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inspec_brad

deer numbers

32 posts in this topic

Is it just me, or is the states estimate on deer numbers appear to be incorrect? I hunt mainly in 347. This is a intensive harvest area. I truly believe that this intensive harvest needs to come to an end. I really do not feel that we have the deer to support a system like this anymore. We just do not seen the deer numbers we used to see. I started to notice this last year. This year is worse. I feel that we need to go back to a "bucks only" first season, and back to the you had to apply for a 3B doe tag. I also feel that the state may have taken the 5 deer approach 1-2 years too long? Please chime in on this. I am curious as to what others feel about this issue. I would really like to hear responses from any DNR oficials who may have something to do with setting these guidelines.

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I agree we should have a poll on FM to see how many deer people are seeing just for the heck of it.

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I hunted a lottery area in SC Mn. I saw approx fifteen deer in 2 days hunting. Mostly does two bucks. One tiny six and a larger six. Found tracks of many deer and on monster. usually we dont see that many deer lots of does but we were impressed with the numbers. The last three seasons we have only taken a deer or two a year out there. It appears to be paying off.

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I agree with slabchaser. You can't just shoot everything that comes through. It's too bad that is what most people do.

Some numbers of groups near us in area 183. This is hunting all woods, no farm fields.

1 for 6

1 for 4

1 for 3

0 for 4

0 for 5

5 for 19 (hunting all two weeks)

Not very good numbers. I believe the population is up in the southern half of the state, but not anywhere north.

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I think you right on roofer. i saw 17 deer in two days of hunting in southern MN and my dad and i both shot pretty nice bucks. A lot of the reports i'm hearing from the northern part of the state aren't soo good

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Yes, and I don't know why. The winters have not been that bad. Maybe it's just because they had the intensive harvest go too far north and for a little too long, like BullMN1 said.

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I've noticed from traveling around the state this fall that most of the deer (and particularly sign) have been in the southern area of the state. I hunted up in Ely and there was NO rut activity in most areas. Contrast that to down by Hastings, where there were rubs and scrapes everywhere. Weird year for sure, I'm chalking it up to screwy weather patterns and then nasty weather for firearm opener

For what it's worth I hunted 6 days (all day) in some prime areas and saw 3 deer total. 2 nice 8 pointers and a small 10. No does, no bucks chasing tail at all.

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I think the dnr is wrong on their numbers also. It's the worst year I've ever had by far. There's more pheasants than deer around here and there are very few pheasants!

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I hunt in the central part of the state. Area 221 it is an intensive harvest area. After hunting bow, early doe and rifle seasons, I would say the area has about 1/3 of the deer that were present the past few years. I don't know if it is because of the abundent acorn crop or some other reason. This spring we didn't see any sign of a winter kill. There is a lot of talk about wolves and cougers but I didn't see any.

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All I did this year was bow hunt and I seen my share of deer with alot of seat time, but not nearly as many I seen in years past when I only hunted the 4B slug season for 4 days. Talking with all of my friends it seems to be a general consensus that there is less deer around then in years past, could be that there was alot of crops still standing, really bad weather, or just low deer numbers. I am thinking a little combination of all 3.

I guess I am putting my trust in the DNR for the numbers, I am just hoping that they are not pushing the numbers down to satisfy other people's concerns.

The big scare of CWD in certain parts of the state is requiring low deer herds, hopefully they are not trying to lower the deer herds in "prevention". Also the insurance companies are pushing for less deer/vehicle accidents.

I know this maybe a "conspiracy theory", but who knows.

I do believe with earlier posts about them wondering did we over do some of the bonus tags?

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the group i hunt with got 8 for 8 people. 3 were with bow and 5 with rifle. we have never had a problem finding deer. all shot up north (mostly area 170)

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I agree the deer numbers are down. I bow hunt 348 outside of Peterson and I don't see the deer like I used to. Last winter a hayfield that would normally show plenty of sign deer digging through the snow to eat was not there. No heavy trails coming out to feed. This fall was not impressive for seeing does either.

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Not that anything will happen for sure, but what should be done to try to get the DNR to maybe look into this? I know that everything would be looked at as a whole area, but here around Spring Valley the numbers appear to be way down. I really think that going back to the old way (10years ago)would be very beneficial. Maybe there is something else going on why the deer numbers are down. Just my opinion.

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I hunt in 157, my brother in-law in 225.Neither of us got a deer this year. It's been ALOT of years since we went without a deer.He didn't see anything, and I saw 4. What a depressing season this was!

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i hunt in west central mn. We finished 6 for 10 with 3 nice bucks and 3 little bucks. We could have filled out easily, but passed on the little bucks (for the most part. 1 of the 3 little ones was a kid's first). Saw 10 deer per day. Not a lot of sign however. i saw 3 scrapes and 1 rub. Go figure.

But we also do some food plot work and there was corn in our area. We have good cover as well. Deer numbers appeared up a little from last year.

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I hunt in 172, very slow year there also. No sign of bucks anywhere. Our party of 10 got 3. All 3 were shot driving them. They were not moving at all during daylight. Our numbers could have been alot better as we missed plenty of deer on drives. But that was the only way we were going to get anything to move.

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The theories that I have heard: (They are not MINE, but what the BUZZ is "around here")

1. Wolves

2. Lack of Deer Registrations in the past few years (people not registering their deer)

3. The full moon during season, causing the deer to feed/move at night

4. The weather change prior to season

5. Deer feeders in yards/food plots changing deer patterns

I have deer hunted in the northern part of the state for the last 19 years (Wow! That makes me feel old at 31!!) and since 97 and 98 (the really bad winters) have shot a deer or more every year. I do a lot of walking to hunt and I think I saw a lot more deer SIGN this year then prior years, but did see a lot LESS deer while sitting in a stand. (Moving at night?) Also, this year I did see a lot more wolf sign then ever before, but again did a lot more walking this year then ever in the past. Another observation, in my area anyways, was that most of the sign that I saw was close to houses, even if they don't feed, and believe me, the area that I hunted...houses are FAR and FEW between.

I guess I don't know what theory to go by, but since you guys were talking an interesting subject that I have been around here with a lot of people, wanted to throw in my 2 cents! Thanks, guys!

Fisherchick

On an additional note, something to think about...Are we retraining the deer by feeding them? Again, this is ONLY a theory and obviously can be way off...

If an average deer consumes "x" amount of deer food to survive. It will travel from feeder to feeder to consume "x" amount. If we are not providing "x" amount of food for EACH deer that eats out of EACH feeder, it then forces them to travel more. USUALLY, deer do not travel after they eat, especially in winter. They eat what they need and sleep/conserve energy. If it is corn they are eating, they are burning more energy then the corn can provide and more than likely starving themselves to find more corn/food.

Oddly, I am basing my theory on being a horse owner. I know the feeding sequences that they take and their necessary diet. If I fed them strictly corn, they would die of starvation due to lack of nutrients. PLUS, if I fed them corn all winter and changed their diet (most deer feeders are not filled in the summer, and when filled in winter most fill them when they are empty) abruptly to something else they risk many health issues, colic and additional "things" that can actually kill them. If I fed them free choice, ran out of food, forcing them to scavange for food and then feed them free choice again they risk the same health issues.... These are just thoughts and please don't take any of them the wrong way. I, like you guys, am just trying to theorize the problem.

At least you can tell I put WAY too much time into trying to figure this out! :-)

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I believe the only areas that have a decent herd are in the South 2/3rds of the state. The North has hit rock bottom. We have land West of Kab in 107 and the hunting was terrible. The landowners in our area were lucky to go 1 for 6. Many camps around us were blanked some not evan seeing any deer. The counts are padded by the areas that can take five deer apiece, especially around the metro area. Up where we are the DNR does zip to help the herd. Have never seen them plant any food plots or cut openings for our northern herd. I here all the talk about getting and keeping young people involved in deer hunting. Well we have lots of kids hunting up here who will soon drift away from hunting the condition our Northern herd is in.

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One thing we havent talked about is baiting. The DNR keeps saying what a problem it is and that could EASILY be the reason some people arent seeing deer. If you neighbor has them patterned to a pile of corn, guess what is left for you? yep, wascally wabbits is about all.

So before you blame the DNR, consider baiting as a potential reason. In fact, I will bet at least one of the people that has posted not seeing deer is a victim of this.

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People have been baiting for a hundred years. Evan with that we used to have decent deer hunting in this area. I do not believe in baiting but to blame the poor past seasons on that is dodging the problem. Driving around this past fall up here you were lucky to see five deer. Five years ago you would see 25 in the evening. Part of our party drove up 53 twice at night during the season. A grand total of four deer were seen during these trips. Not many years ago you would see forty or fifty on the same roads. Something has changed up here. I think the powers that be should quite talking about the poor success rate up here and work on some solutions.

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Delta Dude,

There is A LOT of logging in you area, and those are some HIGHLY organized cut areas with the deer population in mind at all times. Logging sites are one of the best areas for deer food.

Plus, your area's history proves that it has never been as good for hunting as it has in many other parts of the state. Yes, it has been better than this year, but on average the numbers are lower (I think, anyways....) Does the DNR really plant food plots? If they do, how many hunters/acre in that area? Just curious.

One hunderd years ago their wasn't quite the number of hunters traveling as far as they do now to hunt in the Kab 107 area either.

As for the kids, I started hunting at age 12 and did not shoot a deer until age 18, since we had such bad years "back then" if they get discouraged they just need an adult to talk with them and explain how nature works.

I totally agree with you in that we have to do SOMETHING, but what? We/someone had to come up with an answer first...what do you think the problem is?

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I am not sure the total problem. Poaching is a big one. Brother wolf is running wild. No pun intended. I think the bucks have been hit hard in past seasons. All I know is we have had mild winters for quite a few years and we still have a poor herd here. You talk of clear cuts. That is just what they are. It takes a few years to regenerate the cover and food source in one. I think a selective 5-6 acre cut in feeding areas is a far better idea. Mn deer hunter assoc used to do them around here and it seemed to really help. As far as hunters this area has lost many. Ray had a hunters dinner and they could only draw half of what they used to get. One idea would be to plant food plots on the already existing log trails. Also as I said selective cutting would be better than a clear cut for wildlife. Lets hope they make use of some of the money they just got voted into the DNR to help out not only this area but all the North lands deer herd.

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just a clarification, the DNR did not get any money voted in. It will be used for projects in conservation. Thus the DNR is eligible for the projects, but they arent getting a truckload of money dumped on their front step.

As far as deer up there, I have a good friend that hunts north of Orr. He saw more deer than ever up there, his group was over 50% on big bucks and he thought it was a great year. They hunt hard and they hunt back in a long ways, but the deer are there. Again, some areas good, some bad. all the factors we have been talking about add up to spotty success.

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Just a clarification on the money, In 2010 and 2011 there is 180 million available to both the DNR and other wildlife organizations for habitat and other wildlife projects. You are right they have to request funding from the legislator for a project out of this fund. I hope some of it gets spent in the Northern Part of the state. .

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Only 33% of the total intake is available as wildlife conservation funds. There are many estimates of what that will be, I have seen as high as $270 million total. Bottom line, there is some money there, I hope the DNR is successful on getting funding for some good projects.

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