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hockeybc69

Was the deer herd thinned too much?

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Musky Buck

There's 2 types of harvesting, one where we harvest as many as we can because there's deer everywhere and one where we better harvest what few deer we're seeing. There's definitely way fewer around, way less road kill, least I've ever seen and I drive a ton. 2 swamps that used to have a wintering herd as far back as I can remember the past 3 years or so there is 0 in either swamp wintering there. A lot of people in those deerless swamp areas are still trying to harvest everything they can so we went from low numbers to low low numbers. Very few does around is likely why some, so many feel there's this infinite supply of does around, in places there still is, but in other places they're really in balance even before the season started this year. we took 3 does, we got 4, we got 2, we got 3 that's a dozen and or really 30 possible deer for next spring, we have this I'm helping cull the herd but the herd didn't really need more thinning. Anyway, we'll be fine.

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ClownColor

I'll go first...

I saw TONS of deer this year, actually more then most. I also hunted for 9 straight days..like most season also.

But ALOT of people just hunt the opening weekend and the wind was not helping at all. in fact, the first few days I didn't see much as well.

The DNR had also been stuck with a factor they couldn't controll and that were wolves. I don't see them as a HUGE problem for the lack of deer but it can effect "areas" were the wolves run strong. (This issue probably affected a small portion of hunters).

We also had a harsher winter last year then most also. So if your area allowed for 2 bonus tags in '10, then the harsh(er) winter following that season, could have a small effect too.

Again, probably more of just a weather issue this year then others.

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sticknstring

Blaming the weather, standing corn, unfrozen areas that muzzleloaders can't get to - the list goes on & on of things the DNR uses as excuses as to why the deer kill was down. You're being brain-washed if you believe it. Deer numbers are down significantly. Mostly because of excessive doe tags being offered the past decade, in addition to a growing wolf population, and portions of winterkill across the state. 2011 had the lowest kill since 1999. Hopefully a mild winter and some reduced antlerless tags next year can get us back to where we need to be, imo.

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pikeguy2003

S-n-S, I couldn't agree with you more. It is clear, that you, like myself really pay attention to the deer harvest reports. After watching the area I have been rifle hunting decline for 10 straight years going from good to horrid, I couldn't take it and had to move to another part of the state. Glad I did, because three of my relatives got skunked after hunting hard for 3 weekends straight and they are not hacks either. They really put in the time on the stands. I saw 12 does on opening weekend and one small buck. I brought home a doe, but felt good about it from the amount of deer that I saw and decided to let the little buck grow up. Really looking forward to next year, but I have talked to countless numbers of guys that have the same exact opinion as you do. IMO, the state of mn is broke, and all they care about is hyping how great the herd is so they can sell a bunch of tags and make a bunch of money, and I personally don't believe they give a rats behind about whether or not the deer herd gets dessimated. Case in point, lottery for timber wolves? Why not let everyone with a small game have a crack at them, and then once the quota for the year is hit shut it down. It would be the hunters responsbility before they hunt for the day to check the quota. They could have a two day grace period after the quota is met, with severe penalties if you shoot a wolf after the quota is met. It would give everyone a chance at them versus praying to God they draw a once in a lifetime tag. Oh wait, they wouldn't make any extra CASH doing that?

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Musky Buck

Agree SNS also, just like the babble from Cordts the duck guy claiming record numbers of birds just before season, that is not accurate. I used to see many thousands of ducks back in the non-record days, I saw so few once again this summer and fall. Deer numbers are way down, sure some areas if they're there during those 9 days you'd think otherwise, tons around you'd think but drive a few miles away, deer you all share in a sense and they may have had the worst year they've ever had. My trailcams provide the most proof as I leave them out every winter at high traffic areas and each of the last 5-6 years has been less and less and 2 wintering areas there is no need for a tcam, there are 0 left, none and the other 1 that used to have roughly 200 wintering there is down to the 40's-50's lately, this winter no clue, no snow so no major major trail to catch most of the deer using the waterhole trail. Thinking back to last summer early fall and the lack of deer I thought there is no way we're having much of a season, I'd guarantee there were more hunters in the section than deer this year, if we would've started the whole section on fire maybe a dozen to 15 maybe would've ran out, there's well over 20 stands in the section. I scouted this section all summer and fall and never saw more than 7 on any given morning or evening, actually only heard 3-4 shots fired the entire season in the section and I saw 1 fawn like 10 times and that was it and they all figure I have the best spot and I'm not honest about how many deer I see, 1 was it.

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ClownColor

Blaming the weather, standing corn, unfrozen areas that muzzleloaders can't get to - the list goes on & on of things the DNR uses as excuses as to why the deer kill was down. You're being brain-washed if you believe it. Deer numbers are down significantly. Mostly because of excessive doe tags being offered the past decade, in addition to a growing wolf population, and portions of winterkill across the state. 2011 had the lowest kill since 1999. Hopefully a mild winter and some reduced antlerless tags next year can get us back to where we need to be, imo.

Maybe some were mislead by my post. Hunters shot less deer this year cause of the wind…and that’s the truth because so many hunters just go the first weekend…those are facts. Deer were holding tight as they do in windy weather. Plain and simple.

The OP asked, “did they thin the herd too much” not “is the deer herd less then what it was. They “are” thinning the herd in a lot of areas, hence the bonus tags. Some hunters may get upset when they go from 5 deer one season to only being able to hunt 1 the next. That’s the plan that was set and they need to balance it out. You can’t have your cake and eat it too…meaning like most it seems on hear, want a quality deer herd with monster bucks but also want, what appears so far, are lots of deer to choose from. The DNR needs to find a good buck to doe ratio so we can have a quality deer herd, not a quantity deer herd.

I know they don’t do things perfect but they’ve done a great job bring the herd back. They also gotten those turkey birds back to.

Some will have way more knowledge them me on this so I leave it at that but don’t say the DNR is brain washing people cause weather CAN and WILL change how many deer are being taken, ESSPICALLY when something like that occurs during an opening weekend when the vast majority of deer hunters hunt.

Maybe someone can post what the deer herd was at and what the goal is set per the DNR/area…then we can truly evaluate if they thinned it too much. But we can’t judge it only by what was taken this year.

Good Luck!

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MattL

I agree that numbers are WAY down (in the areas I hunt) from where they were just a few years ago. I am glad to read this article to hear the DNR isn't still making excuses for the lower harvest due to the weather, corn, etc.

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Muskie456

There is no question that the deer heard is down. I hunt all over the state with accomplished hunters and sightings were WAY down. I thnk it is funny that the DNR gauges the population by harvest numbers. It really doesn't make sence to me. Isn't there a big differance if a hunter sees 30 deer and harvest one vs. seeing one deer and shooting it? the harvest results are still going to be the same but in the senerio the population is drastically differant. I really do not think the DNR has that good of a pulse on how many animals are out there. They seem to react vs. being proactive. I do not buy the exscuses I have killed plenty of animals in high winds and those conditions affect the hunter more than the animal. If deer didn't move in the wind they would starve in states like MT and OK. Just my thoughts.

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ClownColor

LOL Muskie...I'd hate to see alot of starving deer! And people have and always will shot deer in high winds. Just like someone may have flushed 100 pheasants this year and thought it was good. Everyone has a "story" but you can generalize things as well like wind...or a front has moved through causing fish to jump out of the water...may or may not happen but "generally" it can/might.

I also see the point that deer numbers probably are down in some areas...actually got my brain thinking a little harder. What I forgot was that anyone was allowed to go into bonus areas and take a deer which really could have affected deer in certain areas (I hunted hunters choice so didn't see what some may have been seeing). I do think the DNR should go back to "zone" and "area" hunting allowing less hunters to hunt multiple areas to thin out heards...

But like stated...we can't judge by just what was shot. Deer taken vs actuall deer vs goal numbers is what we have to look at.

p.s. I not at all saying that the herd isn't down...but is it TOO thin?????? Sounds like in areas it could be....????

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Gordie

Great artical in Outdoor life about the whitetail herd nation wide ..

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hockeybc69

tough year.

I will start by saying, I didnt get out nearly as much as I have in the past or as much as I would have liked to.

I got out to our farm for 10 sits with my bow. I didnt see a single deer during legal shooting light... I really thought that with our lack of presence there this year, that maybe we would have some deer comfortable to move during daylight or maybe be bedding on the property. Be nice to at least see something....

I will also say that we had deer in the area. But terribly nocturnal(as usaul). If I didnt have trail cameras, I would bet the farm we didnt have hardly a deer in the area. But the cams proved different.

I dont know what to say, other than its been frustrating for a number of years. And I dont know if the frustration comes from low deer numbers or nocturnal deer. Whatever the case, we dont see much of anything any more....

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B. Amish

i just hope the legislatures don't try to play biologist with deer and start mandating population levels. ewww.

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JIvers

No shortage of deer in my corner of 347. I hope numbers stay about where they are in Fillmore County.

I saw at least three or four deer, sometimes as many as eight or nine, every time I was out bow-hunting. I had both my tags filled at sunrise on opening morning of 3A, wind and all, and saw more deer while I was gutting mine.

Of course, the Strib article seems to only be talking about deer numbers in the northern half of the state. I have no opinion on the state of things up there, but I wonder if this mild winter won't make things better for next fall.

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JimmyJames
Blaming the weather, standing corn, unfrozen areas that muzzleloaders can't get to - the list goes on & on of things the DNR uses as excuses as to why the deer kill was down. You're being brain-washed if you believe it. Deer numbers are down significantly. Mostly because of excessive doe tags being offered the past decade, in addition to a growing wolf population, and portions of winterkill across the state. 2011 had the lowest kill since 1999. Hopefully a mild winter and some reduced antlerless tags next year can get us back to where we need to be, imo.
Agree 100 %, I've ruffled some feathers for criticizing the dnr and Mr. Lou. So I won't. I'll just say I think we should put Mr. Cornicelli in charge of managing the states zebra mussel herd. wink

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nonteepical

When you have insurance companies with a say in deer numbers its not good. Came right out of Lou's mouth at a public deer meeting last year in perham.

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certified jumbo

Agree with all. Deer numbers were down to down significantly in some areas. I hunt mostly in 225, 227 and 183. We shot the same amount of deer as previous years but sightings and trail cam pics were down. 225 and 227 were down in numbers, 183 was way down. We had a lot of deer in 183 going into the winter a year ago. This spring we didn't see the deer. I'm thinking there had to be significant winter mortality in that area and other area's of northern mn last winter. The heavy wet snow that fell in early november a year froze like a rock the following week. Winter like temps and snow lingered into last spring. That 6 month snow cover I feel played a big role along with liberal harvests the past years.

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Bear55

In my area the slaughter started in 2005 and ended in 2008. By the time they figured it out the damage was done. We went from 5 strait years of a management area (doe tags for all!) to now 4 strait year of lotto with 100 doe tags. Talk about extremes!!! Some hard winters made things even worse and the herd is a long way from recovery. I am happy we are lotto and hopefully the deer numbers will come back at least a little but these wild swings sure doesn't make it look like the DNR is doing their job. Now if we had some crazy bad winters I could understand that but most of the damage was man made, then the winters and wolves helped push the numbers down further.

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harvey lee

I can only talk about the deer herd in North Dakota where we hunt.

I have hunted there for close to 25 years. I have seen the herd go up and down many times for numerous reasons.

The last 3 winters there were very hard on the deer herd and we found many dead deer that starved to death due to the cold and deep snow. Then last spring, the wet weather did another job on the fawning.

My father would purchase hay bales and place them in areas so the deer would have something to eat to survive when the herd was so large. Watching deer starve to death on a road is not somnething anyone wants to see just to have a high herd number to hunt.

With the exception of the past 3-4 years, our hunting has been as good as it could get.

I can look back to 25 years ago when we saw deer but not that many. Then, the population expoled and it was a cake walk to see and harvest a deer and at times, one could almost have all the doe tags they wanted. Alot of damage to crops from a huge herd and car deer accidents were many. So, about 10 years ago, the Game & Fish decided to reduce the herd to a population that was better suited for hunters and the farmers to slow down the crop damage.

We have a neighbor that had to build a 12' fence arounf his hay stacke in the yard for the cattle over the winter. he has pictures of up to 200 deer feeding on his hay.

So, the herd was cut and we were still having very good hunting until 3 years ago when the winters got tough and the herd started to decline due to starvation.

In those years, the doe tags were also reduced some to get the herd to a better population. Then 2 more hard winters anbd a very wet spring and here we are with a herd heavily reduced.

Yes, we harvested out deer this fall but hunted very hard to get that done.

I would hate to be the Game & Fish and have to keep the deer herd at a number that makes the ranchers issues at a minimum and yet have a nice huntable population.

How does one know when the bad weather hits and hurts the herd big time? If the herd would have been larger, they more than likely would have starved to death due to the deep snow and cold temps so we would still be where we are today.

Will the herd rebound again? Of course it will as we have seen these swings before. This winter will really help if it can go a bit farther so our deer have an easy time.

How does one keep everyone happy, glad it is not on my shoulders.

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ClownColor

nicely said Harvey....and that's really it.

Are people upset when then can shoot 5 deer?

Are they upest when they can only shoot 1 deer?

What would happen on really high deer years if the DNR only wanted 1 deer shot? CWD? MVA? poor buck:doe ratio making unhealthy deer herd?

It will bounce up and down. Wolves, weather, humans will all take it's toll on the dear herd.

So was it thinned too much? well, the season plans to be open next year right? then I say no, maybe "slightly" mismanaged in certain areas but by no means is it in danger of too low...

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Musky Buck

I wish the guys in my area would realize there isn't this endless supply of does, we have at present time more hunters than deer in our area and wow were the groups that had a 5 year slaughter bummed out the past couple years. Thing is 90% of the hunters in our area don't live within 2 hours of there stand, they have no true idea of the area deer numbers etc. so they get amped up for the season, want to drop em like the banner years we had. Then it's well we're entitled to deer, geez we drove 2 hours etc. etc. money involved etc. etc. And true enough but I wish more people would put the deer first and the future hunting, and themselves and there hunting party 2nd especially in low deer number years. That would help everyone in our area and help the numbers bounce back quicker. But I know if you don't get a deer you lose a % of being a man. This winter has been what the doctor ordered and I'm thinking most does should hang on to twins for this spring.

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schmoe147

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fr0sty

From Lou's quote in last week's outdoor news article, I got the impression he didn't totally agree with the population goals the deer were managed down to. It felt like a bit of "I told ya so" now that we are down in #'s.

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hockeybc69

So who has final say in deer population objectives/goals if its not Lou?

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harvey lee

Mother Nature.

I do not know who at the DNR has the final say but I would guess there is a group that makes those decisions.

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