Montana Mule Deer Raffle

Let’s not start acting like 180” bucks are the norm and are running everywhere in other states, did you listen to the Big Hunt Guys podcast with Professor Brock McMillan? They talked about how a study of like 2,000+ bucks in limited entry units managed for trophy’s averaged like 170”, and that across the west, the average is closer to 160” especially for general unit areas or poorer habitats. A 180” buck is a “huge” buck, most guys won’t ever kill a 180” especially if they can’t pass up the 150”. The average Joe is seeing a 160” on the hoof and calling it 180” and a 180” their saying they saw a 200”, see and hear this all the time. Amazing the number of guys I talk to, particularly western MT’ers and NR, who “see” 180” mule deer and 380” bull elk running everywhere in Eastern MT. I’d like to see you draw a Wyo/Colo tag and go kill a 180” let alone one of the abundant “booners”. You’re not even from Montana, how can you talk about what the mule deer hunting has been like here over the history of this state? Let’s see a few of your 180” deer before you start talking about what is and what isn’t a big deer.

Disclaimer: I’m not supporting or defending Montana’s mule deer mismanagement by any means.
I didnt say they were "abundant" i said that those states produced 10x as many.

State game records are all published and include historical data. Its a shame i didnt simply live here earlier - so i could have anecdotes to point to. I guess thats believeable if youre clueless.
 
I feel like you’re comparing Montana’s mule deer hunting with the AZ Strip or the Kaibab. No one is saying it will ever be that good. Most people on here are just saying that it has been and could be so much better than it is currently.
Nope.

It certainly could be better. Its never been the best or even moderately close to it.
 
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I didnt say they were "abundant" i said that those states produced 10x as many.

State game records are all published and include historical data. Its a shame i didnt simply live here earlier - so i could have anecdotes to point to. I guess thats believeable if youre clueless.

Close...

8.6x as many down here

you sure it used to compare to "anywhere" @BuzzH? ;)

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I feel like you’re comparing Montana’s mule deer hunting with the AZ Strip or the Kaibab. No one is saying it will ever be that good. Most people on here are just saying that it has been and could be so much better than it is currently.
Having had my ass handed to me on mule deer in both the Gunnison Basin in CO (in November) AND the AZ Strip (also November), one thing I clearly remember is phoning home after maybe 10 days in daylight to dark hunting on AZ strip and getting beat down, not able to find the one real nice buck i'd seen day before season opened, and seeing hardly any deer at all. I phoned home and talked to my friend to ask him how the MT deer hunt was going (2005) in area 270. He was hunting with a tag holder and just killed a 200" buck, after following and losing track of another 200" buck and he proceeded to tell me how many absolute giants they were seeing just driving around and taking short hikes.

I know 2 hunters with 270 permits this fall, and I can tell you they are very unlikely to see anything like that there this fall - maybe I'm wrong.

MT can mess up any good thing when it comes to quality hunting.

If you google MT unit 270 mule deer, my friend's deer is still one of the first photos that comes up:
index.php
 
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I phoned home and talked to my friend to ask him how the MT deer hunt was going (2005) in area 270. He was hunting with a tag holder and just killed a 200" buck, after following and losing track of another 200" buck and he proceeded to tell me how many absolute giants they were seeing just driving around and taking short hikes.

I know 2 hunters with 270 permits this fall, and I can tell you they are very unlikely to see anything like that there this fall - maybe I'm wrong.
You are not wrong.
 
I can tell you that many big deer in Montana (can't speak to CO, but I would suspect) back in the 50's through the 70's were never entered.

Yes, it compared to anywhere for those that knew where to hunt.
You know what will help?

Having someone whos killed probably 100 deer come to montana and buy a bullsheet "come home to hunt" tag and shoot another one.
 
Oh the memories of MT and it's historic second rate hunting. I think 20 years ago, public land, general license mule deer hunting opening weekend with a buddy. We did paper scissors rock for first shot, he ended up killing a 187 typical, the following day i got a 188 typical. I cannot tell you how completely different things are now, in that same place.
 
We should probably just consider opening another mismanagement thread to continue beating the horse. A solution for effective management is far from clear, but offering 2 or 3 viable options in a study group could potentially convince residents that the FWP is committed to making meaningful changes. From a financial perspective, their current approach is understandable to appease residents, and get the money from NR. However, the rationale becomes murky when considering Greg, just kicking people out, and initiating people he wants in.

In my opinion, the management strategy would essentially be:

Implement a controlled rut hunt, potentially across 2 or 3 distinct seasons. Going LE

Introduce weapon restrictions.

Or

Piggy back off experts like Brock to conduct in-depth research, yielding valuable, long-term data. Leveraging students from Bozeman and Missoula could provide a workforce at no cost, and volunteers could be recruited if necessary. It’s often feasible to replicate existing successful models. The sight of more 160 to 170 class bucks would undoubtedly tickle everyone pink. That's going to sum up a majority of the current management plans going on.

Achieving carrying capacity across all units is likely the primary goal for most stakeholders. — "pick your poison." Is what comes to mind.
 
We should probably just consider opening another mismanagement thread to continue beating the horse. A solution for effective management is far from clear, but offering 2 or 3 viable options in a study group could potentially convince residents that the FWP is committed to making meaningful changes. From a financial perspective, their current approach is understandable to appease residents, and get the money from NR. However, the rationale becomes murky when considering Greg, just kicking people out, and initiating people he wants in.

In my opinion, the management strategy would essentially be:

Implement a controlled rut hunt, potentially across 2 or 3 distinct seasons. Going LE

Introduce weapon restrictions.

Or

Piggy back off experts like Brock to conduct in-depth research, yielding valuable, long-term data. Leveraging students from Bozeman and Missoula could provide a workforce at no cost, and volunteers could be recruited if necessary. It’s often feasible to replicate existing successful models. The sight of more 160 to 170 class bucks would undoubtedly tickle everyone pink. That's going to sum up a majority of the current management plans going on.

Achieving carrying capacity across all units is likely the primary goal for most stakeholders. — "pick your poison." Is what comes to mind.
Or stop rut hunting🤷‍♂️😂

Everyone wants to make this issue more complicated than it is. However deep down no one wants to give up their opportunity to plug a big dumb rutter with their 6.5 creed at distance so let’s make it complicated
 
Oh the memories of MT and it's historic second rate hunting. I think 20 years ago, public land, general license mule deer hunting opening weekend with a buddy. We did paper scissors rock for first shot, he ended up killing a 187 typical, the following day i got a 188 typical. I cannot tell you how completely different things are now, in that same place.
It's definitely different from growing up in central/eastern Montana. 90s and 00s were great hunting watching my dad and uncles. I still tell myself every year, this is the year. I'm gonna get a nice one.
 
We should probably just consider opening another mismanagement thread to continue beating the horse. A solution for effective management is far from clear, but offering 2 or 3 viable options in a study group could potentially convince residents that the FWP is committed to making meaningful changes. From a financial perspective, their current approach is understandable to appease residents, and get the money from NR. However, the rationale becomes murky when considering Greg, just kicking people out, and initiating people he wants in.

In my opinion, the management strategy would essentially be:

Implement a controlled rut hunt, potentially across 2 or 3 distinct seasons. Going LE

Introduce weapon restrictions.

Or

Piggy back off experts like Brock to conduct in-depth research, yielding valuable, long-term data. Leveraging students from Bozeman and Missoula could provide a workforce at no cost, and volunteers could be recruited if necessary. It’s often feasible to replicate existing successful models. The sight of more 160 to 170 class bucks would undoubtedly tickle everyone pink. That's going to sum up a majority of the current management plans going on.

Achieving carrying capacity across all units is likely the primary goal for most stakeholders. — "pick your poison." Is what comes to mind.
When discussing auction tags, I feel like this is a legitimate conversation.
 
Or stop rut hunting🤷‍♂️😂

Everyone wants to make this issue more complicated than it is. However deep down no one wants to give up their opportunity to plug a big dumb rutter with their 6.5 creed at distance so let’s make it complicated
States still have a rut hunt. It's just managed alot more. Option 1 I listed, is what that falls under.
 
When discussing auction tags, I feel like this is a legitimate conversation.
I'm okay with it here too. It's just fun to poke we all want change. Change is needed, and it seems we’ll likely settle on one of three options. People want a quick fix, but without proper studies, we’re left appeasing FWP with minimal effort. The key, in my opinion, is achieving carrying capacity and with that comes a range of age classes. Long-term, extensive research is our best tool for learning.
 
Definitely. Management is what controls it.

In no way defending montanas management strategies. I wish there were more, older, decent age class bucks, and less pressure as well. I hope that things change.

I just wanted to point out that historically - it hasnt ever been the best place to hunt mule deer. Im sure this raffle tag will do more for mule deer in montana than whining about it.
In the late 50's and early 60's at least four bucks were taken that very few would pass up in Eagle County, CO, The Henry Mts or the AZ strip today within five miles of my house. I think you point is that in the 50's and 60's those places were producing a handful of bucks that are a step up from the bucks killed near me. Doesn't mean that MT could not produce a buck or two like the best from CO or AZ. That Sidney buck @DFS posted up is clearly in the best of the best class. Most of the surrounding States have produced a few top of the top end bucks. It could be that MT's liberal management kept us from producing more of those best of the best bucks back in the 50's and 60's.
 

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