Montana Mule Deer Mismanagement

SAJ-99

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Gee...I don't know, maybe throw your shit population model in the dumpster where it belongs and manage based on observed animals.

Maybe quit flying the same routes for "consistency"....and fly where animals actually exist?

I don't know maybe used peer reviewed science to manage native goat populations instead of wiping then out of the bitterroot.
"Fly where the animals exist" is literally the worst statistical technique I can think of. Doing so would actually increase the estimated population, not decrease it. It flies in the face (pun intended) of what everyone is trying to do. I would also venture to guess they use the same techniques as every other state game agency. I do agree that the tag allocation techniques are quite different and should change. That is more on the legislature than FWP, but I will concede there is plenty of blame to go around.
 

MTTW

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"Fly where the animals exist" is literally the worst statistical technique I can think of. Doing so would actually increase the estimated population, not decrease it. It flies in the face (pun intended) of what everyone is trying to do. I would also venture to guess they use the same techniques as every other state game agency. I do agree that the tag allocation techniques are quite different and should change. That is more on the legislature than FWP, but I will concede there is plenty of blame to go around.
This I agree with.
I apologize for being a snarky prick. Good luck to you guys, I already know how this ends.
 

neffa3

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The entire transect burned in 2000. Went from some of the thickest Ponderosa Pine in SE Montana to burnt sticks over night. When I asked the Bio if they were taking the fire into account in the numbers, the answer was the fire would not effect flight survey numbers.
But in the winter, the deer may not be as lucky. They avoided burned areas at this time, possibly because the snow is much deeper, making it harder for the ungulates to access the vegetation that they like to eat.

May or may not be relevant.
 

DougStickney

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I apologize for my snarky comments as well. Watching quality of deer herd, quality of hunt and deer numbers vanish right in front of you is frustrating. Knowing that there isn’t a dang thing you can do about it is equally frustrating. I will keep my bitchfest to myself.
 

mulecreek

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"Fly where the animals exist" is literally the worst statistical technique I can think of. Doing so would actually increase the estimated population, not decrease it.
Not necessarily. It would depend on how the model works and the area. Take Western Wyo for instance. When they do counts they are done on the winter range, and in particular, specific areas of winter range that MD tend to congregate more on. There is a shit ton of winter range that is not flown because they know it tends to harbor less animals. Only so much time and money available it is best to focus on where the most animals will be, then create a model that reflects that distribution. WF&G has also modified where they fly over the years as the MD have modified their migration patterns due to increased disturbance on the WR.

I imagine you would be correct if they modified where they flew to cover ground more commonly used by MD but did not modify the model to reflect that change.
 

SAJ-99

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Not necessarily. It would depend on how the model works and the area. Take Western Wyo for instance. When they do counts they are done on the winter range, and in particular, specific areas of winter range that MD tend to congregate more on. There is a shit ton of winter range that is not flown because they know it tends to harbor less animals. Only so much time and money available it is best to focus on where the most animals will be, then create a model that reflects that distribution. WF&G has also modified where they fly over the years as the MD have modified their migration patterns due to increased disturbance on the WR.

I imagine you would be correct if they modified where they flew to cover ground more commonly used by MD but did not modify the model to reflect that change.
I think @antlerradar made that point that conditions change, so yes, it is perfectly fine to change a transect. It just has to be done carefully, with same general size, habitat conditions, etc., as to not significantly affect the biases inherent in the process.

I took Buzz's post at face value, which was my fault, but it's the internet. He probably meant what you describe. You can't just fly around looking for deer. That would be like wanting to know how many Americans are over 7ft and choosing NBA arenas for your sample because that is there you know you will find them.
 

Unlucky

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What i actually think is. Fwp, bios useless. Fwp sells out tags. Public not managed. Private has good mule deer population. Good bucks. Because its managed. Limited entry units has good deer. Because its managed. Otc mule deer non existing. Its so bad, criminal. Montana fish wildlife a joke. Fu$$ them. It should be 2 weeks otc October. No doe killing. Then very limited draw for bucks in November. Call bull$hit on anyone that says mt great otc mule deer. They liars.
 
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sclancy27

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What i actually think is. Fwp, bios useless. Fwp sells out tags. Public not managed. Private has good mule deer population. Good bucks. Because its managed. Limited entry units has good deer. Because its managed. Otc mule deer non existing. Its so bad, criminal. Montana fish wildlife a joke. Fu$$ them. It should be 2 weeks otc October. No doe killing. Then very limited draw for bucks in November. Call bull$hit on anyone that says mt great otc mule deer. They liars.
I don't think the bios are useless. I think, as with any company or agency that struggles, the uselessness comes from the leadership. The fact that our Director is appointed by a political entity (among other offices, commision, etc that are politically appointed) is the main problem. Wildlife management should not be led by people who have no experience in that. My personal opinion.
 

antlerradar

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But in the winter, the deer may not be as lucky. They avoided burned areas at this time, possibly because the snow is much deeper, making it harder for the ungulates to access the vegetation that they like to eat.

May or may not be relevant.
Probably not in SE MT where snow depths seldom get deep except in the worst of winters. Quality winter range is not a limiting factor for Mule deer here.
 

Unlucky

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Politics has nothing to do with it. Democratic or republican. Last 20 yrs it has only got worse. Regardless of who in office. With todays weapons and everyone trying to kill a big one. But everyone killing one and posting meat buck but its there best buck. Or killing 2 to 6 does. And freezer full. Is bull$hit. Kill cow elk or whiteys. Alot of hunters very serious compared to 20 yrs ago. Ego, technology, bragging rights.
 

antlerradar

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"Biologists tracking radio-
collared deer found that one-third stay in
survey areas during the fall, while the other
two-thirds move away from the wintering
areas only three miles on average. “Where
we see the deer in the winter is pretty much
where they will be next fall,” says Gude.
Another way FWP takes the pulse of
mule deer populations is by monitoring
hunter harvest at check stations and with
winter phone surveys. “That harvest infor-
mation almost always tracks with what we
saw in the aerial surveys,” says Gude. “If our
winter and early spring surveys show an up-
ward trend in deer numbers, we usually see
more hunters with deer in the back of their
pickups the following fall.”
Another way biologists assess deer num-
bers is by regularly talking with landowners
about wildlife populations they see on their
property and by monitoring and addressing
game damage complaints. What’s more,
over the past several years FWP has radio-
collared and tracked 1,134 mule deer to see
how well the animals survive and where
they go. “All that information, added to the
harvest data and aerial surveys, gives us con-
fidence that we know what’s going on with
the mule deer population,” says Vore."
Only works this way if there are does to be had. Bucks will travel as far as necessary to find does. Priority number one should be to keep as may deer on public during the season as possible. Not shooting public land does would be a good start.
 

Greenhorn

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But in the winter, the deer may not be as lucky. They avoided burned areas at this time, possibly because the snow is much deeper, making it harder for the ungulates to access the vegetation that they like to eat.

May or may not be relevant.
Understand this is about deer, but the comment in the article, "Wolves prefer more open areas when they hunt." That seems completely untrue with what I've seen with respect to wolves and elk, in places I frequent.
 

brocksw

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Only works this way if there are does to be had. Bucks will travel as far as necessary to find does. Priority number one should be to keep as may deer on public during the season as possible. Not shooting public land does would be a good start.
Sure, I'm just sharing the FWP's comments on some of the focal points of this thread.
 

Unlucky

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Think it should be $50 for otc october 2 week hunt. For bucks. 7 million for does.
 

Unlucky

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Only reason mule deer population suffering is because fwp allows,enables the public land hunter to harvest. That being said we should have opurtunity but the mule deer should as well.
 
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