Major Proposed Changes Region 3 Mule Deer Montana FWP

joelweb

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I imagine this has been mentioned on one of the other threads, but I want to start a dedicated discussion about Montana FWP's major proposed changes for mule deer hunting in southwest Montana, Region 3.

Check it out below. I see the biggest change as moving HD 300 from a trophy unit with 30 permits to an over-the-counter A license unit. Other big changes include eliminating unlimited permits, lengthening the Tobacco Roots season and moving A licenses to either sex. These are big potential changes. What do folks think?

HDs 300/302/320/322/325/326/328/329/330/331/333 (Tendoy & Tobacco Root Mtns):
Remove 75 MD 300-01 B-licenses from HD 300
Remove 200 MD 331-02 B-licenses from HD 331
Remove the unlimited mule deer buck permit 302-50 from HD 302
Eliminate the three-week mule deer buck season in HDs 320 and 333.
Implement a season-long either-sex mule deer on a general deer license in HDs 300, 302, 320, 322, 325, 326, 328, 329, 330, 331, and 333. With the exception of HDs 300 and 329, which will maintain respective limited and unlimited mule deer buck permit regulations.
 

joelweb

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And this is being proposed with the goal of maintaining deer populations within winter browse capacities, and using antlerless harvest to reduce harvest pressure on bucks.

I can't argue with this goal, but these tentatives make me uncomfortable.
 
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Randy11

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See highlighted below.

I imagine this has been mentioned on one of the other threads, but I want to start a dedicated discussion about Montana FWP's major proposed changes for mule deer hunting in southwest Montana, Region 3.

Check it out below. I see the biggest change as moving HD 300 from a trophy unit with 30 permits to an over-the-counter A license unit. Other big changes include eliminating unlimited permits, lengthening the Tobacco Roots season and moving A licenses to either sex. These are big potential changes. What do folks think?

HDs 300/302/320/322/325/326/328/329/330/331/333 (Tendoy & Tobacco Root Mtns):
Remove 75 MD 300-01 B-licenses from HD 300
Remove 200 MD 331-02 B-licenses from HD 331
Remove the unlimited mule deer buck permit 302-50 from HD 302
Eliminate the three-week mule deer buck season in HDs 320 and 333.
Implement a season-long either-sex mule deer on a general deer license in HDs 300, 302, 320, 322, 325, 326, 328, 329, 330, 331, and 333. With the exception of HDs 300 and 329, which will maintain respective limited and unlimited mule deer buck permit regulations.

That said, I'm opposed to these changes. I just don't see mule deer in any numbers in region 3 that would merit either sex seasons. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places.
 

RobG

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See highlighted below.



That said, I'm opposed to these changes. I just don't see mule deer in any numbers in region 3 that would merit either sex seasons. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places.
See highlighted below.



That said, I'm opposed to these changes. I just don't see mule deer in any numbers in region 3 that would merit either sex seasons. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places.
Randy - I have no opinion on the proposal yet, but I have a note from FWP's Craig Fager/Dean Waltee indicating that this is a habitat issue and MD numbers have to come down or the habitat has to be improved. The justification for allowing your A tag to be used for either sex is that it will be better for bucks over time than a B tag. With a B tag a person will likely kill a buck and a doe. Based on past seasons they expect about 10% of the harvest to be does.

I get the impression a lot of work needs to be done (like fire) to bring back the habitat.

The picture below had the following caption "Mountain Mahogany in the Scudder Creek Drainage, near Polaris. The plants show high mortality from browsing over time and have retrogressed from 8+ feet tall to 1-2 feet over the last 50 years."


0



I also saw these pics of the Snowcrests taken in 1921 and 2015. Note the conifer encroachment, and also the new sagebrush.
 

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cowboy

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I get the impression a lot of work needs to be done (like fire) to bring back the habitat.

I also saw these pics of the Snowcrests taken in 1921 and 2015. Note the conifer encroachment, and also the new sagebrush.

I have been in that area consistently for the last 25 yrs.. One thing for sure is it's not a matter of if fire is coming, but when - and I don't mean by a prescribed burn. There are areas that there is literally no live trees left from all the bug kill. The blow down in some areas is getting so bad that in some areas you can walk above ground for as far as you choose. With one lightening strike and the proper conditions we are going to have our hands full.
 

JLS

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I have been in that area consistently for the last 25 yrs.. One thing for sure is it's not a matter of if fire is coming, but when - and I don't mean by a prescribed burn. There are areas that there is literally no live trees left from all the bug kill. The blow down in some areas is getting so bad that in some areas you can walk above ground for as far as you choose. With one lightening strike and the proper conditions we are going to have our hands full.

Actually, the bug kill is going to keep the fires from being as intense as they would have otherwise. Check out the fire around Black Butte, and you can see where the dead stands of Whitebark pines acted as firebreaks.

Not saying some areas aren't ripe for a fire, because they are. However, it isn't because of the standing dead snags.
 

antlerradar

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Looks to me like it was grazed to the dirt back in 21.
I am sure that habitat is a big part of the problem but habitat is also the part of the problem that FWP has the least amount of control on. I sometimes get the feeling that people complain about problems that they can not control so they don't have to make tough decisions were they do have control.
 
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joelweb

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What about moving HD302 from an unlimited permit area to a general area?

Seems like all they'll do here is add pressure on the bucks.
 
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Randy11

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What do folks think about moving HD300 from a trophy unit to a general area?
What about moving HD302 from an unlimited permit area to a general area?

Seems like all they'll do here is add pressure on the bucks.

They aren't proposing to change unit 300. Look at the bolded part in my quote above.
 

joelweb

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Looks to me like it was grazed to the dirt back in 21.
I am sure that habitat is a big part of the problem but habitat is also the part of the problem that FWP has the least amount of control on. I sometimes get the feeling that people complain about problems that they can not control so they don't have to make tough decisions were they do have control.

While the lands are often federal, the state can push for habitat improvement. It would take a strong commitment from the state to get some meaningful projects done (i.e. Mule Deer Initiative). Rather than reducing deer populations to match declining habitat quality, I prefer the idea of improving habitat conditions to support desired deer numbers. With all this said, I appreciate what the biologists are trying to do.
 
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joelweb

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They aren't proposing to change unit 300. Look at the bolded part in my quote above.

Thanks for the clarification. You are right. The proposed changes contradict themselves. With this "Implement a season-long either-sex mule deer on a general deer license in HDs 300..." and then this "With the exception of HDs 300..." I should have read through to the end...
 
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antlerradar

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I am all for habitat improvement but the even the most meaningful project will likely only increase conditions to support at best a few hundred deer. Things may be different is three then here in seven but all the habitat improvements that man can due will not help if we continue to hunt mule deer as if we have the numbers, access, technology and hunters of the 70's and 80's. Some tough choices are likely ahead. Again I am for trying to get every habitat improvement project done we can. I am sure that most people are. Focusing on habitat is a good way to avoid having to make the unpopular choices but it is likely only delaying them.
 

belly-deep

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Boy, I sure have a tough time believing mule deer are at capacity in the places I've hunted in SW MT.
 
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