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Author Topic: Washington Mule Deer  (Read 13584 times)

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2021, 09:17:03 AM »
I have two different areas I hunt, one with kids and one that I personally hunt.  I see over 50 deer a day in both spots but mature bucks are far and few between.

I feel like considering our population and huntable land that is pretty good for OTC hunting.  If you want a true trophy experience you have to either get really lucky in the draw or go to one of the many other states that are draw only.  Making this state draw only is not going to increase your hunting opportunity it is only going to make it better when you finally do draw.

IMO it is nice to always have the option to hunt OTC in my home state and either get lucky in the draw or travel elsewhere if I want a trophy experience.

Just my :twocents:
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Offline JakeLand

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2021, 09:52:06 AM »
You need to change the mentality of your hunting community. I prefer predator hunting lions,bears, coyotes and wolf. We hunt Idaho and Montana successfully every year for deer and elk but we spend more time killing predators in Idaho than anything. There is an ingrained mentality of hunting deer and elk in most hunters but Washington really is a predator hunting Mecca. I realize you can’t hunt wolves or use hounds on cats but you have probably the best spot and stalk bear hunting and season of any state. I think me and my boy will pay the out of state for bear this year. Washington has to be the best state in the nation to kill a cat without hounds. Coyotes numbers appear to be ridiculously high when I am driving around eastern Washington.Hunt what is in abundance and leave the deer alone or just strictly hunt for only trophy deer and kill the heck out of predators. You are in the best predator hunting in the lower 48 in my opinion. Shift your focus and enjoy. Killing stuff with fangs and claws is more fun and bears and lions taste great 👍
exactly ! Well put

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2021, 09:56:00 AM »
SE corner, we would see 100+ mule deer any given day before 1990, now maybe a couple dozen, over half whitetail.  I would love to keep it over the counter and add bears to OTC spring and fall.  The cats and wolves are certainly a factor also.  With the Texas experience of a growing or stable cougar population, cats are vermin and treated just like coyotes, I am not sure we can fix that problem.  They were there as they are now when we would see big numbers.  Wolves need the same status as our coyotes, they will be fine.  My dream scenario is shaming hunters into biting the bullet, pardon the pun, and leaving immatures alone for a few years.  They have a short life cycle, would not take that long.  Use bone's pictures, with permission, to show what is possible and leave WDFW out of it.  I can take only so much frustration.  Who is on board?  I can find a bunch of meeting places.  Our current governor will either suffocate or eventually pull his head out, I am a dreamer as stated previously, so we can move forward.

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2021, 12:01:56 PM »
It sounds like some parts of the state are doing "okay" and others are decimated. I think the Methow units should be more heavily regulated but not sure exactly how. I think they should still allow whitetail OTC but mule deer its hard to justify. I've seen pictures of herds of mule deer on the valley floor prior to the highway coming through in the early 70s. Then there's the stories of which bigmacc's experience is quite helpful. I know an old timer who just left Mazama a few years ago and it was his opinion that the herd is at most 20% of its historic size. That's pretty dismal.

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2021, 07:10:29 PM »
If a certain area is regulated more than another.... it will just put more pressure on the less regulated area....eventually resulting in the same outcome of less MD
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Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2021, 07:48:55 PM »
I know huntnphool has brought it up, I have brought it up and others also, different ways to do it but basically the same idea, every other year to hunt mule deer in the Methow. Eliminate the "quality permits" we have in effect now, go to an odd/even system based on your hunter ID, 10 day season always ending on October 31st, no matter what day it lands on. It immediately eliminates half of the pressure. Having it end on the 31st gives a little better chance at migrations though eliminates slaughters that may happen by letting it go deeper into November, (compromise I guess). I would pay more for a mule deer tag knowing I would have less hunters out and about and a better chance at hunting a migration. I would still go every year because chances are a few in our camp would be hunting one year and the others would be hunting the next, the off years I would be another set of eyes, concentrate on predators, help drag, cook, etc. etc. I would still be there every year and I know the others in our camp would be on their off year also. Its a better idea than going draw only where you may go years without being drawn. I know I would rather have the every other year method than draw only. If some say it will put more pressure on other mule deer areas then possibly going statewide is an option, like I say I would rather hunt mule deer every other year than go to a statewide draw, especially if it helps the herds come back and eliminates pumpkin patches etc. I know its a vague idea that would and should be fine tuned but compared to some of the alternative ideas from draw only, shutting it down completely for 2,3,4 or 5 years etc. I think its more appealing...Just my opinion and  :twocents:

Still, the #1, 2 and 3   issues concerning the Methow herd is predators, predators and more predators. Address that issue and get it under control and we are not having this conversation.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2021, 07:23:12 PM by bigmacc »

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2021, 02:06:34 PM »
It sounds like some parts of the state are doing "okay" and others are decimated. I think the Methow units should be more heavily regulated but not sure exactly how. I think they should still allow whitetail OTC but mule deer its hard to justify. I've seen pictures of herds of mule deer on the valley floor prior to the highway coming through in the early 70s. Then there's the stories of which bigmacc's experience is quite helpful. I know an old timer who just left Mazama a few years ago and it was his opinion that the herd is at most 20% of its historic size. That's pretty dismal.

His opinion of the herd being around 20% of its historic size is a pretty good opinion in my eyes OutHouse, that herd at one time (1940,s into the 60,s era or so) was the largest migrating mule deer herd in the country, estimated at 35-40,000 head in its prime. I feel so blessed to have been around and experience this herd in its prime, I know I have told story after story of not only my experiences but my dads, grandparents and great grandparents hunting, studying and respecting this herd going back to the early 1900,s. Seeing 100-150 deer a day was a slow day for me, passing on nice big 2 points, 3 by 3,s and even average size 4 points was just another day in the field when this herd was in its hay days. I know some stories I have told of seeing 2-300 deer come through particular migration routes in an hours time only to keep put because another 2-300 would be coming through in an hour or so are hard for some of the younger folks on here to imagine or comprehend but its gods truth. I have seen over a thousand go through a saddle on a cold morning in the early 60,s with over 150 bucks in it of all shapes and sizes, seen over 250 come up a particular draw and not a horn in the bunch, all does, fawns and yearlings and was in one particular migration route where my dad and I counted over 2000 head come through over about a 5 hour period. I do understand these kind of experiences are hard to fathom compared with whats been happening in the Methow over the last 30-40 years but it is the truth.

Offline OutHouse

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2021, 02:59:20 PM »
It sounds like some parts of the state are doing "okay" and others are decimated. I think the Methow units should be more heavily regulated but not sure exactly how. I think they should still allow whitetail OTC but mule deer its hard to justify. I've seen pictures of herds of mule deer on the valley floor prior to the highway coming through in the early 70s. Then there's the stories of which bigmacc's experience is quite helpful. I know an old timer who just left Mazama a few years ago and it was his opinion that the herd is at most 20% of its historic size. That's pretty dismal.

His opinion of the herd being around 20% of its historic size is a pretty good opinion in my eyes OutHouse, that herd at one time (1940,s into the 60,s era or so) was the largest migrating mule deer herd in the country, estimated at 35-40,000 head in its prime. I feel so blessed to have been around and experience this herd in its prime, I know I have told story after story of not only my experiences but my dads, grandparents and great grandparents hunting, studying and respecting this herd going back to the early 1900,s. Seeing 100-150 deer a day was a slow day for me, passing on nice big 2 points, 3 by 3,s and even average size 4 points was just another day in the field when this herd was in its hay days. I know some stories I have told of seeing 2-300 deer come through particular migration routes in an hours time only to keep put because another 2-300 would be coming through in an hour or so are hard for some of the younger folks on here to imagine or comprehend but its gods truth. I have seen over a thousand go through a saddle on a cold morning in the early 60,s with over 150 bucks in it of all shapes and sizes, seen over 250 come up a particular draw and not a horn in the bunch, all does, fawns and yearlings and was in one particular migration route where my dad and I counted over 2000 head come through over about a 5 hour period. I do understand these kind of experiences are hard to fathom compared with whats been happening in the Methow over the last 30-40 years but it is the truth.

 :tup:  I spoke with a lady at a little shop in Winthrop and she talked about her dad's stories of a particular migration route that was crazy thick with deer back in the day just like you talk about. Unfortunately, she said this last season they only saw a few strings of several deer come through. I feel that mule deer are the iconic symbol of the west. Something has to be done about this here in WA.

Offline Fishmaker57

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2021, 04:30:02 PM »
The first step in addressing a problem, is to admit that there is a problem, something WDFW will not do  in the Methow. The biologist in charge up there told me, a few years ago in a public meeting, that "there are just as many Mule Deer in the Methow as there has always been, people just don't get off the roads and look for them".

Sad situation!

Offline MtnMuley

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2021, 04:51:57 PM »
I know huntnphool has brought it up, I have brought it up and others also, different ways to do it but basically the same idea, every other year to hunt mule deer in the Methow. Eliminate the "quality permits" we have in effect now, go to an odd/even system based on your hunter ID, 10 day season always ending on October 31st, no matter what day it lands on. It immediately eliminates half of the pressure. Having it end on the 31st gives a little better chance at migrations though eliminates slaughters that may happen by letting it go deeper into November, (compromise I guess). I would pay more for a mule deer tag knowing I would have less hunters out and about and a better chance at hunting a migration. I would still go every year because chances are a few in our camp would be hunting one year and the others would be hunting the next, the off years I would be another set of eyes, concentrate on predators, help drag, cook, etc. etc. I would still be there every year and I know the others in our camp would be on their off year also. Its a better idea than going draw only where you may go years without being drawn. I know I would rather have the every other year method than draw only. If some say it will put more pressure on other mule deer areas then possibly going statewide is an option, like I say I would rather hunt mule deer every other year than go to a statewide draw, especially if it helps the herds come back and eliminates pumpkin patches etc. I know its a vague idea that would and should be fine tuned but compared to some of the alternative ideas from draw only, shutting it down completely for 2,3,4 or 5 years etc. I think its more appealing...Just my opinion and  :twocents:

Still, the #1, 2 and 3   issues concerning the Methow herd is predators, predators and more predators. Address that issue and get it under control and we are not having this conversation.

I just don't see how using the last number of a WILD would work. What if a father son have different odds/evens? How about a group of guys who hunt together not all having odd numbers? Leaving the season open for half the population of hunters one year and the other half the next year until Oct 31 will not help the herd at all. Even with no late quality hunts. The better bucks can be killed just as easy the last couple days of October as they can during November as has been proven year in and year out. People claiming heavy snows push these better bucks down in November just don't have the proof in trophy harvests. I would agree through the 1990's, but not now. As hard as it is for many to understand or want to accept, the general seasons need to go to permit only, which means you won't be able to hunt the Methow every year like we'd like. Just like I don't believe in a certain group being able to kill as many bulls at anytime of the year in certain elk units, but I have to live with it. It's 2021, nothing is the way it should be anymore. If you truly care about the resource and it being around for generations to come, you're going to have to compromise at some point and stop the general OTC seasons here. I fully agree predators are a huge part of our population decrease and I'm not getting into that one.:twocents:
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 04:58:00 PM by MtnMuley »

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2021, 10:45:01 AM »
I know huntnphool has brought it up, I have brought it up and others also, different ways to do it but basically the same idea, every other year to hunt mule deer in the Methow. Eliminate the "quality permits" we have in effect now, go to an odd/even system based on your hunter ID, 10 day season always ending on October 31st, no matter what day it lands on. It immediately eliminates half of the pressure. Having it end on the 31st gives a little better chance at migrations though eliminates slaughters that may happen by letting it go deeper into November, (compromise I guess). I would pay more for a mule deer tag knowing I would have less hunters out and about and a better chance at hunting a migration. I would still go every year because chances are a few in our camp would be hunting one year and the others would be hunting the next, the off years I would be another set of eyes, concentrate on predators, help drag, cook, etc. etc. I would still be there every year and I know the others in our camp would be on their off year also. Its a better idea than going draw only where you may go years without being drawn. I know I would rather have the every other year method than draw only. If some say it will put more pressure on other mule deer areas then possibly going statewide is an option, like I say I would rather hunt mule deer every other year than go to a statewide draw, especially if it helps the herds come back and eliminates pumpkin patches etc. I know its a vague idea that would and should be fine tuned but compared to some of the alternative ideas from draw only, shutting it down completely for 2,3,4 or 5 years etc. I think its more appealing...Just my opinion and  :twocents:

Still, the #1, 2 and 3   issues concerning the Methow herd is predators, predators and more predators. Address that issue and get it under control and we are not having this conversation.

I just don't see how using the last number of a WILD would work. What if a father son have different odds/evens? How about a group of guys who hunt together not all having odd numbers? Leaving the season open for half the population of hunters one year and the other half the next year until Oct 31 will not help the herd at all. Even with no late quality hunts. The better bucks can be killed just as easy the last couple days of October as they can during November as has been proven year in and year out. People claiming heavy snows push these better bucks down in November just don't have the proof in trophy harvests. I would agree through the 1990's, but not now. As hard as it is for many to understand or want to accept, the general seasons need to go to permit only, which means you won't be able to hunt the Methow every year like we'd like. Just like I don't believe in a certain group being able to kill as many bulls at anytime of the year in certain elk units, but I have to live with it. It's 2021, nothing is the way it should be anymore. If you truly care about the resource and it being around for generations to come, you're going to have to compromise at some point and stop the general OTC seasons here. I fully agree predators are a huge part of our population decrease and I'm not getting into that one.:twocents:

Well, as far as a father and son having different numbers or a group with some guys having odds and others evens, I can only speak for myself and I know the other folks in our camp feel the same way, they would still be in camp, predator hunting, helping spot, drag etc, I just wouldn't be killing a mule deer on my off year, I could still hunt blacktail or whitetail just not mule deer in the Methow that particular year for me. If it was my year and not my sons, I would still have my son with me, teaching and mentoring. If it was my sons year and not mine, you bet id be there with him, teaching, mentoring and hopefully helping drag and butcher :chuckle: I agree, its all about compromise, Ive been singing the song about the demise of this particular herd for decades, like I said before, IMHO, at the hands of exploding predator numbers being the #1 contributor. I think a good starting compromise would be starting with the every other year idea rather than jumping into a full blown draw system where you could go years or decades before being drawn. I shared another idea on here years ago about going draw only for the Methow units, eliminating all late quality permits and drawing 1-200 per unit for a one week season ending on the 3rd weekend of October then drawing 50-75 per unit ending on the 31st then, season over. As far as archery, it would be draw only also, x amount of tags drawn for the last 2 weeks of September, once again, its a draw system, you may be drawn every few years or you could go a decade or more before your number is called.  All ideas are just that, ideas that can be debated and tweaked. I just don't think anything aggressively will be done to fix the real issue which is predator numbers that have been left to overpopulate and a new apex predator who's numbers are growing and spreading. You could line up 50 people who have a deep history hunting mule deer in this particular valley and everyone of them would have a different idea on how this herd could be helped, I would bet most would start off with aggressively controlling predator numbers then there would be a lot of different plan B ideas, bottom line, we all see a problem and we all have ideas and thaughts because we do have that history of what this herd once was.


An add on here.

You could even have a hybrid scenario where every other year (depending on odd/even wild ID) you can enter a draw for 150-200 tags per unit in the Methow, you would have a draw but your chances would be better because the numbers in the draw are cut in half, for instance, say an open drawing attracted 10 thousand applicants, doing every other year(odd/even) only gets 5000 applicants per year (just using those numbers for simple math). This way you still have your drawing but your chances increase. Its still a draw so you may draw every few years or you may draw after 10 years, thats the issue with a draw system, unless they give out large quantities of tags which I don't know if that defeats the purpose or not :dunno: Just spitballing here, probably no idea that makes everyone happy.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 01:10:37 PM by bigmacc »

Offline Rainier10

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2021, 11:10:29 AM »
I agree if you ask 100 hunters how to fix the problem you would get a wide array of ideas.

If you asked 100 hunters if exploding predator populations are hurting the ungulate population I bet you would get 100 yes's.

Unfortunately WDFW's hands are tied with the predator thing and so plan B is the only option and that is going to vary from hunter to hunter.

They, the antihunters/predator lovers, have taken away the one option we can agree on.  Divide and conquer.
Pain is temporary, achieving the goal is worth it.

I didn't say it would be easy, I said it would be worth it.

Every father should remember that one day his children will follow his example instead of his advice.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HuntWa or the site owner.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2021, 02:24:17 PM »
The first step in addressing a problem, is to admit that there is a problem, something WDFW will not do  in the Methow. The biologist in charge up there told me, a few years ago in a public meeting, that "there are just as many Mule Deer in the Methow as there has always been, people just don't get off the roads and look for them".

Sad situation!

Yep I've heard that also, BS! They may be able to pull that on younger folks or folks that have only been hunting the valley for 20 or 30 years but there are still a few old timers around that call them on that and we are a thorn in their side. I showed a game fella some pictures in one of our albums years ago after telling me the same thing, it was a picture showing 22 bucks hanging on a pole from the early 60,s, 22 family members in camp (I posted that same picture on here a few years ago), I asked him do you really want to tell me theres as many deer in this valley as there used to be, I told him a few of my experiences, my dads and grandparents, showed him more pictures told him of the story of my dad and I talking to a "counter" who was sitting in a rig in a particular spot on the East Chewuch road back in the early 70,s who by noon had counted over 700 head cross the road, traveling in bunches of 2 or 3 to 100 in a bunch, a couple days later we seen her sitting in another spot in the Carleton area, she had counted over 800 by the time she knocked off at 4pm, this was a week or so after the season had closed, he didn't know quite what to say when I asked him if they see those kind of herds on the move nowadays. He attempted the old stand by approach, "if you can't dazzle em with brilliance then baffle em with bulls@#t".  On that particular day he picked the wrong guy.:chuckle:

Offline Ironhead

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2021, 02:42:21 PM »
I appreciate the people that care about the health of the Mule Deer herds in Eastern Washington.
To the people that want to be able to hunt them every year with no cap for 90% of the units on the East side of the State. Pull your heads out of the sand and wake up. Between the unlimited 2 legged predators  and the four legged predators they don't stand a chance in hell!
"The problem with quotes on Internet Forums is, that it is often difficult to verify their authenticity." - Abraham Lincoln

Offline no.cen.wa

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Re: Washington Mule Deer
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2021, 08:18:00 PM »
Ironhead, I'll go along with you on 4 legged predators, but where I hunted for 50 + years has nowhere close the the amount of hunters we had back in the 60s thru 90s, and the season was 3-4 weeks. Of course there are more different seasons, bow, muzzy etc, but still nowhere the hunters of the past.
John G

 


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