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  1. Default

    I would think the bucks who have been through peak of the rut to take the hardest hit. Which is the 2.5-4.5 year Olds they are the ones who breed the most thus they have no energy or body build up to survive a winter like SE MT had .

  2. Default

    Forked horns should have Bout the highest rate of survival

  3. #478

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    I hope the biologists are right but I have my doubts. I found more dead whitetails on the river this spring looking for shed than any other year. I have seen EHD outbreaks that were worse but it wasn't pretty. Lots of dead fawns.
    The snow kept me out of the hills for the most part this spring so I didn't find a lot of winter killed mule deer. It is unlikely that they fared much better than the whitetails.
    I spent the entire evening on a remote ridge in the Tongue River Breaks and went deer less. I have been on that ridge dozens of times in the last 25 years and I don't think I have ever gone deer less. Did see a nice cinnamon phase bear. He was a little closer than I like and could care less that I was there.

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    I think this would be a good time for Fwp to not sell any R7 b mule tags . Whatever goes in the drawing so be it but then shut it off

  5. #480
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    North Dakota
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    1,340

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelweb View Post
    As far as I understand, 3.5 to 4.5 year old bucks have higher than normal winter survival rates. It's the fawns that get hit, followed by the old. 3.5 or 4.5 isn't old. I think the reason there aren't a lot of mature deer in eastern Montana is because of high hunting pressure when bucks are most vulnerable.

    I would expect the forkies to be the ones who took the biggest hit this year from winter as they were last years fawns.
    If you've ever hunted public land down there, you know that a 3.5-4.5 yr old IS old. They are the dominant bucks doing all the rutting. It takes a miracle for a buck on public land to live longer than 4 years down there.

  6. #481
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Missoula, MT
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    238

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlakeA View Post
    If you've ever hunted public land down there, you know that a 3.5-4.5 yr old IS old. They are the dominant bucks doing all the rutting. It takes a miracle for a buck on public land to live longer than 4 years down there.
    3.5-4.5 is old for the area, but it is not old for the species. I've asked many agency biologist about winter mortality and every one I've talked to across the western region says that in general mature bucks are not the animals that die during winter. They are done growing and have everything they need. Sure, a percentage will die every year, but bad winters kill the fawns (incoming forkies) and the old (6.5+). Those in their prime die primarily from mass hemorrhaging during hunting season.

  7. #482
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    Dec 2012
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    North Dakota
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    Quote Originally Posted by joelweb View Post
    3.5-4.5 is old for the area, but it is not old for the species. I've asked many agency biologist about winter mortality and every one I've talked to across the western region says that in general mature bucks are not the animals that die during winter. They are done growing and have everything they need. Sure, a percentage will die every year, but bad winters kill the fawns (incoming forkies) and the old (6.5+). Those in their prime die primarily from mass hemorrhaging during hunting season.
    So are we talking about the average winter? If that's the case than obviously yeah, what you are saying is correct. The problem is that mother nature was FAR from average this winter in the SE. I would consider 300% above normal snowpack along with weeks at a time, not days, of below zero temps along with gusting winds day in and day out a completely different winter than the one you are using for your examples. It's comparing apples and oranges. Did you spend any time in the SE from January-April? I'm curious what you saw that made you feel it was an average and typical winter for the area.

    Also, did the bios you spoke with mention anything about how awful the landscape was going into the winter? Drought would be an understatement. If an animal has terrible nutrition going into the worst winter in a decade (especially rutting bucks), I don't care how old they are, good luck making it through.

  8. #483
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    Missoula, MT
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    Default

    I'm talking about general mortality trends during bad winters. Also, the spring survey data I've seen from FWP shows less than expected mortality.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joelweb View Post
    I'm talking about general mortality trends during bad winters. Also, the spring survey data I've seen from FWP shows less than expected mortality.
    Don't be shy sharing that data.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joelweb View Post
    I'm talking about general mortality trends during bad winters. Also, the spring survey data I've seen from FWP shows less than expected mortality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenhorn View Post
    Don't be shy sharing that data.

  11. #486

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    Anybody been out scouting ? Is as bad as we feared ?

  12. #487
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    Dec 2012
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    North Dakota
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool.06 View Post
    Anybody been out scouting ? Is as bad as we feared ?
    From what I've seen it's not good. There are animals on the landscape but significantly fewer then years past. Fawns are almost non existent and the bachelor groups of bucks I've seen are all the same. 2 year old 4 pts. Won't be too much longer and the orange army will take care of them. This is all public land. I cannot comment on how the private animals are doing.

  13. #488

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    I have seen some nice bucks on private. Still fewer deer than last year.
    The trips I have made on public have been dismal. Still some deer but now where close to what there should be.

  14. #489

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    What a bummer !!! Mother nature sure kicked our butts .

  15. #490
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    In the middle
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    1,097

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschool.06 View Post
    Mother nature sure kicked our butts .
    She ain't done yet.

  16. #491

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    The past few years the forest service has done spotlight surveys on the Custer during the month of Aug. Today I was taking to an forest service employ and asked how the surveys went. The 2018 mule deer numbers are roughly 66% of the numbers in both 2016 and 2017. Not a complete wipe out but not real good. Especially if you take into account that the numbers in 16 and 17 were not exceptionally high on the Custer.

  17. Default

    Yet the Fwp says the mule deer in SE montana are 29% above the long term average which I find hard to believe .

  18. #493

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    Correct me if I am wrong but I think that much of FWPs numbers are from winter range surveys. Surveys that are taken before many of the deer die in early spring.

  19. Default

    Also hard winters are particularly tough on bucks, as they end the rut right when the bad weather hits. So a 33% population drop probably means even worse for mature males.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo and Ned
    Thin out their numbers

  20. Default

    Did they also survey the whitetail numbers


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    I like in the press release how they throw on the fact that "there's lots of opportunity for hunters with the 11,000 mule doe tags in r7"

  22. Default

    Maybe the private lands have a ton of deer , but I'm guessing public land can't withstand those kind of tag numbers

  23. #499

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    Quote Originally Posted by mn taxidermist View Post
    Did they also survey the whitetail numbers
    Yes. I don't know about whitetail.

  24. Default

    FWP survey numbers are laughable. Thank goodness for private landowners providing at least some sort of management. Montana FWP is a joke.

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