deer populations - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default deer populations

Is it me or a coincidence that from what I have read and experienced that everywhere QDM-like measures have been implemented the same comments appear? Where have all the deer gone?
Here in Pennsylvania since the new management philosophy deer populations have been decimated in the big forests. The argument was there isn't enough food but when I hunt these places mast like acorns are like marbles on the ground(granted this isn't there only food but was used for example). Deer sign is non-existent, actually more bear tracks than deer tracks have been seen the past 4 years. More bear than deer have been seen the last 3 years. Browse is untouched yet the game commission gave out an additional 160 doe tags for the area I hunt.
There seems to be a big focus to get the youth involved in hunting as hunting license sales have seen a 25% drop. How can a youth be interested in big game hunting when they spend maybe days hunting and see maybe nothing or 1 deer.
I read the same type of comments from other states and the same frustrations yet there seems to be more that want to follow in search of the HUGE rack. My deer don't have to have a huge rack to be a trophy.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: deer populations

There is no question deer numbers, over all, are down in PA. I live with the huge Bald Eagle State Forest system in my back yard, and have seen it. Back in the 80's, we would hunt the big woods, and see plenty of deer, and most everyone who wanted to fill their tag did. Now the bucks were usually small spikes or fork horns, about the size of my German Shepherd, but the opportunity was there. Guys wanting a "trophy buck" usually hunted private land.

Now days, when you see a buck, it's likely to be a nice, mature specimen. Problem is, the "when" part.

You can manage deer for quantity, or for quality. In an age where hunter numbers are shrinking, and most guys are just happy to put meat in the freezer, I too question PA's deer management strategy. I realize you cant stock pile deer, but as you stated, the carrying capacity of the land is no where near its limits, especially now with doe tags given out by the handful, and the traditional 3 day doe season now running 2 weeks plus in most areas.

Whats the answer? Maybe certain zones set up for Quality Deer Management, and certain zones set up for normal management / hunting as it used to be?

And you are dead on about the bear numbers. I spend a lot of time in the woods playing around with my camera gear, as well as hunting, and I have seen more bears in the last couple years then I have ever seen. Heck, I even got bluff charged by a sow last summer when I got between her and her cubs. That will get your attention...


Personal opinion is a good thing, and everyone is entitled to one. The hard part is separating informed opinion from someone who is just blowing hot air....
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-11-2013, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: deer populations

In Wisconsin, we have the same thing in the big woods. In farm country, ya can still see deer but less there too. We have to remember, QDM takes a lot of deer to make one big buck. Here's my case. Fawns and spikes are all over. We shoot them cause they are there, they fill tags, and make kids happy. Fawns in northern WIsconsin got tagged a few years ago. By fall 60% where killed. By spring 80% were killed. Some were killed by hunters though. Now in qdm, they let the spike go for 2 or 3 years. In that time, those deer get hit by cars, get killed in fights, starve and get sick. Most are already dead by the time they are ready to be trophies even if they live the first year. Because of this I don't believe in QDM especially in the big woods where winters are harsh, snow is deep and timber wolves are on them all the time. These places get hunted light enough that there are trophies there anyway. So if ya shoot a spike some say it would be bigger next year. I say it has a 30 % chance it won't live till next year anyway, and a 60% chance it wouldn't have lived until it was 3 1/2 yrs old anyway.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2014, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: deer populations

I live in Eastern NC and our buck deer are not large and do not get very old. In the last few years, most hunters have begun letting the smaller bucks walk, and our deer are getting larger. Of course, the older deer are smarter so not many bucks are seen, but what is shot is normally much nicer.

I only shoot doe deer. I let every buck walk so a kid might have a chance at it. I harvest deer to eat and my family can tell the difference between a tender doe and a rut swollen buck.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: deer populations

Here in NY same thing area 9R you can't get a permit they shot the area out.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2014, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: deer populations

Where I hunt in western Massachusetts the deer herd is getting smaller every year, and there is no quality deer management. In southern Vermont, where there are antler restrictions, it seems like the bucks are higher quality but still, like western Mass., there are less of them. Being a bear hunter, I can tell you from my own observations over many years of chasing bears in both states that the bear population is booming in both places. Since bears are a major predator of deer fawns, they might be part of the reason for declining deer populations. Just my $0.02.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-15-2014, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: deer populations

Could it be fawn mortality from coyotes?
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