anyone hunting mulies in Nebraska?
anyone hunting mule deer in Nebraska this fall? how is the population doing in the pine ridge area after the fires? Hunting pressure high this year or down?
Thanks! And good luck to anyone hunting!
Headed to the Sand Hills for the muzzleloader hunt. I've talked to some people out there and they say the population is stable and should be ok. This is my 4th trip to the same area. Last year you could tell that EHD had hurt the population, but mostly whitetails. I don't think that continued this year.
I'm in Nebraska right now. The numbers in the southern panhandle are way down. EHD affected the mule deer just as much as the whitetails. The whitetail population was decimated by a combo of EHD and blue tongue all in one summer. The NE game and parks commission won't admit that the losses are as severe as they are. I hunt the plains unit and I have seen 0 whitetails and only 30-40% of the numbers of mule deer I usually see (not including last year when this occurred).
Sorry but I'm skeptical about what your claiming. I lived in Nebraska for many years and the NGP has no reason to withhold any information on the deer population. Deer populations are down all over the west mainly because of the intense drought that has been going on for sometime. EHD has claimed some of the population but not to the extent your claiming. Another factor added to Nebraska recently is the recurrence of the mountain lion in the state added to the coyote predication on the deer. But the NGP lying about the deer population? Just ain't so.
so any thoughts on a pine ridge hunt next fall? Crawford/chadron area? I have NF maps and have spent a lot of time on google earth.
any suggestions or just advice would be appreciated.
I was just out in the Chadron and Crawford areas this last week. We seen plenty of deer Mule and White, there just wasn't any size or maturity. They are there and we could have all filled our tags but we didn't find what we wanted. We are going again next year for the muzzle loader season again. Any part of the Pine Ridge unit would be good. We went into the Ft. Robinson areas too glassine on Friday areas 1 and 2 had lots of mule does in there we didn't see any bucks. That is a restricted doe area. Pm me if you want any other information.
I just got back from Gordon, NE, not far from Chadron. The deer loss to EHD is at least 90%. I have hunted the area several times in the last few years and always had good luck. There are no deer left to hunt, whitetails or mule deer. Game and Fish are not telling the whole story. Last year they said the population state wide was down 30% and they just reported another loss of 20% for 2013. That means some areas where unaffected, but others have lost all of their deer. Better make sure that you know about the area before you go.
Originally Posted by tomcat
That's exactly what happens with EHD and Blue Tongue. One area can have heavy losses while an area not far from it doesn't take a hit to amount to anything. For someone in CO to dispute what a guy saw on the ground in a specific NE area he hunted seems to be wrong IMHO!
I understand your skepticism about my claims. When you lived there, their were probably great populations of deer. I have hunted Nebraska in 08, 10, 11, 12 and 2013 and I've seen great numbers of deer. More than I thought were possible. I'm talking scenes like some of the original Monster Bucks video series put out in the late 90s. In those videos there would be 50-100 deer in some of those alfalfa fields of Montana. I never thought I would see anything close to that. I hunted public land the first year and it was just as I expected, you had to walk a lot and really hunt hard just to find deer. I earned my first mule deer buck and I mean EARNED! Over 1 1/2 mile drag out on my own. Nebraska didn't allow quartering deer at that time (changed the next year in 09). I met some great people and became great friends with a nice family and have had great private land to hunt ever since. In 2010 I hunted wheat fields surrounded by rough sandhills pasture land on 3 sides and cornfields on the other. I would see 20-40 mule deer and 10-15 whitetails on these fields daily! It was a deer hunters paradise. In 2011 corn harvest was late and I would see 10-20 mule deer and 5-10 whitetails on these same fields. Deer numbers weren't down, there was just more cover. The private ground I was hunting had an annual harvest of about 30-40 deer and the population was still growing. In 2012 there were noticeably less deer, and the landowner said they had found quite a few mule deer of all age classes dead around their stock tanks. Those same fields I had hunted previously showed about 30 mule deer and 7 whitetails. Only problem was that was in a whole week of hunting. Corn harvest was not late and the deer should have been visible. This year was worse as far as numbers, on a 7 day hunt I saw 0 whitetails not even roadkill. I saw 3-7 mule deer on those fields the days I hunted there but I concentrated on winter pastureland that had not been grazed a few miles away. Overall I would say that mule deer numbers are down 40- 60% on the ranch that I hunt and the surrounding area. 80% or more for the whitetails. There were more deer found dead this summer around stock tanks and even a few antelope were also found dead or dying. The rancher and a local biologist said they had never seen 2 years in a row like this. The numbers affected weren't as great this year but still are bad to an already down population.
Originally Posted by trkytrack2
While I understand that his trend can be localized, it seems as if it has effected every unit in the state except the Frenchmen unit. If this is the case then it looks like the Ne Game and Parks would not only cut antlerless but regular Nov firearm permits. They have given a 4% loss in the Frenchmen unit to 45% loss in Loup West unit for whitetails. No loss maps or figures for Mule deer except for a 20% success reduction over 3 years ago due to brainworm disease. I talked to 2 biologist and 1 game warden about the losses and they said they are more severe than NE game and parks is saying. They estimated 40-50% mule deer losses and 50-60% whitetail losses for the eastern half of the plains unit (the area that they work).
As for the comment about the NE game and parks not lying about the deer population, take the blinders off. This is a government organization! It is filled with biologist and wardens who love game and would love to see our wildlife populations thrive and hunters have successful seasons. But it is also filled with people who manage budgets and must meet these budgets with mostly higher priced non resident license sales. These are the people who must make decisions based not solely on the benefit of wildlife but must make sure there is enough money to make sure that the biologist and wardens that protect the wildlife are paid. It is unenviable job. When more wardens are needed to protect down populations, biologist are telling you to cut permit numbers. I applaud their efforts of cutting season choice antlerless permits and bonus tags. With that said don't forget the politicians who influence such decisions. They are bombarded with lobbyist of huge farm operations who want deer numbers down because of crop loss but won't let hunters step foot on these same lands. Also vehicle insurance companies lobby in every state for expanded seasons (especially for antlerless) to reduce deer populations so that there are less deer/vehicle collisions and therefore their profits are greater. I agree with coyote predation, it does affect deer populations but there hasn't been an explosion of coyotes to cause losses even close to this. As for mountain lions, they may hurt a Very loacalized population but we are talking about an almost statewide trend.
If you don't think that money influences decisions then think about this. MDCA (mule deer conservation area) no does can be harvested, statewide muzzleloader permits are not valid for mule deer, residents must apply and draw one of the permits that are valid for the unit and can harvest 1 mule deer buck if drawn. They cannot harvest a mule deer buck with the statewide buck tag. Great rules to have a controlled harvest of mule deer and help populations recover. But as a non resident I can harvest a mule deer buck every year with a statewide buck tag in the mule deer conservation area. IT costs $521. I can't do it with a muzzleloader tag $209 or a unit tag $209, but for $521 I can. So I guess non residents with a $521 tag don't hurt the population when they harvest a mule deer.
so........I am getting a lot of conflicting info on here! I had planned to call biologists and wardens.....pretty standard for any hunt I plan. But if populations are that bad, then I am nervous. That being said, this year in my Wyoming hunt, I think I put 10-12 miles a day on FOOT.........and while it took that to consistently see deer, I am ok with that. I like walking, and I like the physical challenge. I am not really a "sit and spot" type of guy, while I do do that, I tend to want to see what is over the next hill, so to speak.
I will have 3 full days to rifle hunt....maybe 4 if things work out....and I guess my question is...........is it worth the trip from Wisconsin? my September next fall and October is really booked, so a November hunt is needed. and there are few places I can go that offers a November hunt on public lands with no PP's, on a relatively short hunt. I don't expect trophies. I don't expect to see 75-100 deer a day. If I at least see da decent amount of deer everyday, I am happy.
Here are some of my mulies from Wyoming over the past couple years, all on public DIY. I haven't gotten into the "trophy mulie or bust" mentality as of yet, so smaller bucks will make me happy. I have a pretty good idea where I want to go, I just want some sort of confirmation that I am not wasting time and money hunting somewhere that has zero deer left in it.
any advice will be appreciated! I
Last edited by Ilovethewest; 12-07-2013 at 03:29 PM.