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It's gonna be rough man.
It's unusually cold and there is a hell of alot of snow.
I'm not sure there was enough moisture this year to get them through.
There will be a really bad winter die off this year :cry: I'm afraid.
 

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It will be a bad year for the deer. I've already witnessed an coyote easily taking an deer in the deep snow! So if the predators don't take them, the cold will! Let's not forget all of the roadkill!
The don't think the dwr will step in and feed the deer in Utah. They always say it's too costly and encourage people not to feed the deer. After reading through the 2008 big game proclamation. I noticed on page 2 " $523 million " generated in gross revenue over the past year for the state! Hum!! You would think some of that could go to the wildlife? I understand you have to feed them properly, but I still don't see any help for the deer.
 

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fatbass said:
I'm not advocating a feeding program...
Then I will. Forage was already in bad shape in some areas due to the hot, dry summer. Last I heard, the central region was at 114% of normal snowpack and that was before this last big dump. We've fed them before. It's the biologist's call, but if the call goes out, I'm there.
 

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For those who live in Davis and work downtown maybe you have noticed the same that i have; Victory Rd has two deer that were killed just over the last few days and it seems like about 1 every week or so for the previous two months. This is obviously a herd that just hangs out just above the capital, but possibly a fairly decent sample. I did see a group of about 5 that were grazing/foraging just about 100 yards above Victory Rd this morning. The last bad winter that I remember, 2001???, I think, we lived in university housing and the deer would walk in through a 100% developed area for no less than 3-4 blocks + to get to the grass in the University Village obviously pretty desparate to go that far through traffic areas; it is pretty pathetic to watch. This may well be the winter that is talked about for the next 5-10 years like we hear about over the previous cycle; just as the herds in my area was just making some serious progress.
 

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I really think they should start feeding them now before they have weakend to much back in the 1990's they waited tell they were pretty much dead and then tried to feed them and they died anyway hopefully they have learned from this and will take care of the herds in some areas they never have came back from the bad winter kill of the 90's.
 

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I hate to bash the dwr and the wildlife biologist, but they have to make the decision on feeding the deer, since they already have our money for this year. Maybe it will be an concern next year, if there is any left? I know here in Alpine and Highland, if the resident's have a problem with the deer in there yard. They call the dwr and most of the time depending on how many calls they have received. They end up destroying the wildlife. Hunting public land in Utah is going to come to an end someday in our state! It's time to allow sportsman like us to give back to the wildlife!
 

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I think this winter has went from not bad to really bad. I heard from the landowner where I hunt near coalville and he says the snow drifts are over 10 feet in most areas and he cant even see his cedar trees on his property due to snow depth. He said he expects the deer to start tipping over in about three weeks! This is a nightmare! The herd has just came back! And now it will be destroyed again due to inconsistent weather and not managing properly. DWR has there heads up there a$$! There so concerned with the elk they dont even hardly pay any attention to the muleys! I dont know about you but muleys are what most of us where raised on here in Utah, I guarantee there is more deer hunters than elk hunters, so why is dwr's focus on elk? Is it $$$$? Because I would be glad to pay more to hunt if they could manage properly! Dont get me wrong, I am an elk hunter myself but, the muleys are what made me get into elk hunting. This will make alot of you mad but I say screw the elk!!!!!!!!! Lets focus on our pride and joy of Utah which is muleys! Manage the deer herd!!!!! We could have so much better hunting here if the dwr would just pull there heads out and focus on deer and not so much elk! I will pay the 55$ for a deer tag if thats what they want but they gotta make an effort as well!!!! All the revenue they have generated with this (small game permit) could easily feed our deer!!!! Where is all that extra revenue going? I think the dwr ripped me off with the small game permit!!!! Sorry to go off but its just my opinion!!!! Please manage the herd better is all I ask!
 

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You will pay 55$ but a rich guy will pay 155,000.00 for one elk tag. Elk generates more money off one of these tags than you may give them your entire life. Take away the trophy elk, that tag goes away and then that 55$ tag will be much more.

But it is agreed the deer need help. It's all about the habitat. Lets build more houses on the old wintering grounds.
 

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I understand the concerns of all the posts that I just read and I too am concerned. I had just started hunting when we had that bad kill off in 92/93. However, I at the moment I am not so convinced that we are going to have a bad kill off. I have been watching a good number of deer around my house and they seem to be doing well. They all look very good. Even some of the more mature bucks seem to be retaining some weight. The part I guess that helps the most is that alot of the south and southwest facing slopes are recieving decent melt off so the deer are not in snow to they stomachs.
Lets hope for the best cause if the deer hunting gets any worse I think I will give it up and stick with elk and such.
 

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but I have heard hay can actually kill the deer because their is not enough nutritional value in it. What would they feed them, I am curious? They have pellets you can feed them back in the 80's which in my opinion was the worst winter kill in the north I helped feed them for a month or so and if they would have started earlier it would have saved a lot of deer instead we had piles of dead deer.
 

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Here is the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' opinion on the subject:

Supplemental Feeding - Just Say No

"Anyone that has ever been a boy or girl scout has likely had the opportunity to build a bird feeder. Over 110 million Americans feed birds today, a pastime that makes it one of the most popular hobbies that knows no gender, age, or cultural boundaries. People enjoy feeding birds because it gives them an opportunity to view wildlife, and it makes them feel like they're helping wildlife survive, particularly in the winter.

People commonly make the mistake in thinking that feeding other kinds of wildlife, particularly species like mule deer, is equally helpful. When people see mule deer starving along the sides of roads in the midst of a severe winter, compassion makes them want to help the mule deer by feeding them hay. Like most things in life, this sounds like a simple solution. But it's not that easy, and in fact, supplemental feeding may do more harm than good to most deer populations.

The key to understanding how supplemental feeding affects mule deer is to study their stomach, or as in the case of mule deer, stomachs.

Mule deer are ruminants with a four-part stomach. Each of the stomach chambers plays a critical role in the ability to process food.

The first stomach is called the rumen, a large storage chamber that reduces bigger pieces of food to smaller pieces through microbial action, much the same way that a compost pile 's microbes begin to break down leaves. Microbes are decomposers that break down matter into nutrients and minerals that plants and animals reuse.

While resting, mule deer regurgitate or "spit up" food from the rumen, and rechew their food. This is also known as "chewing their cud." Mule deer chew their cud to make the food they eat smaller, so that it can pass on to the next stomach, the reticulum.

The reticulum does two things. First, it acts as a filter, sending larger particles back to the first stomach for additional breakdown. And second, it breaks down the cell walls of plants, then passes the smaller food particles to the third stomach, the omasum.

The omasum also acts as a filter, sending particles that are too large back to the rumen. The third stomach absorbs water and compacts the smaller food particles for the fourth stomach, the abomasum.

The fourth stomach is a true stomach that functions much like a human stomach, where food is digested with acids, and the nutrients are absorbed through the intestines.

This well designed digestive machine even has a bypass for young mule deer that are not yet feeding on plants. Mule deer fawns bypass the first three stomachs and send the milk from their mother directly to their fourth stomach because there is no need for the first three stomachs to break down plant cell walls or make large pieces of food smaller.

Sounds pretty efficient? In some respects it is. Because of the number of stomachs, mule deer can get a large amount of protein and nutrients from the foods they eat. But this comes at a cost, and understanding the costs highlights the complexity of supplemental feeding.

The microbes that break down the food in a mule deer's stomach are very specific to the types of food the mule deer eats. Some microbes are good at breaking down woody plants, while others do a great job breaking down forbs.

During times of the year when mule deer are feeding on woody plants, their woody plant microbes are abundant in their digestive tract. When mule deer are feeding on forbs and grasses, other kinds of microbes roll up their sleeves and take the lead in digestion as woody plant microbes become less abundant.

Len Carpenter, Southwestern Field Representative with the Wildlife Management Institute, emphasized the importance of feeding mule deer the right type of food.

"With that smaller rumen, you have to provide them the right fiber mixture such that the animals can eat it without doing harm to the rumen," said Carpenter. "If you just feed them grains and hay, particularly low quality grass hay, there's a real problem."

A mule deer's digestive tract is so sensitive that natural climatic changes such as drought or excessive precipitation that can quickly change the quality and diversity of their foods can also result in malnourishment or starvation.

Does this mean that all supplemental feeding of mule deer is bad? Not necessarily, but be prepared to pay a hefty price for success. Supplemental feeding helps mule deer make it through a severe winter if the feeding is started early, long before the mule deer show signs of malnutrition or starvation. To effectively feed mule deer requires a three to four month commitment because it has to be started before poor range conditions and severe weather cause malnourishment. It must be continued until range conditions can support the herd.

These kinds of programs are costly, and can cause both short and long-term behavioral changes in wildlife. But the biggest threat to feeding mule deer is disease. Mule deer and other big game animals that are fed by humans tend to concentrate at feeding sites, where disease outbreaks can affect a large number of animals.

Mule deer are susceptible to chronic wasting disease and easily spread tuberculosis in crowded conditions (see article on Wildlife Diseases for a description of these diseases).

"The biggest problem right now with feeding are the disease concerns," said Carpenter. "That has become a big problem with tuberculosis and Chronic Wasting Disease. Michigan feeds and baits white-tailed deer and has a tuberculosis problem that affects their livestock. If you feed mule deer with elk, the brucellosis problems with elk and livestock are a real concern."

But Carpenter said there are some situations that are so severe for mule deer that consideration of supplemental feeding is warranted.

"There are some winter situations that are so bad, that if you don't feed, so many mule deer will die that a population won't be left, especially in high mountain areas," said Carpenter. "In very limited and extreme situations, it's okay to feed deer."

When mule deer feed across a large landscape, the microbes in their bodies adjust as their food sources gradually change. If a mule deer suddenly switches its diet from woody plants to high quality alfalfa hay, the microbes in its body do not have time to adjust, and it starves to death with a full stomach. Many a hay-fed mule deer has suffered this fate.

Disease isn't the only troubling side effect of supplemental feeding. Some mule deer are migratory, relying on traditional movements throughout a landscape to get the food, cover and water requirements they need year-round. Supplemental feeding can disrupt these movement patterns and cause mule deer that were once migratory to become year-round residents.

Year-round mule deer residents cause interactions human residents. Mule deer sometimes find alternative sources of food such as vegetable and flower gardens, and ornamental shrubs, much to the chagrin of homeowners. This problem can sometimes worsen during the spring, summer and fall. Numbers of vehicle/ mule deer collisions can increase in areas where mule deer are fed.

Supplemental feeding can cause a population of mule deer to increase beyond the capacity of the range to support it. This causes overbrowsing of existing shrubs and forbs that has long-term effects on the range. Many areas, particularly those in and around deserts, take decades and often centuries to recover from overbrowsing.

If mule deer numbers remain artificially high during times when range conditions are poor, two things happen. First, the range takes longer to recover because overbrowsing continues. And second, the number of malnourished deer actually increases because artificial feeding causes more animals to survive and reproduce. More mule deer means more competition for existing resources. The only option for these animals is to feed in an overbrowsed range when they are not being supplementally fed.

The bottom line? Leave supplemental feeding to the birds, and plan for healthy mule deer populations by providing adequate year-round habitat for mule deer."

http://www.createstrat.com/muledeerinth ... ndex2.html
 

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Good post wyo2ut, very informative. Their solution, increased habitat. I agree with you in that I would be willing to pay more for my tag if I knew it would go toward increasing habitat and preserving mule deer. Like you, I like hunting elk, but mule deer are my priority.
 

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A lot of places in Southern and Southern Utah will be just fine. The deer here in central Utah are doing just fine. Places up North are getting hit pretty hard, but the deer have survived hard winters than this. A lot of deer were nice and fat and very healthy going into the winter. We had a lot of good feed this year and im sure the deer will be just fine. 1992-1993 and 1983 was 10 times worse than this. It really hasnt gotten in the negative digits either so it hasn't been extremely cold. Deer aren't as weak as you think for many who are crying that the deer are going to winter kill.

The deer have a better chance surviving this winter then being hunted by all the 2 point killers who just want to kill instead of being more selective.
 

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coyoteslayer, while I agree with a lot of what you and PRO support, including I400, it suprises me that you would post a negative response to wyo2ut's post. I know you and wyo2ut disagree on most issues but come on. Granted it could be and has been much worse, but consider what is happening in the Gunnison Basin in Colorado. I have heard that upwards of 20% winter kill is expected in that area, even with the supplemental feeding. Central Utah is at 114% snow pack with 4 of the next 7 days expected to have snow. The article wyo2ut posted clearly states that action must be take PRIOR to a problem. I seen pictures tonight on the news showing deer in residential Provo looking for food. Obviosly, due to habitat loss, deer are struggling to find food. Sure 1983 and 1992 were worse as far as snow and temps, but there was also more habitat then to support the animals. Now we have a more than normal snow pack, not as much as 1983 or 1992, but far less habitat. Circumstances are different but the result is relatively the same. The deer are struggling and it is about to get much worse (in my opinion).
 

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The deer have a better chance surviving this winter then being hunted by all the 2 point killers who just want to kill instead of being more selective.
I think it is more about those who wish to put meat in the freezer than those that want to "kill". There has always been and always will be those who shoot the first deer with antlers. That just leaves less competition for those of us who seek something more.
 

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fatbass said:
This winter has been the snowiest in 25 years and my thoughts are turning to our deer herds.
Snowiest in 25 years? I can't imagine that this year has dumped more snow than the winter of 1992/93.
 

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Yeah the 92/93 year was real bad that was the year, we had to plow roof tops by hand. and ouite a few roof tops caved under the pressure. and brook shields donated five hundred dollars to feeding program. their was also a real bad one in 80/81?
 

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Hmmmm they say be careful what you feed the deer or just don't feed them..... Are our mulies just more particular or delicate than others? When I lived in California, we'd have mulies and blacktails come in to this attorneys place I worked at all the time. Spring and Summer time, they'd eat pears, apples, peaches, browse on his bushes, and eat cracked corn he'd buy by the pallet and put out in five gallon buckets. He basically kept corn out all year, but I didn't work there during the winter so I'm not sure what else he fed then, or how the deer survived, other than being in his yard all the time eating. All of the deer around his house were fat, healthy and would wander on and off his property all year, even having fawns in the willow thickets by his ponds. I remember several times walking up to one old doe and her twins, feeding them apples from Don's orchard. I also reached out and patted a big four point while feeding him an apple from my hand. Very cool experience.... but we never did feed them hay.... ever. We got some nasty snows in the mountains where this guy lived... pretty much every year, but still fed them corn all year that Don had stockpiled in his barn. That stockpile also drew the bears like crazy so that made for some interesting encounters. Anyway, guess my point is this.... there are studies saying we can't feed them hay. Okay.... so why aren't other options being explored? I know that the spray feeders folks use for whitetails and other game in "baiting" states are distasteful to some but can't we draw on those folks knowledge of feeding game for our own herds survival? Apparently corn works.... but I don't know what cost we're looking at. I just think that if hay isn't a good choice, rather than let a bad winter take us back to square one with the deer herd, we ought to be a little more concerned about it than just, well, thats natures way or turn it into stuff like the CS post about the "killers". Come on... this goes a bit above and beyond petty stuff like that.
 
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