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Tyler D

dnr deer management (or lack there of)

190 posts in this topic

I hunt in area 246 just north of motley MN, and a little west of brainderd. We have 240 acres in the area and us with a couple of neighbors have been trying to manage our properties for an older age class of bucks.

Well for the last several years we have had the 5 deer limit going on and it was easy to get your deer without having to shoot yearling bucks. This year we suddenly have to apply for doe permits Im not quite understanding why it would go from 5 does to having to apply for a doe permit. It is frustrating for those of us who would like to see larger bucks to see doe permits back. I have no problem hunting the 9 day season and leaving my tag unfilled, others do not see things the same as our hunting party and will kill at will any small buck that comes through.

Now there is nothing wrong with shooting small bucks but it is very frustrating for those who would actually like to see larger bucks on a regular basis. I would like to see the dnr doing a little more to help those that are into hunting for larger deer.

I know the dnr has a very tough job and cannot please everyone, but does anyone see the logic in dropping from 5 deer to applying for does? There could be something going on in the area that I dont know about maybe lcornice can shed some light?

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My permit area is the same way. Went from intensive harvest to a lottery doe permit area. Seems like some harvest projections were a little different than the DNR predicted. Thankfully we haven't had winterkill for a while as that would throw another element into the mix they would have to decipher.

It is a thankless job and trying to manage the herd in MN with all the differing opinions makes it pretty much impossible. I'm confident I will see deer and if my tag goes unfilled, oh well.

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There are several factors that went into the decisions being made this year. Many of them were published on the DNR's HSOforum under their deer report.

Things like habitat, population densities, winterkill, hunter harvest and hunter density all go into it, but then they started asking the hunters of MN what they want to have happen. There were several meetings across the state and input was taken.

Although many people want bigger deer, the majority of the population wants MORE deer. Unfortunately the people who show up to the meetings don't tell the DNR to "keep up the good work" or "stay the course". People show up to be heard which means they wanted change. Changes were made and now we are hearing from the people who didn't go to the meetings because they didn't want change.

I also hunt 246 so I was surprised to see the changes too, but I will say that there have been fewer deer on the public land that I hunt. I thought it should have gone to managed last year or the year before.

I don't have private acreage to manage and I hunt for meat. I would love to shoot a large buck and I don't shoot small bucks based on my own principles. That's my choice. I think adding statewide regulations to grow bigger bucks isn't necessary. Another result of the input was the simplifying of the regulations. Many people think they are more confusing now. Its only because its new. Its a matter of time before everything settles down.

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I can tell that there are a few less deer than there were a few years ago but not that many less. The biggest thing i see is that the buck to doe ratio is completely out of whack, and forcing people to shoot bucks because they didn't get a doe permit is going to throw it even further out of whack.

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tyler D not to be the devils advocate but it can also help the heard in ironing out bad genes and such. I dont know numbers and such but the DNR does things for reasons whether we think its good or bad and I think that it is alittle strange moving from 5 to applying for one.

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Exact same thoughts I have regarding 246, as well as a few others I know. I spent a ton of time scouting the Meadowbrook WMA last year, thinking I would be hunting there for years to come. Unfortunately, I didn't read up on the regs this year until 2 days after the deadline for the antlerless permits, so I've made the move to some new ground. I really like that area, so I'm pretty disappointed.

The DNR has a totally thankless job, I will agree.

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Well, I hate to say it, but I will....

They all look the same in white paper. smirk

I personaly shoot the first doe I get a chance at every year. Bow or rifle, that is how I do it. But when I started hunting 222 was a lotery zone. I now hunt 157, that too used to be a lottery area. And, being a meat hunter, who did not always pull a doe permit, I have shot plenty of "basket sixes", forks, spikes, even spikes with brows. I dont care what anyone says about the total cost per pound of deer meat, but I need 2 deer per year to cover the needs of my daughter and myself. If I ever went back to a lotery area from the current intensive, I would find another person to hunt in my party or work harder to get a bow or muzzy doe. If I were in a lottery area and did not pull a doe tag, I have and would happily shoot a small buck.

A guy's gotta eat. When you make as much money as I do sick you can not afford to worry about were your protien soarce is comming from.

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I also hunt area 246 north of leader (public land) and in the area we hunted we deffinatly seen fewer deer last year. All of the party's around us said the same thing, figured it would go to lottery. Go back to last years regs and you will see it was a managed area (2 deer), I hope you only shot 2 deer.

I think the intensive harvest is over kill and may actually bring harvest down in some cases. For example some people hold off on shooting does for later in the season, because they really have so many tags available they want to get thier buck first. In turn they educate the does before ever shooting one. I personally know several groups that do this. Plus if you look at the harvest numbers, the number of bucks killed to does killed is still very similar, even though we all know there are many more does than bucks. I don't think it works properly after the first year. IMO

I think 246 has such a high hunter per square mile figure that depending on conditions during hunting the population can swing quickly. As dissapointed as I was this year to see it was lottery, I do believe the DNR does a great job of managing our deer herd for opportunity. Us as hunter's (sorry for the banket statment) do not do a very good job of managing ourselves to help the DNR achieve the goals set in place, myself included.

Good luck to everyone this year.

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I noticed a lot of intensive harvest area dropped down to lotto area this year. I really think is was a matter of over harvesting. I know a lot of people that shot 4 or 5 does every year. I don't know of too many area that can take a hit like that and keep producing a large population of deer. Maybe 2 extra doe tags would have been plenty, or rotate between intensive harvest and a managed area. I really don't think it was in the DNR's plan to jump from intensive harvest back to a lotto area in one year so obviously something is off.

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Good Points Bear55. I gun hunt in 244 it is still an intensive harvest area. 2 years ago I shot 5 does. Last year I never saw a single doe during the entire 9 day season. My neighbor and his kids have shot about 35 deer the last 3 years, now they are complaining about less deer around. They don't eat that many they just shot because they had tags and were able to donate them. IMO 5 deer per person is way to many. At least around our land. Of course 5 miles away the woods can be full of deer. The DNR has a tough job trying to keep us all happy.....

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I hunt in 247 and it went from managed to lotto this year. I think it took a few people by surprise because my buddy and I both applied and got permits. The reason behind intensive and managed is that there are too many deer in the area and to reduce the population. That apparently is working. When a few guys go out and shoot 35 deer in one year, it wont take long. I dont agree with it but it was legal

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N-G, i also hunt area 157, the leech lake res. where abouts do you set up camp? we are near spring lake.

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Feel lucky! My home area was a couple years back and the two preceding extra doe permit and no doe permits needed,2 does per hunter or two deer with only one buck.As of last year I see very few deer and I live here in the country.3 years ago I'd see nightly 5-9 deer every night now I seldom see one a week.Overharvest?

I've been by Wadena area 243 & 214 i believe,I'm going back this next week archery before rifle just to improve my chances.Area 243 is one extra permit,214 is intensive,but both have more deer than at home area.

When I say feel lucky its because there is yet a good population! One more year of intensive,or no doe permit needed,You may be like me going else where cause there are few deer in the area.

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N-G, i also hunt area 157, the leech lake res. where abouts do you set up camp? we are near spring lake.

Just south of Onamia for me.

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Personally I know about parties in our area that have shot 35-40 deer in the last couple of years. In my mind that is idiotic, I'm sure the dnr had good intentions with the 5 deer thing but some people need to learn the point of hunting is not to kill as much as possible in as short a time as possible. Unfortunatley the same people that have that mind set are going to be the same people killing yearling bucks this year.

Our group tries to take 6 does a year from our land and if someone sees a wall hanger great, if not well then some tags go unfilled. There is nothing wrong with meat hunting, i would just like to see some middle ground where people can take a couple of does for meat while letting some small bucks grow.

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Personally I think the limit should never be more than 2 deer per year, either one buck + one doe, or two does. I Dont understand and never will these meat hunters that go out and shoot 5 deer per year, how can one person consume that much meat in a years time. Just like Tyler D said understand the point in shooting 5 deer for yourself "I know about parties in our area that have shot 35-40 deer in the last couple of years." Now thats just one hunting group,its easy to figure out why people are seeing less deer its because there are less deer. With a 2 deer limit less meat hunters would be willing to shoot fawns also because it would be less meat for themselves to survive off. The trophy hunters would be happy with this I believe also, shoot there one doe and then hunt for the big one. Just my 2cents

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I agree with that bag limit. That would be fine with me. I certainly dont agree with slaughtering 35 deer and then donating or giving most of it away. That is ludicrus and a good way to ruin future hunts in the area. In my mind it borders on wanton waste. If you cant eat - dont shoot it!

oh and dont shoot the cows either! smile

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Yeah, I'd go along with a three deer limit and a limit of 2 per season. That way a guy could shoot a doe and a buck during archery, and still hunt firearm if they had a doe permit. 5 deer is a little excessive. I only buy three tags a year, and more often than not I eat my either sex tag. We have a pretty good size group that share deer, and that is about all we can handle. I'd say for the 5 of use, we average 5-7 deer a year and we are in an intensive harvest area.

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35 to 40 deer for a party is quite normal in our area...3 years ago we were intensive and could take 5 if we so chose...some of us "tried" but on the average we still ended up with about 2 deer per person each season including archery, firearms and muzzleloader...we pass up small bucks for the most part, other than letting the kids shoot whatever...So when you're talking about a "party" shooting 35 t o 40 deer...how many people are in the party and how many people are in the family's?...5 deer may not be alot of venison when you figure it all in...there are party's in our area that shoot 80 to a hundred deer a year...but then there's 40 to 50 different hunters in those camps over the course of archery, firearms and muzzleloader too....

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Why does everyone think the buck to doe ratio is so low when it really is about 1 buck to every 4 does on average. Seriously, do you guys count buck fawns as does. It is a buck regardless if it had antlers or knobs. Of all my years of bowhunting, whenever I see a doe and 2 fawns, 90% of the time one of the fawn is a buck and if she only has 1 fawn 7 out of 10 times it's a buck fawn. If I need to tag a doe I always choose for the doe or the doe fawn and let the buck fawn walk, knowing next yr it will have antlers. I know the tag system considers the buck fawn a legal doe, for reasons because of it's resemblence to doe at that age, the system was set this way to eliminate people leaving a shot buck fawn to rot because it's not a doe. Next time if you decide to shoot a doe, make sure it's not a buck fawn, you'll be glad to see more antlered deer the future yrs. I more in favor of a healthy deer population than a trophy buck not that I wouldn't want a trophy, just that we are pushing hunting and fishing way to sport oriented than it really is meant for.

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There is no way the ratio is one to four in our area. I have several trail cameras out the amount of doe pictures to buck pictures is off the charts. I know what the rut looks like with a good buck to doe ratio, on our other chunk of land we had an old guy who never hunted who owned the adjacent 320 acres as a result during peak rut I would easily count 15-17 different bucks in one day. Not repeat bucks but actual differnt ones. Some new people bought the land proceeded to kill bucks at will and it has never been the same.

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I can't talk about other areas, I know that there are problems in this state that need to be addressed by the DNR. In my area, I think the ratio is good. I have seen way more little bucks this year than does. I'm sure that some of them will get shot but, I'm also sure that some of them will make it. A trophy is not something we are supposed to get all the time, thats why its a trophy. I think we see all these deer floating arouind on the internet and it does something to us as hunters and skews are thinking. Last year, I shot a nice buck, you would think I would be happy, but no, I am more agitated this year than other years because I haven't seen much for deer. I would have thought the pressure would be off, but it just makes me want to shoot another one, where 2 years ago, I didn't feel nearly this anxious. Its strange, I have to keep reminding myself that its not going to happen every year.

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I've read some interesting articles stating that the worst the buck/doe ratio can be is 1/3 or 1/4. In the cenario they talked about if you killed every single buck in the herd the next year when the fawns were born half of them are bucks, so if you do the math that is roughly 1/3 of the population, if you add in the doe's that dont' have fawns that year maybe you could get to 4/1. I don't think the buck to doe ratio is as bad as people think. There bucks are there but people just don't see them as much as does. Or the age structure of the bucks in the area is way out of whack with the majority of them youngers bucks so its easy to think there are 10 does to every buck when mathimatically its not possible. I could be wrong but it seems reasonable to me.

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Ya bear I think your right! Those bucks and especially the big ones arent few and far between,their just smarter than the hunters!and they are in their territory they know everything about it WE DONT!

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Not to digress too much but Fox when you say 40 to 50 people in a "party"...whew. Thats not a party, thats an army. At 2 deer apeice, thats 100 deer. I think the average denisity is around 5 to 10 per square mile (just a guess). How many square miles are we talking here?

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