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  1. #1
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    Saving declining Mule Deer....

    Since this place seems to be full of level-headed folks, what can be done to flip the script and create an upswing in numbers in the West?

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    From what I know the various states are working on it. Extended drought seems to be the big culprit. I know Colorado & Wyoming have really cut the tags in a lot of areas in each state. If we get the moisture for a couple of years, then we might see some improvement in deer numbers and the tags that are issued. Just my view you know.
    Colorado Cowboy
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    I don't mind the idea of that shed hunting season that was discussed on another thread. I think any idea that can help keep people out of the muley habitat when they are most susceptible to winter kill is a good idea. I read a book once where the author claimed he was watching a big muley buck bedded when along came a cross country skier with a dog. The dog chased up the muley. The snow was deep and difficult to traverse. The muley went far enough to evade the dog but died shortly thereafter. There is obviously no way to tell whether the deer would have lived or not if he wasn't jumped but if a deer is willing to run himself to death to evade humans, then I think it would be wise to keep humans from muleys during times where stress may be the determining factor of life or death.

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  5. #4
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    Here in Utah they have even started to transplant deer from areas that are doing well to areas that are struggling. I think in some of our areas the problem lies in to many tags, and the growing elk population competing for winter forage attribute to some of the decline.
    Shoot STR8

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    i deffenatly think in northern montana and most of idaho knocking down the wolf numbers will help but i think the loss of winter range has an equal or greater effect

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    I think alot of the decline is from poor winter ranges or loss of them due to development. Mule Deer dont seen to adapt to those kind of changes as well as other species. Some bad winters and drought have taken their toll too.
    Keystone 1, Over!

    " I am lost in the dust of the chase that my life brings"

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  10. #7
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    Oregon Is way behind the eight ball on this one. No hounds hunting cougars and bears, no baiting bears, WAY too many tags issued, loss of habitat, Juniper tree encroachment, few restrictions on winter range and drought come to mind. Oh and the wolfs are coming too. It doesn't look good for the Mule deer here.

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    Unfortunately I think cutting tags is the answer in a lot of area's. It seems like Colorado the last couple years has had a hard winter every other year and it is taking its toll. I agree with MM that a lot of the valleys the deer used to winter in has become very populated by people and is cutting off their winter range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado Cowboy View Post
    From what I know the various states are working on it. Extended drought seems to be the big culprit. I know Colorado & Wyoming have really cut the tags in a lot of areas in each state. If we get the moisture for a couple of years, then we might see some improvement in deer numbers and the tags that are issued. Just my view you know.

    That's kind of my thoughts on things. Nutritional value of the habitat is keeping populations in check. Folks I know who manage mule deer ranches in West Tx are significantly altering natural nutrition, but there's still a 30-40% swing in fawn recruitment and ability to carry over yearlings when they have enough rain.

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    I agree with the drought synopsis. I am not sure I fit in with the level headed crowd. I should talk to a biologist or someone like that, but the whitetails continue to move into Muley habitat and compete for the limited resources. In Eastern Wyoming, they have had "unlimited" quotas for whitetail does to help control them for several years. The drought, whitetails, wolves, cougars, and roadkill from increased traffic, loss of winter habitat and forage, all combine against the Mule Deer. I know around Pinedale, WY, they put up these crossings and bridges for migrating wildlife to help prevent some roadkill. I am not sure how well that is working. There are probably some other factors, too.

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