Montana Mule Deer Mismanagement

cgasner1

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Why would you not want to get into them? Hurt someone’s feelings? Time to pull the blanket off the emperor…I don’t think anyone will be surprised with what they see
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you?
 

DougStickney

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Well I will say one thing fwp is #1 at is getting 100% loyalty and commitment from their staff. Better than the military as far as I can tell. Absolutely baffling to me.
Especially when they are on an island of states and provinces that wouldn’t even consider managing the way they do. Increasing population of humans increasing resident tags and come home to hunt BS. Nonresidents and residents stacking up on one side of the state. Obvious declines in population even on highly managed private. And yet they maintain the best management in the west. Adaptive management at work. Let’s do it again next year, and see just how far we can take this.
 

SAJ-99

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Especially when they are on an island of states and provinces that wouldn’t even consider managing the way they do. Increasing population of humans increasing resident tags and come home to hunt BS. Nonresidents and residents stacking up on one side of the state. Obvious declines in population even on highly managed private. And yet they maintain the best management in the west. Adaptive management at work. Let’s do it again next year, and see just how far we can take this.
Pretty sure that saying “My hunting sucked, so you are terrible at your job” is not going to get us very far. I fully support mandatory reporting, because it is easy and cheap and improves the data, but it is generally putting lipstick on a pig. I want it because I want unit-level management. This should include pick your weapon, pick your unit on tags.
 
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DougStickney

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Pretty sure that saying “My hunting sucked, so you are terrible at you job” is not going to get us very far. I fully support mandatory reporting, because it is easy and cheap and improves the data, but it is generally putting lipstick on a pig. I want it because I want unit-level management. This should include pick your weapon, pick your unit on tags.
Pretty sure saying my state sucks so I came to Montana isn’t going to get you very far. You have a lot of work to do. Better get to it. I want to see your state get better so I don’t see you here. Good luck.
 

BuzzH

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Pretty sure that saying “My hunting sucked, so you are terrible at you job” is not going to get us very far. I fully support mandatory reporting, because it is easy and cheap and improves the data, but it is generally putting lipstick on a pig. I want it because I want unit-level management. This should include pick your weapon, pick your unit on tags.
People were warning the MTFWP the hunting was going to suck if they didn't start making changes, when the hunting didn't suck.

They didn't pay attention then, and they're in a deeper state of denial now.

Their data is dogshit...no two ways about it. Everytime they do a survey flight and find crap numbers it's because they flew too late, that piece of shit helicopter had problems, the bulls were in the timber, excuse after excuse.

Of course shoulder seasons, 11 weeks of brown it's down, etc. etc....that has nothing to do with anything.

What a joke, then you get a FWP employee trying to defend it all in this thread.
 

DougStickney

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Pretty sure that saying “My hunting sucked, so you are terrible at your job” is not going to get us very far. I fully support mandatory reporting, because it is easy and cheap and improves the data, but it is generally putting lipstick on a pig. I want it because I want unit-level management. This should include pick your weapon, pick your unit on tags.
I started hunting in the mid 90’s not that long by a lot of the people on here. The hunting was great and I had no clue what I was doing or what I was seeing. Mid 2000’s the better bucks were mainly gone but the country still had deer. Only change I could see were more hunters. Bad winters got rid of the deer several years later. Now bucks and does were gone, agency did nothing. This was in 2012. Land that was accessible never recovered period. Things are worse than I’ve ever seen it this year. I have access to private shooting a deer isn’t hard and doesn’t interest me I want to see deer on public and private and management that reflects that. I could see plain as day things were not going great previous to the drought that got us where we are now. At no point did fwp blink an eye. They have maintained numbers of deer are great age class is great and we can continue to shoot them with no limits. Even add on seasons for more hunting. I’m trying to help schmucks like you @SAJ-99. Even if they are too dumb to see it. Things aren’t good and nobody is doing anything to help it. My hunting will likely never suck as bad as yours does. But I can see we have a problem and have for a long time. Minor changes could help wildlife and an agency that won’t admit we have a problem is the biggest barrier and it makes no sense. How bad are we going to let it get.
 

SAJ-99

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Pretty sure saying my state sucks so I came to Montana isn’t going to get you very far. You have a lot of work to do. Better get to it. I want to see your state get better so I don’t see you here. Good luck.
I’ve only been here a year and can’t create deer with pixie dust. I’ve also already sent emails to commission members in bears, which I don’t even hunt, so I’m working on it. Geeez…

Their data is dogshit...no two ways about it
You will get nowhere telling them that. There is no way to prove it is dogshit. That said when you see stuff like this from them, attack the numbers. Why issue any B tags?

Mule deer numbers observed this year on the 14 spring trend areas were 36% below 2021 and 47% below the long-term average. Drought conditions reduced the quantity and quality of forage available to deer during spring and summer 2021.
The recruitment rate for mule deer fawns this spring was below average at 42 fawns per 100 adults, also a result of the drought. Nutritionally stressed does don’t produce as much milk for growing fawns, and many fawns didn’t gain enough weight their first summer to make it through the winter months.
In response to population declines, biologists in southeast Montana again reduced antlerless quotas, offering just 3,000 antlerless mule deer licenses for the 2022 season.
 

SAJ-99

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I started hunting in the mid 90’s not that long by a lot of the people on here. The hunting was great and I had no clue what I was doing or what I was seeing. Mid 2000’s the better bucks were mainly gone but the country still had deer. Only change I could see were more hunters. Bad winters got rid of the deer several years later. Now bucks and does were gone, agency did nothing. This was in 2012. Land that was accessible never recovered period. Things are worse than I’ve ever seen it this year. I have access to private shooting a deer isn’t hard and doesn’t interest me I want to see deer on public and private and management that reflects that. I could see plain as day things were not going great previous to the drought that got us where we are now. At no point did fwp blink an eye. They have maintained numbers of deer are great age class is great and we can continue to shoot them with no limits. Even add on seasons for more hunting. I’m trying to help schmucks like you @SAJ-99. Even if they are too dumb to see it. Things aren’t good and nobody is doing anything to help it. My hunting will likely never suck as bad as yours does. But I can see we have a problem and have for a long time. Minor changes could help wildlife and an agency that won’t admit we have a problem is the biggest barrier and it makes no sense. How bad are we going to let it get.
We are on the same team and I support almost all the same things you do. I would be happy to only be able to draw a tag every 5yrs. But we need to figure out what can change and what can not and what is truly going to make a difference. The arguments need to point out the inconsistencies between the data and the actions. See my previous post.
 

BuzzH

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I’ve only been here a year and can’t create deer with pixie dust. I’ve also already sent emails to commission members in bears, which I don’t even hunt, so I’m working on it. Geeez…


You will get nowhere telling them that. There is no way to prove it is dogshit. That said when you see stuff like this from them, attack the numbers. Why issue any B tags?

Mule deer numbers observed this year on the 14 spring trend areas were 36% below 2021 and 47% below the long-term average. Drought conditions reduced the quantity and quality of forage available to deer during spring and summer 2021.
The recruitment rate for mule deer fawns this spring was below average at 42 fawns per 100 adults, also a result of the drought. Nutritionally stressed does don’t produce as much milk for growing fawns, and many fawns didn’t gain enough weight their first summer to make it through the winter months.
In response to population declines, biologists in southeast Montana again reduced antlerless quotas, offering just 3,000 antlerless mule deer licenses for the 2022 season.
Right, when hunters kill 86 of 70 available bulls in the area I hunt....their numbers aren't dogshit.

Makes perfect sense, and their own numbers prove just how shitty their own data is.
 

SAJ-99

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Right, when hunters kill 86 of 70 available bulls in the area I hunt....their numbers aren't dogshit.

Makes perfect sense, and their own numbers prove just how shitty their own data is.
I don’t disagree, but that could be written off as a statistical problem. It happens. It supports needing better data, but better harvest data is only half the story. I don’t know how you get better pop data in some of these places, in a cost effective way at least.

I have a bigger problem when the data sets conflict. The model they publish has all these inputs but they don’t seem to be using them as proactively as they claim. One exception is antelope. It’s like a different organization is running that show.
 

antlerradar

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I don’t disagree, but that could be written off as a statistical problem. It happens. It supports needing better data, but better harvest data is only half the story. I don’t know how you get better pop data in some of these places, in a cost effective way at least.

I have a bigger problem when the data sets conflict. The model they publish has all these inputs but they don’t seem to be using them as proactively as they claim. One exception is antelope. It’s like a different organization is running that show.
Antelope is not that different in region 7. Lots of tags good for the entire region. I am old enough to remember when tags were distributed to a bunch of smaller units. Those units may have been too small, but we went the total opposite. Same old story now. Give out a bunch of tags and let hunters decide were to go. Public ground gets over hunted year after year and the private gets commercialized.
 
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Stone_Ice_1

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Helena, MT
Why would you not want to get into them? Hurt someone’s feelings? Time to pull the blanket off the emperor…I don’t think anyone will be surprised with what they see

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you?
To be clear I am not an FWP employee. I have done some work for them in the past, pro bono, and am familiar with many of their practices regarding data. I don't need to detail the reasons, many of them have been breached in this thread already. Honestly the reasons why don't matter, what matters is they don't have very good data. There are some units (usually the top tier limited entry units) that have great data (this is usually because some biologist in the past for that unit was on top of his game) but for most of the general tag and other areas the data is questionable at best. They swear by their phone survey data. From personal experience I am someone who pays attention to where, what and when I hunt and even I struggle with answering their questions on the phone when they call me at some random time that I haven't had time to think about the answers to these questions.

I am now part of another demographic that doesn't get included in the phone surveys. I don't answer the phone unless it's a number I recognize anymore. I always miss the FWP survey call anymore.
 

SAJ-99

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Antelope is not that different in region 7. Lots of tags good for the entire region. I am old enough to remember tags were distributed to a bunch of smaller units. Those units may have been too small, but we went the total opposite. Same old story now. Give out a bunch of tags and let hunters decide were to go. Public ground gets over hunted year after year and the private gets commercialized.
Yeah, region 7 is still lumped together, but they did cut tags dramatically last year because of the drought. That didn't happen with mule Deer B. The result is a better population count this year for antelope? (? because the number was much better, but so good I wonder if 2021 was right). If the perceived problem is data, then the suggestion should be to add money toward better pop counts. Better harvest data is fine, but it is reactive. We have to acknowledge that at the end of the day, the only tool they have is tag numbers.

We also need to acknowledge that the fight will be to keep FWP making management decisions and not the legislature.
 

8andcounting

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Yeah, region 7 is still lumped together, but they did cut tags dramatically last year because of the drought. That didn't happen with mule Deer B.
Yeh it did . They only issued 3000 I believe compared to 11k for several years before . It should have been 0 but it was cut way back . But it needs to be 0 mule deer b tags statewide . Especially on public
 

SAJ-99

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Yeh it did . They only issued 3000 I believe compared to 11k for several years before . It should have been 0 but it was cut way back . But it needs to be 0 mule deer b tags statewide . Especially on public
The 3000 MD Bs were this year. I believe they cut antelope tags last year.
 

DougStickney

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Yeah, region 7 is still lumped together, but they did cut tags dramatically last year because of the drought. That didn't happen with mule Deer B. The result is a better population count this year for antelope? (? because the number was much better, but so good I wonder if 2021 was right). If the perceived problem is data, then the suggestion should be to add money toward better pop counts. Better harvest data is fine, but it is reactive. We have to acknowledge that at the end of the day, the only tool they have is tag numbers.

We also need to acknowledge that the fight will be to keep FWP making management decisions and not the legislature.
Dramatic cuts?
2018-8000 tags
2019-8500
2020-8500
2021-6000
And son of a gun a remarkable comeback!! and back to 7500 tags in 2022.
I’ve yet to talk to anyone hunting antelope on public that thought numbers were good.
Boots to the throats of those vermin.
 

MTTW

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I will go out on a limb here and say that I believe that their mule deer buck harvest numbers are padded in a couple of units that I hunt. Of course I have no data, which is at least equal to the crap numbers that they put out.
I also believe that this is at least part of the reason for their reluctance to go to mandatory reporting.
I believe that the numbers in sw Mt are considerably worse than is advertised.
I believe this because I know people associated with most of the large ranches in a district and they kill close to zero mule deer. I hunt much of the public land in the same unit and have for many years.
When there are no tracks there are no deer, I don't trust anything that MTFWP says.
You can argue about data all day but their data is cherry picked and largely bullshit.

If we have to use their data to prove them wrong then we have nothing. We need independent surveys.
 

SAJ-99

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Dramatic cuts?
2018-8000 tags
2019-8500
2020-8500
2021-6000
And son of a gun a remarkable comeback!! and back to 7500 tags in 2022.
I’ve yet to talk to anyone hunting antelope on public that thought numbers were good.
Boots to the throats of those vermin.
What would you have been happy with?
 
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