Montana Mule Deer Mismanagement

ELKdeerMT

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Sep 29, 2022
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199
Yeah, the “good old days” are right now for NR hunting in CO…train wreck on the horizon. I’m doing my damnedest to get my kids in on it right now, they’re not likely to have these phenomenal opportunities in a few years. Maybe a few hunts in their adult lifetimes. Hopefully I’m wrong. My kid’s harvests from their “kids draw” tags this year. “Gotta love Colorado” View attachment 250971

View attachment 250972
You should share that idea in this thread:


I hope your wrong as well. Awesome smile on your sons face, and cool deer.
 

Eric Albus

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May 24, 2012
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Gauging satisfaction with some confidence level is not that hard. It's called mandatory reporting. New Mexico even does it for the lowly pronghorn.

Link to example here (second column from the right) - https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/hunting/harvest/2021_2022-Pronghorn-Harvest-Report.pdf

Nevada does the same. Maybe this is the reason some at Montana FWP have resisted mandatory reporting for so long. Having data that shows low satisfaction might require some change and adjustment.
The problem with most FWP surveys is that they’re multiple choice answers. The surveyor crafts the questions and answers to get desired results.
 

Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
The problem with most FWP surveys is that they’re multiple choice answers. The surveyor crafts the questions and answers to get desired results.
Your quote is not referring to a survey, but to mandatory reporting of hunting success, which is completely different than answering survey questions.
 

MsMuley

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Montana
Have any of you guys/gals seen this? I’m assuming so, but just in case. This is/was Montana’s mule deer management plan, initially written in 1995 (If I remember correctly). It was updated last October and went through the F&W Commission. There was a public comment period with only about 38 comments received statewide, with most of them being about a district in R1. There was an opportunity to weigh in on MT mule deer management fairly recently, regardless of how folks feel about whether or not the Department listens. Given all these threads on mule deer I’m surprised at the lack of formal participation here. Just an FYI for those that might not be aware.


Comments here:
 

BuzzH

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Laramie, WY
i dont think its a plausible excuse to shoot bucks this late especially public land,
Since I've been getting nr deer tags in Montana after moving in 2000...I've shot 2 mule deer. Both long before mid November. I won't say never but I'm not seeing a situation where I shoot another mule deer buck in Montana in my lifetime.
 

SAJ-99

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E Washington
The problem with most FWP surveys is that they’re multiple choice answers. The surveyor crafts the questions and answers to get desired results.
Conundrum- Survey hunters to get input and listen to them bitch about the results or don’t survey them and listen to them bitch about not being asked for input.

Eric, would trying to change a few units to draw (like was done with 270) be more effective than changing the entire system? I ask because you have been involved in the other discussions. We all need to try to come together with proposals solutions, particularly ones that don’t alienate 60% of R hunters.
 

huntin24/7

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Jul 25, 2010
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Location
Eastern Montana
My buddy shot a 139” deer, was telling people it was a 165-175” deer for a couple days. I think a lot of people who are new to mule deer hunting think a 140” deer is a big mule deer.
The average size has gotten so much smaller in eastern MT that when I see a 150, I have to calm myself down because it looks like a 180 compared to all the dinks I’ve been seeing for weeks. Lol
 

DougStickney

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977
Have any of you guys/gals seen this? I’m assuming so, but just in case. This is/was Montana’s mule deer management plan, initially written in 1995 (If I remember correctly). It was updated last October and went through the F&W Commission. There was a public comment period with only about 38 comments received statewide, with most of them being about a district in R1. There was an opportunity to weigh in on MT mule deer management fairly recently, regardless of how folks feel about whether or not the Department listens. Given all these threads on mule deer I’m surprised at the lack of formal participation here. Just an FYI for those that might not be aware.


Comments here:
What exactly were people going to comment? please stop doing the same thing you’ve been doing since 1970 even though looking at that plan that’s exactly what mtfwp was going to do. Many of the regions had no changes. Would a bunch of comments changed their “adaptive mule deer plan”? Not a chance. This mess falls squarely on wildlife managers and biologists and the people making decisions at fwp. They are the people that could actually help our mule deer herd and they are asleep at the wheel. I can tell you I make my public comments and not once did I feel it made one bit of difference. Certainly didn’t help with elk management.
Every mule deer that gets harvested in Montana is in spite of Montana FWP not because of them, just an FYI.
 

300stw

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Messages
709
Since I've been getting nr deer tags in Montana after moving in 2000...I've shot 2 mule deer. Both long before mid November. I won't say never but I'm not seeing a situation where I shoot another mule deer buck in Montana in my lifetime.comments

Since I've been getting nr deer tags in Montana after moving in 2000...I've shot 2 mule deer. Both long before mid November. I won't say never but I'm not seeing a situation where I shoot another mule deer buck in Montana in my lifetime.
wasnt about you personally buzz, its the general comment i hear all the time from landowners
 
Last edited:

YukonGold

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Aug 19, 2022
Messages
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Conundrum- Survey hunters to get input and listen to them bitch about the results or don’t survey them and listen to them bitch about not being asked for input.

Eric, would trying to change a few units to draw (like was done with 270) be more effective than changing the entire system? I ask because you have been involved in the other discussions. We all need to try to come together with proposals solutions, particularly ones that don’t alienate 60% of R hunters.
The problem with changing a few units to draw is that it might help those units, but it just increases hunter pressure elsewhere and makes the remaining units that much worse. Honestly I think the only way to solve this is to make every unit a draw. And that won't be popular with many (dare I say most?) hunters.

Maybe there's a way to spread out the pressure more. Take general rifle hunting out of the rut. Shorten the season and/or have multiple seasons for hunters to apply for, with early (non-rut) seasons with more opportunity.
 

MsMuley

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Montana
What exactly were people going to comment? please stop doing the same thing you’ve been doing since 1970 even though looking at that plan that’s exactly what mtfwp was going to do. Many of the regions had no changes. Would a bunch of comments changed their “adaptive mule deer plan”? Not a chance. This mess falls squarely on wildlife managers and biologists and the people making decisions at fwp. They are the people that could actually help our mule deer herd and they are asleep at the wheel. I can tell you I make my public comments and not once did I feel it made one bit of difference. Certainly didn’t help with elk management.
Every mule deer that gets harvested in Montana is in spite of Montana FWP not because of them, just an FYI.
I know how frustrating it is when you feel like FWP doesn’t listen to comments. Everyone who’s ever commented feels that way at some point because nobody ever gets their way with everything. There have been plenty of times where I’m pissed about decisions and don’t feel listened to, and it’s clear a lot of folks here echo that and what you said too.

I feel like not commenting when you have something to say is kind of a cop-out (I don’t mean offense). It takes less time to submit a comment probably than most people spend ranting on this page, and then at least you’d be doing your part as a beneficiary in the public trust. I think Randy’s latest podcast touches on that but haven’t quite finished listening to it yet. Even if you don’t think it’ll do anything, comment! Then it’s on the record, which is better than it not being on the record.

Also, look what comments did last season-setting? It was a shit-show, but would have been a LOT worse if people didn’t speak up. Some of the early decisions were reversed based on public comment, which gave me a sliver of hope. They just have to show up for mule deer in the same way they do for elk.
 

DougStickney

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Feb 10, 2022
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977
I know how frustrating it is when you feel like FWP doesn’t listen to comments. Everyone who’s ever commented feels that way at some point because nobody ever gets their way with everything. There have been plenty of times where I’m pissed about decisions and don’t feel listened to, and it’s clear a lot of folks here echo that and what you said too.

I feel like not commenting when you have something to say is kind of a cop-out (I don’t mean offense). It takes less time to submit a comment probably than most people spend ranting on this page, and then at least you’d be doing your part as a beneficiary in the public trust. I think Randy’s latest podcast touches on that but haven’t quite finished listening to it yet. Even if you don’t think it’ll do anything, comment! Then it’s on the record, which is better than it not being on the record.

Also, look what comments did last season-setting? It was a shit-show, but would have been a LOT worse if people didn’t speak up. Some of the early decisions were reversed based on public comment, which gave me a sliver of hope. They just have to show up for mule deer in the same way they do for elk.
I’m on record plenty with public comments on my thoughts on Montana mule deer. The way all those comments are geared to region 1 I suspect most didn’t feel comments regarding other areas were valid.
I showed up after bad winters in 2011 and 2012 only to be laughed at by local fwp staff, my comments were dismissed as anecdotal and I didn’t know what I was talking about. 2 years later they cut doe tags and not long after that they declared a great mule deer comeback. I’ve watched areas I used to enjoy hunting decimated by doe harvest. I can’t go to those areas during November because I get irate mad. When it’s been brought up with local staff they tell me to go hunt somewhere else and to gain access to private if I don’t like what I’m seeing on public. There is a complete disconnect between people with boots on the ground and fwp staff. Lately I was told by local FWP staff they are knocking it out of the park with their “management” meanwhile I’ve seen the worst deer numbers in my lifetime. People suggested localizing doe harvest only to be dismissed by fwp staff saying we couldn’t be doing a better job than we are now. I will continue to make my public comments but this has gone way beyond that. When is the last hard decision FWP had made regarding mule deer management. It’s time for the people in charge to be held accountable and make the right decisions for MULE DEER not what is socially acceptable to hunters. I will continue to rant on forums with the hope even the dimmest of bulbs will see what we are doing to mule deer simply isn’t right.
 

Eric Albus

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May 24, 2012
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1,283
Your quote is not referring to a survey, but to mandatory reporting of hunting success, which is completely different than answering survey questions.
I’m not referring to “mandatory reporting”.
I’m pointing at the last survey they sent out. It was certainly the best one I’ve seen from FWP, but was still slanted.

Mandatory reporting would and should be instituted, and then be used for biological management of the resource.
 

rogerthat

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Aug 29, 2015
Messages
1,079
I know how frustrating it is when you feel like FWP doesn’t listen to comments. Everyone who’s ever commented feels that way at some point because nobody ever gets their way with everything. There have been plenty of times where I’m pissed about decisions and don’t feel listened to, and it’s clear a lot of folks here echo that and what you said too.

I feel like not commenting when you have something to say is kind of a cop-out (I don’t mean offense). It takes less time to submit a comment probably than most people spend ranting on this page, and then at least you’d be doing your part as a beneficiary in the public trust. I think Randy’s latest podcast touches on that but haven’t quite finished listening to it yet. Even if you don’t think it’ll do anything, comment! Then it’s on the record, which is better than it not being on the record.

Also, look what comments did last season-setting? It was a shit-show, but would have been a LOT worse if people didn’t speak up. Some of the early decisions were reversed based on public comment, which gave me a sliver of hope. They just have to show up for mule deer in the same way they do for elk.
I think your barking up the wrong tree. The folks on this forum are probably the ones making the 38 comments. It’s the rest of hunters that aren’t too concerned.

Why should the public and hunters have to make comments to get an agency to manage a population of wildlife? I have never understood that concept. I’m an engineer. The only input the client influences is the aesthetics and what budget they are targeting but the solution is based in my professional knowledge. Why is this different?
 

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