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max2

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max2

Last evening at dusk I was headed to my tax preparer to pick up my paperwork ( typical day before there due  pick-up :))   Deer crossing the road everywhere.  Just before I arrived at my location 4 does with the littlest doe I have ever seen this time of year coming in last. As I watched them head out into a  field void of any snow and what looked liked some bright green vegetation sprouting I remember thinking  and so life begins. Next I looked up on the hill from where they came down and there in single file had to be 12 or more deer waiting to cross .  Quite a cool site. That pic was filed away in my memory bank .   They made it through a tuff winter..... 

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WPG Gizmo

About a week ago we are eating dinner and Paula looks out the back door standing in the neighbors yard is a doe she points it out to me about how nice it was to see it.  I look out the door and pointed out the other 8 she didnt see :D

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Brad Eden

Same here. Seeing deer crossing roads, especially at night and out in the open during the day which is still unusual in most of Maine. Just this morning I saw 3-4 just off the road in a clearing at 10am. I didn't find any winter I'll or winter coyote kills in the yarding areas I snowshoe to etc. I think they did just fine.

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idcut

Drove to my hometown yesterday to do some work for my folks last evening and took a drive through our property....saw 10 deer on the approximately 1/2 mile drive. Sunday I was out turkey hunting, again around my hometown with a friend. We must have seen around 200 elk and more mule deer than what I've seen in a number of years......unfortunately no turkeys!

 

The mule deer population has been depressed for years. Hopefully the numbers we saw are an indication of a comeback.

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Chukarman
17 hours ago, idcut said:

...The mule deer population has been depressed for years. Hopefully the numbers we saw are an indication of a comeback.

 

Any idea what has caused to depressed mule deer populations ? - it seems to be common across the western states. In the 60s and 70s there were far more deer everywhere. Can it be just the CWD outbreaks alone? There must be other factors at work.

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fishvik
2 hours ago, Chukarman said:

 

Any idea what has caused to depressed mule deer populations ? - it seems to be common across the western states. In the 60s and 70s there were far more deer everywhere. Can it be just the CWD outbreaks alone? There must be other factors at work.

Probably the biggest reason for depressed mule populations is loss of winter range. Boise, Salt Lake, Denver, Reno among other cites and towns in the west and the urban sprawl around them was all mule deer winter range. Another factor has been the encroachment of conifers in aspen clones due to wildland fire fighting philosophies of the past 100 years. The aspen concerns can be addressed but winter habitat loss due to urban development is pretty much a lost cause. Another cause could be that with the improvement of range management and grazing practices the brush species that came in with poor grazing practices of late 1800's and early 1900's are now being replaced by grassland which are not as preferable as a mule deer diet, particularly in the winter.

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Chukarman

Habitat destruction - the same just about everywhere, unfortunately.

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idcut

I can't say for sure, but in the northern part of the state, perhaps it was the 1910 fire that caused an increase in mule deer population, as is the reason given for the healthy increase with the elk population. Only in this case, it's been the regrowth of timber, reducing the browse that grew after the Big Burn.

 

Both 1996 and 1997 were tough winters that hammered the mule deer (along with other big game) population and with the addition of wolves along with bear and lion predation, they just had a tough time coming back in numbers. The urban sprawl that Fishvik mentions I'm sure applies to the traditional mule deer areas mentioned, but that's not the case here in the north....there just isn't the urban sprawl similar to mentioned areas, unless one considers the Coeur d'Alene area, which probably never was a stronghold for mule deer!

 

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Big Al
On 5/2/2018 at 1:28 PM, Chukarman said:

 

Any idea what has caused to depressed mule deer populations ? - it seems to be common across the western states. In the 60s and 70s there were far more deer everywhere. Can it be just the CWD outbreaks alone? There must be other factors at work.

 

I read an article about this very subject a couple of years ago. I think it was in Montana Outdoors magazine.  I can't remember the reasons they gave though.  I'll try to find the article.

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Big Al

I think this is the article I read.  It's more about management of the mule deer in Montana than about causes of population swings.  It's pretty informative and at the end it does address the cause of the western mule deer population decrease.

 

http://fwp.mt.gov/mtoutdoors/HTML/articles/2016/muledeer.htm#.Wu3zH8hJkS8

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