Utah Wildlife Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently I was hunting with some of my close friends on the Wasatch Front Extended unit. While hunting we noticed a few things including: 1) there are quite a few young and immature bucks this year, 2) a few monster still exist on the unit and 3) a sharp decrease in the number of does on the unit.
The first two results are great and looking good for the Wasatch front's future. The third is concerning. With a decrease in the number of does, it means a decrease in the number of overall deer in the future.

Now my numbers may be skewed because I only hunt in two general areas on the front. This concern has been with me all year but was made apparent yesterday. While hunting "my area", we counted 17 does and fawns and 12 bucks, big and small. Now that looks good as far as buck to doe ratios but that is all the deer we saw!

I hunted with 3 other friends, all experienced at glassing, finding deer and seeing lots of game. Two of which have guided for top-level guides, and I work for the division of wildlife. We know how to find animals and hunt, but in an entire day of glassing canyons all day long and hiking 35-40 degree slopes we only saw 17 does and fawns!

Last year in one of the "Doe only" days on the front I saw 8 does shot and killed, loaded in peoples trucks! If that trend is continuous that is a lot of future deer that are lost!

My question is should we continue to allow all hunters to harvest does or implement a quota of doe only permits on the Wasatch front?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,218 Posts
Those does will either be killed by hunters, DWR officials or road killed. Its sad but the Wasatch front is a big problem for deer because of the lack of habitat. They can't increase the deer population because of the conflicts it would create.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,174 Posts
The Wasatch Front is THRIVING and should be a beacon of what can happen to a deer herd when managed 'properly'. The over-all deer numbers are right at objeective, buck:doe ratios are as high as on the LE units even while giving out basically uncapped tag numbers. The quality rivals many of the LE units, the buck"doe ratios are great, the total population is right where the objectives and carrying capacity say it should be. Not sure why you saw only a few deer, but they ARE there.

PRO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
993 Posts
Re: Deer Numbers, Wasatch front

+1 on what PRO said.

I have hunted the front forever. Each year we find more and more big bucks. This year I was very very very happy to see the amount of fawns we found. I have never found low doe numbers ether. The deer are there no doubt about it. The deer on the front have to be very very smart as they have to live with us day in and day out. IMO they act differently then deer in other places with less human involvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Skip the canyons and mtn. tops, check out the local cemeteries. I've seen some great deer mingling with the dead. The trick is finding them when they're not dodging cars or eating my garden veggies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
Before you gave your resume, I was going to point out that hanging out in two areas and thinking or stating that those are the way things are all over was a bit short sited, but it sounds like you know what you are doing so I will instead say, there are quite a few does that I have seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
I guess it depends on which part of the Wasatch Front you're talking about. I can only say that every deer I've seen has had horns and that I saw two bucks in East Canyon humping each other today. What does that tell you?

I tried to get a picture for Petersen, but they broke it up before I could get that close.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Pro is spot on with saying “it should be a model unit.” I will go one step further IMHO it should be implemented state wide with the rifle and smoke rifle being a draw only.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
proutdoors said:
The Wasatch Front is THRIVING and should be a beacon of what can happen to a deer herd when managed 'properly'. The over-all deer numbers are right at objeective, buck:doe ratios are as high as on the LE units even while giving out basically uncapped tag numbers. The quality rivals many of the LE units, the buck"doe ratios are great, the total population is right where the objectives and carrying capacity say it should be. Not sure why you saw only a few deer, but they ARE there.PRO
Just curious - how many days have you hunted the Front?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
swbuckmaster said:
Pro is spot on with saying "it should be a model unit." I will go one step further IMHO it should be implemented state wide with the rifle and smoke rifle being a draw only.
The Wasatch Front is not a unit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
Finnegan
Said “The Wasatch Front is not a unit.”

I know it is not a LE unit. But it is not a standard over the counter unit either. It is a general hunting over the counter unit with limitations to archery equipment only.

Like I said IMHO it should be implemented state wide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
swbuckmaster said:
Hey Finn, have you ever killed a buck up there?

I would like to see a picture if you have. I love wasatch deer!
No, sir, I haven't. I wouldn't have pictures anyway. (I don't do pictures.) I fill my deer tag before the extended hunt, so I'm hunting elk. I've put in 15 days so far this year, maybe 30 days last year. For the record, I haven't killed an elk on the Wasatch, either.

elkmaster wasn't specific, but as epek pointed out, we can't generalize. After all, the Wasatch extended area includes diverse habitat in 3 counties and HAFB. The only part that's restricted to archery only is Salt Lake county which is also distinct because it's part of the Central deer unit and the Wasatch mountains elk unit.

But elkmaster brings up a good topic that is worthy of some serious thought. If there's a good case for micro-management, the WE is evidence for it. First, it's predominantly winter range that includes transitional areas, shed areas and birthing areas. Second, it has extremely high human visitation pressure year round. Third, because it is proximate to residential development, the habitat itself is managed differently (very few controlled burns, little grazing, high speed highways, etc.) And of course, it has the longest continual hunting period of anywhere in the state.

elkmaster points out a lack of does and I can corroborate that. Others report such an abundance of does and fawns that there's been some talk of requiring archers to take a doe before they can take a buck. It's just talk at this point, but definitely makes a case for the fact that some hunters are seeing a lot of does. So if one hunter sees so many does and another sees bucks covering bucks during the rut, it seems logical that there is some segregation going on. So what's causing this segregation and how is it impacting the herds, (important to remember we aren't just talking about one herd here)?

The DWR feels confident that deer numbers in the WE area are at objective. But given the nature of the area, those numbers must be arbitrary and can be dramatically effected by a variety of uncontrollable factors that could and should alter the extended hunt. Seems to me that if the extended hunt is important to us, we'd do well to not take it for granted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
993 Posts
Re: Deer Numbers, Wasatch front

Just curious - how many days have you hunted the Front?
I am not PRO, but I can give you my days. As far as hunting days what do you considered hunting days? I never stop scouting up there. I hike the hills and snowmobile them in the winter. In the spring I start hiking and backpacking. In the summer I spend time on the ATV and hiking. Actually hunting days that I can kill maybe 30 to 50. As far as days up there over 100. That was this year alone. Before I was married I was up there almost every day of the year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree with the viewpoints of many hunters and I know in different areas there are a lot more does. In fact I have lived and hunted the front for many years: ten to be exact, and have shot a couple of bucks on this hunt. It has been a great area to hunt and I have a lot of awesome memories. The past three years I have noticed a decline in does where I hunt.

It has been my experience to witness more people hunting does to keep them in management "objectives" come December. This is happening for two reasons: first because it is great to harvest ANY animal with a bow, and second because come December it a lot easier to harvest a doe. In fact, I was at last years UBA meeting when we voted to require a hunter to harvest a doe before hunting in the rut. It had a lot of discussion but in the end that is what we voted. In ways I was regretting my vote and not speaking up then for what I had seen.

I believe that the objectives that we are seeing are in some ways to broad for does now. In some canyons like Big and Little Cottonwood canyon along with Millcreek and Parleys there are plenty of does because of the broad expanse of canyons and habitat types. Other smaller canyons on the face, have less and less does every year, mainly because of how easy it is to shoot a doe in December when there is a foot and ½ to 2 feet of snow.

I believe the division should give out a specific amount of doe tags, during a specific time. This will allow for better management, better quality control and a better understanding of the amount of does being killed.

p.s- The majority of deer that eat plants and get hit by cars are here all year. The additive mortality that comes in winter with cars is minimal in most areas, except Neffs canyon, Millcreek ( I-215) and Parleys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
Well i was able to pass through utah a short time back, and holy CRAP!!! You all make beverly hills look cheap!!!! Their were houses going up in places god never meant houses to be!!! I beleive that utah will be the first place they will hang houses from cliffs AND GUIDE CABLE! the place has grown. And one of the first things that came to mind was the the wasatch front wintering rang has shrunk shrunk shrunk. This has got to be killing the deer and elk herds. If the DWR can keep those herds healthy, HATS OFF. They know what they are doing. Herriman had also grown considerably. I do not believe that it can be to much longer that the animal rights activist that have destroyed all of the wintering range will be letting hunters cross their property to get to the hunting grounds. Has acsses become a problem?? Just an observation. Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
469 Posts
elkmaster said:
I agree with the viewpoints of many hunters and I know in different areas there are a lot more does. In fact I have lived and hunted the front for many years: ten to be exact, and have shot a couple of bucks on this hunt. It has been a great area to hunt and I have a lot of awesome memories. The past three years I have noticed a decline in does where I hunt.
Well it must be south of Bountiful, I saw so many does that I was concerned about the amount of bucks. I was lucky enough to spend a great deal of time looking; I saw several groups of deer with five or more does and one herd I counted ten along with the largest four point I have ever seen. I hunted as far north as Honeyville so I don't think he is referring to the areas I hunt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,769 Posts
As far as winter range goes the Wasatch Front has some of the best "quality as in food" around according to the division. The only problem is it is in peoples back yards. There isn’t anything wrong with the Wasatch front buck to doe to ratio. The buck to doe ratio is high but that is what a health deer heard looks like. The division says the heard is at objective, and the hunters are keeping the deer in check. Enjoy it while it lasts!

The only problem on the Front is losers that can’t stay out of people’s back yards. Report them when you see them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,178 Posts
swbuckmaster said:
The division says the heard is at objective, and the hunters are keeping the deer in check.
True, but if you question them about that statement, it starts getting real vague real quick. Due to fire suppression and mixed land ownerships, it's extremely difficult to get an accurate range trend study relevant to carrying capacity for deer. Common sense dictates that whatever objective exists for the winter range would be consistent with the objective for the adjacent unit, but it isn't - the Northern unit is below objective. Add to this mess the fact that the number of winter ranging deer is directly effected by the condition of the alternative range outside the boundaries of the Front, seeing as how deer don't much pay attention to boundary lines and all. I've been told that the objectives are based on resident deer, but the same individual also admitted that residency fluctuates year by year depending on water conditions.

So when the Division talks about objectives and the Front, take it with a grain of salt because all they're really saying is the number of deer is not a problem right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,221 Posts
swbuckmaster said:
The only problem on the Front is losers that can't stay out of people's back yards. Report them when you see them.
Amen. Either that or pack a shovel. Do you think someone would be compelled to dig their own grave at 'bow point'?
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top