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West side Utah Lake
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I received an email today from one of the hunter education trainers for the state and here are some excerpts from that email.

Archery deer hunt starts Aug. 15, 2015

If you have a permit for this year's general archery buck deer hunt, plenty of bucks and lots of water are waiting for you.

Utah's general archery buck deer hunt starts Aug. 15.

Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources say the hunt should be a good one. Utah's herds have plenty of bucks. And the overall number of deer in the state is the highest it's been since the early 1990s.

Box Elder, Unit 1 -Bucks per 100 does: 18
2015 Population Estimate: 11,600

Cache, Unit 2 - Bucks per 100 does: 18
2015 Population Estimate: 17,000

Ogden, Unit 3 - Bucks per 100 does: 18
2015 Population Estimate: 8,500

Morgan/ South Rich, Unit 4 - Bucks per 100 does: 33
2015 Population Estimate: 15,500

East Canyon, Unit 5 - Bucks per 100 does: 31
2015 Population Estimate: 12,400

Chalk Creek, Unit 6 - Bucks per 100 does: 33
2015 Population Estimate: 12,200

Kamas, Unit 7 - Bucks per 100 does: 24
2015 Population Estimate: 7,000

North Slope, Unit 8A, Bucks per 100 does: 17
2015 Population Estimate: 6,200

Nine Mile–Unit 11

After last fall's hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio was 29 bucks per 100 does. That's nine bucks over the objective of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

On public land, the overall number of deer is low. This is a difficult hunt for public land hunters.

Wasatch Mountains, Avintaquin/Currant Creek–Unit 17B/17C

After last fall's hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio was 28 bucks per 100 does. That's eight bucks over the objective of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

The hunt on the unit should be great this fall. There's tons of water and lots of feed this year. Conditions will be difficult for stalking, but lots of bucks are available, including lots of two- and three-year-old bucks.

South Slope, Yellowstone–Unit 9A

After last fall's hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio was 22 bucks per 100 does. That's two bucks over the objective of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

The overall number of deer, and the number of bucks, is up from last year. The hunt on the unit should be great this fall, especially for yearling and two-year-old bucks.

South Slope, Bonanza/Vernal–Unit 9B/9D

After last fall's hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio was 17 bucks per 100 does. That's right at the objective of 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does.

After struggling for years, the ratio of bucks to does is finally approaching the objective for the unit. Hunters enjoy high success on the unit, with 70 percent of those who hunted during the rifle hunt taking a buck last fall. High success, for young bucks, is expected again this fall.

North Slope–Unit 8

After last fall's hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio was 17 bucks per 100 does. That's slightly below the objective of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

The hunt on the eastern half of the unit was hit and miss last year. The later hunts are somewhat dependent on migration. Early hunters, including archery hunters, are targeting a smaller population of resident deer in lower elevations or hard-to-access bucks in the high country.

On the Monroe unit (Unit 23), the goal for the unit is a minimum of 18 bucks per 100 does. The three-year buck-to-doe average is 21 bucks per 100 does.

On the Zion unit (Unit 29), the goal for the unit is a minimum of 18 bucks per 100 does. The three-year average is 24 bucks per 100 does.

"Not only are there lots of deer," Griffin says, "but a lot of those deer are bucks."

She says biologists have reported seeing more two- to three-year-old deer during their time in the field this summer. "In addition to seeing lots of yearlings," she says, "hunters should expect to see more mature bucks this fall too."
 

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A question for those who understand better. If our B:D Ratio is 160% of objective, why are they not increasing the tags much? I am not all gung ho on raising tags, but I am curious if we are ABOVE where we want to be, what are we doing to now get us at said healthy number? Wouldn't being over the number they deemed healthy be unhealthy?



In other news, pumped for the 15th to get here.
 

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If our B:D Ratio is 160% of objective, why are they not increasing the tags much?

what are we doing to now get us at said healthy number? Wouldn't being over the number they deemed healthy be unhealthy?
I don't think the B: D ratio is a representation of the health of the heard. I would probably look more to fawn survival and/or fawn:doe ratio for overall health.

While other factors are in play here, they have reached B: D over objective largely by limiting opportunity. In the WB meetings in April some of the justification for limiting tag increases I heard were: not wanting to increase hunting pressure on public land (large portions of units with private, non-huntable land), total population not being at or near objective, 3 year trend of B: D ratios trending lower.

I was/am pretty disturbed by it because the basis for Option 2 was to be able to increase/decrease tags on a unit by unit basis depending on unit health/B: D ratios. They cut tags when they introduced it and haven't even given back all the tags they removed, even though B: D ratios on nearly every unit are above objective.
 

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I was/am pretty disturbed by it because the basis for Option 2 was to be able to increase/decrease tags on a unit by unit basis depending on unit health/B: D ratios. They cut tags when they introduced it and haven't even given back all the tags they removed, even though B: D ratios on nearly every unit are above objective.
This ^^^ was the basis for my question. I don't necessarily agree with the population being considered healthy based on the ration. But since that is pretty much what they have came out and largely said it was, then why haven't they increased tags?

If we say 18 is healthy, isn't 29 too many?

I am just trying to make sense of their logic, that's all.
 

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It is great to see how the herd has responded to the excellent deer growing conditions of the past 4 years. Hope Mother Nature does not decide to give us a harder winter or all the gains will be for naught.

As for the other topic-- So say a herd had 10,000 animals and it increased to 15,000. Lets say there were 1,200 bucks of the 10,000 animals-- that would give us a certain buck to ratio. So to maintain that same ratio there would have to be 1,800 bucks for the 15,000 herd. Yet what has happened on many units is the buck to doe ratios increased-some units by 20%- AND the herd increased. So instead of 1,800 there are really 2,100 bucks. Or the number of bucks available is almost twice what it was. Even more interesting is the success rates have gone through the roof because there are so many bucks.

Can't stock pile mule deer. Can't just shoot yearlings every year either. Such a balancing act. Look for some dead-head finds when we get another winter. Until then, enjoy the hunts!
 

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A question for those who understand better. If our B:D Ratio is 160% of objective, why are they not increasing the tags much? I am not all gung ho on raising tags, but I am curious if we are ABOVE where we want to be, what are we doing to now get us at said healthy number? Wouldn't being over the number they deemed healthy be unhealthy?

In other news, pumped for the 15th to get here.
I can't speak for everyone on this issue but I think there is just some caution being used here on tag numbers. We've had a couple of really mild winters that have helped mule deer numbers overall but I think many would like to see tags gradually increase instead of sudden big increases.

We've all had the mentality that mule deer are declining for so long I think we're just being cautious. If mule deer numbers can really sustain at these levels (avoid another really bad winter die off) you'll see the tags gradually rise and bring down those buck: doe ratios. At least I hope so.

Also remember there are some issues that are deceiving when you look at the numbers alone. For example some units have a lot of private land and will drive up the buck : doe ratios but many of those bucks aren't available to hunters. Those units always appear like more tags could be offered than what is actually set aside.
 

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West side Utah Lake
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Most of the units are still below their desired capacity/objective levels so unless the bucks are keeping the overall head count down there isn't a big incentive yet to increase the harvest. It is much better to take a 5 year or longer average than to look at at just a one or two year count. I agree with the other poster that if the winter kill is moderate and the conditions are good again for sustaining and growing the herd we probably will see a gradual increase in some units.
 

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Can't stock pile mule deer. Can't just shoot yearlings every year either. Such a balancing act. Look for some dead-head finds when we get another winter. Until then, enjoy the hunts!
This is very true! You can't stockpile the deer. You need to use them when they're available. When another winter comes though (and it will come), all these extra bucks are taking the place of would-be does. Does that will reproduce (and replenish the bucks) after the winter and help the population rebound. Excess bucks (above the number needed to breed all the does) only hinder the herd during the tough winters and provide no benefit to the herd after the winter ends.
 

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I think every one slept through the 1990s. Buck to doe ratios are the highest since the 1990s. This is counter to growing deer, and has been the precursor to every deer decline of the last 40 years, across the West. There is a reason for this, and its not the weather, it does not dictate buck to doe ratios. A lot of interrelated biological and ecological factors dictate buck to doe ratios, and we are currently in the same pattern that brought us the big declines of the early 1990s. Regardless of whether you agree with my assessment of what is causing this repeat pattern of the early 1990s. It does not change the fact that we saw the very same increases in buck to doe ratios, and malformations(cactus bucks, etc.) just prior to the early 1990s crash. There is no hoping, or wishing on this, we are heading for a crash, plain and simple.
 

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I think every one slept through the 1990s. Buck to doe ratios are the highest since the 1990s. This is counter to growing deer, and has been the precursor to every deer decline of the last 40 years, across the West. There is a reason for this, and its not the weather, it does not dictate buck to doe ratios. A lot of interrelated biological and ecological factors dictate buck to doe ratios, and we are currently in the same pattern that brought us the big declines of the early 1990s. Regardless of whether you agree with my assessment of what is causing this repeat pattern of the early 1990s. It does not change the fact that we saw the very same increases in buck to doe ratios, and malformations(cactus bucks, etc.) just prior to the early 1990s crash. There is no hoping, or wishing on this, we are heading for a crash, plain and simple.
Talking about crashes. I can say the same thing about the stock market.
We are heading for another big crash.
And in both cases, there is very little we can do about it.
 

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^^^^^
Wrong!
 
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Just like Iron Bear bear said "Wrong!"

If you see the signs, and you know the pattern, you can hedge your investment. You can bring it down slow rather than having it collapse on you. But that's the problem, those that should be doing this are misreading the signs. They think that things like high buck to doe ratios are the best thing since derivative swaps.

Like I said, you don't have to agree with what I am saying is causing these things. But you can't deny that we are seeing an increase in antler deformities, testicular deformities, hoof conditions, higher buck to doe ratios, and under bites. An increase in these things has been seen with every major crash. These things are increasing across the West, with some areas much worse than others. In some places in Wyoming it is well underway, and the declines already recorded.
 

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But who's going to go out and take pictures of their nutsacks?
Those concerned about the future of hunting.....yeah, you have a point.
 

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Randomelk16,

I went to the southern RAC. Zion is above objective in population and b/d ratio. The DWR proposed a 100 tag increase. This increase would not materially affect a thing and isn't worth discussion; nevertheless, a lot of hunters freaked out and contacted their RAC members. SFW advised against an increase. Friends of the Pausagaunt also advised against it. Scarcely a soul said an increase is fine. The RAC voted to not increase tags.

My observation is that there are no increases in units above objective because not enough people ask the question "why aren't you increasing tags?" to balance those who scream "its to early to increase tags / its to crowded" at the RAC meetings. The squeaky wheel (sfw) got the grease. The comments from the RAC before they voted were "90% of the emails did not want the increase." They used this to justify their decision.
 

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"My observation is that there are no increases in units above objective because not enough people ask the question "why aren't you increasing tags?" to balance those who scream "its to early to increase tags / its to crowded" at the RAC meetings. The squeaky wheel (sfw) got the grease. The comments from the RAC before they voted were "90% of the emails did not want the increase." They used this to justify their decision."


And the Option 2 boy's told us it was all about growing deer and a bigger pie so we could all have a bite.

Just like in economics, trickle down don't work and never will..

PEACE
 

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But who's going to go out and take pictures of their nutsacks?
That one made me laugh!

Nobody knows the future and predicting it can get dicey. Let's enjoy what we have and hope for the best.

Since lonetree is the all knowing all powerful wizard of the forum can you tell us specifically what year the deer population will crash and by how much--specifics would be appreciated.

Also if you could me give a heads up about the second coming--that would be helpful, have loads of sins to repent for.

-Thanks! :D
 

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Wiley,

We were certainly sucker punched by the opt. 2 crowd. I'm not too certain of the trickle down comparison though. I'd be curious what would happen if the guys on this site who seem to care about keeping hunting privleges in check actually voiced their opinions to the RAC. I wonder if the RAC would find a way around the issue (arguments like "crowding" or "too soon to tell") I wonder if there was an actual presence of people saying "you've been above objective for 3+ years, when are you going to free up tags?" if the RAC would start to address those concerns instead of dismissing them by saying "hardly anyone I know at my coffee shop cares about tag increases."
 
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