Idaho Mule Deer Management Plan 2020-2025

Bowhunter50

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I like the idea of multiple general rifle seasons for mule deer. How likely is it this will pass?
 

Hunter270

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Hope we can get some good discussion on this topic. I’d be interested to see what people’s thoughts are.
 

bluetick78

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I think Idaho is dealing with a lot of issues right now that is causing headaches for game managers. Western Idaho is having a huge influx of hunters due to population growth, Eastern Idaho deer are still TKO'd from hard winters (another good storm and mulies will be extinct) and predators are a neverending problem in Central and northern Idaho. Human encroachment on winter range is worse than ever also. I wish them luck. Not everyone will be happy when this ends.
 

87TT

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I hope this shakes out. To be honest, I keep trying to read this but can only keep at it for so long before I give up.
 

Ryan Avery

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I don't imagine anything will change this year it's too convoluted. But I would like to see the second tag go away. Double the price on everyone. Three-point Minumum statewide.

I don't like having seasons like colorado but I like having zones even less. It seems everything has to be so drastic with Idaho F&G. Let's try a few little things first.
 

Hunter270

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I don't imagine anything will change this year it's too convoluted. But I would like to see the second tag go away. Double the price on everyone. Three-point Minumum statewide.

I don't like having seasons like colorado but I like having zones even less. It seems everything has to be so drastic with Idaho F&G. Let's try a few little things first.
I agree. I especially like the 3 point minimum (adults only, youth can shoot anything). Bums me out to see soo many two points get slammed by older guys. I also wouldn’t mind paying twice as much for a resident tag, as long as I can clearly see that the funds are going to help with management issues and not in pockets.
 

87TT

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Can't shoot anything bigger than a two point here in 22. Never made any sense to me.
 

HuntInWild88

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Agree on the 3 point or better for sure.. i would rather shoot a doe then a forkey. Was talking to an acquaintance last year and he was so excited because him and three of his buddies all filled their tags.. with forkers!! In that specific unit a buddy and me hunted hard for a week seing 100+ deer a day. Nothing bigger then 2x2. Some people just dont understand if you shoot all the young bucks you will never harvest a trophy..
 

muleyslayer

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Definitely some tough decisions for idfg. Depending on the herds condition there have actually been studies in Wyoming that show 3 pt. Minimum hunts can actually make it difficult to grow bucks, because alot of hunters shooting the first 3 point buck they see.
 

MtGoat

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I agree. I especially like the 3 point minimum (adults only, youth can shoot anything). Bums me out to see soo many two points get slammed by older guys. I also wouldn’t mind paying twice as much for a resident tag, as long as I can clearly see that the funds are going to help with management issues and not in pockets.
I hunted for years with an "older guy".
The only thing he wanted was to shoot a small 2-point.
The meat was tender and covered them for meat for a year.
He saw no sense in shooting a larger buck as it was too much meat.

His son and I were after the monsters so we got along fine.
Eddie would pass on the 4 points and Dan and I would hunt hard for the monsters.

Then the IDFG started to manage the herds.
The numbers have never been so low and the large bucks so few.
We can't hunt deer in the rut but elk hunt during the same rut period we used to hunt deer.
The deer just aren't there any more.
The up side is that the elk seem to be doing well.

I was friends with Fish and Wildlife wardens from other states.
Unfortunately IDFG was viewed by other states as backwards and not hospitable to progressive management plans.
This was a number of years ago so hopefully that has changed.
Most of the IDFG employees I knew well have retired out of the Department and most were not real happy about how the department was run. They tried to make changes from within with minimal results.

Hopefully IDFG can get their feet back under them, better manage the resources and provide good hunting opportunities for all that would like to hunt.

Pat
 

bluetick78

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You're right MtGoat, F&G is a lot different than it used to be. They are definitely back on their heels wondering how to save the muley population and still make hunters mostly happy. They thought, like most others, that the deer would rebound from the winter of '16-'17 by now. Sadly, the populations are lower now than they were in spring of '17, with worse fawn recruitment and lower buck:doe ratios in most areas. I hear them blaming lots of different things for the low population, but I don't hear many solutions to fix it. They have a lot of convoluted BS that will change seasons around, enact point restrictions, and raise tag fees; but if you look at the big picture you realize that these are merely clerical changes. Most of the proposals will have a minimal effect on the deer, but F&G will fatten their budget and write more citations to well-intentioned guys that get confused with new regulations. I have no trouble with fee increases, in fact it's long overdue, but I think a few increase needs to result in less hunting pressure to protect a struggling herd. That's probably not going to happen. It's easy to see that IDF&G needs to concentrate on controlling deer mortality by the avenues they have available to them, and quit blaming things they cannot control.
 

idahohikker

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Some good comments here. I personally am just crossing my fingers that we get some mild winters this year and the next few. Mild winters will do 100x more for us than anything fish and game does.
 
OP
C

Customweld

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Idaho
You aren't going to see anything this upcoming year, as the seasons are set in 2 year increments. The next schedule is going to be interesting for sure. There are some ugly things that have recently come to light and there is no doubt that there are some folks that have their legislators ear. Unfortunately, some of these legislators are not sportsmen friendly.
 

87TT

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I'm not real familiar with how the DFG works but doesn't the DFG set the seasons and only have to go to the legislature to raise fees?
 

idelkslayer

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Idaho
This document is a very informative read regarding Antler Point Restrictions:

The readers digest version is that Antler-point-restrictions can have a short term benefit to increase buck to doe ratios but do not result in long term benefits or higher numbers of mature bucks. Wyoming decided that APR's should not be in place for more that 2-3 years or the number of mature bucks actually declines because that is the portion of the population that gets killed the most.

I also don't think anyone thought that the deer would have recovered from the 16-17 winter by now. That was only 2 years ago. It took 4 years for the herd to recover from the 10-11 winter in the unit I'm most familiar with. Maybe other units took more or less time. In a quick check of a half dozen units across central and eastern Idaho, it looks like most units have shown 2 consecutive years of increasing harvest and consistent %4 points in the harvest. I'm willing to bet that the 2019 data will continue that trend.
 

87TT

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They have had the two point rule here in 22 for years and I can't see how it has helped at all. Bucks period are scarce. And deer numbers seem low period.
 

idahohikker

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In Idaho where there's such an extensive history of guys shooting two points for meat, I think the antler restrictions would be pretty beneficial, even with the studies suggesting otherwise. Yes, there would be increased harvest focus on older bucks but I think the number of young bucks spared would sufficiently compensate. It's not like a lot of the guys shooting two points would be able to find older bucks. And most don't pass up an older buck to shoot a two point so they would have gone after the older buck regardless of antler restriction. The first year two points hanging with the doe groups are easy targets for the slaughter.

Put me down in favor of antler restrictions of 3 point or better. I would also like the deer seasons to be limited by zones like elk to minimize pressure. I'd probably go for choose your weapon also. The areas open until October 31 should be cut down to October 24. We don't need seasons to be so wide open like they are now if we want to save some older bucks.
 

idahohikker

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This document is a very informative read regarding Antler Point Restrictions:

The readers digest version is that Antler-point-restrictions can have a short term benefit to increase buck to doe ratios but do not result in long term benefits or higher numbers of mature bucks. Wyoming decided that APR's should not be in place for more that 2-3 years or the number of mature bucks actually declines because that is the portion of the population that gets killed the most.

I also don't think anyone thought that the deer would have recovered from the 16-17 winter by now. That was only 2 years ago. It took 4 years for the herd to recover from the 10-11 winter in the unit I'm most familiar with. Maybe other units took more or less time. In a quick check of a half dozen units across central and eastern Idaho, it looks like most units have shown 2 consecutive years of increasing harvest and consistent %4 points in the harvest. I'm willing to bet that the 2019 data will continue that trend.
Wyoming is going to be somewhat of a different animal. You have some alpine areas that have lots of bucks and good bucks traditionally that are hunted very hard by residents and nonresidents alike. Major pressure on the bucks. Then you have open desert country in the lowland areas where the hunting effort and pressure isn't as high but the bucks are very vulnerable due to the lack of cover. In Idaho, the only places that have enough hunting pressure to compare to Wyoming's high country areas are 39, 43, 32, 32a, 76, 71, 1-6. The rest of the units are mostly high country units that aren't totally pounded. The open desert areas in Idaho are often winter range or controlled hunts. Not much quality lowland desert hunting in Idaho.

The age class in the areas that get pounded already is fairly weak, even though some of those places have a lot of bucks on an average year.
 
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