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Current State – MN Deer Management

  • jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2162035

    Current statewide deer harvest as of 11/28 sits at 156,500. Looks like we will end up around 165,000 – or approximately 19,000 (11%) less harvested than last year. Not as few that were harvested in 2014 & 2015, but 3rd least since 1999.

    RVRDUX
    Participant
    Dakota, MN
    Posts: 119
    #2162061

    I hunt 118 and 605. Both zones have far different different habitat…. Zone 118 has been on a significant downward trend for deer sightings and harvest the last 5 years. There has never really been alot of deer but we are now seeing more wolves or wolves sign than deer. This year was the worst year for us and many camps in the zone. Many of us hunt dusk to dawn and don’t see a deer over the week we are up there. Sometimes this is a normal occurrence for hunting but not for every person at multiple camps….

    Zone 605 has been decimated with the CWD management. When I first moved here it was either sex with bucks having antler restrictions (had many nice bucks on cameras), then 2 deer, then about 3 years ago all restrictions were removed and you could kill as many as you wanted. The neighbors were having contests. Every small buck was shot. Now we are a 5 deer zone with no restrictions. The deer heard in the area is not even close to the same for numbers or caliber. Our closest cwd positive deer is well over 20 miles from us. Just a shame what happens in these cwd zones.

    You are absolutely correct. My farm is in 646 and the last 3 years it has declined tremendously. That area used to be a sought after destination to hunt.

    Thanks,
    RVRDUX

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9549
    #2162078

    Current statewide deer harvest as of 11/28 sits at 156,500. Looks like we will end up around 165,000 – or approximately 19,000 (11%) less harvested than last year. Not as few that were harvested in 2014 & 2015, but 3rd least since 1999.

    To add to the Stat Stew, license sales are down 2% from last year and sales have gone down from the previous year for 8 of the past 10 years. So there is a little zig-zag in the graph, but the overall trendline in license sales is downward over the past decade.

    Now the big question is who’s got a reliable statistic on overall hunter effort? To me that’s the biggest missing piece here is how much time is being spent in the field on average per 1000 hunters and is that up/down from the past?

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6253
    #2162084

    Now the big question is who’s got a reliable statistic on overall hunter effort? To me that’s the biggest missing piece here is how much time is being spent in the field on average per 1000 hunters and is that up/down from the past?

    Is more time afield consistent with hunter success? I don’t see that relationship being linear.
    Work smarter not harder comes to mind.

    Would we measured hours of snow removal on a similar scale to this discussion as an indicator of snow fall?

    Lots of education these days on burning out hunting spots leads to less frequent hunting unless you’ve been able to similarly increase the qty of spots available to keep your butt off the couch.

    Selective harvest.
    Could’ve taken deer almost every time I hunted, yet, only took deer 2x so far this year.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7915
    #2162094

    Is more time afield consistent with hunter success? I don’t see that relationship being linear.
    Work smarter not harder comes to mind.

    I would say its related. Maybe not exactly linear, but certainly being afield more than the average Joe would increase your odds of success.

    Don’t think there’s a very accurate way to measure this though. As others have stated, the lack of people doing “drives” and moving deer around certainly could be playing a role though.

    I could have shot a deer almost every day of the 8 days I hunted too, but I was holding out for Mr Big (that never showed up). So I didn’t fill any tags. But I’m not really in it for eating them either.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9549
    #2162149

    Is more time afield consistent with hunter success? I don’t see that relationship being linear.

    It may not be linear as it relates to the chances for success by the individual hunter, but it’s certainly a major factor in the big picture of the overall harvest.

    I also strongly suspect we have a significant number of license sales where the hunter who buys the license is putting in 0 hours in the field. They either end up not hunting at all due to a variety of factors or they buy a license to contribute it to the party hunting pool on their property, but they put in little or no hunting effort on their own.

    I just see so many properties near me that used to be crawling with hunters for at least 2 weekends of the season and now they either are completely not hunted or they are hunted by only a fraction of the numbers that used to be there and then only for opening weekend.

    Also, as Gimruis and other have stated, the changing nature of hunting makes comparing the present to the past a dodgy proposition. Just because the overall kill is down, that can’t lead to the assumption that deer numbers are down as well. There are a whole lot of us now who are looking for a big buck and therefore we may see a lot of deer without ever taking a shot.

    jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2162157

    What blows my mind is 342 is prime ag/habitat mixture and yet I find out today the neighboring property – they were busted for baiting. I got no time for that bull crap. They are not hunters. They are……..

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6253
    #2162884

    What blows my mind is 342 is prime ag/habitat mixture and yet I find out today the neighboring property – they were busted for baiting. I got no time for that bull crap. They are not hunters. They are……..

    They’d be hunters in several states…. just sayn. But yes, in mn your right

    Kinda like being a doper in mn but in co just enjoying an afternoon doobie

    Carter Johnson
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 1087
    #2162921

    Just wanted to toss my hat in for days afield for hunter success. I would think if you have private land I could very well see where less is more in those cases. More of timing it right. On the other hand as a public land hunter I would 100% say days afield equals success. That could include days scouting or hunting in my eyes.

    FishBlood&RiverMud
    Participant
    Prescott
    Posts: 6253
    #2162991

    On the other hand as a public land hunter I would 100% say days afield equals success. That could include days scouting or hunting in my eyes.

    waytogo 100%

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163022

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>jimmysiewert wrote:</div>
    What blows my mind is 342 is prime ag/habitat mixture and yet I find out today the neighboring property – they were busted for baiting. I got no time for that bull crap. They are not hunters. They are……..

    They’d be hunters in several states…. just sayn. But yes, in mn your right

    Kinda like being a doper in mn but in co just enjoying an afternoon doobie

    I need a good afternoon doobski, who’s rolling rotflol

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163026

    What blows my mind is 342 is prime ag/habitat mixture and yet I find out today the neighboring property – they were busted for baiting. I got no time for that bull crap. They are not hunters. They are……..

    What’s the difference between throwing a pile of corn , or hunting over a food plot ? I don’t do either and I look at them the same way.

    jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2163080

    It’s against the law – that’s why.

    TheFamousGrouse
    Participant
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 9549
    #2163100

    What’s the difference between throwing a pile of corn , or hunting over a food plot ?

    So you think you can just throw out a food plot a week before the deer season and then show up and shoot a deer on it?

    There aren’t any similarities between corn piles and food plots.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163105

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Bearcat89 wrote:</div>
    What’s the difference between throwing a pile of corn , or hunting over a food plot ?

    So you think you can just throw out a food plot a week before the deer season and then show up and shoot a deer on it?

    There aren’t any similarities between corn piles and food plots.

    Not at all. And yes shooting over food is very similar. It just depends on how much time you want to spend and money. Some guys have land and money some don’t. What’s the difference in having a year round feeder out ? I guess it doesn’t matter. Same concept.
    I guess what’s it matter if it takes a week or 2 months ? The similarities are very strong. And I’m not knocking you or any one who participates in those hunts. I’m just stating it is very similar

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163106

    It’s against the law – that’s why.

    Not in 50 percent of the places I hunt.but like stated I don’t participate in either. I find it to be a wrong way to try to kill a animal.

    Justin riegel
    Participant
    Posts: 530
    #2163108

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>jimmysiewert wrote:</div>
    What blows my mind is 342 is prime ag/habitat mixture and yet I find out today the neighboring property – they were busted for baiting. I got no time for that bull crap. They are not hunters. They are……..

    What’s the difference between throwing a pile of corn , or hunting over a food plot ? I don’t do either and I look at them the same way.

    Although it takes more work a food plot is more effective than a pile of corn. You don’t have to go and get your scent in there to restock. It’s wierd you can’t food plot for ducks, but deer no problem $$$$

    tswoboda
    Participant
    Posts: 3718
    #2163148

    It’s wierd you can’t food plot for ducks, but deer no problem $$$$

    Can’t food plot for ducks?

    jimmysiewert
    Participant
    Posts: 136
    #2163158

    Let’s get back on topic. What can this state/hunters do to better manage the herd. Again – we are seeing a significant drop in harvest. Seeing the opposite across the river. I can’t believe personally the hunting styles differ that greatly across the River than in Minnesota.

    tegg
    Participant
    Hudson, Wi/Aitkin Co
    Posts: 1450
    #2163218

    Let’s get back on topic. What can this state/hunters do to better manage the herd. Again – we are seeing a significant drop in harvest. Seeing the opposite across the river. I can’t believe personally the hunting styles differ that greatly across the River than in Minnesota.

    I believe from year to year there is ebb and flow when it comes to game numbers. When comparing MN to WI, keep in mind the very north end of WI only goes up to Duluth. The southern end of WI would be in Iowa if it was MN. Not all hunting zones are created equal either. There’s a big difference between the Arrowhead, Ottertail Co and the SW zones. Winter is a wild card that’s variable from year-to-year and can’t be planned for. You can only plan for the recovery when there are tough winters. If you’re in one of the northern zones winter kill is a real thing and it affects management. It’s easier to contribute to the deer harvest if you’re in a 2-deer or HC zone vs areas that are bucks only or have limited antlerless harvest. Again I’ll point out that the 2000s represented the peak of peak. In the years I hunted from 1980 to 2020 those years were the anomaly.

    Bottom line is you have to enjoy the hunt and success is not a given. I guess you could take your $35 to the grocery store but you may only get 3# chuck roast and a few pounds of hamburger.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 6997
    #2163223

    What can this state/hunters do to better manage the herd.

    It depends on what the goal is of the management. As a deer hunter I’d like to see more big mature bucks, overall more deer numbers and more people deer hunting. As a hunter I pass on small bucks, and would encourage anyone else that wants to shoot big bucks to do so. Same philosophy as what I do walleye fishing, let the 20″+ ones go, and you increase the odds of catching bigger 28″ picture/trophy fish. I don’t think we need Antler Point Restrictions as law, as some people don’t care and just want the meat and we want/need them to keep hunting. If you want meat, as I do, shoot a (as in one) doe or a fawn in a multi deer unit, and wait out Mr. Big. Voluntarily. Private landowners should work on their property to increase optimal deer habitat, which includes but is NOT limited to food plots (I think this is being done at pretty good scale already, but every little bit helps).

    Controversial opinion(s) but I believe the DNR needs to end our current CWD management practice of obliterating deer herds anywhere there is a positive test. CWD has been in Colorado and Wyoming for decades, and Wisconsin for 20 years, if it destroyed deer herds or infected humans, we would likely know that by now. And secondly they need to manage the wolf population scientifically, not by activist opinion. I’m fine with wolves and think they have a place in the ecosystem, but the DNR is either inaccurate, incompetent or dishonest in the assessment of the number of wolves in the state and the territory they have expanded to. It is past time to reinstate a wolf hunt. Third, they need to simplify the regulations drastically on all fronts. I introduce a lot of people to both hunting and fishing and almost unanimously they say they would never take up the sport without someone to help them understand the rules. I believe it is a hindrance to growing the outdoors community, and there’s a lot of opportunity for easy common-sense simplification. And finally the DNR should prioritize accessing and utilizing the vast public lands we have here. Whether that be easements to land locked public, allowing bow hunting on all DNR managed public (there’s a lot of by cities that is closed to hunting and no reason bow hunting isn’t allowed imo), to developing it with hunting in mind by trail access or when and what’s done to the land after it is logged.

    FWIW I think we have pretty good deer hunting in the state already, and think these ideas would just improve it in a fairly short order.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7915
    #2163229

    I agree with most of what BigWerm has just posted. I prefer to harvest an antlerless deer for the meat, and then wait out the rest of the season for a mature buck. Most years I can accomplish stated goal #1, but its rare that I can fill my tag with a mature buck. I just don’t see very many.

    If more hunters would pass on a small buck and fill their tag with an antlerless deer for the meat, it wouldn’t take more than a few years to increase the number of mature bucks in an area (I realize that not every zone allows the harvest of antlerless deer, especially in the north). Aside from accomplishing this on a voluntary basis, another route would be to completely eliminate the party hunting option. I’ve never filled anyone else’s tag in 27 years and no one has ever filled my tag either. People abuse it regularly. I despise it when people are shooting multiple small bucks because they can party hunt. If party hunting was eliminated (at least for bucks), it would make a lot of hunters think twice about shooting the first spike or fork that walked by, knowing that their season would be over.

    There’s not a whole lot we can do with the wolves as long as they are on the federal endangered species list. Federal law trumps state law. I do think they belong here as a part of a healthy ecosystem, but the states can manage their own populations. A limited lottery-drawn hunting or trapping season with a capped quota is effective at controlling them. What Wisconsin did recently when they hastily opened a season in February, going way over a quota, is not how it should be done and they set a bad example because of it.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163246

    I’ve never filled anyone else’s tag in 27 years and no one has ever filled my tag either.

    Didn’t you say you shot a doe this year for a friend or Co worker. Maybe you forgot

    Attachments:
    1. Screenshot_20221202_102048_Chrome.jpg

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7915
    #2163251

    Didn’t you say you shot a doe this year for a friend or Co worker

    Yes. That’s not what I meant though. He doesn’t hunt at all. I’m referring to filling tags for other hunters as “party” hunting. Especially the doubling up on bucks thing.

    A party is a group of two or more licensed deer hunters who are afield hunting together and are all using firearms or all using archery equipment. A member of a party may kill a deer for another member of the party who has an unused tag valid for that deer, except as provided by Minnesota Statutes, section 97B. 301.

    Bearcat89
    Participant
    North branch, mn
    Posts: 10425
    #2163253

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Bearcat89 wrote:</div>
    Didn’t you say you shot a doe this year for a friend or Co worker

    Yes. That’s not what I meant though. He doesn’t hunt at all. I’m referring to filling tags for other hunters as “party” hunting. Especially the doubling up on bucks thing.

    I don’t get the point, what’s it matter if they are hunters or not. I get the bucks thing but your point doesn’t make any sense. What you meant was you do shoot deer for others

    waldo9190
    Participant
    Cloquet, MN
    Posts: 606
    #2163254

    One big change I think needs to be made is to move rifle opener a week later in the year to get opening day further away from peak rut. SO many small/dumb bucks get shot because of this, and I see this as a big contributor to some areas struggling with average buck size.

    Also, I’d rather spend more time hunting prime time with my bow….. woot

    ganderpike
    Participant
    Alexandria
    Posts: 511
    #2163256

    I feel the same way about bullheads as Bearcat feels about Gimruis. Id watch the Youtube series where they go fishing together.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7915
    #2163257

    I feel the same way about bullheads as Bearcat feels about Gimruis. Id watch the Youtube series where they go fishing together.

    I have no idea what this even means.

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