Archive for December, 2008

The Vicious Circle

Posted by on Saturday, 27 December, 2008
  • Maximize predators
  • Minimize game animals
  • Reduce hunting
  • Agency revenue loss
  • Agencies raise prices
  • Hunters quit
  • Agency revenue loss
  • Raise prices/ High price auction tags
  • Less game available to the average hunter
  • Hunters quit
  • etc …………………….

See the article: The Kings Deer

Mule Deer Facts – BLM

Posted by on Monday, 15 December, 2008
    The following “facts” are published by the BLM
    (note: the last statement applied in 1960)

  • Over 55,000 mule deer roam BLM public lands in the Rock Springs District.
  • Mule deer inhabit every major vegetation type in western North America and every climate zone except arctic and tropics. Mule deer in high elevation ranges may migrate up to 50 miles between summer and winter range. Snow depth and forage availability is considered to be the dominant factor in population control by many.
  • Mule deer occupy a wide range of habitats. Food, cover, arid water requirements change with the seasons. Mule deer often must compete with livestock grazing practices and other human-caused disturbances. Proper land management can benefit deer.
  • Mule deer gain weight during spring, summer, and fall. Deer must be in excellent condition in the fall of each year to survive the harsh winter weather.
  • Deer eat a wide variety of foods. The major foods eaten by mule deer include sagebrush, serviceberry, snowberry, rabbitbrush, aspen, bitterbrush, juniper, willow, mountain mahogany, grasses, and forbs. In winter, more shrubs are eaten than dead forbs and grasses. Shrubs are alive and provide more protein and carbohydrates. Mule deer in North America have adapted to these long periods of nutritional stress caused by winter. Protection from human disturbance helps mule deer survive winter stress periods.
  • Males gain and lose weight more rapidly than females.
  • Both sexes essentially starve a little each day during severe winters because they can’t eat enough forage to maintain their body weight.
  • Good quality habitat may keep them from starving to death except in the very worst of winters.
  • Antler growth in males begins in the spring. As fall and the rut approaches, the males’ necks and shoulders swell, they become hyperactive and aggressive and begin to eat less food.
  • Mule deer have their young in riparian areas and aspen stands when they are available.
  • Under good conditions, most mule deer does have twins. Fawns average 7-8 pounds at birth.
  • Mule deer nearly disappeared from the plains by the late 1930s, probably due to the combination of excessive hunting, several periods of severe drought, complicated by over-grazing by domestic livestock and several extremely severe winters. Mule deer populations have rebounded in most of their range.

Source: Bureau of Land Management Rock Springs District

Trouble in Pennsylvania

Posted by on Tuesday, 9 December, 2008

This fellow was kind of screaming from his soapbox, but what he says of Pennsylvania certainly holds true for the west and for mule deer, namely: low deer numbers, hunters paying the way but having their money used against them, policy makers being manipulated by special interests, trendy methods of mis-estimating deer numbers, a younger generation losing interest, and agencies losing sight of whom they serve.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008 11:25 PM EST

To the editor:

In response to several letters to the editor on the subject of support, or lack of it, for the Pa. Game Commission’s request for a license fee increase, it would seem that some folks are still in the dark.

I am speaking only my opinion, but I believe the majority of sportsmen in Pennsylvania do not want to bankrupt the PGC. Yes! Even most deer hunters! They realize that 99 percent of employees who work in the field and offices are doing a good job. That said, there are handful of policy makers that make one wonder what the real agenda is for the future of our State Game Lands in Pennsylvania.

It would be a good bet that the special interest groups who drive the current PGC policies on the drastic reductions in the deer herd are the very ones who stand to gain the most if the PGC is eliminated. Both PGC and hunters have a lot to lose in this battle.

If, as Mr. Robert Gratson and Mr. Wes Waldron’s letters would lead you to believe, that a majority of hunters are behind the deer policies of the PGC . Then, what’s all the fuss about! With just a “minority” of “greedy,” “ignorant” and “self-centered” deer hunters to contend with, the PGC should have all the support it needs!

Despite new and “trendy” methods of estimating deer numbers by “population trends,” large areas of the state have extremely low deer populations. And a “large number” of the deer hunters have been screaming their collective heads-off.

Ever hear of the Pennsylvania deer wars, guys? The PGC’s message to you fellows who hunt and live in areas of the state where there are severe “down trends” are, shut-up and hand over the money! Thousands upon thousands of letters have been written by hunters, some quitting the sport, some just plain disgusted.

And with a younger generation of hunters, who are unwilling to spend days in the woods without seeing any deer, a person might wonder what they are missing? One might also wonder why, with so many supposedly behind the current deer management policy that hunting license sales are falling at an alarming rate? Mr. Waldron, in true bureaucratic fashion, states that managing a deer herd “goes beyond the understanding” of most sportsmen.

There is a lot of truth in this, there are many factors to take into account for healthy and diverse habitat management. But one thing sportsman do completely understand is more often than not, when bureaucrats and special interests get involved, the problem gets worse!

If you question this, start doing a little research on what has happened with the wolf reintroduction out west! With all the “science” and “biology” and millions upon millions in research funding, game managers have created a nightmare for hunters, hikers, pet owners, ranchers and the local ecosystems.

The damage that has been done to elk and mule deer populations has been tremendous. But of course, big brother always knows what’s best for us, right? And there in lies the problem with the PGC, and the deer hunters of Pennsylvania.

A large part of revenue is provided by deer hunters through license sales. When policies that directly affect the future of our deer herd are enacted, hunters take a back seat and are told they are not really smart enough to understand the “big picture.”

What they are seeing with their own eyes, just isn’t so! The picture that hunters see, in a lot of areas of the state, is a bleak one. There is no doubt that some areas still have large populations of deer, private property and limited hunting around the suburbs are special issues and certainly need to be addressed. But what would it really take to bring the PGC and deer hunters together for the benefit of all involved? Again, I can only speak for myself but I think if the PGC should step forward and own up to the facts that current deer-control policies have been too drastic in a lot of areas, and acknowledge there is a problem!

Admit that the management areas may be too large and diverse to be effectively managed. And most important to sportsmen impose a two to three-year moratorium on the two-week concurrent seasons, until some accurate herd data can be compiled to support claims on both sides of the issue.

If the PGC would reach across the aisle with meaningful solutions, instead of lip-service and suspect studies, they would find that all the sportsmen of Pennsylvania would rally around them! Deer hunters included! But don’t hold your breath that will happen. The handful of people who are driving these policies will succeed by driving a wedge between hunters and the PGC.

And in dividing us against each other, both PGC and hunters lose! The extreme environmentalist movement is at work here and we all know where hunting as a whole stands with them ! The PGC has done a lot of good things over the years, and there are many more success stories than failures. It will be the end of another era in Pennsylvania hunting history, most likely for the worse. But when any organization loses sight of who they are supposed to be serving, they cannot survive. But then again, maybe that’s been the real plan all along, to destroy the PGC from with in. Hmm, do you think the people who help accomplish this will get jobs when administration of Pa. Game Lands goes to DCNR?

The Kings Deer

Posted by on Sunday, 7 December, 2008

It has been said that “In England, only the kings men hunt the kings deer”

What do you think of this scheme? Are we heading this direction in the good ol’ US ?


Devon project to promote wild venison

Posted: 23 Mar 2008 04:40 PM CDT

Deer Management in the UK (United Kingdom) may not be all that different than the way we do it. Ever body has their own way of doing things but the end result can be more closer than you think.

A pioneering project has been launched to promote wild venison and other deer-related products and activities in the region.

The South West Forest Deer Management Programme aims to get wild venison into the local food chain, and also to encourage tourism by offering deer-related activities such as photography and tracking.

The first stage of the project focuses on forecast target areas around Holsworthy, Rackenford and North of Barnstaple. The project aims to encourage retailers, restaurants and hotels to serve venison as a high-quality, locally-sourced meat.

But the project is not just about the consumption of venison, as Mick Bracken, Rural Development Forestry Adviser from South West Forest (SWF) is keen to point out. He says: “We will focus on raising awareness of the need for deer population control for environmental and economic reasons as well as for the health of the herds.”

Mick also says that the project has long term benefits: “There will be an accreditation and tagging system to assure customers of the high levels of food hygiene for the scheme, and the project will be monitored by Deer Management Groups set up by SWF in each of the targeted areas with managed plans for deer culling in order to supply the scheme.

“In this way we hope to create a model which, over a longer timescale, will be rolled out to the whole of the South West Forest area and eventually other parts of the region.”

Over half of the £100,000 project cost has been met by Devon Renaissance, the rural regeneration programme for the county. Simon Mallett from Devon Renaissance says that the project will be a welcome boost to the region’s rural economy. “The project will supplement rural incomes within the region, as well as providing accredited training opportunities for those seeking a career within the deer trade.

“The increased tourism opportunities and the potential to distribute venison to outlets within and outside the region will also have a positive impact on the economy.”

South West Forest is a partnership hosted by Devon County Council, which manages forest and woodland in the Culm joint character area bordered by Exmoor, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. It seeks to support and boost farm businesses and rural incomes, by helping to establish new areas, and manage existing areas of forest encouraging integrated, sustainable rural development.

From: FarmingUK