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1.) Swamp Fox - 02/16/2015
I'm working on a little project to be wrapped up in early March. I'd like to gather stories, reports, scientific studies and anecdotes :wink about what's affecting deer populations positively or negatively in various areas.

My focus will be to boil things down to put the alleged decline in populations and hunting success (generally, but in my area particularly) into perspective.

What do you hear/read/experience in your neck of the woods, or what have you heard about other areas with regard to problems or successes in deer population or hunter effort/success?

Examples of topics:

Disease: EHD, blue tongue, CWD, etc.

Predator mortality: coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, etc.

Deer Population: Over-population/under-population. Causes?

Hunting pressure: Declining or increasing; Why?

Hunter success: Declining or increasing; Why?

Economics: Hunter numbers/effort up because of poor economy vs. hunter numbers/effort down because of poor economy.

Hunter success: Up or down lately? Why? Too many acorns? Too few? Too hot? Too wet/too cold etc.

Your summary: What's your impression of what was going on in the woods you hunt this last year or two?

Your judgment: Whatever topics you address, are they good news, bad news, or no news? For instance, one man might think a decline in deer numbers is good news, while another sees a decline in hunter numbers as bad news. Two other guys might take opposite positions.

What say you about what you see?
2.) crookedeye - 02/16/2015
you do no theres only like 5 people on this forum don't you?? I would think you would be more interested in my call that the public cant no about...

good luck on youre project ..

by the way that blue tongue hit the deer herd hard in some areas..
3.) Swamp Fox - 02/16/2015
Yeah, well I keep waiting for you to PM me with info on how to get that secret call, but my inbox is a like a fat girl's dance card at a middle school prom.

I'm really, really interested in what you five guys have to say, LOL. Besides, this is the best outdoor forum on the internet, LOL. Pretty sure the grass isn't greener elsewhere. :wink

Last time I was in Nebraska was 2012 (?). Maybe it was 2013. EHD was a problem in most of the state, if I recall. Any recovery, or is it still noticed?

Minimal EHD Problems in 2014? :[url]http://www.qdma.com/news/ehd-and-bluetongue-virus-having-minimal-impact-on-deer-in-2014[/url]

EHD explained: [url]http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/big-buck-zone/2012/08/what-ehd-epizootic-hemorrhagic-disease-explained[/url]

EHD and Blue Tongue are slightly different variants of Hemorrhagic Disease (HD), though most people use the terms interchangeably. Some areas (such as mine) do not have a history of EHD (that I'm aware of), but blue tongue appears every few years. I'm going to double check on any EHD outbreaks here now that I've opened my big mouth, but I'm pretty sure I have that right.
4.) Swamp Fox - 02/17/2015
[I]North American Whitetail[/I] magazine had a series recently called "Whitetails at the Crossroads." I have one or possibly two of the magazines and looked online for the rest of the series without any luck. If anyone has Parts 1-4 or any other relevant articles from NAW or [I]Deer and Deer Hunting [/I]or the like, published in the last 4 years, say, I'd appreciate your impression.

Or, if you might want to send me hard copies of articles, shoot me a PM.
5.) Deerminator - 02/17/2015
Well in my area it was normal to see 4-5 different family groups 25 years ago.( grandma and her kids and her kids kids ) Now I'm lucky to see a family group.
Last turkey season I only saw 13 deer at one time.( the whole herd ). When I used to see 25-30+. Not many turkeys any more either.
I attribute this to the huge expansion of the cow farm and the selling off of all the road side land for houses.
The expansion of the farm with all the migrant works that go with it eat a lot of wild game. And every new 2 acre homestead has 2 or more dogs to go with it.
Adding into the equation the loss of good paying jobs there is a lot of poaching. Haven't seen a buck older than 1 1/2 years in decades when I used to see at least 4 bucks ( GENERALLY )
The farms dump site usually have quite a few carcasse in them and there's always numerous garbadge bags containing deer carcusses dumped along the country roads.
6.) Wild Bob - 02/17/2015
Feewww. You really want me to think that hard? :-)
7.) Wild Bob - 02/17/2015
Ok, speed summary:

- Enviromental issues with: super deep snows, flooding and susequent out breaks of EHD (temps and moisture conditions just right...or wrong, if you happen to like deer). Sucks, sucks even more to be a whitetail in the region. :bang:
8.) Swamp Fox - 02/18/2015
Thanks, fellas. 'Preciate the feedback.

Keep 'em coming.
9.) bluecat - 02/18/2015
I'd like to help but I just don't know. My little corner of the world is just a small subsample.

I hunt both the woods and the prairie. Both are completely different ecotypes with the woods and agriculture obviously holding a lot more deer than the short grass prairie. I didn't see as many deer as I normally do this year but it might not have anything to do with the population as a whole.
10.) Swamp Fox - 02/18/2015
Good points. Maybe others feel the same way. But I'm also interested in what everyone's [I]impressions[/I] are and taking the temperature of the hunting communities I can tap into.

So, boys, don't worry about what you know or don't know for a fact (but please feel free to share if you want) but tell me what you hear from other hunters as well as what your own observations are.

Are your area's hunters all happy campers? About to storm the DNR offices with flaming torches and pitchforks? Bitching and moaning without a clue? Bitching and moaning WITH a clue?
11.) Deerminator - 02/18/2015
PA should be interesting this coming deer season since they lost last years deer season to the fugitive.
Always said forget the stupid antler restrictions and just close the season for a few years.
12.) Swamp Fox - 02/18/2015

Did they actually keep people out of the woods for that? Was it mandatory, or just a "suggestion"?

I lost track: Was he captured in a rural area, and was he actually living in the woods?
13.) Wild Bob - 02/19/2015
I think Bluecat hit the nail on the head...all this is highly variable to the micro areas. The situation in my area (the river drainages) only applies to probably less than a hundred mile radius; you can travel east or west of here an hour to an hour and a half away and you'll see different conditions.
14.) Deerminator - 02/20/2015
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;29895]LOL...

Did they actually keep people out of the woods for that? Was it mandatory, or just a "suggestion"?

I lost track: Was he captured in a rural area, and was he actually living in the woods?[/QUOTE]

Yes, mandatory closed deer season no one was allowed in the woods.
15.) Swamp Fox - 02/20/2015
Thanks. If I can't figure out how big an area they closed on my own, I might come back to this.
16.) Swamp Fox - 02/20/2015
BC and WB---

I think you're right about specific areas, but what I hear often when there's a problem or a hint of a problem is everyone talking about it on a wider, even statewide level. Even wildlife biologists will do this. I don't know if it is or isn't unintentional. "Coyotes are a problem" ; "overbrowsing is a problem" ; "there's an outbreak of this or that in the eastern part of the state" and such-like.

I'm not saying they always do this or that I have a big issue with it. They certainly know how to talk local at other times.

They say all politics is local. (Don't ask me why, LOL). I suppose all hunting is local, even more so. :-)
17.) Wild Bob - 02/20/2015
Yea, I see what you mean Swampy. Its all relative. Kinda like farts...there are small silent ones that barely smell; and then there are big loud stinky ones that clear a room plumb out, and then there is everything in between. :-)
18.) bluecat - 02/20/2015
I agree that it sometimes distills down to general statements. But there's always the old crank that no matter what the population is or isn't it's never as good as it was when he was a kid...

To answer your original question, I haven't heard anything regarding the populations this year.
19.) Wild Bob - 02/20/2015
[QUOTE=bluecat;29991]I agree that it sometimes distills down to general statements. But there's always the old crank that no matter what the population is or isn't it's never as good as it was when he was a kid...

To answer your original question, I haven't heard anything regarding the populations this year.[/QUOTE]

You are so right BC!

Your comment reminds me of a converstation I over heard a group of old Ranchers/Farmers having in a local cafe recently: They were discussing the harvests from last season (this area had a very good harvest over all due to the high moisture we had)...So there were about half a dozen of them and they were all back and forth about, "Boy, what about that wheat!" And "You shoulda seen the flax seed I hauled out that section over near..." And "Boy-howdy wasn't that just the right amount rain at just the right time." So this goes on and on for probably a good ten minutes with most all of them chimming in with positive comments about the good moisture and the optimum grow times and etc. So finally it quiets down a little, and then after a long silence one of them says, "Yea, but all that sure did take a lot out of the soil!" :groan: :lol:

They sounded as bad as bunch of old bow hunters....:-)
20.) Swamp Fox - 03/10/2015
I think when the 2014 numbers are released for NC next month, they will show a significant decrease in the harvest from the previous year, possibly in the neighborhood of 15% according to a reliable source. However, the 2013 kill was up significantly from the year before and established a new record high, following the worst WHD outbreak we've had during the previous year (2012).

The decline for 2014 might be attributable to an over-abundance of acorns, or at least that's the working theory.

[I]Fears of any after effects of the worst EHD epidemic in state history are fading fast now that North Carolina deer hunters set a new harvest record during the 2013-14 season. Hunters again showed an increased preference for harvesting more antlerless deer than antlered bucks, but the numbers for all deer increased substantially.


Most hunters who take only one deer tend to harvest a buck, and they may not have even seen a doe or button buck during the 2012-13 because of EHD deaths. Now that the hunters in regions hit hardest by EHD are seeing deer numbers restored, they are taking more does, and that is what dipped the harvest ratio of bucks-to-does back down to 46 percent while at the same time the total buck harvest hit a record high.


Evin Stanford is the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Deer Biologist. He compiles and analyses deer harvest reports each season.

“The increased overall deer harvest and the buck harvest in particular was widespread across all geographic regions,” he said. “Some of the counties that had the biggest declines (from EHD) were the counties where harvests reverted back to their formerly high levels. Apparently, hunters no longer saw the need for ‘trigger control’ (as they had during the EHD outbreak) and resumed their normal hunting practices.”


Read more: [url]http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/best-big-buck-states-for-2014-north-carolina/#ixzz3U0JQ1UoZ[/url]
21.) bluecat - 03/10/2015
[QUOTE=Swamp Fox;30496]

The decline for 2014 might be attributable to an over-abundance of acorns, or at least that's the working theory.

Please expound. Inquiring minds and all.
22.) Swamp Fox - 03/10/2015
Plenty of acorns means deer move less to find food. Therefore, few sightings if you're not in the right place. And what's the right place if every tree is dropping?

Plenty of people will tell you the deer won't hit corn or come to the fields when they have acorns to eat back in the woods.

On the flip side, a lot of people who sit over corn assume something's wrong if they're not seeing deer because they think corn is golden magic. Acorns or other factors shouldn't matter, LOL. There must be some catastrophe.

I think if you have corn where the acorns are, the deer will pig out on both, LOL. I've seen them walk over acorns to get to corn, but I've also seen them abandon corn sites (at least during daylight) when there is abundant other food (particularly acorns).
23.) bluecat - 03/10/2015
Makes sense. It was the only thing I could think of but wasn't sure.

Well that and eating yourself to death!
24.) Swamp Fox - 03/10/2015
2013 was a record, following a bad year (EHD and an abundance of acorns) in 2012. So if 2014 proves to be down 15% it might not be bad news, depending on how you look at things. It could mean really good things for 2015.

I had a pretty weird year in SC last year, too, and a lot of people I've talked to there and around the country have told me the same thing.

I don't think we're looking at regulation changes in NC, but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the rumblings in SC result in some tweaks. They did try to take some pressure off does last year.
25.) toxophilite - 03/14/2015
put on the snowshoes today and went for a walk around my 20 acre wood lot and was pleasantly surprised to find as much deer sign as I did. literally dozens of beds and many well used trails, I put out several game cameras and can hardly wait to retrieve some pics :tu: and I've already pick up my seed for the food plots and just waiting for the snow to melt so I can get started with this years prep :wink bottom line the deer population seems to be doing fine here in central new York, if you want to put meat in the freezer there should be no problem, a nice buck is a bit more of a challenge specially for us bowhunters but it always has been. the only change from now and the "good old days" is more competition in the woods :re:
26.) crookedeye - 03/14/2015
its almost 70 here..I've been thinking about maybe doing some leaves and opening up the widows and airing out the house.

.you no what bullzi always says....when the suns out!!the guns come out!!!