Western Wyoming Deer Opener

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Having hunted the Wyoming Range as a resident for over 40 years the deer numbers are at an all time low. One of the problems I see and have been guilty myself is Hunting in the North part of G or H on Sept. 15th, used to be the 10th, then hunting in the south end in area 135 on the Oct. 1st opener. I see many of the same trucks and hunters doing the same. It seems like it might be a reasonable change to decrease the buck harvest to change all of the areas south of the Snake River canyon to an Oct. 1st opening date and do away with the September hunting. Another idea is the massive increase in elk numbers the past 25 years in area G. We now know from Dr. Monteith research in Wyoming that deer and elk both use and compete for the same forage. I would like to see a big increase possibly double the amount of additional Cow/Calf elk tags for all the areas south of the Snake River Canyon in G and H. Any thoughts or opinions or other ideas on how to increase our deer herds? I think we have cut non residents back so far, especially in G we don’t need to further decrease those numbers. My fear is every year somebody suggest we go limited quota in some of the areas in G and I don’t support that drastic of a change yet. We also know CWD is ever encroaching on Western Wyoming which might be catastrophic along with negative impacts of drought and an ever increasing predator and wolf population.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
The harvest number of bucks may change the age class, but doesn't have much to do with overall herd numbers. There are plenty of bucks to get the does bred each year.
As a trophy hunter who gets lucky and draws a tag up there fairly often, I wouldn't mind seeing buck tags reduced. I agree that cutting more NR tags won't have much effect. The things I think would help quality would be
- Cut the rifle season length some. Big bucks can only avoid being taken so long. The outfitters really put a lot of pressure on the top end bucks by having hunters in the areas where these bucks live for 3 weeks straight. Just too hard for them to avoid being seen and shot.
- Change the opening dates for different areas as you suggested. Obviously it's cool to be able to have multiple opening days, but it take a big toll on quality.
- Cut a few resident tags. One thing I have really noticed over the past few years is the number of resident hunters who are getting after it hard, scouting and hunting hard. It'll continue to take it's toll.

As for overall herd size......that's a tough on because in my opinion, winter range feed quality and the huge amount of human activity, roads, etc. make it tough on the herd in the winter. The problem is, just like everywhere else, it's hard to fix those issues. How do you improve vegetation quality? How do you reduce human activity?
At this point, I think the primary goal is to slow the decrease in deer populations. Actually increasing deer numbers significantly is a dream.
Finding a way to supplement the feed for game animals is probably what will need to happen in order to have any chance of increasing numbers. Who knows how far off that is? 20 years???

I agree with you on the elk to some degree, especially during rough winters. Most winters, no, but those tough ones that come up every 5-7 years or so, yes, a lot of game are in the same areas.

Maybe it's fantasy, but if there was some sort of quality supplement feed that could be stored and ready to be deployed during tough winters, and maybe every winter, then I think it could be possible to really grow game herds in lots of places. That's all that I can envision ever really fixing the problem. Everything we do now is mostly just to slow the decline.

I hate to say it, or see it, but I'm afraid western Wyoming is headed down the same road as most areas in Utah, Colorado, Idaho and other places as far as both herd numbers and buck quality.
 

PLK

Active Member
Messages
249
These threads about Wyoming G and H mule deer hunting always circle back to the same problem. Simply stated, there are too many Wyoming Resident deer hunters willing and able to pre-scout, archery hunt, and if unsuccessful then sit on these trophy bucks for days with long range equipment and multiple spotters.

Highfastflyer- you stated that in 40 years hunting Wyoming that mule deer numbers are at an all time low but it is not yet time for drastic change. How much longer should we wait?

Founder- you stated that you are a trophy hunter that “gets lucky” and draws tags for G fairly often. I have no problem with you following the rules and point sharing; but not what I would consider luck.

I have recently moved to Wyoming and I don’t feel entitled that I need to be able to hunt Region G or H every year. It’s time for the residents of Wyoming to step up to the table and demand resident restrictions/quotas for these 2 Regions. All you need to do is go on YouTube and search Wyoming Region G mule deer hunting and you will see just how much pressure is on these deer and how specialized the equipment has become. Others have opined that we should limit the technology allowed but I really don’t see any mechanism available to police every hunters’ equipment. The only viable solution to me is to put less hunters on the mountain.

I also feel that resident license/tag fees should increase and that species such as bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose should be OIL (once in a lifetime) for both residents and non-residents.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
Founder- you stated that you are a trophy hunter that “gets lucky” and draws tags for G fairly often. I have no problem with you following the rules and point sharing; but not what I would consider luck.
I’m trying not to sound like a jerk. Of course it’s not all luck. I find some of the biggest bucks up there every year, share what I find with everyone, and then I’m willing to take guys into places they might not ever go otherwise to hunt big bucks. Cool places too! Amazing, true, backcountry hunting. Guys who hunt with me are always in an area where they could kill a top 1% caliber buck for the unit, maybe even for the state. And Wyoming doesn’t have many better areas that can be drawn. I say “lucky”, but I think most know it’s not luck. :)
Anyone can do it if they want to put forth the time and effort.
Sorry for high jacking the thread. Back on topic!!!!!
You’re very right with many of your comments.
 

Ultimag

Active Member
Messages
289
Founder said
Cut a few resident tags. One thing I have really noticed over the past few years is the number of resident hunters who are getting after it hard, scouting and hunting hard. It'll continue to take it's toll
,Web sights, like this one Along with high tech gear are, the biggest reason We, are, seeing increased hunter numbers and pressure
maybe shutting down these sights and outlawing modern technology& stoppiing the flow of info / GPS coordinates
Shareing/selling might be a, step in the right direction
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
I’ll say though, I chatter with Gary Fralick up there who has a lot of say in management and he falls back on hunter satisfaction. It’s pretty high. So, its hard for them to make big changes when most are satisfied with what they’ve got. You know????
BTW- I asked him if he thought NR’s would ever see an increase in tags in there. The answer was no.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
Founder said
Cut a few resident tags. One thing I have really noticed over the past few years is the number of resident hunters who are getting after it hard, scouting and hunting hard. It'll continue to take it's toll
,Web sights, like this one Along with high tech gear are, the biggest reason We, are, seeing increased hunter numbers and pressure
maybe shutting down these sights and outlawing modern technology& stoppiing the flow of info / GPS coordinates
Shareing/selling might be a, step in the right direction
Maybe, but so far you’re not seeing sportsmen taking it upon themselves to limit their advantages over game. I don’t see any of that happening, especially the parts that try to restrict what people say about a hunt area. Devices used to kill animals, possibly. Controlling speech, not likely.
When seriously discussing issues, we must resist wanting or hoping for the impossible. Just wastes time.
I know that my platform has played a role in the whole issue. I’m fine admitting it. But you won’t stuff that cat back in the bag. It’s done.
 

Ultimag

Active Member
Messages
289
Never said it would happen, I was, simply stateing an opinion the good old days are dead and gone, and we owe the www for its demise
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
Messages
1,554
The hard part is the population, have to do everything one can to help deer on the winter range and fawns young in life....reduce mortality from cars and predators is number one in my book (do whatever you can) then habitat habitat habitat enhancement on the winter range and then pray for moisture, but not winter kill winters....everything else is relatively easy to sort out on limiting tags if you want more big bucks (that is the easy part if residents want that it is).

The only option I see to limit harvest success is less tags or change rifle tags to bow or muzzle only, but it all comes back to the number of tags x success rate.
 

jims

Very Active Member
Messages
2,335
One of the best ways to increase mule deer health and numbers is to improve habitat. If cheatgrass is in the winter ranges of G and H I know a simple solution for improving critical winter range habitat. Sublette County has done some helicopter spraying to control cheatgrass. Hopefully this continues on critical winter ranges throughout the West!

Here's a link to a mule deer decline post:

(508) Mule Deer Decline? | Mule Deer | Monster Muleys Community

A muledeer foundation article about cheatgrass:
Cheating the Sage — Partners in the Sage
 

PLK

Active Member
Messages
249
Founder,
My statement about you getting lucky has nothing to do with your hunting skills. I am aware that you are an excellent mule deer hunter and you certainly put in the time necessary to find and kill big bucks. Your success speaks for itself!! Your original post stated that you get lucky in the tag drawing. Point sharing with someone is not luck!

i don’t blame you or your website for anything. Huntin Fool, Epic Outdoors, Muley Crazy and others are all profiting at the expense of the big game herds in various states. The outfitters are responsible for far more bucks being killed than you point sharing and taking a NR with you into the high country. I am strongly against trail cameras as I feel cameras are much more responsible for hunters finding and killing more big bucks; basically guys can scout 24/7 with as many cameras as they decide to purchase.

Various forms of technology from lighter backcountry tents, water filtering equipment to jet boils and clothing allow hunters to stay comfortable for days/weeks at a time contribute to hunters success. Add in long range technology etc coupled with bad winter kill and you have a recipe for big buck/mule deer decline. Technology is never going away and therefore I feel that resident tags need to be reduced.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Regarding elk, it’s now known through Dr. Monteith’s great research the elk are feeding upon the same forage and staying in the same locations as many of the deer herds reside year round, not just winter range. Reducing elk numbers seems paramount at this point. Changing the season from a Sept 15 opener to an October 1st opener would decrease the season length and the big bucks won’t be in those open basins as much wide out in the open during October. I have personally been to Wildlife Commission meetings in Western Wyoming and personally witnessed the absolute almost irate protests and vitriol hatred and protests by residents against any mention of limited quota areas in G. I think we may have to examine that someday but at current I don’t think the satisfaction surveys justify it. One possible other solution might be to allow residents to choose only archery or rifle but not be able to hunt both. I have heard some talk on here about limiting technology and having a 9X maximum scope limitation on rifles. This seems like it might be easy to enforce. Founder I think has the right idea about the intense pressure the Outfitters place on the top end bucks. Maybe the State could place an added tax on them like an extra $500 for a guided hunt on areas G or H. Besides winter range enhancements it seems the entire summer range is also in serious decline if you listen to any of Dr. Monteith’s lectures. He admits the deer are at maximum carrying capacity for the summer range at current so improvements must be made and with continuous drought it is an uphill battle, throw on ever encroaching CWD and the future isn’t bright.
 

Wyboypt

Member
Messages
34
I absolutely agree many units should go limited quota in wyoming, and not just in g and h. Eastern and central wyoming should also have more limited quota areas. But the g&f cares more about selling tags than they do about having a larger deer herd or trophy quality deer. In addition the outfitters should ABSOLUTELY have to pay the state and/or g&f for every animal taken. They are essentially a private organization that profits from Wyoming’s animals, but pays NOTHING to the state. In addition they use illegal methods of taking game and keep them from the public at all costs. Hunter harassment, herding and pushing game (even at night) by horse, atv, truck, and plane. Some of these outfitters aren’t even from wyoming so the profit goes back with them to their home state. Quentin smith of qrs outdoor specialties is a perfect example of someone who has done everything I’ve just mentioned.
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
Messages
884
Regarding elk, it’s now known through Dr. Monteith’s great research the elk are feeding upon the same forage and staying in the same locations as many of the deer herds reside year round, not just winter range. Reducing elk numbers seems paramount at this point. Changing the season from a Sept 15 opener to an October 1st opener would decrease the season length and the big bucks won’t be in those open basins as much wide out in the open during October. I have personally been to Wildlife Commission meetings in Western Wyoming and personally witnessed the absolute almost irate protests and vitriol hatred and protests by residents against any mention of limited quota areas in G. I think we may have to examine that someday but at current I don’t think the satisfaction surveys justify it. One possible other solution might be to allow residents to choose only archery or rifle but not be able to hunt both. I have heard some talk on here about limiting technology and having a 9X maximum scope limitation on rifles. This seems like it might be easy to enforce. Founder I think has the right idea about the intense pressure the Outfitters place on the top end bucks. Maybe the State could place an added tax on them like an extra $500 for a guided hunt on areas G or H. Besides winter range enhancements it seems the entire summer range is also in serious decline if you listen to any of Dr. Monteith’s lectures. He admits the deer are at maximum carrying capacity for the summer range at current so improvements must be made and with continuous drought it is an uphill battle, throw on ever encroaching CWD and the future isn’t bright.
Karl Marx would be proud.
 

JakeSwensen

Active Member
Messages
436
This post is more about growing bigger bucks, less about growing the population of the herd.
I like the September 15th opener, the weather is usually worse come October 1st and the right snow storm can get a lot of big deer killed by hunters just like the open basins. Why would we want a shorter season? I think more hunters would settle for younger bucks, especially NR, most only get to hunt Wyoming every few years and pay more money to hunt. Wife wants the tag filled ect.
I don't like seeing people trying to impose (choose your weapon). In my opinion trophy hunters (of which I am) want bigger bucks. If you want to see more big bucks, scout more!😜 Let the little bucks go if you want them to grow up!!!
I love hunting big bucks every fall. I usually hunt a little with my bow and get more serious with my rifle. (I also love the meat!)
I used to think it was a good idea to go limited quota in G&H, but the area produces a lot of Wyoming's biggest bucks. I am not against opening area135 on September 15th and closing the same day as the other areas. Thoughts?

Highfastflyer do you think the buck to doe ratio is too low for mature bucks to get all of the breeding done?
I believe there are enough mature bucks to do the breeding. Doe deer raising fawns can grow the population, save the does!
If you want to grow the population take up predator hunting, donate to the highway crossing projects, contribute to organizations that are keeping migration routes and good habitat available. I agree reducing the elk population is a good idea. I also think the highway crossing projects are a step in the right direction. It's my opinion that bears, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions have a big impact on the deer. Let's attack those areas before we reduce opportunity to resident and nonresident hunters.
 

JakeSwensen

Active Member
Messages
436
Founder, you scout more in July than I do. How many scouting planes do you see looking for big bucks in the high country?
 

DoubleDropMuley

Very Active Member
Messages
1,006
As a resident I’m against any kind of system where you have to build points to hunt period, I’m with Swensen on predator control and highway crossings are a good thing, and killing more elk so let’s open elk season mid September instead mid October,!! And the biggest thing is self control a little tag soup never kills anyone!
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
This post is more about growing bigger bucks, less about growing the population of the herd.
I like the September 15th opener, the weather is usually worse come October 1st and the right snow storm can get a lot of big deer killed by hunters just like the open basins. Why would we want a shorter season? I think more hunters would settle for younger bucks, especially NR, most only get to hunt Wyoming every few years and pay more money to hunt. Wife wants the tag filled ect.
I don't like seeing people trying to impose (choose your weapon). In my opinion trophy hunters (of which I am) want bigger bucks. If you want to see more big bucks, scout more!😜 Let the little bucks go if you want them to grow up!!!
I love hunting big bucks every fall. I usually hunt a little with my bow and get more serious with my rifle. (I also love the meat!)
I used to think it was a good idea to go limited quota in G&H, but the area produces a lot of Wyoming's biggest bucks. I am not against opening area135 on September 15th and closing the same day as the other areas. Thoughts?

Highfastflyer do you think the buck to doe ratio is too low for mature bucks to get all of the breeding done?
I believe there are enough mature bucks to do the breeding. Doe deer raising fawns can grow the population, save the does!
If you want to grow the population take up predator hunting, donate to the highway crossing projects, contribute to organizations that are keeping migration routes and good habitat available. I agree reducing the elk population is a good idea. I also think the highway crossing projects are a step in the right direction. It's my opinion that bears, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions have a big impact on the deer. Let's attack those areas before we reduce opportunity to resident and nonresident hunters.
I agree with most of what you say. Especially, regarding predator control and I have taken a few bears out of the Wyoming Range over the past several decades and killed quite a few coyotes as every hunter should. Regarding the does being bred the last 3 years over 50% of the does I have observed have no fawns. I attribute this to lower than normal buck to doe ratios and young yearling bucks doing much of the breeding which have a known lower fertility rate their first year. We have hunted the larger and better antler producing better genetic bucks down so far we are seeing does go dry on a regular basis and likely smaller antler quality ie inferior genetics. I agree we could move area 135 to September 15th and then close the season down after just 2 weeks in all areas instead of the current 3 week season. Elk numbers are at all time high and the cow elk should be hunted during the deer hunts and all units south of the Snake River canyon should have their cow/calf permits doubled. I don’t think it’s time for a limited quota management strategy at current but both the numbers and quality of bucks is the worst I have ever seen it. I personally haven’t killed. a deer in 6 years. Mostly because I don’t need the meat, I get a Cow elk every year and also I haven’t seen very many quality bucks lately so yes I have ate tag soup many times and will continue to do so with what I have observed in areas I hunt. Areas that in past years held numerous big bucks in almost every basin now contain a dozen hunters and only a few 150-160 class bucks which most of them get shot the first few days of the hunt. If we could slightly decrease the amount of hunters by having them choose either rifle or archery it would certainly help somewhat decrease pressure and overall harvest numbers.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Karl Marx would be proud.
You should learn and study more your history. ““‘Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempts to disarm the people must be stopped, by force if necessary’”. Karl Marx.

EFA9D971-D2B0-4F46-9A10-0819BBB24B77.jpeg
 

nfh

Long Time Member
Messages
6,056
Look i understand a lot of people hate outfitters. But good ones exist. Some donate a free service for veterans and disabled people. Some clean a lot of trails that never get cleaned. They donate to local charities. Help others pack out game. Share info.

A good freind of mine is a outfitter. He even claims the wyoga is a joke and refuses to be a part of it. He loves to hunt. Doesnt even hunt for himself much. Now is he making a killing on wildlife? Hell nooooo. Cost of a hunting camp,gear,livestock, fuel, food , employees and etc his profit isnt that much..

Is there bad outfitters? Sure is..


As far as deer numbers i have learned that monster muley counts are far off. One guy says there is nothing. Actaul people that i know that went there did great and saw a lot of deer.Last week on my dads late season bull hunt i cant tell ya how many deer we saw. They claim numbers are low. Now i did call the mule deer biologist. Not only did i smoke a muley fawn with my truck and i wanted permission to finish it off but saw some whitetails 11 miles in the wilderness. I was shocked to see them.
 
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Ultimag

Active Member
Messages
289
The mere mention of reducing resident tags would cause a, war that makes trumps current war on LOSEING the election look like a picnic in, a park with your family
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
These areas are growing big bucks, quite a few were killed this fall.
Not sure where you get your numbers from. According to Western Wyoming wildlife biologist Gary Fralick, the 2020 big game hunt seasons have resulted in one of the fewest number of mule deer checked during any one hunting season over the last 25 years. Fralick and assistants worked a total of 11 check stations. The number of deer checked usually ranges between 100 to 155. This year, just 53 deer were checked. The majority are yearling bucks. The only worse season was 49 in 2017. Meanwhile elk herds are flourishing and eating the same forage the deer require and elk numbers boom and deer numbers tumble. Game and Fish Department workers counted or modeled the population in 28 of 35 elk herds in their 2019 post-hunt census published this spring. They reported 104,700 elk in those 28 herds — a number that is 32%, or 25,575, above the collective objective. http://www.buffalobulletin.com/news/state/article_fff654c0-f837-11ea-8faa-0373273aacb7.html
 
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JakeSwensen

Active Member
Messages
436
I didn't share any numbers but I've seen some pictures of some big deer that were killed. I do believe it's easy in the internet world we are living in to get a false sense of what's really going on. I also know the check stations are only a small sample but at least it's real hands on data. We see the big deer people kill on instagram, facebook, youtube and other social media. It used to be that you only knew what bucks your buddies killed or the big bucks that made it to a hunting magazine.
Deer are starting to show up on the winter range and it will be interesting to see how many bucks are out there. I only have around 10 years of looking at the winter range and I wish I could have seen it in the 90's or earlier. I hear it was incredible.
 
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COSA

Active Member
Messages
839
My vote would be to make the area open sight or muzzleloader only, rather than trying to limit resident (not going to happen). This weapon restriction would probably reduce the # of hunters as well. I'd rather see giant deer and not harvest because I can't shoot 500 yards. Only downside, may be an increase in wounding loss, though I suspect many who "miss" at 1,000 yards don't hike over to verify.
 

fullthrottle

Very Active Member
Messages
1,159
(1) Limit rifle tags in G and H for residents and non residents. Not drastically, but can’t just leave it a free for all.
(2) Cut nonresident tags even more, but implement an archery only hunt. By doing so you could increase Hunter opportunity and drastically decrease the success on mature bucks (let’s face it, big bucks are hard to get with a bow)
(3) Hope and pray for some ideal winters.
 

letmgetbig

Active Member
Messages
111
I'm a conservative, it only makes sense to me, that all Hunters should be. It seems crazy to me that I have to get on here and argue about saving Mule Deer. Shouldn't everyone want that. It is a known fact Mule Deer have been declining for over 30 years. I just spent 3 weeks on the Winter Range, I know it well and I didn't see any "pop eye's" not even close, nor did I see an up and coming "pop eye" Changes need to be made if this is important to you. There are some Deer in some areas. But! There are many places that there use to be Deer, and there aren't anymore. last season was heart breaking to me, it put off a bad vibe all the way around. It seemed to me many Hunters have no ethics at all. this is a pic of a lil buck with his jaw blown off (long ranger's I'm sure) Hope you can see the whole pic don't know why it doesn't show entire pic

IMG_0869.JPG
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
(1) Limit rifle tags in G and H for residents and non residents. Not drastically, but can’t just leave it a free for all.
Not easy to do just a little. It’s either we go limited or keep it General license. If we can maybe choose either archery or rifle not both it would help. Non residents are cut back substantially already. I also think going to a 9X maximum scope and shortening the season to just 2 weeks along with massive Cow elk tag increases will help. Mild winters are certainly the best thing for this herd but predator control and habitat enhancement projects certainly benefit the herd. If it gets much worse, herd at 30,000 +or - now, if it drops any further like a massive CWD outbreak or something the recovery would outlast our lifetimes.
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
Messages
884
Not easy to do just a little. It’s either we go limited or keep it General license. If we can maybe choose either archery or rifle not both it would help. Non residents are cut back substantially already. I also think going to a 9X maximum scope and shortening the season to just 2 weeks along with massive Cow elk tag increases will help. Mild winters are certainly the best thing for this herd but predator control and habitat enhancement projects certainly benefit the herd. If it gets much worse, herd at 30,000 +or - now, if it drops any further like a massive CWD outbreak or something the recovery would outlast our lifetimes.
The 9x scope idea doesn’t hold water. My my target rifle wears a 6x scope. I can hit a steel target from a long fuggin’ ways away with that set up.
 

rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Hunting/Job-Completion-Reports

Some of you should take a look at the G&F job completion reports for the areas and species your concerned with. Link above. From the comments above, I think you'd be surprised how hard we've been hitting the elk population on that front. I was curious, so I looked up some units that coincides to the same deer/elk areas that apply to this thread topic. I found it quite interesting when I looked at 2016, before the 16/17 winter, and 2019. Here's what I found.

2016 - Deer (Units 134, 135, 143-145) Est Population 37,000
(7.5% below objective) (6,544 hunters, 3,457 harvest)
Elk (Units 88-91) Pop. 2,691 (Proposed 1,935)
(Units 92, 94) Pop. 4,045 (Proposed 3,500)

2019 - Deer (Units 134, 135, 143-145) Est Population 31,000
(22.5% below objective) (4,971 hunters, 1,490 harvest)
Elk (Units 88-91) Pop. 1,636 (Proposed 1,900)
(Units 92, 94) Pop. 2,557 (Proposed 2,375)

Seems to me we've been controlling the elk pretty good, why would you want to hammer them anymore. When winters and summers are good, both species flourish. And remember, most all the elk in the Wyoming Range area are on feedgrounds throughout the winter and deer mostly don't have to share the winter range with them. There's a very young buck population right now, we went from 29/100 in 2017 to over 40/100 last year with the help of the 3 pt rule so its a good start in the right direction. Fact is, we need multiple mild winters in a row to get deer out of the hole again. We're only 4 years removed from the 16/17 winter and most of us expected at least a decade to crawl slightly out of the hole. Mild start to winter so far. Let's see what it looks like in 2 months.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@rocky2track ”Seems to me we've been controlling the elk pretty good, why would you want to hammer them anymore.” Obviously it isn’t working ie not enough pressure on them as they are far above objective. Elk have increased dramatically in the Wyoming Range and we now know thanks to Dr. Monteith’s research they compete for the exact same forage both summer and winter. Many of the browse aspen and mahogany stands are in the worst shape ever recorded. We need far more Cow Elk tags immediately to decrease pressure on the ever shrinking deer herd now estimated at 30,000 and many on here who like I have hunted that herd for 40+ years know it’s in the poorest shape we’ve ever seen it. This is just an open forum for dialogue but those Job Completion Reports are not always accurate. I am open to new ideas but when I personally see high alpine basins which once held numerous big bucks and now are just full of elk I can see where the problem lies and so Dr. Monteith.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
The 9x scope idea doesn’t hold water. My my target rifle wears a 6x scope. I can hit a steel target from a long fuggin’ ways away with that set up.
It is a place to start which would certainly be an attempt at lowering the harvest. If you think a 4X scope is possible to get passed then pursue it but a 9X limit is a compromise which might be possible to get approved, 4X I am not sure we could go that drastic after having attended many Wildlife Commission meetings. It’s a compromise.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,000
Elk have increased dramatically in the Wyoming Range and we now know thanks to Dr. Monteith’s research they compete for the exact same forage both summer and winter.
You have a link to this research? I would be interested to read it. I would like to know how a browser and grazer eat exactly the same forage.
 

mulecreek

Very Active Member
Messages
1,383
I attended a presentation by Dr. Monteith this summer in regards to the D.E.E.R study being done south of Rock Springs. It was mentioned during the presentation that the initial findings of the multi-year study are showing a surprisingly high level of competition by deer and elk for food sources. I do not believe the full research on this study has been published as I think the study is just nearing completion. Additionally, this was for high desert country that is very different from Wyoming range summer range. Winter range is a closer comparison but still not exactly apples to apples.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
You have a link to this research? I would be interested to read it. I would like to know how a browser and grazer eat exactly the same forage.
That is what I was always taught but his research is well published how elk are also eating those browse stands and directly competing both summer and winter for the same forage. If you have a free hour this is a fascinating podcast. If not skip to about the 20 minute mark where he discusses it. You can also watch Dr. Monteith on Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife meetings where he has presented his research several times to the Wildlife Commission. He is a true treasure trove of information and a grand asset for Wyoming. He’s probably the most insightful I’ve ever heard at these Wildlife Conferences discussing why Mule deer are declining. https://poddtoppen.se/podcast/14035...s/kevin-montieth-and-the-science-of-mule-deer
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
Messages
884
It is a place to start which would certainly be an attempt at lowering the harvest. If you think a 4X scope is possible to get passed then pursue it but a 9X limit is a compromise which might be possible to get approved, 4X I am not sure we could go that drastic after having attended many Wildlife Commission meetings. It’s a compromise.
I certainly understand your point. But like with everything, people will find a way around it. And it would nearly impossible to enforce. The only way to reduce the harvest is to reduce the number of people hunting. And like you said. very few are going to be willing to give up the opportunity.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
I certainly understand your point. But like with everything, people will find a way around it. And it would nearly impossible to enforce. The only way to reduce the harvest is to reduce the number of people hunting. And like you said. very few are going to be willing to give up the opportunity.
I agree trying to limit the range a hunter could take an ethical shot would be difficult to enforce but having a scope restriction would be as easy as having a minimum caliber restriction like we had for years, no longer in effect but it used to be a minimum of .24 caliber for deer and rarely were citations ever issued. People knew the rules and generally complied with it, just like any change then education and getting the word out would be essential but I actually think it would be easy to enforce. All the Game Wardens just look at your scope through an analyser and confirm it’s 9X. That simple.
 

fullthrottle

Very Active Member
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1,159
For what it’s worth, hunting buddy’s son shot a buck this year at 700+, didn’t know it at the time but the scope was set on 4x. One shot kill. I think a 9x restriction would have little effect. That being said I support any added restrictions, the deer could use some help. Particularly the big ones.
 

Bookhead

Active Member
Messages
301
Restricting tags is the only thing that's going to help. Hunter harvest is the only thing we can realistically control. Predators are already managed liberally
 

fullthrottle

Very Active Member
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1,159
It was a fluke, but it happened. For what it’s worth, I’m sure there’s more than a few including myself (and most likely you) who know a fair amount of shooters that would feel pretty damn confident out past 700 with a 9x scope. But like I said, I’ll support just about any restrictions they want to implement to swing the odds more in the deer favor.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Restricting tags is the only thing that's going to help. Hunter harvest is the only thing we can realistically control. Predators are already managed liberally
That is certainly one possible drastic solution and perhaps ultimately the way we go. You must be a non-resident to say that as I personally have sat in many Wyoming Wildlife Commission meetings in Western Wyoming and heard public protest and outcry mentioned when trying to go limited in some of those units. The vitriol hatred and almost riot type protests I have witnessed, I am doubtful we could politically pull that one off yet. This is why I am asking for dialogue on other methods less drastic. Your predator statement doesn’t line up with what the Biologists have stated happens with young radio collared fawn research in Western Wyoming. Coyotes took a fair number of young fawns and mountain lions also have surprising high impacts on adult mule deer so much more work needs to be done with controlling predators. Habitat enhancement and range improvement may help some but harvesting many many more cow elk and possibly going to a 9X or similar restriction would also benefit this herd. One major unit in the South end of the Wyoming Range also opens late on Oct 1st and has an enormous harvest with intense hunter pressure. Moving and aligning that unit with the rest of the area might distribute much better the pressure. The herd is now at 30,000 and declining while elk numbers are flourishing and most of those high mountain basins never had elk in them before 30 years ago, now they are loaded and the mule deer almost non-existent. Restrictions and more cutbacks certainly need to be done but going limited I think is too drastic at this point.
 

Bookhead

Active Member
Messages
301
That is certainly one possible drastic solution and perhaps ultimately the way we go. You must be a non-resident to say that as I personally have sat in many Wyoming Wildlife Commission meetings in Western Wyoming and heard public protest and outcry mentioned when trying to go limited in some of those units. The vitriol hatred and almost riot type protests I have witnessed, I am doubtful we could politically pull that one off yet. This is why I am asking for dialogue on other methods less drastic. Your predator statement doesn’t line up with what the Biologists have stated happens with young radio collared fawn research in Western Wyoming. Coyotes took a fair number of young fawns and mountain lions also have surprising high impacts on adult mule deer so much more work needs to be done with controlling predators. Habitat enhancement and range improvement may help some but harvesting many many more cow elk and possibly going to a 9X or similar restriction would also benefit this herd. One major unit in the South end of the Wyoming Range also opens late on Oct 1st and has an enormous harvest with intense hunter pressure. Moving and aligning that unit with the rest of the area might distribute much better the pressure. The herd is now at 30,000 and declining while elk numbers are flourishing and most of those high mountain basins never had elk in them before 30 years ago, now they are loaded and the mule deer almost non-existent. Restrictions and more cutbacks certainly need to be done but going limited I think is too drastic at this point.
I am a resident. What else could they possibly do to kill more coyotes? Theres no season or limits on them already. The only thing we can control is hunter harvest.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
I am a resident. What else could they possibly do to kill more coyotes? Theres no season or limits on them already. The only thing we can control is hunter harvest.
A bigger bounty on coyotes always helps along with paying professional trappers but Mt. Lions have been taking a good number of adult deer according to the biologists. More pressure on predators will help for sure along with other good ideas others have mentioned but I don’t think the public will support going limited in those units, not yet anyways unless it continues spiralling downwards.
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
I am a resident. What else could they possibly do to kill more coyotes? Theres no season or limits on them already. The only thing we can control is hunter harvest.
They could give us a deer tag. I’d come up there and blast a few coyotes then. :)
 

Ultimag

Active Member
Messages
289
Not sure where you get your numbers from. According to Western Wyoming wildlife biologist Gary Fralick, the 2020 big game hunt seasons have resulted in one of the fewest number of mule deer checked during any one hunting season over the last 25 years. Fralick and assistants worked a total of 11 check stations. The number of deer checked usually ranges between 100 to 155. This year, just 53 deer were checked. The majority are yearling bucks. The only worse season was 49 in 2017. Meanwhile elk herds are flourishing and eating the same forage the deer require and elk numbers boom and deer numbers tumble. Game and Fish Department workers counted or modeled the population in 28 of 35 elk herds in their 2019 post-hunt census published this spring. They reported 104,700 elk in those 28 herds — a number that is 32%, or 25,575, above the collective objective.
Not everyone goes through a check station
Or even. Reports their kill. Then figure in poaching the harvest report Isn't anywhere near accurate. Lot more deer and elk being killed in wyoming. (Both legallly. & illegally )then is being reported
 
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highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Your point is the herd is being over harvested and under-reported thus Conclusion: The herd is in bad shape. My point was the harvest statistics show low numbers thus Conclusion: The herd is in bad shape. Wyoming uses modelling and projections to arrive at their numbers. I’m not here to fix that, you can start your own thread about that but we both arrive at the same conclusion: The herd is in bad shape.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Well you can remeber this 10 years down the road when nothing else works. Told ya so
Ask Utah how limited entry is working. Hint, ever decreasing deer herd numbers and super high Hunter dissatisfaction. You can decrease harvest by other methods than going to a drastic and extreme measure of only resorting to a limited entry system.
 

rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
Your point is the herd is being over harvested and under-reported thus Conclusion: The herd is in bad shape. My point was the harvest statistics show low numbers thus Conclusion: The herd is in bad shape. Wyoming uses modelling and projections to arrive at their numbers. I’m not here to fix that, you can start your own thread about that but we both arrive at the same conclusion: The herd is in bad shape.
Wasn't it in 2017/18 where the entire winter range was flown to get as good as accurate count as possible? Both Wyoming and Sublette herds. The entire range. Cost a ton of money. And every year they fly a good portion. You make it sound like nothing is done.
So, I'm curious as to your thinking here. Right or wrong, lets use those numbers from the G&F job completion reports. Say in 2019 the buck harvest was reduced by 50%, say only around 700 bucks killed, and another 700 bucks are out on the winter range. Is that alone good for the overall health of the herd... just strictly having more bucks on the winter range competing with what does/fawns are out there?
What will help the does/fawns the most and it will make an immediate impact is the wildlife underpass & fence project that is to begin this coming spring between Big Piney and Labarge. Saving hundreds of deer that put fawns on the ground like that will help more than reducing buck harvest.
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
Messages
1,554
Wasn't it in 2017/18 where the entire winter range was flown to get as good as accurate count as possible? Both Wyoming and Sublette herds. The entire range. Cost a ton of money. And every year they fly a good portion. You make it sound like nothing is done.
So, I'm curious as to your thinking here. Right or wrong, lets use those numbers from the G&F job completion reports. Say in 2019 the buck harvest was reduced by 50%, say only around 700 bucks killed, and another 700 bucks are out on the winter range. Is that alone good for the overall health of the herd... just strictly having more bucks on the winter range competing with what does/fawns are out there?
What will help the does/fawns the most and it will make an immediate impact is the wildlife underpass & fence project that is to begin this coming spring between Big Piney and Labarge. Saving hundreds of deer that put fawns on the ground like that will help more than reducing buck harvest.
It's all about the fawns! Need to help them get to adulthood so they can have fawns of their own! You need enough bucks to breed all of the does, but you don't need 1:1 or 100:100....25:100 or whatever is needed is probably best to increase the herd.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
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2,000
That is what I was always taught but his research is well published how elk are also eating those browse stands and directly competing both summer and winter for the same forage. If you have a free hour this is a fascinating podcast. If not skip to about the 20 minute mark where he discusses it. You can also watch Dr. Monteith on Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife meetings where he has presented his research several times to the Wildlife Commission. He is a true treasure trove of information and a grand asset for Wyoming. He’s probably the most insightful I’ve ever heard at these Wildlife Conferences discussing why Mule deer are declining. https://poddtoppen.se/podcast/14035...s/kevin-montieth-and-the-science-of-mule-deer
First of all Monteith has no published research on deer and elk directly competing for forage. That said, I believe, as he does, that elk do browse on certain plants also utilized by deer and that this, and their presence, may cause a reduction in deer populations where both exist.

All the same information in that podcast was given to us at our mule deer working group in Casper. This is a very complex issue that involves different potential causes for why deer populations are decreasing in many areas of Wyoming. One thing for certain, hunting bucks, unless that hunting reduces buck /doe ratios below 10/100, is not the problem. To maintain deer numbers, we need more doe deer having fawns that survive to maturity.

What surprises me the most is that so many talk with passion about this deer issue, but hardly anyone brings up the fact that youth hunters between 12 and 17 can harvest does in these areas with depressed herds. I have looked into this in our herd in central Wyoming and more youth are shooting mule deer does than any of us think. I am of the opinion this is completely unnecessary. It is more than adequate for youth to have the option to shoot any buck, including areas with APR. Wyoming has more than enough opportunity for youths to hunt and if they are not getting opportunity it is because their hunting mentor needs help.

The conclusions our group made were this and order doesn't matter:
1) eliminate doe deer harvest
2) put more pressure on predators, especially mountain lions
3) reduce elk populations over objective
4) increase habitat rehabilitation aggressively where needed
5) continue to aggressively research diseases like CWD

This topic can be discussed over and over on forums like this one. Those that talk about restricting hunting methods and going LQ are talking trophy quality. They are missing the boat because hunting bucks is almost never the issue as to why the herd is struggling. Put more deer on the ground, and there will be more trophy (mature) bucks. Period.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Wasn't it in 2017/18 where the entire winter range was flown to get as good as accurate count as possible? Both Wyoming and Sublette herds. The entire range. Cost a ton of money. And every year they fly a good portion. You make it sound like nothing is done.
So, I'm curious as to your thinking here. Right or wrong, lets use those numbers from the G&F job completion reports. Say in 2019 the buck harvest was reduced by 50%, say only around 700 bucks killed, and another 700 bucks are out on the winter range. Is that alone good for the overall health of the herd... just strictly having more bucks on the winter range competing with what does/fawns are out there?
What will help the does/fawns the most and it will make an immediate impact is the wildlife underpass & fence project that is to begin this coming spring between Big Piney and Labarge. Saving hundreds of deer that put fawns on the ground like that will help more than reducing buck harvest.
A big benefit will occur from that fence project. Reducing elk numbers substantially which compete for forage will also help. Those winter ranges supported 50,000 deer routinely and at one time in 1992 over 60,000 deer before Oil and Gas and bumper crop elk herds came on the scene. Another added benefit of a slightly higher buck to doe ratio is the bigger, stronger and better genetic bucks do the breeding. Would you want Popeye and Goliath doing the breeding or just whats left out there now, a few rag tag 2 points?
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@jm77 “That said, I believe, as he does, that elk do browse on certain plants also utilized by deer and that this, and their presence, may cause a reduction in deer populations where both exist.” This is my main point here and here is another study which showed how elk displaced deer considerably from an Oregon study. Monteith has stated this elk/deer competition at several meetings and forums with more to be published as he compiles more data.
I agree with most of all your suggestions but would also add we are trying to both increase deer numbers and increase buck numbers for quality hunting. With bigger, stronger and better genetic bucks doing the breeding ie bucks like Popeye and Goliath passing on their genes will benefit the herd more than just a few rag tag 2 points. Genes and genetics also create better antler quality, we see this in many whitetail herds and elk Game farms.

The study from Oregon concluded, “The greatest potential for competition in ungrazed secondary succession grand fir was between mule deer and elk. Mule deer and elk consumed many of the same forbs and shrubs. Coe et al. (2001) found that mule deer use of pastures at Starkey declined when elk were present which suggests that interference competition may be occurring between these two species.” https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/sites...ntakeanddietoverlapofmuledeerelkandcattle.pdf
 
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rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
A big benefit will occur from that fence project. Reducing elk numbers substantially which compete for forage will also help. Those winter ranges supported 50,000 deer routinely and at one time in 1992 over 60,000 deer before Oil and Gas and bumper crop elk herds came on the scene. Another added benefit of a slightly higher buck to doe ratio is the bigger, stronger and better genetic bucks do the breeding. Would you want Popeye and Goliath doing the breeding or just whats left out there now, a few rag tag 2 points?
Better genetic deer doing the breeding...? Thats a laughable statement. Not to think there's bucks and does of genetic quality out there..? Laughable. I remember the late 80's early 90's. I had my 3 deer tags, and my dad and my mom and all our friends and everyone else we knew. Couldn't kill enough, and we all found out that 50k+ deer was too much for the winter range. They chewed those bitter brush stands down into the old wood of the plant and made them decadent. 2013-16, deer leveled off, G&F adjusted the long time objective from 50k to 40k. That's as good as it'll get again. If we get back up to those levels. And we were feeding elk back then too. Dont know why you keep harping about elk out on the winter range when were feeding them. Now if these new lawsuits the environmentalists filed on closing feedgrounds come to fruition and we have to push all our elk out onto the winter range, t hen we may have another hurdle, but I'd suspect the elk herds would naturally decrease since they wouldn't be fed anymore.
 
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highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Better genetic deer doing the breeding...? Thats a laughable statement. Not to think there's bucks and does of genetic quality out there..? Laughable. I remember the late 80's early 90's. I had my 3 deer tags, and my dad and my mom and all our friends and everyone else we knew. Couldn't kill enough, and we all found out that 50k+ deer was too much for the winter range. They chewed those bitter brush stands down into the old wood of the plant and made them decadent. 2013-16, deer leveled off, G&F adjusted the long time objective from 50k to 40k. That's as good as it'll get again. If we get back up to those levels. And we were feeding elk back then too. Dont know why you keep harping about elk out on the winter range when were feeding them. Now if these new lawsuits the environmentalists filed on closing feedgrounds come to fruition and we have to push all our elk out onto the winter range, t hen we may have another hurdle, but I'd suspect the elk herds would naturally decrease since they wouldn't be fed anymore.
Young buck deer if doing all the breeding have a much lower level of fertility. We know that from multiple studies when yearling bucks do the breeding the fertility rates are 10-20% LOWER than older age class bucks. When the herd is hunted so heavily that all the older age class animals and big bucks are taken and you’re only left with a few younger bucks you end up with some does NOT being bred as the does have Evolved to have their fawns in a very short window. This window aids survival as it floods the landscape with young deer all at the same time in order to overwhelm the predator population with too many animals all at the same time so they can’t consume them all. Most coyote kills on deer are done during their first few weeks. I have personally seen many dry does while hiking in early summer the past few years so I know many of these does were likely never pregnant. This is why the best and strongest bucks doing the breeding will pass along their superior genetics which aid survival. When we as humans hunt them back so deeply and leave the herd in such poor shape and then impact their winter range with oil and gas the deer herd suffers. The elk need to be harvested at a much higher rate as they are impacting those deer herds all across the summer ranges as multiple studies have shown and Dr. Monteith has also stated this multiple times on multiple forums how the elk displace the deer and hammer the same habitats and forage the deer utilise. Your Ignorance on what is affecting deer herds is apparent. I agree 50,000 is no longer obtainable but 40,000 should be the goal along with a healthier and more balanced herd which has strong, superior genetic bucks doing the breeding like Popeye and Goliath passing along genes as they earned that right as the biggest and strongest rather than a few rag tag 2 points.
 
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rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
Statements that only bucks the size of Popeye and Goliath, which only 1% or less of the buck population will ever reach, can only do the breeding is one the biggest ignorant statements I've heard. Good luck with that line of thinking.
 

nfh

Long Time Member
Messages
6,056
I was just reading a article in bowhunter magazine that these researchers were testing testosterone levels in deer. over 10 years of data they obtained testosterone concentrations from 1.5 to 2.5 year old bucks and compared those levels later on in life. These bucks that had high levels in early life also found they had high levels later on in life.

Also I use to work in the oil field and its amazing the wildlife I saw. The muleys would find it safe and didn't get disturbed. The grass from the pipeline provided feed and warmth. Sage grouse started showing up. Provides a great wintering area. Hell even the grizzlies started showing up in our treater and our knock-out buildings for a nap

But on another note for region G I cant say crap. Never been there and know nothing about it.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Statements that only bucks the size of Popeye and Goliath, which only 1% or less of the buck population will ever reach, can only do the breeding is one the biggest ignorant statements I've heard. Good luck with that line of thinking.
Obviously you aren’t very adept at reading what was stated. Who do you prefer doing the breeding of those does, yearling spike bucks or large dominant and superior physical specimen bucks like Popeye? Obviously we don’t have any Popeyes remaining but the goal should be to have those larger age class deer doing the breeding so we can keep fertility high, produce bigger and stronger fawns and not have dry does. Now who is IGNORANT?
 

Founder

Founder Since 1999
Messages
10,094
I think in that herd up there, there are plenty of mature bucks to do the breeding. They may not currently have large antlers, but that doesn't matter, they still have the same genetic make up and they are of good age for breeding. Plenty of 3-4 year old bucks.
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
Messages
884
Young buck deer if doing all the breeding have a much lower level of fertility. We know that from multiple studies when yearling bucks do the breeding the fertility rates are 10-20% LOWER than older age class bucks. When the herd is hunted so heavily that all the older age class animals and big bucks are taken and you’re only left with a few younger bucks you end up with some does NOT being bred as the does have Evolved to have their fawns in a very short window. This window aids survival as it floods the landscape with young deer all at the same time in order to overwhelm the predator population with too many animals all at the same time so they can’t consume them all. Most coyote kills on deer are done during their first few weeks. I have personally seen many dry does while hiking in early summer the past few years so I know many of these does were likely never pregnant. This is why the best and strongest bucks doing the breeding will pass along their superior genetics which aid survival. When we as humans hunt them back so deeply and leave the herd in such poor shape and then impact their winter range with oil and gas the deer herd suffers. The elk need to be harvested at a much higher rate as they are impacting those deer herds all across the summer ranges as multiple studies have shown and Dr. Monteith has also stated this multiple times on multiple forums how the elk displace the deer and hammer the same habitats and forage the deer utilise. Your Ignorance on what is affecting deer herds is apparent. I agree 50,000 is no longer obtainable but 40,000 should be the goal along with a healthier and more balanced herd which has strong, superior genetic bucks doing the breeding like Popeye and Goliath passing along genes as they earned that right as the biggest and strongest rather than a few rag tag 2 points.
You saw dry does early in the summer? In June when they've just dropped fawns and have them hidden?
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
I think in that herd up there, there are plenty of mature bucks to do the breeding. They may not currently have large antlers, but that doesn't matter, they still have the same genetic make up and they are of good age for breeding. Plenty of 3-4 year old bucks.
Certainly not plenty as the numbers are low this Winter, and a significant decline has occurred in the last 5 years alone. My observations are many yearling bucks are doing the breeding and it is well known their fertility rates are 10-20% lower their first year as the higher age class bucks. The biggest problem with this herd though is excessive hunting pressure, drought, poor nutrition available, massive oil and gas development on winter ranges, competition and displacement by elk, highway and road kills, predators and the dreadful One every decade massive winterkills. I personally think the herd never recovered significantly from the 1992-93 winter. This thread is what can we do to improve it!? Decreasing harvest on those larger class bucks I think will help produce bigger, stronger and better genetic fawns with higher survival rates and less dry does. The best genes ie strongest and best fit bucks aren’t the ones doing the breeding, it’s a lot of spikes and rag tag remnants. https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/game_management/deer/genetics/
 
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highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
You saw dry does early in the summer? In June when they've just dropped fawns and have them hidden?
No, I usually start hiking around the 4th of July as does Founder when he starts out scouting. Lately I have witnessed significantly more dry does and the best fawn recruitment we have had in the past 5 years was 64/100 does in 2019. In 2017 it was only 47 and in 2018 it was only 52. Dismal numbers.
 

rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
Obviously you aren’t very adept at reading what was stated. Who do you prefer doing the breeding of those does, yearling spike bucks or large dominant and superior physical specimen bucks like Popeye? Obviously we don’t have any Popeyes remaining but the goal should be to have those larger age class deer doing the breeding so we can keep fertility high, produce bigger and stronger fawns and not have dry does. Now who is IGNORANT?
Perhaps you should come up here and take a drive and look at the bucks that have been doing the breeding this year. Plenty of nice framed bucks having a great time this year out in the does. Sensationalizing that there are only 1 and 2 year old bucks doing the breeding around here at Labarge, Big Piney, Pinedale, and the Kemmerer side of the range shows you're ignorance sir. Have a great day.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Perhaps you should come up here and take a drive and look at the bucks that have been doing the breeding this year. Plenty of nice framed bucks having a great time this year out in the does. Sensationalizing that there are only 1 and 2 year old bucks doing the breeding around here at Labarge, Big Piney, Pinedale, and the Kemmerer side of the range shows you're ignorance sir. Have a great day.
I live and work right in the heart of these Winter ranges. There aren’t that many big bucks out there doing the breeding. I’m not saying they don’t exist, my point is the top quality bucks like we had for decades just isn’t anywhere close to what it once was and the studies and research shows well how lower quality genetics and bucks with small antlers doing the breeding are decreasing the genetic quality of the overall herd. Have a good day sir.
 
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rocky2track

Active Member
Messages
217
Then I don't live far from you. From the bucks I've seen this year ruttin' around, even if there only 3 or 4 years old, are still passing on some top quality genetics even though they may not be at their peak potential. I'm not worried at all. Were seeing that drop in age class on the winter range, takes this long to see that damage to the bucks from them boomer winters, totally expected.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
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2,000
I live and work right in the heart of these Winter ranges. There aren’t that many big bucks out there doing the breeding. I’m not saying they don’t exist, my point is the top quality bucks like we had for decades just isn’t anywhere close to what it once was and the studies and research shows well how lower quality genetics and bucks with small antlers doing the breeding are decreasing the genetic quality of the overall herd. Have a good day sir.
You do understand that this article is talking about whitetails? Mule deer bucks collect harems of does, not at all the same rutting activity of whitetails. All the G&F data I have seen points to adequate buck/doe ratios in the region you are talking about.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Then I don't live far from you. From the bucks I've seen this year ruttin' around, even if there only 3 or 4 years old, are still passing on some top quality genetics even though they may not be at their peak potential. I'm not worried at all. Were seeing that drop in age class on the winter range, takes this long to see that damage to the bucks from them boomer winters, totally expected.
I am very worried and concerned. Hence this post. When many yearling spike bucks are doing the breeding then we are damaging the long term genetics of the herd. The large, dominant and superior genetic bucks are so few and far between right now some of the does aren’t getting bred, the yearlong bucks are 10-20% less fertile and we are getting extensive outside pressure to stop feeding the elk on the 22+ elk feed ground areas due to animal rights activists wanting to shut them down. Having 25,000 more elk out there on those Winter ranges could be the final straw that leads to a downward spiral in the Wyoming Range herd. Just sitting back and saying everything is fine is at best Ignorant and potentially a fatal blow for this once great Wyoming treasure of a resource of majestic mountain mule deer.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
You do understand that this article is talking about whitetails? Mule deer bucks collect harems of does, not at all the same rutting activity of whitetails. All the G&F data I have seen points to adequate buck/doe ratios in the region you are talking about.
Game farms where they breed the largest animals and study extensively superior genetics pay huge big bucks for the best large, superior genetic bucks they can afford. Raising animals whether white tails, mule deer or dogs or cattle, you always want the best genetics you can obtain for the breeding of the does and females. The Wyoming Range buck/doe ratios have declined and haven’t rebounded. “The overall proportion of bucks seen was the same as last year at 29 bucks per 100 does, which is also directly related to the effects of the 2017 winter. The ten-year average buck:doe ratio is 35:100.” We are reaching a point where yearling bucks are doing more and more of the breeding, many of them spike bucks and they have significantly lower fertility rates which produce dry does and sub-standard genetics. The rut is also prolonged and spread out with less bucks available producing fawns born later in the summer, smaller and weaker for survival of the upcoming winter.
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
Messages
884
So, let’s say that a yearling buck breeds a doe. Who’s to say that yearling buck doesn’t have the genetic make up to grown a huge set of antlers?
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
So, let’s say that a yearling buck breeds a doe. Who’s to say that yearling buck doesn’t have the genetic make up to grown a huge set of antlers?
Study after study after study has shown how if primarily young yearling bucks or inferior spike bucks doing the majority of the breeding diminish herd quality. You have lower fertility rates, ie 10-20% of the does may not get pregnant. The fawns are born smaller, weaker and later in the year decreasing their chance of survival of the upcoming winter. The antler quality is also diminished as the buck/doe ratios get skewed downward and primarily yearling bucks doing the breeding.


The following are our conclusions based on penned research:
1. Antler development is genetically based. Not all deer have the same genetic potential. All deer are born with a genetic potential for antler development. This means that some deer have the genetic potential to produce big antlers while some deer don’t. This potential is limited by the environment, so even if a deer is genetically programmed to produce big antlers and it doesn’t get enough to eat, it may not produce big antlers. On the other hand, if the genetic potential is for small antlers, no amount of highly nutritious food will make does in pens, a high percentage of the male offspring were spikes, even when nutrition was good. ”
”Our answer to callers is that if they want to improve the overall antler development of their herd, then they should harvest spikes. We often say something like, “If two spikes walk out in front of you in a 2-buck county, shoot the smallest one first and don’t let the second one get away.” https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/game_management/deer/genetics/
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Was talking to a friend who had a good suggestion and just wanted to float it here. How would hunters feel if the Wyoming Range herds sold a license for residents which was good for 2 years instead of one? You would pay double the price and it would be issued for 2 consecutive hunting season but only one tag coupon could be used for harvest. You could still hunt every year but if you harvested in the first year then you would not be able to hunt the 2nd consecutive year. This seems like a decent way of restricting hunters who like to kill a deer every year. It seems like a decent way to restrict the buck harvest a little and also still provide annual hunting opportunity without resorting to a limited quota hunt. Any opinions?
 

nripepi

Very Active Member
Messages
1,554
Was talking to a friend who had a good suggestion and just wanted to float it here. How would hunters feel if the Wyoming Range herds sold a license for residents which was good for 2 years instead of one? You would pay double the price and it would be issued for 2 consecutive hunting season but only one tag coupon could be used for harvest. You could still hunt every year but if you harvested in the first year then you would not be able to hunt the 2nd consecutive year. This seems like a decent way of restricting hunters who like to kill a deer every year. It seems like a decent way to restrict the buck harvest a little and also still provide annual hunting opportunity without resorting to a limited quota hunt. Any opinions?
That is a great idea! I agree with highfastflyer some on this post as you reduce the buck to doe ratio you go down a slippery slope on both genetics and fawn survival (not all breed at the same time so fawns are born at different times). You have to manage towards 30:100 or whatever the optimal number is. I spent mid to late November in Colorado in units that take a lot of points to draw and others that take very few to draw and the difference was quite staggering with 4x4s doing the breeding in the low quota areas with one buck per 3 to 5 does and yearlings with big groups of 20+ does or even no bucks at all with 20 does in the highly hunted areas and pretty much no mature bucks with does.
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
Messages
3,702
Game farms where they breed the largest animals and study extensively superior genetics pay huge big bucks for the best large, superior genetic bucks they can afford. Raising animals whether white tails, mule deer or dogs or cattle, you always want the best genetics you can obtain for the breeding of the does and females. The Wyoming Range buck/doe ratios have declined and haven’t rebounded. “The overall proportion of bucks seen was the same as last year at 29 bucks per 100 does, which is also directly related to the effects of the 2017 winter. The ten-year average buck:doe ratio is 35:100.” We are reaching a point where yearling bucks are doing more and more of the breeding, many of them spike bucks and they have significantly lower fertility rates which produce dry does and sub-standard genetics. The rut is also prolonged and spread out with less bucks available producing fawns born later in the summer, smaller and weaker for survival of the upcoming winter.
Not true at all. Game farms are a for profit run business catering to a particular form of livestock. Livestock that are enhanced via supplemental feeding, genetic alteration, and about as far from a natural situation as you can find.

Big, genetically engineered antlers, do NOT mean dominate or "best" genetics or even genetics beneficial to a wild herd of animals over time at all.

Its also a fact that a bucks genetics do NOT change over time, they're the same genetics whether they breed at 1.5 years old, 4.5 years old, or 10.5 years old. Your theory that a 1.5 year old bucks genetics are "inferior" is all bullchit.

What you're wanting to reproduce is totally unnatural, the Wyoming Range is not a game farm in Texas.

I'd like for you to explain how a 5.5-7.5 year old buck, that say may be "only" a 150 or 160 buck his whole life, that has survived several hunting seasons, is in perfect health, is genetically "inferior" simply because he doesn't score 185? A high B&C score doesn't mean "good genetics" anymore than a 7.5 year old buck that scores 150 means "bad genetics".

What we should strive for is a diverse and broad range of genetic variability in wild herds of deer, elk, moose, sheep, etc. I don't have any desire to see the Wyoming Range, or any wild herds of ungulates, turned into a genetically mutated/enhanced mess manipulated by what some trophy hunter thinks . Keep that crap on game farms...period.

I really think you should just head down to Mexico and buy yourself a high scoring mule deer buck that's been raised in a pen.
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
Messages
3,702
Was talking to a friend who had a good suggestion and just wanted to float it here. How would hunters feel if the Wyoming Range herds sold a license for residents which was good for 2 years instead of one? You would pay double the price and it would be issued for 2 consecutive hunting season but only one tag coupon could be used for harvest. You could still hunt every year but if you harvested in the first year then you would not be able to hunt the 2nd consecutive year. This seems like a decent way of restricting hunters who like to kill a deer every year. It seems like a decent way to restrict the buck harvest a little and also still provide annual hunting opportunity without resorting to a limited quota hunt. Any opinions?
Yes, what about the vast majority of hunters who don't just hunt for high scoring B&C bucks?

Believe it or not, plenty of people don't just hunt for antlers...
 

nfh

Long Time Member
Messages
6,056
Serious question here. Can deer genes skip a generation like humans? Seems everyone seems to think if popeye breeds 40 does then you are going to create 40 popeye.
Then there is the factor of doe genes
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
Messages
3,702
Serious question here. Can deer genes skip a generation like humans? Seems everyone seems to think if popeye breeds 40 does then you are going to create 40 popeyes.
The does are 50% of the genetics so the answer is NO just because a buck with big antlers breeds a doe, doesn't mean his offspring will express the same big antlers. The genetic potential is still there...and may be expressed in future generations.

Genetics are pretty complicated...google is your friend for a deeper dive into all that.

Cliff notes version is that each allele caries 2 copies of each chromosome, a dominate (the expressed allele) and a recessive or "masked" (unexpressed allele).

So, that is what you're referring to in a "skipped" generation of expressed gene. The gene is still there its just not expressed since its a recessive gene. It may be expressed in future generations however when its once again the dominate gene.
 
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highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@BuzzH “Your theory that a 1.5 year old bucks genetics are "inferior" is all bullchit.” You miss the point and the implications of young bucks and low buck to doe ratios which leave young bucks to do the breeding. Not all of these bucks are inferior but some of them with a high buck to doe ratio would rarely be able to perform the breeding as the bigger, stronger and more dominant bucks who are the best superior genetic specimens of the species have proven themselves the top dog and will do the breeding. Some of these unproven yearling bucks are spike bucks, not even 2 points as a yearling and we know well the research shows via study after study after study that spike bucks produce smaller antlers. In low buck to doe ratio areas the younger bucks are less fertile ie 10-20% lower fertility rates. The younger bucks aren’t as strong and if they miss a doe estrus cycle and wait another month they may not have the stamina or the fertility to service 2 or 3 month long estrus cycles. Fawns born later in the year because not enough bucks are present for the first round then extends the breeding season which means fawns are born later in the year thus decreasing their survival ability. We all know what happens to those fawns born in July and August, they rarely make it through a Wyoming winter.

Regarding your assertion we are manipulating genetics, you should look in the mirror. Every hunter and every game manager is altering artificially the gene pool and genetics by hunting regulations like season lengths, dates, sex harvest ie buck or doe, weapon choice etc. all alters the remaining bucks and does remaining to perform the breeding. Humans do this, this is what we do as hunters and game managers. If you don’t like it I suggest you go join the Sierra Club and let Nature take its course. I got news for you. Nature is far crueler and produces far more suffering than humans could ever dream of. Go watch a wolf attack an elk and let me know how you prefer purely natural genetics at work.

Your other question: “Yes, what about the vast majority of hunters who don't just hunt for high scoring B&C bucks?” Perhaps one solution may be those who want to kill a deer annually could do so with one tag that is spike or two point only. The other hunters who want a chance at a larger buck would buy a license good for 2 years but only one deer coupon attached to it so if you kill in the first year you cannot hunt the 2nd year. This would perhaps decrease the overall harvest of larger bucks. Many states use a similar strategy with elk. Utah comes to mind with their spike only elk strategy.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,000
@BuzzH
You know once a guy on this forum said two years of 4 point APR genetically altered a deer area in Central Wyoming! :LOL: :LOL:

You think him and Flyer are related?
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@BuzzH
You know once a guy on this forum said two years of 4 point APR genetically altered a deer area in Central Wyoming! :LOL: :LOL:

You think him and Flyer are related?
The research is quite clear on that one. Perhaps you should study what is already known in the Scientific Literature.

APRs DO increase total buck:doe ratios; however results vary and are usually temporary.

• APRs are very popular with the hunting public. However public understanding of the pros and cons appears to be limited, and is complicated by popular literature concerning APRs.

• Most benefits occur in ≤ 3 years; use of APRs beyond this often appear to result in negative impacts to both total buck ratios and mature buck ratios. Continued long term use of APRs (≥3-4 years) may result in lower total male:female ratios.
https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Habitat/Mule Deer Initiative/MULEDEER_ANTLERPOINTREGS_REVIE0006790.pdf
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,000
The research is quite clear on that one. Perhaps you should study what is already known in the Scientific Literature.
The "research" you supplied a link for made no mention of genetics, which is what we were talking about, and how they were effected by APR, specifically what effects on genetics are caused by two years of a 4 point APR. Stick to the point Flyer, it helps in a discussion.

Also, I'm not sure you understand the difference in a study and peer reviewed scientific literature. That G&F study is riddled with opinion and bias against using APR and it's not peer reviewed. I can give several examples of how the Wyo G&F tries to implement management based incomplete data. CWD is a prime example.

It's interesting to note, ten years later the G&F continues to use APR in deer management, mostly the 3 point variety.

Lastly, don't assume my position on APR as I haven't stated it.
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
Messages
3,702
@highfastflyer...

Do you have any evidence of there not being a high enough buck to doe ratio in the Wyoming Range or enough bucks to breed all the does anywhere in Wyoming?

Also, I work in the Wyoming Range every year from June through October, hunt it once in a while.

I must be blind, as I don't see all these fawns you're claiming are being born in July and August. I've seen enough deer to recognize a fawn born in August...and I've never one time seen that.

For that to happen, that would mean deer rutting and breeding well into January. Haven't seen that either.

That leads me to believe, that you're making crap up to try to prove a point you don't have.

Also, antler size does not equate to dominance or dominate genes...what are you basing that on? From what I've witnessed first hand, usually age plays a bigger role in dominance than antler size. Sure, sometimes you have a buck that has both age and antler size and is clearly dominate. But, I've also seen larger antlered deer that were younger, getting their ass beat down by a buck that had much smaller antlers but was older.

You're attempting to equate dominance with antler size and reproduce game farm genetics on wild deer, and that just doesn't reconcile into reality. Even more laughable is you're citing opinion and research from captive whitetail deer facilities bred under controlled situations and trying to correlate that to wild mule deer in Wyoming. That doesn't work either.

I don't ever want deer hunting in Wyoming or anywhere else to become as artificial as you're trying to make it. I want the ability to hunt deer every year and make my own choice on the deer I shoot...or make the choice to not shoot one at all.

I don't need you telling me I can only shoot one deer every other year, or that I have to shoot a spike or 2 point because you feel they aren't genetically superior, which isn't true anyway.

You need to move to Mexico or Texas...they more closely align with your deer management theories.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@jm77 “Stick to the point Flyer, it helps in a discussion.” I agree perhaps you should heed your own PATHETIC advice and discuss the main topic. Hint, it isn’t APR we are discussing in the Wyoming Range.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@BuzzH Perhaps you should read what I posted and not assume or misinterpret what I stated. I never said I saw lots of fawns being born in August. I linked research which has shown having a low buck to doe ration can cause fawns being born late.

I have lived and worked in Western Wyoming for 50+ years and hunted it for 40. It’s the worst I have ever seen it. PERIOD. High basins which once held numerous big bucks now have ZERO deer, herds of elk, and dozens of hunters. Low deer numbers, very few bucks and loads of hunters. The winter ranges are down substantially.

Your other comment is the MAIN problem. “ I want the ability to hunt deer every year and make my own choice on the deer I shoot...or make the choice to not shoot one at all.” This style of same old same old and do nothing management has caused us to get to the worst status with the lowest deer numbers, lowest buck to doe ratios and everybody wanting to have it their own way with no changes. It don’t work. Something needs to change or we are going to lose this treasure trove resource for the rest of our lifetimes at a minimum.

Regarding spike bucks you don’t know any of what the research shows with your Ignorant statements.

“Antler characteristics and body weight of white-tailed deer are heritable characters and influenced by both genetics and nutrition.
Yearling white-tailed deer with spike antlers are inferior to fork-antlered yearlings with regard to body weight and antler characteristics and will remain inferior in succeeding years.
There is a positive correlation between body weight and total antler points in each year.”

“I don't ever want deer hunting in Wyoming or anywhere else to become as artificial as you're trying to make it.” Yeah, lets just continue to do NOTHING. All I have proposed is moving the opener in 135 up to coincide with the rest of the areas, harvest substantially more elk and try and restrict harvest by offering a license good for two years but only one deer can be harvested. What is your suggestion? Criticize, whine like a teenage crybaby and do NOTHING. PATHETIC.
 
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jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,000
@jm77 “Stick to the point Flyer, it helps in a discussion.” I agree perhaps you should heed your own PATHETIC advice and discuss the main topic. Hint, it isn’t APR we are discussing in the Wyoming Range.
It happens every time with Flyer, he can't keep up so he resorts to name calling and rhetoric. Last I looked this post was about everything that effects the Wyoming Range Deer. APRs are definitely in the the mix. You chose to take on the topic of APRs by posting this. Here's the pot calling the kettle black:
"The research is quite clear on that one. Perhaps you should study what is already known in the Scientific Literature.

APRs DO increase total buck:doe ratios; however results vary and are usually temporary.

• APRs are very popular with the hunting public. However public understanding of the pros and cons appears to be limited, and is complicated by popular literature concerning APRs.

• Most benefits occur in ≤ 3 years; use of APRs beyond this often appear to result in negative impacts to both total buck ratios and mature buck ratios. Continued long term use of APRs (≥3-4 years) may result in lower total male:female ratios."
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
@jm77 Ok, I’ll not follow your little temper tantrums and juvenile criticisms. What are you proposing, an APR, is that your solution to the Wyoming Range deer problem? I’ll sit back and seek your grand wizardry solutions as so far I’m not too impressed by your Juvenile posts. What can we do to improve the deer numbers, buck to doe ratios and improve buck harvest and return the Wyoming Range back to its former status of one of the greatest trophy mule deer regions of Wyoming? by the way, we had an APR in 134/135 for several years.
 
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jm77

Very Active Member
Messages
2,000
@jm77 Ok, I’ll not follow your little temper tantrums and rhetoric. What are you proposing, an APR, is that your solution to the Wyoming Range deer problem? I’ll sit back and seek your grand wizardry solutions as so far I’m not too impressed by your Juvenile posts. What can we do to improve the deer numbers, buck to doe ratios and improve buck harvest and return the Wyoming Range back to its former status of one of the greatest trophy mule deer regions of Wyoming? by the way, we had an APR in 134/135 for several years.
Dude, please stop projecting your attitudes to me. You are the one acting like a child on this thread.

Go back and read post #60, my suggestions are there. And if you had attended the Commission meetings like you said, you would know why season dates are set like they are.
 

Hunt_the_West

Active Member
Messages
323
@jm77 What can we do to improve the deer numbers, buck to doe ratios and improve buck harvest and return the Wyoming Range back to its former status of one of the greatest trophy mule deer regions of Wyoming? by the way, we had an APR in 134/135 for several years.
Curious as to what regions in Wyoming you consider above the Wyoming range for trophy mule deer?
 

PLK

Active Member
Messages
249
Flyer,
What do you mean when you say, “improve buck harvest”? Higher success rates? Higher success rates on mature bucks? Higher success rates on bucks with high scoring antlers?

As far as the 2 year license with only 1 tag, would that license be unit or region specific or would it be statewide? Would it apply to only residents or would non-residents be able to have the same license. This seems like a very complicated proposal with many variable. I think simpler Is better when it comes to licenses and tags. Also, I don’t think any Wyoming residents that I know would agree to 2 deer tags every 4 years.
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Dude, please stop projecting your attitudes to me. You are the one acting like a child on this thread.

Go back and read post #60, my suggestions are there. And if you had attended the Commission meetings like you said, you would know why season dates are set like they are.
I already said I agreed with most of that but it’s very generic. You state an increase in elk harvest. I have been stating this over and over and over until I’m blue in the face we need far more Cow elk harvest. My other suggestions are increased predator control, winter range habitat enhancement projects but we have been doing those for decades. Your suggestions were likely for the Casper area, I don’t hunt there much but recently did hunt area 34 and was not impressed compared to what G/H were in the past. If you haven’t hunted G/H much you can’t have any knowledge of how bad those high mountain alpine basins are loaded with elk in September which once every basin held dozens of big bucks and elk were scarce. Now it’s the opposite, elk are plentiful and deer are scarce. During the deer hunt in September I now see hunters and elk in all those basins and very few deer, on the Winter ranges the quality of bucks has slipped tremendously from decades past. I propose we limit buck harvest somehow. One suggestion is to align area 135 with the rest of the areas and either start them all on the same date. Founder suggests and I agree the outfitters are hammering them with a 3 week long season, we should cut that back to 2 weeks. Finally I suggest some mechanism where we still allow General hunting but try and decrease the harvest by offering a 2 year license with only 1 tag attached. This might help decrease the harvest a bit. I personally think APR are not what we need in the Wyoming Range as most hunters aren’t taking the yearling bucks they are hugely knocking out the 2-3 year old bucks though and this is one reason our genetic quality is decreasing on the Wyoming Range, especially with inferior spike bucks doing the breeding. I don’t follow your APR suggestion and how it would be applied to areas G/H?
 

highfastflyer

Active Member
Messages
400
Flyer,
What do you mean when you say, “improve buck harvest”? Higher success rates? Higher success rates on mature bucks? Higher success rates on bucks with high scoring antlers?

As far as the 2 year license with only 1 tag, would that license be unit or region specific or would it be statewide? Would it apply to only residents or would non-residents be able to have the same license. This seems like a very complicated proposal with many variable. I think simpler Is better when it comes to licenses and tags. Also, I don’t think any Wyoming residents that I know would agree to 2 deer tags every 4 years.
It would only apply in my suggestion to the Western Wyoming herds, mostly G and H. It would be a resident restriction as that is the only group which can obtain general tags. If you want to cutback nonresidents more we could discuss that also but those have been chopped back tremendously already.
 

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