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Author Topic: Washington Mule Deer  (Read 13590 times)

Offline jstone

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #105 on: March 23, 2021, 08:18:18 AM »
Why does it get later and later for this screwed up state to get their regulations out

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #106 on: March 23, 2021, 12:07:00 PM »
For you guys who think you're on an island with your WDFW troubles... in my home state of MI I couldn't even draw an antlerless tag for a northern public land unit two years ago... this year I'll be able to buy ten OTC. Ya, ten. To be used statewide, in any season. "Self regulation" is what they are calling it. They did something similar twenty years ago and we only started seeing deer in numbers again about ten years ago. The DNR manages hunting and fishing in MI and believe me, they are as out of touch with a large segment of the state's hunters as the WDFW is here. It's nothing new or unique. I know that doesn't help, but maybe helps you feel like mismanagement doesn't just happen in WA.

You touched on something, that IMHO is spot on, you said in your state "they are as out of touch with a large segment of the states hunters as the WDFW is here". It kind of goes with what I have said for years, when the Game Department in this state became WDFW back in the 90,s is when things began to change. They no longer managed our herds and big game for hunters as priority 1, it used to be the better the product they put forth the more license and tags they sold, thats why some of us remember some of the historic herds that were once here, the Methow herd being one of them and the one I talk of most because of my families history with it. Four things have led to the demise of this herd IMHO, #1-doing away with hound hunting as far as controlling bear and cats, #2-introduction of wolves into the valley(either by natural migration or human help) and #3-the doing away with the Game Department and the creation of WDFW and #4-the opening of the North Cascade Pass, there are other factors such as loss of habitat, encroachment and a few others but IMO, some of those tie in with the opening of the pass. Like I have said many times and I know others here have witnessed it also but this particular herd has in the past bounced back quickly and in some cases came back stronger than before from fires, draught, more fires, more draught and many many brutal winter kills. It would always come back quickly, at the most 3-5 years. This herd was in the 35-40 thousand head range during its peak but would fluctuate between haymakers thrown by Mother Nature, sometimes the herd would be 24-27 thousand head, sometimes 30-33 thousand, sometimes a little more or a little less. One thing was for sure this particular herd was the darling of the department, it was put on a pedestal and it sold a lot of lic. and tags back in the day. There were other strong herds of Elk and deer around the state also and those too were managed to sell tags and bring in money.

The pass opened in the mid 70,s opening the Methow to millions of new people over the years, some were hunters, some were anti hunters and some were over the top conservationist, this was the beginning of the end of what this herd once was, more hunters putting pressure on the herd , more anti hunters voicing their beliefs, more folks moving to the valley and along with them were conservationists who wanted nature to take care of the balance, i.e, natural predation by other creatures besides man, oh myself and my dad have had many long but respectful conversations with some of these folks, one was from Colorado I remember, she wanted deer to die naturally, whether that meant starving because of brutal winters or by draught or by freezing to death, it didn't matter to her as long as they died by the hands of nature and natures animals would clean up the carcasses, in her opinion man should not thin the herd or help it survive, she was very interesting to listen to, to say the least. Then the trifecta came along, game changing restrictions took effect on how we managed bears and cats, wolves were taking hold and the "Game Department" went away, all happening within a few years of each other.

Im not saying the Game Department was perfect, I've had 3 relatives work in Game departments of 3 different states, they looked at management of big game a lot differently back in the day, like I said herds were basically managed for hunters(to be simplistic about it), strong herds sold tags, period.  With what we have now (WDFW and like MI has, the DNR managing its wildlife) they have other priorities, other user groups to answer to and like I said, they have many other irons in the fire, from lizards to frogs to mushrooms and snails, the list is long and some are farther up the ladder than others. Ive said many times and I know a lot of folks agree, deer and elk herds and the health of them as far as a numbers or head count goes is far down the ladder, not on the pedestal it once was. Sure they want to bring in money from selling tags etc but managing herds to grow their numbers for hunters is not the priority it once was. The WDFW is spread thin, no doubt, they have many groups and interests to answer to and like I said before, some of those groups and interests are in direct conflict with we as hunters and our interests and visa versa, no doubt they have many fine lines to walk.

Back in the day the Game department folks we knew over the years, from wardens to managers to bio,s and the ones my grandparents and great grandparents knew all had one thing in common, they were passionate about the herd first and foremost and all the ones I knew were avid hunters themselves. Bottom line, the WDFW is different than the Game Department was, its mission is different and a lot, not all but a lot of the people working at different levels are not in touch with hunters or our interests, not because they don't want to be I hope,  but because many are not hunters and they are just spread to thin... as far as the Methow herd goes I believe they estimate it at around 15-17 thousand and I know some who know this herd pretty well and they think that those numbers are a bit high, including myself, any way you look at its a far cry from the 35-40 thousand head that roamed this valley not that long ago.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2021, 12:22:06 PM by bigmacc »

Offline idaho guy

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #107 on: March 25, 2021, 09:31:03 AM »
For you guys who think you're on an island with your WDFW troubles... in my home state of MI I couldn't even draw an antlerless tag for a northern public land unit two years ago... this year I'll be able to buy ten OTC. Ya, ten. To be used statewide, in any season. "Self regulation" is what they are calling it. They did something similar twenty years ago and we only started seeing deer in numbers again about ten years ago. The DNR manages hunting and fishing in MI and believe me, they are as out of touch with a large segment of the state's hunters as the WDFW is here. It's nothing new or unique. I know that doesn't help, but maybe helps you feel like mismanagement doesn't just happen in WA.

You touched on something, that IMHO is spot on, you said in your state "they are as out of touch with a large segment of the states hunters as the WDFW is here". It kind of goes with what I have said for years, when the Game Department in this state became WDFW back in the 90,s is when things began to change. They no longer managed our herds and big game for hunters as priority 1, it used to be the better the product they put forth the more license and tags they sold, thats why some of us remember some of the historic herds that were once here, the Methow herd being one of them and the one I talk of most because of my families history with it. Four things have led to the demise of this herd IMHO, #1-doing away with hound hunting as far as controlling bear and cats, #2-introduction of wolves into the valley(either by natural migration or human help) and #3-the doing away with the Game Department and the creation of WDFW and #4-the opening of the North Cascade Pass, there are other factors such as loss of habitat, encroachment and a few others but IMO, some of those tie in with the opening of the pass. Like I have said many times and I know others here have witnessed it also but this particular herd has in the past bounced back quickly and in some cases came back stronger than before from fires, draught, more fires, more draught and many many brutal winter kills. It would always come back quickly, at the most 3-5 years. This herd was in the 35-40 thousand head range during its peak but would fluctuate between haymakers thrown by Mother Nature, sometimes the herd would be 24-27 thousand head, sometimes 30-33 thousand, sometimes a little more or a little less. One thing was for sure this particular herd was the darling of the department, it was put on a pedestal and it sold a lot of lic. and tags back in the day. There were other strong herds of Elk and deer around the state also and those too were managed to sell tags and bring in money.

The pass opened in the mid 70,s opening the Methow to millions of new people over the years, some were hunters, some were anti hunters and some were over the top conservationist, this was the beginning of the end of what this herd once was, more hunters putting pressure on the herd , more anti hunters voicing their beliefs, more folks moving to the valley and along with them were conservationists who wanted nature to take care of the balance, i.e, natural predation by other creatures besides man, oh myself and my dad have had many long but respectful conversations with some of these folks, one was from Colorado I remember, she wanted deer to die naturally, whether that meant starving because of brutal winters or by draught or by freezing to death, it didn't matter to her as long as they died by the hands of nature and natures animals would clean up the carcasses, in her opinion man should not thin the herd or help it survive, she was very interesting to listen to, to say the least. Then the trifecta came along, game changing restrictions took effect on how we managed bears and cats, wolves were taking hold and the "Game Department" went away, all happening within a few years of each other.

Im not saying the Game Department was perfect, I've had 3 relatives work in Game departments of 3 different states, they looked at management of big game a lot differently back in the day, like I said herds were basically managed for hunters(to be simplistic about it), strong herds sold tags, period.  With what we have now (WDFW and like MI has, the DNR managing its wildlife) they have other priorities, other user groups to answer to and like I said, they have many other irons in the fire, from lizards to frogs to mushrooms and snails, the list is long and some are farther up the ladder than others. Ive said many times and I know a lot of folks agree, deer and elk herds and the health of them as far as a numbers or head count goes is far down the ladder, not on the pedestal it once was. Sure they want to bring in money from selling tags etc but managing herds to grow their numbers for hunters is not the priority it once was. The WDFW is spread thin, no doubt, they have many groups and interests to answer to and like I said before, some of those groups and interests are in direct conflict with we as hunters and our interests and visa versa, no doubt they have many fine lines to walk.

Back in the day the Game department folks we knew over the years, from wardens to managers to bio,s and the ones my grandparents and great grandparents knew all had one thing in common, they were passionate about the herd first and foremost and all the ones I knew were avid hunters themselves. Bottom line, the WDFW is different than the Game Department was, its mission is different and a lot, not all but a lot of the people working at different levels are not in touch with hunters or our interests, not because they don't want to be I hope,  but because many are not hunters and they are just spread to thin... as far as the Methow herd goes I believe they estimate it at around 15-17 thousand and I know some who know this herd pretty well and they think that those numbers are a bit high, including myself, any way you look at its a far cry from the 35-40 thousand head that roamed this valley not that long ago.
 

Thatís a good summary I like the history in your posts. I posted this already but I seriously wonder. Why donít Washington hunters shift gears and hunt predators? For example Bear taste good and you have an abundance and great season? As hunters we donít need to care only about killing deer and elk. I would seize the opportunity the predator lovers are giving you. It seems like once a hunter is raised to hunt deer and elk thatís all some hunters will ever do. If you live in a predator pit hunt predators. You could be living in the ďgood ole daysĒ of predator hunting that we will look back on in 20-30 years. Screw the game department policy and politics they have proven they donít want to manage the deer and they have created an abundance of predators. Hunt what is abundant you could miss the good ole days of Washington predator hunting wasting time trying to get your game department to manage for deer and elk. It surprises me that so many Washington hunters buy Idaho bear tags when it seems like Washington has way better bear hunting. I understand if you want to bait or hunt spring otc but your August season has to be WAY better than at least the Idaho panhandle. They are managing for predators hunt them and save a few deer in the process. If I lived in Washington I would trophy hunt only for mule deer and probably not shoot one but would hunt and trap predators year around. Just some thoughts but I am an avid predator hunter. Carry on I do think itís a shame how they have mismanaged your deer you have some of the greatest muley habitat around and seems like great genetics to grow big deer.

Offline dilleytech

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #108 on: March 25, 2021, 10:25:57 AM »
For you guys who think you're on an island with your WDFW troubles... in my home state of MI I couldn't even draw an antlerless tag for a northern public land unit two years ago... this year I'll be able to buy ten OTC. Ya, ten. To be used statewide, in any season. "Self regulation" is what they are calling it. They did something similar twenty years ago and we only started seeing deer in numbers again about ten years ago. The DNR manages hunting and fishing in MI and believe me, they are as out of touch with a large segment of the state's hunters as the WDFW is here. It's nothing new or unique. I know that doesn't help, but maybe helps you feel like mismanagement doesn't just happen in WA.

You touched on something, that IMHO is spot on, you said in your state "they are as out of touch with a large segment of the states hunters as the WDFW is here". It kind of goes with what I have said for years, when the Game Department in this state became WDFW back in the 90,s is when things began to change. They no longer managed our herds and big game for hunters as priority 1, it used to be the better the product they put forth the more license and tags they sold, thats why some of us remember some of the historic herds that were once here, the Methow herd being one of them and the one I talk of most because of my families history with it. Four things have led to the demise of this herd IMHO, #1-doing away with hound hunting as far as controlling bear and cats, #2-introduction of wolves into the valley(either by natural migration or human help) and #3-the doing away with the Game Department and the creation of WDFW and #4-the opening of the North Cascade Pass, there are other factors such as loss of habitat, encroachment and a few others but IMO, some of those tie in with the opening of the pass. Like I have said many times and I know others here have witnessed it also but this particular herd has in the past bounced back quickly and in some cases came back stronger than before from fires, draught, more fires, more draught and many many brutal winter kills. It would always come back quickly, at the most 3-5 years. This herd was in the 35-40 thousand head range during its peak but would fluctuate between haymakers thrown by Mother Nature, sometimes the herd would be 24-27 thousand head, sometimes 30-33 thousand, sometimes a little more or a little less. One thing was for sure this particular herd was the darling of the department, it was put on a pedestal and it sold a lot of lic. and tags back in the day. There were other strong herds of Elk and deer around the state also and those too were managed to sell tags and bring in money.

The pass opened in the mid 70,s opening the Methow to millions of new people over the years, some were hunters, some were anti hunters and some were over the top conservationist, this was the beginning of the end of what this herd once was, more hunters putting pressure on the herd , more anti hunters voicing their beliefs, more folks moving to the valley and along with them were conservationists who wanted nature to take care of the balance, i.e, natural predation by other creatures besides man, oh myself and my dad have had many long but respectful conversations with some of these folks, one was from Colorado I remember, she wanted deer to die naturally, whether that meant starving because of brutal winters or by draught or by freezing to death, it didn't matter to her as long as they died by the hands of nature and natures animals would clean up the carcasses, in her opinion man should not thin the herd or help it survive, she was very interesting to listen to, to say the least. Then the trifecta came along, game changing restrictions took effect on how we managed bears and cats, wolves were taking hold and the "Game Department" went away, all happening within a few years of each other.

Im not saying the Game Department was perfect, I've had 3 relatives work in Game departments of 3 different states, they looked at management of big game a lot differently back in the day, like I said herds were basically managed for hunters(to be simplistic about it), strong herds sold tags, period.  With what we have now (WDFW and like MI has, the DNR managing its wildlife) they have other priorities, other user groups to answer to and like I said, they have many other irons in the fire, from lizards to frogs to mushrooms and snails, the list is long and some are farther up the ladder than others. Ive said many times and I know a lot of folks agree, deer and elk herds and the health of them as far as a numbers or head count goes is far down the ladder, not on the pedestal it once was. Sure they want to bring in money from selling tags etc but managing herds to grow their numbers for hunters is not the priority it once was. The WDFW is spread thin, no doubt, they have many groups and interests to answer to and like I said before, some of those groups and interests are in direct conflict with we as hunters and our interests and visa versa, no doubt they have many fine lines to walk.

Back in the day the Game department folks we knew over the years, from wardens to managers to bio,s and the ones my grandparents and great grandparents knew all had one thing in common, they were passionate about the herd first and foremost and all the ones I knew were avid hunters themselves. Bottom line, the WDFW is different than the Game Department was, its mission is different and a lot, not all but a lot of the people working at different levels are not in touch with hunters or our interests, not because they don't want to be I hope,  but because many are not hunters and they are just spread to thin... as far as the Methow herd goes I believe they estimate it at around 15-17 thousand and I know some who know this herd pretty well and they think that those numbers are a bit high, including myself, any way you look at its a far cry from the 35-40 thousand head that roamed this valley not that long ago.
 

Thatís a good summary I like the history in your posts. I posted this already but I seriously wonder. Why donít Washington hunters shift gears and hunt predators? For example Bear taste good and you have an abundance and great season? As hunters we donít need to care only about killing deer and elk. I would seize the opportunity the predator lovers are giving you. It seems like once a hunter is raised to hunt deer and elk thatís all some hunters will ever do. If you live in a predator pit hunt predators. You could be living in the ďgood ole daysĒ of predator hunting that we will look back on in 20-30 years. Screw the game department policy and politics they have proven they donít want to manage the deer and they have created an abundance of predators. Hunt what is abundant you could miss the good ole days of Washington predator hunting wasting time trying to get your game department to manage for deer and elk. It surprises me that so many Washington hunters buy Idaho bear tags when it seems like Washington has way better bear hunting. I understand if you want to bait or hunt spring otc but your August season has to be WAY better than at least the Idaho panhandle. They are managing for predators hunt them and save a few deer in the process. If I lived in Washington I would trophy hunt only for mule deer and probably not shoot one but would hunt and trap predators year around. Just some thoughts but I am an avid predator hunter. Carry on I do think itís a shame how they have mismanaged your deer you have some of the greatest muley habitat around and seems like great genetics to grow big deer.

I agree. I do live in a predator pit and bear hunting has been good for me since I started targeting them heavily around 5 years ago. All though I prefer things with antlers for some reason, bear hunting is a blast and a lot easier then filling a deer tag for me at least. Itís sad I have to travel out East every few years for a good deer hunting experience. Itís frustrating we live in a state that does not care about the heards anymore. But hey bear huntingís good... idk how many skulls is cool to have on your wall or what point it becomes creepy but I will find out..  :chuckle:
« Last Edit: March 26, 2021, 08:35:25 AM by dilleytech »

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #109 on: March 26, 2021, 08:17:09 AM »
Side note, does anyone think the influx of whitetail into the Methow causes any issues for the mule deer? I've heard whitetail are more aggressive and run them off. I've seen whitetail pretty high up in 218 a few times.


« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 09:09:31 AM by boneaddict »

Offline no.cen.wa

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #110 on: March 26, 2021, 10:10:51 AM »
When I hunted Loop Loop area we started to see whitetail move in the lower elevations, probably 3000 ft. that was later 1980's 1990.s I think. But it seemed the mule deer recovered and pushed them out some. haven't hunted a full season there in a few years but haven't noticed as many as once were. Noticed the same type of movement in Chewuch, dates a little later, and seemed to see less whitetail as time went on. the white tail there were up to 5500-6000 ft. Of course in both places we might spot a whitetail higher but not in large numbers.
 :twocents:

Offline hal

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #111 on: March 29, 2021, 11:12:57 AM »
the cost help limit the NR's. Most western states charge an arm and leg and us ordinary folk can't afford. Coming from PA, its cheaper to hunt there as a non resident than to hunt WA as a resident. PA do not have mulies or moose but a great healthy whitetail herd.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #112 on: March 29, 2021, 11:42:00 AM »
Side note, does anyone think the influx of whitetail into the Methow causes any issues for the mule deer? I've heard whitetail are more aggressive and run them off. I've seen whitetail pretty high up in 218 a few times.
How high is high there? I think the predators are forcing all deer there down in the Valley more and more

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #113 on: March 29, 2021, 01:58:52 PM »
Side note, does anyone think the influx of whitetail into the Methow causes any issues for the mule deer? I've heard whitetail are more aggressive and run them off. I've seen whitetail pretty high up in 218 a few times.
How high is high there? I think the predators are forcing all deer there down in the Valley more and more

This was on the backside of Goat peak with the summit probably at least 1000 feet up. My estimate is 5000-6000 feet. Near the valley floor, nearly all the bucks I see are whitetail. I would say its a 5 to 1 ratio in terms of not seeing many mule bucks anymore.

Offline heavyhorned

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #114 on: March 29, 2021, 03:26:11 PM »
i was lucky to draw a late nov tag for alta last year. in five days of hunting with the rut in full swing i saw two whitetails to over 150 mule deer. no i was not up in Mcfarland creek or up twisp river road but in the areas i was in i only saw mule deer. the two whitetails were doe's down by alta lake. we saw 20 to 30 deer a day. i had three bucks i was looking for from a earlier scouting trip. i know one was taken and after i chased the other two for three days we gave up. i know the mule deer herd numbers are low but with that said out of those 20 to 30 deer a day 5 to 10 were bucks. we saw bucks that ranged from spikes to 3x4's and one really old big 2 point. we never really made it up high due to the snow. we hunted around 2000ft to 2500ft. we did how ever spot a few deer up high though our spotting scope but really had no chance to go after them. i agree the mule deer herds are low, and i agree there are alot more people, and predator's out there now a days. last year we started scouting in august and hunted from oct to the end of nov almost every weekend and most week days. the flat lands east of central Wa are noticing small herds, the mountains to the north of central wa are noticing small herds.   hell i will say it here and now "Chelan co, herds are low too". i cant tell you how many conversations i have had with people on here or out in the woods about this subject. it always starts off with i can remember when.my thoughts are this, if we don't start doing something now we will have nothing to do later. i am for whatever it takes to help theses number start increasing. even going to a limited draw year after year. it really hurts the wallet when you have bought your tags, license, gas, food and everything else to not even have an opportunity to pull the trigger or even see a legal buck. there i said it. so for those whom don't get drawn for deer tags we can do our part by going out and hunting predator's with those whom were drawn. oh and forget the damn points crap. Washington state has become a waste land in many areas.

Offline Ironhead

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #115 on: April 24, 2021, 08:41:37 AM »
Now that the majority of Western States are restricting the amount of Non Resident hunters, Its going to be even harder to get out of state tags. Washington on the other hand has no restrictions on Non Residents as long as you have the money for the expensive tags. It is more important than its ever been to get our Mule Deer back on track. Predators, both 4 legged and 2 legged need to be dealt with, also I don't see much effort by the WDFW to replant winter range habitat after fires or put travel corridors in for migrations through heavily traveled roads and highways. These type of actions will not only benefit Mule Deer but all Ungulates.
 What else can be done to help?
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Offline boneaddict

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #116 on: April 24, 2021, 09:09:51 AM »
Side note, does anyone think the influx of whitetail into the Methow causes any issues for the mule deer? I've heard whitetail are more aggressive and run them off. I've seen whitetail pretty high up in 218 a few times.

I donít think itís an issue

Offline Alchase

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #117 on: April 24, 2021, 08:20:29 PM »
 :yeah:

Whitetails and Muleys have been living near each other for ever. Never been a problem.
Only 2 defining forces sacrificed themselves for you:
The American Soldier and Jesus Christ. One died for your freedom, the other for your soul.

My rock,
He trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.
Psalm 144.1

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #118 on: April 25, 2021, 09:32:27 AM »
Side note, does anyone think the influx of whitetail into the Methow causes any issues for the mule deer? I've heard whitetail are more aggressive and run them off. I've seen whitetail pretty high up in 218 a few times.

I donít think itís an issue

I agree, I dot think its an issue either, I've seen groups of whitetail and mulies feeding within 20 yards of each other, on a few occasions even bedded within a rocks throw of each other, maybe whitetails get a bit more territorial because by nature they are not migrators like mule deer so during the rut they may me a bit more aggressive but a whitetail buck will act that way whether a mulie buck wanders by or a whitetail wanders by, they are just plain crabby when it comes rut time :chuckle:.. :twocents:

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #119 on: April 25, 2021, 11:59:33 AM »
Time line speaking, the mule deer are the new kids on the block.  They have done very will in general

 


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[Today at 07:22:45 PM]


New X-bolt Hells Canyon Speed all set up by Westside88
[Today at 07:17:54 PM]


Garmin Rino 610 by Tball77
[Today at 07:11:14 PM]


Iso: sinclair nt die by 7mmlong
[Today at 06:54:31 PM]


WTB atv by Boss .300 winmag
[Today at 06:41:21 PM]


Idaho to kill 90 percent of wolves by grundy53
[Today at 05:57:48 PM]


Coyote noses by Kain
[Today at 05:54:54 PM]


2021 sheds.... Post them here. by dmoua
[Today at 05:46:32 PM]


Trailer brake controller questions by BD1
[Today at 05:40:42 PM]


Best handheld long range radios? by Bob33
[Today at 05:26:51 PM]