How long......

RosinBag

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Roseville, CA.
I know many that have hunted a burn the following year with great success. Some of it may be on how fast the fire went through, slow fire burning everything to moonscape or fast fire just burning the underbrush. Once new vegetation starts to grow, I don't know why animals wouldn't come back to their normal areas as the habitat is recovering.
 

JG358

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Colorado
Their were deer and elk back in the Haymen burn before the ground completely cooled. That being said, ten years later it still isnt like it used to be before the fire as far as animal numbers go.
 

Beastmode

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May 9, 2012
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Shasta County, CA
I think there are alot of variables to consider:

Did the area the animals were pushed to during the fire suite them better? More feed, water, less pressure from hunters and predators...?
What are the soil conditions like in the burn area? Are new plants going to explode the first spring or is it going to be a few years before GOOD feed is growing....?
How hot was the fire? Did it just burn ground cover or crown and theres nothing untouched?
How healthy was the population before the fire?
Is the any cover left at all for the animals to have a sense of security?

These are just some of the many variables to consider. Like JG358 Animals will be back within a week or two sometimes even sooner. At the same time they may never come back for generations. Fires are a natural thing that have been happening for thousands of years, It is a good thing for area as it allows new feed to grow, it may not seem like a good thing now especially when it is in an area we are wanting to hunt this year or in the next few years but 20-30 years from now that ecosystem will be flourishing.
 

BroodBuster

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May 9, 2012
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Bothell, Wa
As noted many variables but typically they've never really left and will return pretty quickly. Also the FS will often times come back thru after a fire and plant high quality feed along any fire lines they created to both clean up their mess and help the wildlife.

One note of caution though. The most afraid I've ever been on a hunt (or in the woods for that matter) was when a buddy of mine shot a deer in a fresh, steep, burn area. Trees where falling over in the wind and whole log jams where moving under feet. We where extremely lucky we got that deer out with no one being seriously hurt. Be very careful in standing dead burned trees especially if their is fresh snow or wind!
 
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