field of high quality bitter brush.  Five years ago, I'd get hundreds of pictures a month of deer.  Now, it's a couple dozen a month, and almost all whitetails. 


In the old days, WDFW catered to hunters that wanted fewer predators and more deer.  Now, WDFW caters to the 96% of Washingtonians that don't hunt and generally like predators, and not the 4% of us that do hunt and don't like predators. 

Offline SuperX

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #264 on: May 10, 2019, 08:38:44 AM »
In the old days, WDFW catered to hunters that wanted fewer predators and more deer.  Now, WDFW caters to the 96% of Washingtonians that don't hunt and generally like predators, and not the 4% of us that do hunt and don't like predators.
How does that make sense?  How can they 'cater' to anyone who doesn't use their services?  Maybe I'm mis-reading your concluding point, the main points you made above this last paragraph were spot on. 

If we're saying it's because they won't kill wolves, that doesn't seem supported by the numbers, even if we have 400 wolves in the state instead of 120  If it is because they won't allow cougar hunting with hounds, wasn't it the voters and anti's who put the issue on the ballot who are to blame?  If it's because the quotas on cougars are too low, wouldn't that be because the governor vetoed the idea of increasing them just a few months ago?

Thinking out loud, maybe they could 'cater' to the anti's by biologists deliberately fudging the numbers due to some inherent bias toward cougars, or by previous leadership deliberately directing funding away from studying cougar / mule deer issues and toward steelhead, wolves and orcas?

Your post was great, I'm just trying to hone in on the last paragraph because WDFW involvement seems to be the only touch point where all theories coincide.

Offline davew

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #265 on: May 10, 2019, 09:10:28 AM »
SuperX,

I don't think WDFW is making up data or lying to anyone.  I believe that WDFW employees are generally good people just trying to do their jobs.  The issue is more subtle than that. 

WDFW claims that the Methow deer herd is healthy, citing data on buck/doe and doe/fawn ratios.  They never cite absolute population numbers. 

WDFW routinely publishes press releases "celebrating" the spread of wolves throughout our state.  Never mentioned in them is the resulting decline of deer, moose, elk and caribou populations.  The casual reader thinks the spread of wolves is a cause for celebration because the downside is never brought up. 

When the referendum on hound hunting was on the ballot, did WDFW provide any information about the likely resulting effect of a predator population explosion and resulting deer herd decline?  I don't think so. 

When the Governor had the chance to increase the quota on cougars, did WDFW support the proposal?  I don't think so. 

WDFW reports up to the Governor, whose political base is in Seattle.  WDFW will take high level policy positions that reflect those of the political supporters of their boss. 

Does that help?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 09:38:06 AM by davew »

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #266 on: May 10, 2019, 09:17:49 AM »
You can give a ratio all you want but if there is a small population of animals total it's deceptive. Just look at last falls Helecopter surveys you will see the total number of deer is dismal in the Methow GMU's

Offline huntnphool

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #267 on: May 10, 2019, 09:38:27 AM »
In the old days, WDFW catered to hunters that wanted fewer predators and more deer.  Now, WDFW caters to the 96% of Washingtonians that don't hunt and generally like predators, and not the 4% of us that do hunt and don't like predators.
Thinking out loud, maybe they could 'cater' to the anti's by biologists deliberately fudging the numbers due to some inherent bias toward cougars, or by previous leadership deliberately directing funding away from studying cougar / mule deer issues and toward steelhead, wolves and orcas?

 Oh they funded studies alright, it's what they base their ridiculous plans on.

http://www.cbbulletin.com/423008.aspx

 And about Mr Wielgus...

https://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,200702.msg2664077.html#msg2664077
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 09:44:21 AM by huntnphool »
The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first!

Offline SuperX

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #268 on: May 10, 2019, 10:00:27 AM »
SuperX,

I don't think WDFW is making up data or lying to anyone.  I believe that WDFW employees are generally good people just trying to do their jobs.  The issue is more subtle than that. 

WDFW claims that the Methow deer herd is healthy, citing data on buck/doe and doe/fawn ratios.  They never cite absolute population numbers. 

WDFW routinely publishes press releases "celebrating" the spread of wolves throughout our state.  Never mentioned in them is the resulting decline of deer, moose, elk and caribou populations.  The casual reader thinks the spread of wolves is a cause for celebration because the downside is never brought up. 

When the referendum on hound hunting was on the ballot, did WDFW provide any information about the likely resulting effect of a predator population explosion and resulting deer herd decline?  I don't think so. 

When the Governor had the chance to increase the quota on cougars, did WDFW support the proposal?  I don't think so. 

WDFW reports up to the Governor, whose political base is in Seattle.  WDFW will take high level policy positions that reflect those of the political supporters of their boss. 

Does that help?
I wish it did, but you start by saying how WDFW not making up data or lying,  then list 5 ways the WDFW is at fault either directly or indirectly.  I'll respond by saying there are lies of omission.  Not collecting the right data, focusing resources on something else, not writing letters of support for hound hunting, prioritization, training, hiring,l etc.

We know what wolf 103 ate for breakfast on Wednesday, but we can't count a cougar population that had been estimated at 2300 4 years ago and now is estimated at 2300?  We take about 200 cougars a year by quota and apparently that is enough to keep the population stable... who here believes cougar population is stable over the past 4 years?  10 years?

In today's world word parsing is important.  If I read "I don't think so" I see opinion not fact, but for this response I did try to respond as if these styatements of yours were facts and I still see a pattern of 'mis-prioritization' not a pattern of 'catering' to a non-customer base.

WDFW employees are good people and bad people and smart people and dumb people and people just punching a clock.  I never meant to sweep a broad brush across the people and call them all liars.

Offline SuperX

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Re: the Methow is even worse off than I thought
« Reply #269 on: May 10, 2019, 10:05:25 AM »
In the old days, WDFW catered to hunters that wanted fewer predators and more deer.  Now, WDFW caters to the 96% of Washingtonians that don't hunt and generally like predators, and not the 4% of us that do hunt and don't like predators.
Thinking out loud, maybe they could 'cater' to the anti's by biologists deliberately fudging the numbers due to some inherent bias toward cougars, or by previous leadership deliberately directing funding away from studying cougar / mule deer issues and toward steelhead, wolves and orcas?

 Oh they funded studies alright, it's what they base their ridiculous plans on.

http://www.cbbulletin.com/423008.aspx

 And about Mr Wielgus...

https://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,200702.msg2664077.html#msg2664077

I read the first sentence and my brain exploded "Overharvest of cougars can increase negative encounters between the predator and humans, livestock and game, according to a 13-year Washington State University research project. "

It seems pretty hard to justify that reducing cougar populations makes the remaining cougars more likely to negatively interact with humans, livestock and game.  What seems more rational is that when you reduce cougar numbers, we'll have more game, livestock and humans and less cougars to 'negatively encounter'.  In fact wouldn't the remaining cougars be less likely to need to interact with humans or livestock since game is more plentiful?

Any plan based on the first assertion would be forced to reduce game numbers to decrease negative interactions.

Am I just reading this wrong??
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 10:13:04 AM by SuperX »

 


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