Idaho Mule Deer Management Plan 2020-2025

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Customweld

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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?
Seasons are set at the commission level with input from all levels. Fee changes require legislative approval.
 

NJDiverDan

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I really like the idea of having ALL NR tags be draw (caps) and GMU specific. This would even the NR pressure evenly across the state. I would like to see this for Elk as well. If needed, I would go as far as having the resident hunts also be GMU specific.

Raising the tag prices for both NR and Residents is probably a good idea. We should not be the cheapest NR opportunity in the west. This will discourage the Residents from buying the 2nd tag as well. We should also move our draw timing so we are not everyone's last chance.

As many have said, I am not sure what the solution is for Idaho, but we have a long way to go.
 

robby denning

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I disagree on 3pt or better, just makes those guys shooting forkies hunt longer and harder until they shoot a mature buck. There's a reason most states haven't adopted point restrictions on a large scale--short term benefits and can be hard on recruiting bucks into the older age classes. Seems counterinuitive, but it keeps happening.

I don't like the multiple rifle seasons for the simple reason that most hunters tap out around 5 days anyway, and multiple opening days just increase crowding on multiple opening days instead of just one. A 2-3 week season really gets quite after about day 5.

Just my opinion.
 

robby denning

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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.
yes! that makes the biggest difference unless they go way drastic on managing overall hunting pressure, like Colorado did in 1999
 

idelkslayer

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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.

The Wyoming study looked at how APR's played out in various western states including Idaho, Montana, Utah, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. They also looked at various terrain and hunting pressure situations in Wyoming. The results were the same in every case. APR's reduced the ratio of mature bucks in the herd. Benefits to the overall buck:doe ratios were temporary. Compliance is not great and some states saw up to 30-40% illegal harvest with APR's.

Historically, 2-points have always been the highest proportion of bucks in the harvest. Even back in the "glory days" percentage of 2-point was always around 50% of total harvest. This remains true today. If we shift that pressure onto older bucks it will result in fewer mature bucks.

I think many of the guys who normally shoot 2 pts, who you say aren't likely to be able to find larger bucks, will increase their efforts.

As others have said it all comes down to the weather. A few more consecutive mild winters will do more than anything IDFG can come up with. Long term? Stop development on winter range! The more winter range we have the higher the baseline is for herd numbers.
 

idahohikker

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I disagree on 3pt or better, just makes those guys shooting forkies hunt longer and harder until they shoot a mature buck. There's a reason most states haven't adopted point restrictions on a large scale--short term benefits and can be hard on recruiting bucks into the older age classes. Seems counterinuitive, but it keeps happening.

I don't like the multiple rifle seasons for the simple reason that most hunters tap out around 5 days anyway, and multiple opening days just increase crowding on multiple opening days instead of just one. A 2-3 week season really gets quite after about day 5.

Just my opinion.
You and Idelkslayer make good points on the antler restriction. Let’s hear a counterpoint from @ryanavery I’ve said my piece.

I agree on multiple opening days but would like all general units in Central and Southern Idaho closed on Oct 24. Would you agree with that Robbie?
 

Ryan Avery

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I disagree on 3pt or better, just makes those guys shooting forkies hunt longer and harder until they shoot a mature buck. There's a reason most states haven't adopted point restrictions on a large scale--short term benefits and can be hard on recruiting bucks into the older age classes. Seems counterinuitive, but it keeps happening.

I don't like the multiple rifle seasons for the simple reason that most hunters tap out around 5 days anyway, and multiple opening days just increase crowding on multiple opening days instead of just one. A 2-3 week season really gets quite after about day 5.

Just my opinion.
You proved my point on the three-point minimum. Most hunters do tap out after five days.
 

robby denning

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You and Idelkslayer make good points on the antler restriction. Let’s hear a counterpoint from @ryanavery I’ve said my piece.

I agree on multiple opening days but would like all general units in Central and Southern Idaho closed on Oct 24. Would you agree with that Robbie?
As long as they close it by early November I don’t think it makes a big of a difference. Now if there was an opening day October 28 and I ran ran through November 3rd then you have a whole new group of motivated hunters out there and they could have an effect.

Let’s make sure no one confuses me with a biologist or mule deer management expert. I just like to hunt big deer


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Customweld

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Excellent comments. It's nice to see a lively dialogue without everything devolving into name calling and finger pointing. Ultimately as sportsmen ( and I hope decent human beings), we all want to see a robust, healthy deer herd . I can't help but wonder if folks sometime confuse mature bucks with trophy class bucks (I know they are all trophies) . A couple of units come to mind thinking about this. Both of these units have been controlled hunts, with no other hunts permitted for at least 25 years. Both offer world class habitat from winter range to alpine summer ground. Both had a robust population prior to '16-'17. One took a substantial winter kill and the other seemed to fair much better. However, neither unit has produced much in terms of "trophy class". The bucks that are in there are definitely in the mature class. It wasn't unheard of to see 10-15 bucks a day in the 22"-26" range, but rarely do you see anything bigger than that.
 

jimmy33

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I would like to see you have to pick your weapon and have more muzzleloader seasons available. I think that it would spread out the hunting pressure. Additionally, i think the 3 point or better is not a good option, especially for youth hunters. I think we have to keep in mind that not everyone is looking for trophy class deer. There are a lot of people out there that just want to harvest a little meat. Tough to make it work for everyone...


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Broomd

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I'd shudder to see the statistics on dead head mule deer in antler-restricted areas.

Can only imagine the 'boom, .............oh no...I'm outta here!' scenarios....
 
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Customweld

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I'd shudder to see the statics on dead head mule deer in antler-restricted areas.

Can only imagine the 'boom, .............oh no...I'm outta here!' scenarios....
That would be an interesting statistic.
 

ntrlbrnhunter

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How Idaho is only charging 19.75 for a resident deer tag and 12.75 for a hunting license is so mind blowing to me I cannot wrap my head around it.

IDFG blows my mind on some management tactics for mule deer. Doe tags in areas way under objective? Farming Mountain lions....I have a hard time with them.
 

87TT

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Why? There are states like Texas where a license is $25 and you can shoot 5 deer.
 

WeiserBucks

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How Idaho is only charging 19.75 for a resident deer tag and 12.75 for a hunting license is so mind blowing to me I cannot wrap my head around it.

IDFG blows my mind on some management tactics for mule deer. Doe tags in areas way under objective? Farming Mountain lions....I have a hard time with them.
Keep in mind that many hunters in rural Idaho are well below the level of being poor. I know more than a few residents that don't hunt every year because they can't afford the costs, license , tags , gas , time off work etc.

A friend of mine killed a 344" bull in an OTC unit in 2016, he's still saving money to have it mounted. A price increase is certainly a viable option but it will impact some more than others, plenty of hunters will be willing to pay for a license and tag regardless of cost.
 

MtGoat

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I'd shudder to see the statics on dead head mule deer in antler-restricted areas.

Can only imagine the 'boom, .............oh no...I'm outta here!' scenarios....
The year IDFG went to the 2-pt restrictions in the Owyhees was interesting watching the news.
Opening weekend the news reported a large number of warnings and citations and a number seemed to be small 3-pts etc. Some large deer were shot so maybe the difference between a warning and a citation???
It was all over the news.

The next weekend the number of warnings and citations dropped drastically.
What the news did not report on were the large number of deer shot and left because they were "too big".

The deer got shot they just got wasted.

When restrictions are discussed I always go back to this real world case of what can happen.

Oddly several years before the restrictions the Owyhees were a two tag unit.
Maybe some units can handle "extra" deer getting harvested but it seems that the deer numbers are down....why allow someone a chance at two deer unless a depredation situation.

It would be interesting on how much of an impact hunting puts on the deer herds.
I would guess the revenue generated by license and tag sales has a larger "positive" impact than herd management through harvests.

As said earlier the largest impact is habitat loss and weather.
Feeding programs help some with the weather, and IDFG use to work with land owners on habitat restoration and management. I have not heard in the last 10 to 15 years in IDFG is financially supporting habitat management on private ground. They really frown on winter feeding programs as they are too expensive...maybe divert the funds and hold more animals over to rebuild.

Maybe work with the turkeys from Texas that are locking everything up.
If you can't hunt it maybe it can serve as a place to start rebuilding the herds???
Just a thought, maybe not a good one but trying to turn a bad situation for the good.

It is a very complicated issue and IDFG has a large number of dedicated hard working people working on it.
We all hope they find the right mix and succeed.

Pat
 
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