Montana Mule Deer Mismanagement

antlerradar

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Has any NGO bee n approached to do an independent game count? It would clearly piss in someone's Cherios, but you'd have a different data point.

Does USFWS do game counts in the CMR for example?

Put some of that "conservation" money to actual work untead of back slaps, backpack races and pint nights.
The Custer started to do some spot light surveys a few years back. The results are not pretty but the number of years needs to be greater for better data. Covid put a stop to them and I am not sure if they have started back up.
Yes, some did not like pee in there Cherios.
 

MTGomer

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For what it’s worth, I just spent 9 days staring through a 95mm Swaro BTX just north of Yellowstone National Park and I saw almost a dozen mule deer in that time, about half of them bucks, and one of them may have been three years old.
 

JT88

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For what it’s worth, I just spent 9 days staring through a 95mm Swaro BTX just north of Yellowstone National Park and I saw almost a dozen mule deer in that time, about half of them bucks, and one of them may have been three years old.
SHHH... Someone will go smoke them too.
 

mtmiller

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Has any NGO bee n approached to do an independent game count? It would clearly piss in someone's Cherios, but you'd have a different data point.
Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance.

I guess it would also depend and the Mission Statement of NGO's and whether game agencies would reach out.
 

Bambistew

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Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance.

I guess it would also depend and the Mission Statement of NGO's and whether game agencies would reach out.
I had forgot the Goat Alliance does those counts. I'm guessing so because MTFWP doesn't really have the $ to do good counts? I would think that a game count could worked into about any hunting NGO mission statement. Its critical information needed to sustain the organization.

With the technology available today with drones, and thermal detection. I would think they could do some pretty intensive game counts, for a reasonable price. Another data point to compare to the MTFWP population model would be worth its weight in gold. This study is very interesting. The accuracy is much higher than visual observations. This is something that could be done for a very reasonable cost if I was going to guess.


 

DougStickney

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Hunters will never self regulate. I ran into a group of North Dakotans with 24 doe tags a few years back most of them already filled. They said our state doesn’t let us do that so we come here.
edit: they were proud that they had done it on public land in November. With the deer numbers where they were hunting I don’t doubt they worked for it.
 
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brockel

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Hunters will never self regulate. I ran into a group of North Dakotans with 24 doe tags a few years back most of them already filled. They said our state doesn’t let us do that so we come here.
edit: they were proud that they had done it on public land in November. With the deer numbers where they were hunting I don’t doubt they worked for it.


Seen a group at cenex a couple years ago with a atv trailer loaded to the gills with does and the pickup box had legs sticking out too.
 

SwaggyD

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Seen a group at cenex a couple years ago with a atv trailer loaded to the gills with does and the pickup box had legs sticking out too.
I’ve seen the same from my in laws neighbors in Helena when I went to my in laws for thanksgiving dinner. Had a trailer of 20+ mule deer on it. Hide on. Unhooked from the pickup. Just hanging out. There’s no doubt where they killed them.
 
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8andcounting

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Hunters will never self regulate. I ran into a group of North Dakotans with 24 doe tags a few years back most of them already filled. They said our state doesn’t let us do that so we come here.
edit: they were proud that they had done it on public land in November. With the deer numbers where they were hunting I don’t doubt they worked for it.
Us damn North Dakotans …. Lol
 

Eric Albus

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I’ve posed the question to FWP, “why are we shooting mule deer does on public/accessible lands in the first place”.
IMO there should be no doe mule deer hunting on accessible lands until there’s a population issue. If/when over population happens then issue “x” number of license for antlerless. Wait a minute…this makes no sense, just issue doe tags until there are no deer left. Don’t know what I was thinking.
 

R.K.

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I had forgot the Goat Alliance does those counts. I'm guessing so because MTFWP doesn't really have the $ to do good counts? I would think that a game count could worked into about any hunting NGO mission statement. Its critical information needed to sustain the organization.

With the technology available today with drones, and thermal detection. I would think they could do some pretty intensive game counts, for a reasonable price. Another data point to compare to the MTFWP population model would be worth its weight in gold. This study is very interesting. The accuracy is much higher than visual observations. This is something that could be done for a very reasonable cost if I was going to guess.


The tools are available, but there is no appetite for it. That is the problem- everyone with the ability to do anything about the problem has buried their head in the sand, toed the line, or been removed from their position, and that includes the resident sportsman who find themselves driving farther and hunting longer for their ever shrinking piece (smaller deer) of an ever-shrinking pie (deer populations), while telling themselves "This is great!" and "It's my birthright!". Yep- killing bison (or eastern elk, or passenger pigeons, or heath hens) was a birthright, right up until there were none left.

I'm appalled that the biologists can say with a straight face that mule deer populations are at an all time high, when they aren't even the highest in the past decade, per their own data. And this report has been scrubbed of all the data from the "glory days", most likely due to the line of "unsustainably high populations not representative of landscape carrying capacity." It's criminally deceitful, how they knowingly lie to those whom they are beholden to as the managers of the wildlife they "hold in trust" for the public/residents of the state in order to avoid any confrontation.

As far as mandatory check-in? Missouri has mandatory check by 10pm on the day the tag is notched- can be done online, over the phone, or on a mobile app. The system is in place and proven, and some timing accommodations for the remoteness of MT would rectify any issues with "I couldn't get phone service". Is there some deceit that goes on with reporting? Of course- that's human nature. But saying the new system would be ineffective because of this would also completely discredit the current random phone call model. Nothing says you can't use both in tandem for a couple of years- if the phone calls are so cheap, then this shouldn't be an issue! Get concurrent data and correlate it. But better data is critical if we are to have any hope of improving the resource.

On that note- The thermal drone option is fantastic. I shudder to think what flight time costs these days, for the av gas alone. I think a drone would pay for itself within the first year on a cost-savings basis. And it would give better counts, although it might struggle to differentiate between elk, deer, and antelope, let alone mule deer vs whitetails. But tie it in with GIS data (relatively easy to do), and you suddenly have a powerful tool for checking public/private distribution of animals. For those people screaming about "taking jobs from the pilots"- have them retrained as drone operators. It's not that hard, it's not that expensive, and it will keep these people that have experience with the landscape utilizing that experience.

Am I a biologist? I technically have the degree, but I don't use it professionally. Am I from Montana? No- moved here 4 years ago, hunted 3 of those years. In that time, I've killed two 4-pt bucks (not mature), and ate my tag rather than shoot a forkie on the last day of season. Does that mean I'm a part of the problem? You betcha. But I'm at least willing to learn, and I'm willing to fight to make things better.

It's all a joke. Rant over. Kill the last forkie and doe, take all the money you can selling unlimited tags for the opportunity, then put up a statue to the species here.
 

Hunting Wife

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