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Thread: Where did all the whitetails go

  1. #61
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    Mar 2006
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    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Quote Originally Posted by Everett View Post
    \

    Mule deer are doing great showing up areas were they have been absent for years.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyDog View Post
    I walk most every day, year-round, in an area within a five mile radius of my house. In peak years, I would see a dozen whitetails or more each day. Now, I see oneor two and , many days, none at all. Mule deer are doing better, elk are way down. This in pretty good area in 4-3. GD
    Thats good to hear about the mule deer.

    I wonder if the OP has observed the same?

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  2. #62
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    14

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Thought I’d chime in as I own a large section of land on the Granby River. Over the last five years the numbers on my property have significantly declined. I used to able to drive my property and see a minimum of 10-15 deer at any one time. This year I was lucky to see one or two. I’ve traditionally allowed one deer shot a year on my property (preferably by a first time hunter) but this year I couldn’t bring myself to killing the only buck that I saw.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    3,601

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Some interesting and diverse opinions on this topic.
    Are some areas seeing a drop in WT numbers, that's a given.
    Are some areas still holding or increasing in numbers, absolutely.
    Are WT expanding into new areas such as Kamloops, absolutely.

    So, why the sudden drop in certain areas? I find it amusing when us hunters instantly default to REGULATIONS ARE TO BLAME despite these species being the most studied animal in North America with endless science and data that shines light on population fluctuations.

    Here are a few of the quantified drivers that hack WT numbers down dramatically in short order.
    1) Winter survival
    2) Predation

    Hunting is so far down the list it is of minimal short term consequence. Disagree but facts are facts and opinions are just that.

    My area sucked this season


    I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards and forums. - F L Wright


    "Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases". ~Theodor Billroth

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    3,601

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    So, as a guy that spends a lot of time in the field yr round I see quite a bit more than the weekend warrior.
    I saw less WT being picked up on cam in 2018 compared to 2017. 2019 saw a significant drop from 2018.

    I always preach to newer hunters that the key to success is understanding habitat and then know the inventory as best you can. When you have a good understanding of the game in a given target area you are well on your way.

    An example of that understanding would be a guy that runs say 5 to 10 trail cams.
    Thru quantified trail cam data he has a pretty solid knowledge of the number of does, annual fawn recruitment, number of bucks in that area, who the bucks are to the point you start giving names to them. He would also understand the ebbs and flows of inventory throughout a 365 yr cycle. He could then compare his yr to yr observations. He's not a rd hunter, he's adapting to WT habits as they change quickly with hunting pressure.

    That type of information becomes far more than simple opinion, its documentation.

    So, here are a few things I observed the last 2 yrs in my local area.
    - WT numbers dropped in 2018
    - WT numbers dropped further in 2019
    - Few less does, few less bucks.
    - Recruitment remained near 100% with many does sporting twins and a few with triplets.
    - i saw less does in the spring and summer of 2018 compared to what I had on cam in Nov/Dec 2017.
    - There is no doe season (other than yth in Nov) from when I was seeing consistent numbers to a significant drop over the course of a winter.
    - I heard the rare gunshot while sitting during doe season both in 2018 and 19.
    - No slaughter going on when you hear a max of 1/2 a dozen shots all season.
    - We had multiple 4 to 8 yr old bucks inventoried that made it thru rifle and bow season in 2018
    - I had ZERO bucks over 4 yrs of age on cam this spring, summer and fall where normally I always have bucks on interest.


    So, here's my observation.
    There was a drop in both bucks and doe population from post season until the spring.
    What happened to both bucks and doe numbers and what caused for the population drop over the winter when there is no hunting season?

    Doe and buck season was not a factor in the decline of numbers from dec to april!!!!!

    So the question is what happened from dec to april, where did those deer go.
    The answer is obvious, they either left the area or they are dead.
    If they are dead what killed them.

    We could look at this quantified information and focus on what are the drivers for declines when there is no lawful season.
    Or, just simply blame regulations with no data to back it up.

    WT will always rebound quickly so if their numbers are declining in some areas from post season to the next preseason, we know bullets or regulations did not kill those deer during that course of time


    I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards and forums. - F L Wright


    "Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases". ~Theodor Billroth

  5. #65
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    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    good post Ourea!
    "If you ever go into the bush, there are grizzly bears lurking behind just about every bush, waiting to pounce, so you need a powerful gun, with huge bullets" - Gatehouse ~ 2004


  6. #66
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    69

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Interesting for sure, my cameras showed a marked increase in WT numbers over 2017 and 2018 , guess it depends what area your camera is in. When hunter harvest accounts for approximately 10% of WT mortality something else is accounting for 90%. Hunter harvest is not the reason WT are down , maybe the odd predator haha.

  7. #67
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    Jun 2010
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    3,601

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Quote Originally Posted by roymil View Post
    Interesting for sure, my cameras showed a marked increase in WT numbers over 2017 and 2018 , guess it depends what area your camera is in. When hunter harvest accounts for approximately 10% of WT mortality something else is accounting for 90%. Hunter harvest is not the reason WT are down , maybe the odd predator haha.
    Here we go, facts and data!!


    It is no mystery that every region, area and micro area has different influences affecting wildlife.

    No one shot 40% of the does and 60% of the bucks I have been observing over the years this previous winter after hunting season.


    I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards and forums. - F L Wright


    "Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases". ~Theodor Billroth

  8. #68
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    Dec 2007
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    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Old man winter is what dictates the numbers with WT most and most I would say know this. I have observed pockets seemingly go dead over pressure and not always hunting or predators. If industrial activity ramps up or constant disturbance 4x4/ATV for example they often move. Predators are a no brainer what your getting

    Sometimes lack of sighting/cam pic/sign is a change in population other times it’s a change that caused the deers habits to change.

    Some of the recent winter likely have impacted some areas. Add in the increase in hunting pressure on WT changing there habits is probably making it seem more dramatic then it is.

  9. #69
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    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Quote Originally Posted by Ourea View Post
    Here are a few of the quantified drivers that hack WT numbers down dramatically in short order.
    1) Winter survival
    2) Predation

    Is this to suggest that WT cannot survive the same winter as a MD, or that they are for some reason more likely to become prey than a MD? There are plenty of MD where I used to find WT.
    Get it on the ground, that's when the work starts

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    162

    Re: Where did all the whitetails go

    Quote Originally Posted by hoochie View Post
    Is this to suggest that WT cannot survive the same winter as a MD, or that they are for some reason more likely to become prey than a MD? There are plenty of MD where I used to find WT.
    I've found whitetail sheds in areas where I was sinking to my waist in snow. They stay quite high sometimes. Gotta wonder if they get stuck up high and succumb to winter's woes. Of course there are predator issues but I personally think that winters of 2016/17 and 17/18 were pretty bad to the point it drove the population down.

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