Archive for May, 2008

Changing our Theme and Appearance

Posted by on Friday, 23 May, 2008

We are updating our theme to make things a little cleaner and easier on the eye. Hopefully you will approve. We are open to comments and suggestions.Tell us the Secret


Nevada DOW Links for the Mule Deer Hunter

Posted by on Friday, 23 May, 2008

Nevada NDOW links for the Mule Deer Hunter

Click on the highlighted links for information:

Nevada Management Plan for Mule Deer

Note: In the entire Nevada Mule Deer Management Plan there are only two paragraphs about predator control. This fact should tell you a lot about how (un)successful the plan will be in restoring mule deer to their former glory.

Nevada Predator Management Plan

Note: There are six predator management projects, and there will be plenty of money spent on them. Will they do any good? One is to protect Big Horn Sheep from Mountain Lions. Two others are to protect Mule Deer Fawns from coyotes (While the NDOW acknowledges that coyotes can kill as many as 77% of the fawns, the plan is to only kill enough coyotes to start an increase in deer numbers. Instead of spending little, if any, to have coyotes killed by hunters, NDOW will spend a lot of money using a full-time coyote agent. The coyote projects are in units 231 and 222). Two more projects are to protect Mule Deer from both Lions and Coyotes. These two projects have potential. Another project is to poison ravens to see if the sage grouse will recover. Ravens are protected, so instead of having hunters kill them for free, NDOW will spend money doing this also.

Nevada Mule Deer Harvest and Draw Reports

Nevada 2007 Non-resident Mule DeerBonus Point Report

Nevada Mule Deer Harvest Report

Free Nevada BLM maps for the Mule Deer hunter

Posted by on Tuesday, 20 May, 2008

Free Nevada BLM maps for the Mule Deer Hunter

Would you like some Nevada BLM maps?

Click below

Nevada links for BLM maps

Mule Deer Hunting in Idaho

Posted by on Wednesday, 14 May, 2008

Idaho Mule Deer hunting is poor 

Before I started hunting mule deer in Idaho it must have been fabulous. I will tell you how good it was in the early 80’s when I started. If I saw another hunter in the same canyon in which I was hunting, it was rare. And then, they or I would usually leave because it was too crowded. The hunting season ran from early August to mid January depending on where you hunted. Tags were over-the-counter. In some areas, you could kill 2 bucks. Non-resident tags were priced reasonably. Resident tags were a steal. You could hunt where you wanted.  Wardens were seldom seen. Big bucks were common. Seasons were long and you could hunt with multiple weapons in multiple areas. Hunting during the rut was common practice, and deer were two to three times more plentiful than they are today.


Now Idaho has done a mock-survey to see what is wanted

I cannot take credit for discovering this survey on my own. It was brought to my attention by Don of Buckhuntersblog. Here is the link to an Idaho Mule Deer hunter survey –> IDAHO DEER HUNTER SURVEY.

Update on North Dakota Mule Deer Status

Posted by on Tuesday, 13 May, 2008

Bruce Stillings, big game biologist, Dickinson, said biologists counted 2,649 mule deer in 291 square miles. Mule deer density per square mile was 9.1, a slight decrease from 9.6 in 2007, but significantly higher than the long-term average of 6.6 mule deer per square mile.North Dakota Mule Deer

Biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 study areas since the 1950s. The survey assists the department in obtaining solid mule deer population data for the badlands, such as demographic trends and production ratios (buck-to-doe and fawn-to-doe). 

Mild winters, good production, and a conservative and responsible harvest strategy have provided above-average mule deer density in the badlands.


North Dakota’s 2008 deer season will offer 149,400 licenses to hunters this fall, an increase of 850 from last year. Mule deer licenses will increase in the Badlands because surveys showed a stable to increasing number of deer. The number of mule deer licenses available for 2008 is 8,600, an increase of 250 from last year.For muzzleloaders, 2,816 licenses, 12 more than last year, are available, and there will be 345 restricted youth antlered mule deer, up five from last year.The fall also will include a seven-day experimental antlerless-only season in northeastern North Dakota that will run from Sept. 26 to Oct. 2 only for hunters with 2C and 2D antlerless, or doe, deer licenses.

Mild winters and a corresponding increase in reproductive success helped white-tailed deer populations climb above management objectives in many units in northeastern, north-central and parts of southwestern North Dakota, said Randy Kreil, NDGFD wildlife chief.

“We will continue to be aggressive in units where deer numbers are above management goals,” Kreil said.

Units with deer numbers closer to management objectives are in the northwest and southeast.

Another consideration for the special season in the northeast is the bovine tuberculosis outbreak in neighboring northwestern Minnesota.

“We believe it would be prudent to reduce deer numbers in this area ahead of an unlikely but not improbable movement of this disease into North Dakota,” said Kreil.

The 2008 deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 7 and continues through Nov. 23. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons are available through the NDGFD’s Web site, Paper applications will be available at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The deadline for applying is June 4.

Why I hunt

Posted by on Sunday, 11 May, 2008

I found this article about the reason for hunting and I liked it, but before passing it on, I would like to add a few comments of my own.

Hunting is often referred to as a sport. Detractors may froth at the mouth and call it a blood sport because they do not understand. I have often reasoned that all sports have one thing in common: They provide the participant with a rush-producing challenge. If not so, who would participate?Buck Nut

It is difficult, at best, for me to describe why I hunt, since the reason is so multi-faceted. Camaraderie, outdoors, challenge, wits, adrenaline, all come to mind and yet, this is still only the tip of the iceberg. Someday, I will invest the time to fully describe my enthusiasm for hunting. For now, suffice it to say – I still don’t completely understand it. I do know that I am a MULE DEER FANATIC.


This article appears in the deerPhD blog and was written by Bryan:

Ask any hunter about the ‘rush’ that occurs as a buck approaches, and he or she will undoubtedly tell you it’s like no other ‘high’ they’ve known. A primary cause of this rush is adrenalin, and it’s another reason why I hunt.

I definitely wouldn’t lump hunters into the category of “Thrill-seekers”. You know, people who jump off cliffs or out of planes, or stuff like that. Granted, I’ve done my share of thrill-seeking in my day: bungee jumping, jumping off of a 70 foot bridge into a river, etc. However, the adrenalin rush that occurs during a hunt is so much different. It’s coupled with peace and anticipation, and if I don’t experience the rush I won’t stop hunting. That is, I don’t hunt for the Adrenalin rush, but if it occurs (i.e., if I see a buck), it’s icing on the cake.

I mentioned before that many hunters will describe the hunting rush as being better than any other high. To illustrate this point, I want to share a story about a hunting guide I once met; his name was Fred. During our hunt, Fred shared his story with me. He talked about how he used to ride be a wild biker and a drug addict. Fred had experienced most ‘highs’ of this world. Fred added that as he started to straighten out his life, he missed the ‘highs’ of his old life…and then Fred discovered hunting. Here’s a quote from Fred as we finished tracking my first wild boar:

”(Loud holler). That’s it buddy! You did it! I get the shakes and I’m not even hunting right now…this is the best feeling in the world! You know, I’ve been drunk and high and everything in between, and I wouldn’t trade this feeling right now for any of that!”

I guess sometimes Adrenalin can be our worst nightmare too, such as when our shaking legs inhibit us from implementing a successful and ethical shot. But that’s one of the glories of hunting. You’ve got to master your prey and yourself to be good.

Here’s to the rush…and here’s to guys like Fred…

Update on Nevada Mule Deer Status

Posted by on Friday, 9 May, 2008

Nevada Mule Deer Status

Coyotes killing Nevada Mule DeerNevada plans to reduce mule deer tag numbers for 2008 owing to very low fawn/doe ratios. This points to coyotes, but I doubt DOW personnel are willing to acknowledge it. I think they would rather blame the weather.


In 2007, there were 18,261 deer tags available to resident and nonresident hunters. If the commission chooses to adopt recommendations from NDOW wildlife biologists there will be 16,242 deer tags available in 2008, a reduction of 2,019 tags. This reduction follows back-to-back deer surveys in which biologists documented very low fawn production.

During fall deer surveys we “classified more than 19,000 deer but documented one of the lowest fawn production values ever observed at 33 fawns per 100 adults. Spring surveys found the statewide average fawn-to-adult ratio to be just 26 fawns to 100 adults. Especially hard hit were the northeast, central and east-central portions of the state,” said Mike Dobel, NDOW supervising game biologist in Reno.

The habitat conditions leading to low fawn production and survival rates this past year are similar to those that lead to low fawn recruitment (birth & survival rate) following the winter of 1992-93. In that circumstance, Dobel said, a drought period was followed by a heavy winter. Likewise, the winter of 2006-07 was very dry but the winter of 2007-08 had average to above average precipitation combined with extremely cold temperatures.

Statewide the estimated mule deer population is 108,000, a five percent decrease from the 2007 estimate. The 2008 tag quota recommendations are available on the NDOW website –

Do Antler Point Restrictions work?

Posted by on Friday, 9 May, 2008

Whether antler point restrictions work or not depends on what you think the objective is. If the objective is for hunters to see more mature bucks while hunting, then it works. If the objective is to increase buck harvest or to improve herd genetics, then maybe it doesn’t.

A story from Michigan:

Beginning in 1993 with the “Dooly County Experiment” in Georgia, several counties and deer management units (DMUs) across the U.S. have been placed under state-regulated antler restrictions.
Today, numerous counties or DMUs in Georgia, Michigan, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, and other states are operating under some form of minimum antler restriction. These are in addition to statewide antler restrictions in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania. Collectively, these restrictions have resulted from the growing support among sportsmen for opportunities to manage and hunt whitetails under the Quality Deer Management (QDM) approach.
The notoriety of the Dooly County project spurred the interest of Michigan schoolteacher and avid whitetail hunter, Marc Yenkel of Claire, Michigan. In 1996, Marc petitioned the Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MIDNR) for an antler restriction in his immediate hunting area of about three square miles. It was politely refused.
“We wanted a chance to harvest 2 1/2- or 3 1/2-year-old bucks,” said Marc. “People around here had bushel baskets of 4-point racks. We wanted the opportunity, the challenge of hunting an older deer. I have 160 acres and the guy next to me has 3,000 and it really snowballed from there.”
Despite the failed first effort, Marc gathered several local supporters and petitioned the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (MNRC) in 1997 for a larger area of about 20 square miles. This also was rejected on the basis that it would break-up an existing DMU. Marc then joined the Mid-Michigan Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) and together they drafted a proposal for all of DMU 118 (173,000 acres) with input from the MIDNR Wildlife Division.
Based on this request, the MIDNR adopted guidelines similar to those used in Georgia, which require, among other things, landowner and hunter surveys to be conducted in the affected area to gauge support. A minimum of 66 percent support from both landowners and hunters is then required for the antler restriction to be implemented. Eventually, a survey was conducted, which revealed 68 percent support from landowners and 53 percent support from hunters for a mandatory 3-points-on-one-side minimum antler restriction in DMU 118. The MIDNR withdrew their support due to the hunter survey not meeting the 66 percent minimum support requirement. Still undeterred, Marc and his supporters petitioned the MINRC again in 1999 and were successful in obtaining the necessary 4-vote majority within the Commission to proceed with the regulation for a minimum of five years.
Unlike most other county-wide antler restrictions, DMU 118 provides a unique opportunity to objectively assess the potential of this approach because deer harvest data have been regularly collected for many years, both pre- and post-implementation of the restrictions. Now, four years into the 5-year program, the results have been very encouraging. The following results were prepared from data provided by the MIDNR.
– total deer harvest in DMU 118 peaked in 1999 (the year following implementation of the antler restriction) at 416 deer and appears to be stabilizing around 250 animals, or slightly above the 3-year base average of 235 before the initiative began.
Importantly, the sex ratio within the harvest has improved considerably. Prior to introduction of the antler restriction, an average of 1.9 bucks were harvested for every doe harvested. The 4-year average during this initiative was 1.3 bucks harvested per doe (range 1.1-1.7). Also, the total antlerless harvest exceeded the 3-year base average of 104 during each of the four years, including 2002 when 109 antlerless deer were harvested. The steady decline in antlerless harvest during the four years of this initiative is likely due to a reduction in total deer density as reported by many hunters in the area.
One of the most encouraging results was that, contrary to many predictions, total buck harvest did not decline under this restriction. In fact, in all four years, except 2001, total buck harvest exceeded the 3-year base average of 131 (range 117-203).
Another positive result was the decline in the percentage of button bucks in the antlerless harvest (Figure 2). The 3-year base average prior to the restriction was 19 percent, compared to the 4-year average during the project of 11.5 percent — a 39 percent reduction. It is likely that the increased survival of button bucks was a major reason why total buck harvest remained above the 3-year base average when the total herd was being reduced through increased antlerless harvest.
The impact of the restriction on the ages of bucks in the harvest also was encouraging (Figure 3). Following a slight increase in the number of yearling bucks harvested in 1999, this number has declined to around 60 — a 41 percent reduction from the 3-year base average of 102. This decrease occurred despite the fact that the 3-points-on-one-side restriction only protects around 50 percent of the yearling bucks in this area.
As expected, the protection of yearling bucks resulted in an increased harvest of older bucks. For example, the 3-year base averages for 2 1/2-, 3 1/2-, and 4 1/2+-year-old bucks were 21, seven, and one percent, respectively. In contrast, the 4-year averages for these age classes following the restriction were 49, 23, and four percent, respectively. This translates to increases of 133 percent, 229 percent, and 300 percent for 2 1/2, 3 1/2, and 4 1/2+ year olds, respectively.
While the data show a drastic improvement, the regulations were a hit with many hunters in the area.
“It only took about two years to see the results and it just keeps getting better,” Marc said. “This year I took a buck that grossed 107 inches and my son took a buck 97 inches, and they were heavy deer. The buck to doe ratio has improved drastically.”
The results from this study provide strong evidence that state-regulated antler restrictions can produce positive outcomes in whitetail herds, and in a relatively short period of time. At least in this example, it appears that the three primary objectives of this antler restriction — increased antlerless harvest, decreased button buck harvest, and increased harvest of older bucks — are being achieved. The increased antlerless harvest has apparently reduced deer density, which provides obvious benefits to landowners and agricultural producers. The decreased button buck harvest demonstrates that hunter education and commitment to a QDM-type program are determining factors to hunter selectivity. The increased number of older bucks has resulted in a more balanced adult sex ratio and an increased number of older, larger-antlered bucks available for harvest. The increased presence of older bucks also increases the intensity of rutting activities and provides opportunities for hunters to incorporate rattling and calling techniques into their hunting strategies.
Despite the obvious success of this initiative, a recent survey by the MIDNR revealed that landowner and hunter support for continuation of the restriction is still below 66 percent. It remains unclear if the MIDNR will continue the restriction beyond the 2003 hunting season, the end of the initial 5-year period. Regardless, the results of this study reveal that the combination of proper doe harvest and protection of yearling bucks can produce positive outcomes for deer herds, deer habitats, and deer hunters.

It’s time to Apply for your Oregon Deer Tag

Posted by on Friday, 9 May, 2008

Oregon Deer Hunt Applications

Oregon does not have online applications yet and the deadline for applying is May 15, so get your Mule Deer tag application in the mail. You must purchase a license before applying. Oregon is also implementing mandatory reporting this year. Go HERE for more information.

Idaho Deer Tag Applications

Posted by on Friday, 9 May, 2008

Idaho Deer Applications

It’s time to apply, if you want to hunt mule deer in Idaho. Idaho has been over-priced since the early 90’s, and in spite of a “mule deer recovery” plan, there still aren’t many more mule deer in the great Gem state. From May 1 to June 5, you can apply for an Idaho deer tag.

For more info click IDAHO HUNT INFO