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Deer question montana

Would you rather MT be all draw for mule deer OTC or keep it the same OTC general tag

  • I want it all draw

    Votes: 58 62.4%
  • Keep current system

    Votes: 31 33.3%
  • Your opinion of your season structure post in response

    Votes: 4 4.3%

  • Total voters
    93

BirdManMike

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
206
Location
Montana
I do tend to see more and better mule deer bucks come late Nov. By then I have usually put my OTC general tag on a whitetail, tho (with a muzzeloader - who needs a December season?). I guess I dont have strong preference either way - maybe a few more managed units would be beneficial to the trophy hunter types.
 

Don Fischer

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Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
1,414
Folks think things are crowded now, imagine if everyone hunted the same 2 weeks....
Wouldn't take all that long and people would spread out not only the date they hunted but also the area. Few people want to hunt a 100 acre farm with 200 other hunters!

One more thing. If your not seeing much in the way of nice mule deer try getting away from the road farther!
 

Ridge Ghost

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Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
268
Location
Missoula, MT
Shorten the season for OTC mule deer units so that they end before the rut. Close them 10/31 or 11/5 or so. No one loses opportunity. Everyone with a tag still gets to hunt. You could still get lucky and stumble across a buck of a lifetime in October. More bucks will be able to live to maturity, rather than getting wacked as a forkie as they rut next to the road in November.

Implement a small number of special permits for each unit that allow you to hunt through the rut. Each year, a lucky few who draw will get to chase mature, rutting bucks.

Eliminate all mule deer doe tags for public land and block management areas. Keep doe tags for private land. If landowners are serious about managing game numbers on their property, they can let people on to hunt.

Keep the current dates for whitetail. If you need to need to fill the freezer on your family Thanksgiving hunt, there is plenty of opportunity to do so with a whitetail. They taste better than muleys anyway, and aren't in need of the same level of management attention.

To me, this strikes a reasonable balance between managing for numbers, age class and opportunity.
 

8andcounting

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Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
2,153
Another thing I dont understand is how there is no differentiation in management between whitetails and mule deer aside from a handful of LE muley units. Not sure how you can effectively manage two different species this way.
You can’t /they aren’t . Fwp is trying to kill off mule deer in Montana , and white tail populations in much of the state are exploding .
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
45
Shorten the season for OTC mule deer units so that they end before the rut. Close them 10/31 or 11/5 or so. No one loses opportunity. Everyone with a tag still gets to hunt. You could still get lucky and stumble across a buck of a lifetime in October. More bucks will be able to live to maturity, rather than getting wacked as a forkie as they rut next to the road in November.

Implement a small number of special permits for each unit that allow you to hunt through the rut. Each year, a lucky few who draw will get to chase mature, rutting bucks.

Eliminate all mule deer doe tags for public land and block management areas. Keep doe tags for private land. If landowners are serious about managing game numbers on their property, they can let people on to hunt.

Keep the current dates for whitetail. If you need to need to fill the freezer on your family Thanksgiving hunt, there is plenty of opportunity to do so with a whitetail. They taste better than muleys anyway, and aren't in need of the same level of management attention.

To me, this strikes a reasonable balance between managing for numbers, age class and opportunity.
This!

Okay, that should settle it...
 

Walkalot

Active member
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
230
Doesnt take a bio to figure it out. Mule deer on otc public land, are at the mercy of legislators and hunters. True conservation would step in, but excuses and managers are afraid of speaking up. Never shot a mule deer before, had an LE tag but couldnt find the the one. People that shoot meat bucks is jyst absurd, this day and age. People that harvest young bucks just to punch a tag are ridiculous. There are lottsa of great ideas but lets implement them. How do we do that. Nobody that i personally know relies on a mule deer for meat. Most people i know that shoot a mulie buck post them on facebook or whatever then say ya last day buck or meat buck. Yes trying to shame people into conservation. Yes youth should have opurtunity ever year. Be interesting if they managed for the wildlife instead of $$$.

Rant over
 

Walkalot

Active member
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
230
Last thing

Yes hunting is a sport. The best. Life lessons, family, fun, everything to me.
Hunters are the best conservationist, because they value it and live it.
 

Muley_Stalker

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
1,328
Location
Colorado
You can’t /they aren’t . Fwp is trying to kill off mule deer in Montana , and white tail populations in much of the state are exploding .
Just the opposite of Colorado. They don't want any whittailes here in the western part of the state. It's the only deer tag that's OTC and you can buy as many as you want. The problem is there's not a lot of them and most are on private land by the Arkansas River.

I tried it once but only saw mule deer.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
45
Just the opposite of Colorado. They don't want any whittailes here in the western part of the state. It's the only deer tag that's OTC and you can buy as many as you want. The problem is there's not a lot of them and most are on private land by the Arkansas River.

I tried it once but only saw mule deer.
Wish we would do a better job of thinning out the WT here in Montana. Gonna make it my mission to shoot a bunch of does this season. I’d really encourage anyone coming out here to get WT b tags instead of muley. They taste better and are pretty damn easy to find all over the state
 

MTGamecock

Active member
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
67
Location
SW Montana
Forgive me for my ignorance (I'm still new), but is the problem that there aren't enough mule deer on public land in Montana or just that there aren't enough trophy mule deer bucks? I see mule deer virtually every time I go out hunting the public lands around here, although not many bucks. Since I am mostly a meat hunter, I have used my general tag to shoot a muley doe. While I would certainly love to put a nice trophy on the wall, the hunting experience of taking the doe is largely the same. The hike in, the stalk or ambush, the field dressing, the pack-out, the meat processing- the net result is the thrill and feeling of accomplishment that we all live for. I wouldn't want to forego that experience for a few years if it's just because some hunters want to shoot a trophy-caliber buck every year.
 

timmy

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Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
506
Forgive me for my ignorance (I'm still new), but is the problem that there aren't enough mule deer on public land in Montana or just that there aren't enough trophy mule deer bucks? I see mule deer virtually every time I go out hunting the public lands around here, although not many bucks. Since I am mostly a meat hunter, I have used my general tag to shoot a muley doe. While I would certainly love to put a nice trophy on the wall, the hunting experience of taking the doe is largely the same. The hike in, the stalk or ambush, the field dressing, the pack-out, the meat processing- the net result is the thrill and feeling of accomplishment that we all live for. I wouldn't want to forego that experience for a few years if it's just because some hunters want to shoot a trophy-caliber buck every year.
Would that experience be any different in October? It’s not hard to shoot a mule deer even in October. I think most people that are concerned are more concerned for the health of the herd they have already shot good bucks. Now they just don’t get to see them or the numbers of deer anymore and it will continue to get worse if we stay on the same path.
 

MTGomer

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Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
3,982
Location
MT —> AZ
I’d sure like to see populations in each unit scientifically managed to a fairly conservative goal. Meaning desired buck:doe ratios should be set and objective populations set for each unit and managed to. If that can be done by pushing the season earlier, great. If it takes a draw, great.

Montana is a big state with a lot of deer and relatively few people, even still. I bet every resident that wants to could hunt deer every year and do it knowing there’s some 4-7 year old deer in their unit with some management.
 

MTGamecock

Active member
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
67
Location
SW Montana
Would that experience be any different in October? It’s not hard to shoot a mule deer even in October. I think most people that are concerned are more concerned for the health of the herd they have already shot good bucks. Now they just don’t get to see them or the numbers of deer anymore and it will continue to get worse if we stay on the same path.
I don't know. Maybe not? My sincere question: does my shooting a doe in November threaten the muley population? I'm less concerned about when as much as I am about overall opportunity. For example, if I'm trading a couple of weeks in November for a couple of weeks in early October, I'd take that. But if we're talking about trimming the deer season down to a couple of weeks (that run concurrently with an elk season), then the opportunity rapidly slips away. Or maybe the tail end of the season could be doe only? I'm certainly not arguing the point, but just trying to get a feel for the nature of the problem/issue. I don't know what the deer populations looked like 20 years ago, so I don't have the same perspective as a long-time Montana hunter.
 

RobertD

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Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
515
Location
Southwest Georgia (GA)
Wish we would do a better job of thinning out the WT here in Montana. Gonna make it my mission to shoot a bunch of does this season. I’d really encourage anyone coming out here to get WT b tags instead of muley. They taste better and are pretty damn easy to find all over the state

It's weird man. I would love to hunt WTs in Montana (or Wyoming, or Colorado...) but coming from abundant whitetail hunting and having to go so far makes it difficult to justify over a novel species. Probably how most hunters feel unfortunately.

If I had the time and money to go on multiple trips a year I would be there to help your thinning efforts. Hunting familiar animals in such a wildly different landscape would be big time fun.
 

Wildabeast

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Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
1,833
Location
NC / UT / WY
Montana is a big state with a lot of deer and relatively few people, even still. I bet every resident that wants to could hunt deer every year and do it knowing there’s some 4-7 year old deer in their unit with some management.
That population doubles in late Nov. At least in the woods it does.

I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving hunts with my son since I know we can both make that time work, but I’m willing to make other times work to improve the quality of the herd. MT season is too long, and the best way to improve herd quality is eliminate rifle rut hunt.
 

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
1,943
Location
SE Montana
Forgive me for my ignorance (I'm still new), but is the problem that there aren't enough mule deer on public land in Montana or just that there aren't enough trophy mule deer bucks? I see mule deer virtually every time I go out hunting the public lands around here, although not many bucks.
For me it is both. I can not speak for SW Montana as I have only hunted SE Montana for forty years, but judging by the number of SW Montana plates I see in SE Montana every year it is safe to say that the SW part of the state is not much better.
Twenty years ago I was more concerned about the decline in bigger bucks, now the number of deer on the big blocks of public scares me more. The 1980's > the 1990's > 2000's >2010's has been the trend. The way we hunt Mule Deer is not sustainable. I can still find deer on the public and even a big one every now and then but if something is not changed the trend is going to continue.
I have been to all the most remote places on the big blocks of public many times. The trend is the same in there too. Hunting farther form the roads may be better in most places, but it is not going to get you into hunting like there was in the 90's or even the 2000's. Last Dec I did quite a few miles in the most remote part of the Custer. I crossed fewer than ten deer tracks in a two day old snow. Very sad.
What need to be done.
End or severely limit doe hunting on public land.
An earlier season, limited entry or combination of the the two for Mule Deer.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
45
It's weird man. I would love to hunt WTs in Montana (or Wyoming, or Colorado...) but coming from abundant whitetail hunting and having to go so far makes it difficult to justify over a novel species. Probably how most hunters feel unfortunately.

If I had the time and money to go on multiple trips a year I would be there to help your thinning efforts. Hunting familiar animals in such a wildly different landscape would be big time fun.
I hear where you’re coming from on that. I guess what I’m saying is if you’re coming to eastern Montana to hunt muley bucks something you can do to help the future of mule deer and take some extra meat home is to pick up a WT b tag instead of a muley b tag. There’s quite a few whitetails that live in the same habitat as mulies.
 

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