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Author Topic: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them  (Read 11719 times)

Offline bigmacc

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2023, 11:44:46 AM »
:rolleyes: 12k
:yeah:….I remember 10-20 years ago I believe, they estimated the herd at 12-16k and I said that was probably an aggressive estimate. Now 8-12k which(imo) is overly aggressive also from what we are seeing the last few years. Nevertheless, I witnessed this herd back in the 50,s and 60,s when it was 35-40k head and I remember conversations amongst folks in my family and Game fellas that those estimates were probably light. Heck if this 8-12k is correct,  they LOST that many deer in the “deep freeze” in the late 60,s and because of feeding (a lot more could have died that winter) and solid Game management the herd bounced back within a few years. All  these numbers show a trend with this herd. The biggest drops and declines imo started when we lost our “Game Department “ back in the 90,s. When they became WDFW is when this herd(Methow) started spiraling because of a drop down the pecking order. The herd is not the priority it once was and the steady decline in numbers shows it. Yep, this is what the largest migrating mule deer herd (at one time) has become, a very “optimistic “ 8-12 thousand deer….Sorry for the rant.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2023, 03:00:18 PM by bigmacc »

Offline buckfvr

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2023, 01:29:37 PM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.


This is the best answer.  Ive read this many times and Ive also watched deer feed on hay and alfalfa for many years.  They do get right after the bales but are selective about what they actually eat and there is always evidence left over showing they waste more than they eat, and thankfully that contributes to my compost pile each year.......always a big mess of stalks left over to bring down unless elk or moose stop by.

Offline Twispriver

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2023, 05:30:47 PM »
 :yeah: vandeman17 gets it
Wildlife biologists in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah all seem to agree and say the same thing so its not just Mr. Fitkin making this up. (this time)

BigMac what else has changed in the Methow since the 1960s besides the Game Department becoming the WDFW and what do you think had more impact on the deer population?

Offline spin05

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2023, 04:49:23 AM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.

I can remember in late 90's our own state putting out feeders in the Entiat after the fire ,that i believe had alfalfa pellets in em.

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2023, 06:46:35 AM »
It's the let nature take its course plan.
Peace,love,co-exist🌈🌈🌈🌈
If a few deer starve to death ,it's ok man.
Some hungry predator will get a free meal.
It's all about the circle of life....cimba!🦁

Give me a break.
Isn't this the third or fourth thread this winter.
Don't feed the deer.
TRUE GRIT
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TRUE GRIT
Is something God gives you when you need it.

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2023, 07:49:13 AM »
I just wanted to throw this out there as well.
Shouldn't a percentage of lience sales go to feeding programs. Our state hands are tied with most predator management in this state. Everything from trapping to spring bear,to hounds, and everything in between.

So with predator management being a lost cause in Washington ,isn't the least the game department could do is feeding programs.
Just say in.
Here is statewide deer harvest chart.
Looks like our average for the past ,should be around 30k plus or minus.
Looks like soon our average will be 20k.
If you don't see a problem,then your not looking.


« Last Edit: February 13, 2023, 07:56:36 AM by hunter399 »
TRUE GRIT
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TRUE GRIT
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Offline C-Money

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2023, 08:05:22 AM »
How about baling up some CRP for winter grazing...not quite as high of octane as alfalfa or quality grass.
I felt like a one legged cat trying to bury a terd on a frozen pond!

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2023, 08:30:23 AM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.
I totally agree about the digestive track between deer vs elk and other ungulate.
And that starting a feeding program may be bad this time of year.
But ,but,but.......
These are also the same biologists that protect predators at the highest level. Also allow our deer herds to dip below average. Skew deer counts. Promote a nature take its course management.
Should I trust what they say.
I'm not really sure about that.
I'm not one to promote the state making bags on top of bags of money . Then not wanting to put some or a tiny bit back into the herd through feeding programs.
I'm talking about feeding programs the WDFW could do.
Not someone's hay shed.


TRUE GRIT
You can't fake it,you can't make it, you can pretend you have it.
TRUE GRIT
Is something God gives you when you need it.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2023, 08:37:39 AM »
:yeah: vandeman17 gets it
Wildlife biologists in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah all seem to agree and say the same thing so its not just Mr. Fitkin making this up. (this time)

BigMac what else has changed in the Methow since the 1960s besides the Game Department becoming the WDFW and what do you think had more impact on the deer population?
Lots has changed. The North Cascades pass opened in the 70,s and people that never knew of the Methow or “the little town at the end of the road” (Winthrop) suddenly knew. The herd still did great through the 70,s, 80,s and into the 90,s. Then the Game Department became WDFW, hound hunting was done away with, predators were and are coddled, wolves are flourishing as well as bears and cats. The biggest negative impact on this herd is exploding predator numbers(cats, bears and wolves) and the mismanagement of them by the state and the WDFW. Cats are and have killed literally thousands upon thousands of deer in the valley since the 90,s, some say 10,s of thousands since their numbers were aggressively kept in check. Throw in an exploding bear population that are hammering fawn crops and growing wolf numbers and a blind man can see the herd in this particular valley has a huge uphill challenge to grow, in fact, it keeps declining. Imho, exploding predator numbers and their mismanagement are the number one issues contributing to the decline of the Methow herd. Sure their are other factors but those are my number one and even with other factors(encroachment, some habitat loss etc) I strongly feel if predator numbers were aggressively kept in check(like pre 95) we would see a huge improvement in the herd as far as growth within 3-5 years…. Just my opinion and  :twocents:

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2023, 08:55:23 AM »
Here is a quote from the artical.


During the winter of 1996-97 — the harshest in recent memory — snow started in early October. By December, the snow was 5 feet deep and there were reports of dead deer in people’s yards, Fitkin said.

After much deliberation, WDFW launched an emergency feeding program for mule deer. WDFW set up feeding stations in a few accessible areas in the valley and handed out food to people to put out for deer, said Fitkin.

“In retrospect, it was largely a failure — I’m just going to be blunt,” Fitkin said. Although the feeding program may have helped a few adults survive, most fawns died anyway. At a feeding site, a mother deer may actually kick a fawn off the food to get to it herself. Even in an average winter, only half the fawns survive, he said.

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A RANCHER AND BIOLOGISTS.

Ill tell ya. Right now.
Doesn't sound like the feeding program was a failure.
Every adult that lives another year to breed is a win in my book.
Ranchers know this and protect every animal in herd.
Biologists don't know this.
The scary part is biologists are just wildlife ranchers,but don't have the mindset to do it.
TRUE GRIT
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TRUE GRIT
Is something God gives you when you need it.

Offline bigmacc

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2023, 09:05:05 AM »
An add on to my previous post (reply 23), I can’t tell you how many pellets we hauled into certain areas for the Game Department back in the day during harsh winters, probably tons. We never seen dead, bloated deer laying around. Heck I remember that deep freeze winter in the 60,s where dozens of deer were huddled up around compressors behind some businesses in town to keep warm, people were feeding them right out of their hands, never seen bodies in the streets.

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2023, 09:15:42 AM »
How about baling up some CRP for winter grazing...not quite as high of octane as alfalfa or quality grass.
It's a great idea.
The problem is the biologists would never let it be used as feed .Cause deer don't eat that stuff in the winter according to them. Also feeding programs don't work according to them.
It's a great idea ,no backing from people that could make the most impact with your idea.
TRUE GRIT
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TRUE GRIT
Is something God gives you when you need it.

Offline vandeman17

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2023, 09:25:59 AM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.
I totally agree about the digestive track between deer vs elk and other ungulate.
And that starting a feeding program may be bad this time of year.
But ,but,but.......
These are also the same biologists that protect predators at the highest level. Also allow our deer herds to dip below average. Skew deer counts. Promote a nature take its course management.
Should I trust what they say.
I'm not really sure about that.
I'm not one to promote the state making bags on top of bags of money . Then not wanting to put some or a tiny bit back into the herd through feeding programs.
I'm talking about feeding programs the WDFW could do.
Not someone's hay shed.

I only was referring to the science behind feeding starving deer a high sugar, high nutrient diet suddenly. Everything else you mentioned has nothing to do with what my post was about.
" I have hunted almost every day of my life, the rest have been wasted"

Offline hunter399

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2023, 09:35:51 AM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.
I totally agree about the digestive track between deer vs elk and other ungulate.
And that starting a feeding program may be bad this time of year.
But ,but,but.......
These are also the same biologists that protect predators at the highest level. Also allow our deer herds to dip below average. Skew deer counts. Promote a nature take its course management.
Should I trust what they say.
I'm not really sure about that.
I'm not one to promote the state making bags on top of bags of money . Then not wanting to put some or a tiny bit back into the herd through feeding programs.
I'm talking about feeding programs the WDFW could do.
Not someone's hay shed.

I only was referring to the science behind feeding starving deer a high sugar, high nutrient diet suddenly. Everything else you mentioned has nothing to do with what my post was about.
Well where did your research,data,and reading come from.
I guess I just assumed it came from the same biologists in the artical,or across the country that promoted this let nature take its course theory. Although most times I will agree with science/biologists on most things wildlife.
There are just some stuff that don't pan out on paper .
Feeding ungulates in the winter is one of those things.
My opinion anyway.
TRUE GRIT
You can't fake it,you can't make it, you can pretend you have it.
TRUE GRIT
Is something God gives you when you need it.

Offline vandeman17

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Re: If you love the valley’s deer, please don’t feed them
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2023, 09:52:43 AM »
I will restate what all my research and reading has said about deer and winter feeding. Deer in alfalfa fields are not the problem because those deer are able to go into those fields consistently and thus their stomachs are able to handle the nutrients, sugars, proteins etc that they are eating. Its the sudden pile of feed/alfalfa or whatever when those same deer are starving and have been surviving on a completely different food source that CAN do them more harm than good. Their stomachs adjust based on the available food and their enzymes, bacteria and acids in their gut can't just adjust overnight. This is not specific to deer as almost all animals like goats, sheep, horses etc have the same issues.
I totally agree about the digestive track between deer vs elk and other ungulate.
And that starting a feeding program may be bad this time of year.
But ,but,but.......
These are also the same biologists that protect predators at the highest level. Also allow our deer herds to dip below average. Skew deer counts. Promote a nature take its course management.
Should I trust what they say.
I'm not really sure about that.
I'm not one to promote the state making bags on top of bags of money . Then not wanting to put some or a tiny bit back into the herd through feeding programs.
I'm talking about feeding programs the WDFW could do.
Not someone's hay shed.

I only was referring to the science behind feeding starving deer a high sugar, high nutrient diet suddenly. Everything else you mentioned has nothing to do with what my post was about.
Well where did your research,data,and reading come from.
I guess I just assumed it came from the same biologists in the artical,or across the country that promoted this let nature take its course theory. Although most times I will agree with science/biologists on most things wildlife.
There are just some stuff that don't pan out on paper .
Feeding ungulates in the winter is one of those things.
My opinion anyway.

My research indeed came from biologists around the country who know a heck of a lot more about how animals live and survive then you or I do. I also grew up around multiple types of animals along with currently owning horses to know first hand the damage that sudden changes in diet can do.

Where I think you are incorrect is in that whole "nature taking its course" concept. What the science and the biologists are saying is that while the intentions may be good, people stepping in to try and help at certain times of the year can do more harm than benefit. You are welcome to your opinion on the subject and I appreciate your enthusiasm on trying to help our herds but thinking that everyone in the wdfw/biologists are out to screw over hunters just isn't true. I disagree with A TON of things they do but on this specific subject, they are spot on in my opinion.  :tup:
" I have hunted almost every day of my life, the rest have been wasted"

 


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