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Thoughts: CO’s Mule deer seasons
From eastman’s magazine...
Yep bummer deal. They are gonna kill off the big boys all in the name of chronic wasting disease
I hate to say it, but I'd be expecting CPW to continue making decisions that don't benefit biggame or biggame hunters. Values are changing in CO toward a demographic majority that doesn't value what hunters do or what biggame hunting can do for the state.
This is the year to use your Deer Points for sure. I suspect a fair amount of point creep.
Did someone say rut hunt? Hot damn. For those of you who think it’s easy to slip into bow range on these monsters with 10-30 does around, you’re kidding yourself. But it sure is fun trying! Besides, I’d rather see hunters have the opportunities than wolves.......
Archery has always been a rut hunt on the plains. But now the mountain rifle hunt has two seasons that are smack in the middle. There will be a slaughter of mature bucks, for sure. Which is what CPW wants unfortunately.
Oh bummer. I thought we were talking Bowhunting. Yes kiss the buck population goodbye
Colorado does this every 5 years . Each year it creeps up a day then after 5 years they roll it back and start over
No, this is different. They specifically moved the start dates 1 week later to put more seasons in the rut. 2nd season would never be into November.
Too bad the quality has already dropped. After this cycle it will be hard to find a big buck.
They've also stated the intent to reduce the mature buck population
They are going to absolutely destroy the herd with this... The later season dates are an absolute disaster. Then they have increased many tags in the later seasons with the intent to kill the mature bucks. This double whammy will all but wipe all mature bucks out of the NW corner of the herd.
I hunted Unit 22 with my cousin (NR with 12 points). We killed a 150ish buck on the first day... The units is worse than I have ever seen for bucks.
In all honesty I took my 10 year old son on a general MT mule deer hunt this november and saw more and better deer in MT on the general hunt than we saw in a 12 point hunt in Colorado.
THe deer are done for at least a decade in Colorado. Save your points and hope they comeback at some point.
Bang - Bang!!!
I can’t wait to hunt deer with my rifle
Last few years here in sw Colorado, the early snows had already pushed a lot of the big bucks down and through onto the southern ute and Jicarilla reservations during the second gun season. Hillsides were covered in trails of deer migrating through, and the highways were littered with dead deer. Finding a big buck last year during the fourth season for the Meat Eater crew was tough.
Gobbler, actually no. They changed the actual structure of the seasons. The first season (elk only) stays the same: first Saturday AFTER Oct 9th. And this year it is as late as that allows
But the second season used to start on the Saturday immediately after the first season. 3 days after first season was over. Now it starts 10 days after.
So this year we have the first rifle season starting a week later than it can in other years and the other seasons are an additional week later.
I wonder if CPW is moving these dates around in preparation the for the wolf BS about to engulf the state biggame herds? It does kinda make sense, to give hunters a chance before the herds are dwindled to low numbers.
If there’s good science behind the decision, shouldn’t it be supported, the same as predators should be managed because good science says that’s appropriate?
You can’t say that CPW should be allowed to practice science-based management ONLY when it gives you what you want; they’re tasked with managing the resource for the health of the resource, not for trophy production...
I kinda wonder how that’s gonna work out with animals moving lower/onto private land, though. Could be a real windfall for some folks, and that rubs me the wrong way, for sure.... Just seems like another step toward privatizing the public resource....
And it seems to me that overpopulation on private land/no-hunting areas did an awful lot to precipitate the whole CWD mess in the first place...
My question is how do you try to control a deer herd age structure without including does? I would assume females contract CWD at least as frequently as males, maybe even more so with higher density. Not sure how you would do it but if you want to kill off the 4 yr old plus deer how do you effectively kill of does as well? And if you can’t does it make sense to kill off all the old bucks?
I'm going back and forth with trying to decide if I want to pull my elk/deer tag this year. I have the points, but I was just going to go caribou hunting. This makes me want to burn my points now. There's just not enough time in August/September.
That would have been great when we had youth 3rd season buck tags. The 4th season tags required a pile of points with minimal licenses and historically the mature bucks showed that last weekend or after. We sold our place and kids outgrew getting tags every year. I would believe that this would certainly help take out the big mature bucks- those are the ones that lions hit as well.
Actually CWD is shown to be of higher prevalence in middle aged bucks than doe.
“ My question is how do you try to control a deer herd age structure without including does? I would assume females contract CWD at least as frequently as males...”
Maybe we should fire up some “how old is this doe?” threads??
Maybe it’s the Flehmen? I have no idea if/why bucks would be more of a reservoir than does.... But if they are comparable, it makes sense to target them if the hunting public is willing/able to do so.
It might be simply that we are generally so darn happy to take a fully mature buck and since does are valued mostly in the freezer, we’d probably sooner take a younger one...
"I have no idea if/why bucks would be more of a reservoir than does.... "
I'd guess because they put their noses into more deer's butts than the average doe.
" I would assume females contract CWD at least as frequently as males, maybe even more so with higher density. ?"
Many jurisdictions are showing data that has Male Mule deer as being most susceptible to contracting CWD, much more so than Female Mule deer. Here in Alberta some management areas are recording Male MD as having a 50% infection rate while females are close to 10%.
Instead of the herd density reduction method to slow the spread of CWD, the new effort to slow CWD is to focus on reducing the segment of the population that is most likely to be a carrier of the disease.
I can't be the only one who's noticed this...
"A condom? Don't be silly love. Only sailors use condoms."
"No they don't!"
"Well they should, those filthy buggers, they go from port to port..."
The other thing mentioned about bucks vs. does is that during the rut, bucks can travel outside their core areas in search of does, thus spreading CWD to new areas that were previously Free of the disease.
TXhunter is right. Where I hunt on the CO plains, bucks travel for many miles to reach the does for the rut. Then they sometimes skip across 2-3 big drainages looking for other does. So an infected one can expose multiple doe family groups that otherwise would not have contact.
So....what's going to stop other bucks from doing the same?
I think the idea is that it’ll be YOUNGER bucks, less apt to spread the prions, that will do the traveling and breeding...
But it’ll be helpful to keep the buck:doe ratio in the right range and keep the breeding synched properly....
There’s some research out of Michigan that is suggesting that older matriarch does may have more responsibility for spreading CWD than initially thought. It’s well documented that older males have a higher rate of infection but older females do have it too. Doe groups tend to stay together much of the year. They constantly groom each other and if one is infected can pass it by grooming. Each fall young bucks leave and disperse to create their own home areas. This is being looked at now, but these yearling bucks could already be infected by an older doe in the group and when they disperse to new areas carry the disease with them into new areas
I lost faith in the "Kill the deer to save the deer" approach to CWD many decades ago. My armchair biologist guess is a noticeable drop in the number of mature bucks and an insignificant effect on CWD.
I’m afraid you’ll be correct, Don, but they have to try to do something, don’t they?
This is some serious $#|+.... Those damn prions seem to be virtually indestructible; I don’t know that a truly viable solution is anywhere in the mix unless/until the deer slip through a genetic bottleneck and develop an immunity, but if it takes 4 years or more for this thing to kill them, it’ll likely never go away, as susceptible individuals will produce surviving offspring before they succumb to it.
I just don’t see it happening....
In my preferred unit near home they knocked the Muleys back to very low numbers in hopes of slowing CWD. Mule deer are slow to bounce back. They are starting to come back but will likely never get back to what we had when I was a kid. CWD basically was unchanged. For those that didn't get to see the peak of Muley hunting in CO (I caught the tail end), it would be hard to explain it and be believable.
In 1963 hunter harvest was 147,000 and they thrived into the 80's. In 2019 it was under 37,000.
Yep, but those high populations primed the pump for the CWD outbreak...
What’s most desirable for the Hunters isn’t always good for the herd... I’m thinkin’ being a deer manager isn’t exactly a cushy job.....
It's a tough one. My guess is that its always been around in some form. The Norway prions appear to be different than what we have here.
I’m just glad I have 24 points going into this years draw. Going to try and make the best of it why I still can
I wish the season was still starting in August, but regardless I plan on being there Sept 2nd as long as the point creep doesn’t go completely nuts this year. Hopefully find something early before the impending rifle doom comes.
CWD presents in older bucks but they still have CWD while younger. It takes time for the host (years) to present symptoms. Makes me wonder if targeting older bucks will make any difference at all. Tests in Mississippi would show "non positive" which is not the same as negative. The deer tested "non positive" could present symptoms much later.
Stated differently, If I see buck stumbling around, he didn't just recently contract CWD, but has had it for years.
This is what I have come to understand since CWD was first detected in Mississippi about 4 yrs ago.
I read an article last week where scientists have found that some, maybe the majority, have some sort of immunity, since they don't contract it after multiple exposures over years. They're trying to understand why that is. Otherwise in a real hot zone where people feed them and they congregate, presumably all the deer would be infected instead of a steady 15-17%.
I would think that wolves, coyotes, mtn lions, etc would kill the few sick CWD deer that exist? Truly sick deer with CWD are in such low % of the entire deer population that it is almost irrelevant! The deer that are carriers of CWD are still healthy....similar to those that only get sore throats from Covid! The prions last years in the soil and the number of truly sick deer from CWD are so low it seems like a total waste to harvest the healthy deer that exist! As mentioned in a post above, Colo CWD deer numbers where the CPW harvested gobs of deer remains unchanged so harvesting gobs of deer literally did nothing!
The ONLY reason they are issuing more tags is to generate more $! It's a totally ignorant excuse to ruin the incredible deer herds that have slowly but surely decreasing with their game plan!
CWD has been in Colo for years and I am around deer in the field in one of the CWD hotspots just about every day at work and have yet to see a sick deer! I'm not seeing dead or dying deer laying all over the hillsides! Using bucks as a target for spreading CWD is even a bigger joke! The % of CWD sick and dying bucks in a herd is a fraction of a fraction of a %! Using CWD as an excuse is a total joke!
CWD aside the moving of the archery deer to help the "elk only" cba members will leave some archery hunters with 2 days before the start of high country rifle when 1000 yd shots are more the norm than the exception these days. Once shells are getting flung across basins the archery deer season is over.
2 days basically eliminates archery deer from these units..
Wonder what the cba would say if in any unit a rifle elk hunt started 2 days into the archery season??
So yea thanks again for the 2 days CBA!!!