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Anyone hunting the first hunt or heard any reports so far? Didn't apply this year due to the whopping 29 deer harvested last year; at least for the first hunt anyway. TODDY
Yeah, my partner and I each filled out bonus tags with antlerless deer.
It was unbelievably windy - and after about 1030 it began swirling in all directions.
I shot my doe about 11:30, partner shot his about 12:30.
Way low on hunters - they said a total of 1,600 this year. I saw one flashlight while I was setting up (pre daylight) on the other side of the swamp from me - did not see any hunters in the woods.
The bears and timber wolves have really destroyed the population in there.
I saw 1 small buck and 2 does, partner saw 3 bears, 1 buck, a doe and a fawn.
We left about 5:00 - they had one big bodied buck so far - 197 pounds - worker said the rack was pretty small - had 8 points and would only score about 110 inches.
I started hunting there in the early 70's and we would see 30 to 40 deer EVERY DAY! Quit hunting there in about 1999 - we were only seeing 3 or 4 deer a day. Last year was the first return hunt in there for me in a long, long time - only hunted till noon on the first day and left - VERY Disappointed. I mainly went back this year just to fill my bonus tag.
Although I've never shot any real BIG bucks in there, I've seen some real bruisers.
Hey, thanks for the detailed report! Congrats on the does! TODDY
Inshart, it isn't bears and wolves destroying the population. They may keep the herd down, but the reason there is fewer deer in there is because hunters shot them. Two deer limits, late muzzy hunts, youth hunts, veterans hunts. All have taken their toll. Then a couple tough winters. It isn't bears and wolves.
Did those does have fawns with them?
Did you see any more does with fawns?
Don't get me wrong, I don't care about you shooting does. Just trying to understand the doe to fawn ratio.
Funny how things have changed in Ripley. It used to be trophy hunters now it's hunters filling doe tags so they don't have to shoot does in their own hunting areas.
I hunted it and shot a nice 8 pointer right away Thursday. Due to my employer, I did the media opt out. I do believe my buck weighed about 20 pounds more than 203 but decided against weighing it. Just registered it and left. I can tell you for a fact I had only four hunters within a mile circle of me and all four of us were hunting a funnel. A funnel that no one was pushing deer through. Just my observation. Yes the Ripley deer herd has changed significantly. I do believe the wolves get too much of the blame for the diminishing deer herd and I am certainly no wolf lover to be sure. The hunters and those two winters took out allot of deer. It was awesome hunting conditions and awesome property, just very very few deer. I kept hearing 200 wolves in Camp Ripley---I hardly believe that number. I have bears in Ripley but not a wolf yet.
As for the number of wolves, I don't know. But I have seen LOTS of wolf tracks running up and down the dirt roads. I have also seen a few wolf dens that have been freshly used. Plenty of bears also. Lots of bobcats too. Lots of bonus tags for antlerless deer over the years, bad winters.... It's a complex ecosystem with lots of variables so pointing the finger at just one thing doesn't make much sense. It's a combo platter. The wolf is the newest player having an affect so it is getting the most attention. They still need to be managed.... My opinion for what it's worth. TODDY
My dads farm was right across the river from Ripley, so, not only did I hunt "in" Ripley, but I also hunted around it - mainly on the east side, some on the north and only a couple times on the west side. I saw first hand the decline of the deer herd not only in Ripley but all around it as well.
Yes, we had a couple bad winters - with lots of snow and bitterly cold, but when you have that much snow and the deer yard up the timber wolves can (AND DO) take a lot of deer - to eat and just to kill for fun.
12yards - I respectfully disagree..... I used to do a lot of shed hunting and as of about 6 years ago, when I really began seeing a LOT of wolf sign and every winter finding several wolf kills in and around where I live and hunt - there is no way you can convince me that they are not having a detrimental effect on the deer numbers - significantly, I might add.
Have I added to the decline of the deer herd - hell yeah, I love venison and eat a lot of it. :)
I moved to Little Falls in 1991. They were studying wolves up there then. They've been around for a long time and deer numbers have risen and fallen in their presence. IMVHO, they are a constant and yes they kill a significant number of deer, I agree. But when you massively increase hunter harvest, especially when the majority of that harvest increase is antlerless deer, that is going to impact deer numbers more than predators. Hunter harvest should be regulated with predator kill in mind. Predators are going to get theirs, they always will. So manage hunters accordingly. Don't allow them to kill 2 to 3X as many antlerless deer as bucks.
It amazes me how some hunters refuse to believe that we have an impact or can control deer numbers. Yet studies show that hunting is the number one source of mortality statewide, even in wolf range.
I wish hunters would start to think about what they harvest. If numbers are down, don't shoot does! If numbers appear healthy in your hunting area, take some does. Don't just wait for what the DNR puts out for regs every year and then shoot the crap out of everything without thinking about your impact.
But I realize that is a pipe dream.
Agreed 12YDS....especially when probably 90% of our DNR doesn't hunt or fish. I also agree with more self regulation on the hunter's part. TODDY
Since Inhart didn't answer my question about any fawns with the does here's my take on predators. When there are plenty of does and thus plenty of fawns losing a few fawns isn't a big deal. But when the doe population decreasing so do the fawns, the predator number remains the same so now you have a bigger impact on the fawn population. With bears, wolves, coyotes and bobcat preying on fawns for 6 weeks they can do some damage. QDMA states that a doe will have two fawns from age 2 1/2 to 20 so if you are seeing does with one fawn or no fawns you have a serious predator problem.
So why is the DNR allowing does to be killed in Ripley? Simple, they (DNR and the camp) don't want deer in Ripley. Humans and all the other predators are helping make it happen.
rodb sorry I didn't answer your question - As stated above, my partner saw a doe with a fawn.
I first saw the small buck about 1030 or so, the doe came through about 1130, I sat in the stand for about an hour after the shot, went and recovered my doe, walked out to get a sled from my truck, and as I was returning I bumped a small deer about 50 yards from where my doe fell - I'm assuming it was the does fawn.
I'm not disagreeing with what is being said - a few years ago when the DNR allowed hunters to take 5 deer, only one of which could be a buck - no wonder the deer population plummeted so drastically.
Finally realists on the subject. I have heard so many complain about the wolves in Ripley but refuse to believe that hunter harvests have anything to do with the poor number. I am in the guard and spent a great amount of time out in Ripley throughout the year. Deer numbers are definitely down. Are there wolves yes, they have estimated 20-25 in Ripley. When estimating deer loss, they figured about 6 deer per wolf in a given year. That would be 120-150 deer in a year, yes that is a significant number. But isn't the near 500 deer taken by archers for many years in a row a bigger impact? Anyway, I hunted the veteran bow hunt, didn't see much, I am looking forward to doing the muzzleloader hunt in Dec.
Yes, and they don't just stay in camp either. They eat deer outside of camp too. I've got trail cam pics of them sw of camp.
Very good point, they have tracked wolves from the Ripley packs in Michigan
"they figured about 6 deer per wolf in a given year"
You really think a wolf can survive on 6 deer per year? I think the real number is about 1 deer per week per wolf. Which means around a 1000 deer per year and who knows how many fawns.
I believe it is 20 pounds per week per adult wolf, or that is what I learned back in the day. Figure a fifty percent dressing percent. That means one deer every 3 weeks,per wolf, figuring an average 120 pound deer. I know, dressing percent means nothing to these guys...... TODDY
1 wolf WILL NOT eat an entire deer in a week. 20 lbs in a week even seems like a lot, there number of 6 deer per wolf is an average. A deer gets taken down that will feed the whole pack. So 6 deer per wolf x 20 wolves= 120 deer per year, which would be roughly 2 per week to feed the pack, and as was stated they do not reside within Ripley all year
I just googled this for kicks. Wolf.org says 15-20 adult size deer per one adult wolf per year. Way more than 120 deer per pack based on those numbers. Reliable source, who knows.... Regardless, wolves are one of the many variables affectin lower deer numbers around the northern part of this state as well as other states. That part really isn't disputable is it? TODDY
Absolutely you are 100% correct. Wolf numbers in northern MN are having a tremendous impact on deer. What I was stating is its ignorant to 100% blame the wolves for Ripleys low deer numbers considering hunters have taken more deer throughout the years than the wolves even come close to.
Exactly what I think mnarrowslinger. Wolves only become an issue when we shoot too many deer, then they become the scapegoat for low deer numbers. Trust me, I'm no wolf lover, but I know we can have higher deer numbers in the presence of wolves. Like I said, there's been wolves in Camp for many years, even when there were so many deer in Camp, a tree couldn't grow (or so I'm told). I've always read 12-15 deer per wolf. When I questioned the Ripley research group last year, they estimated there were 12-15 wolves on Camp in two different packs.
Right, bottom line is the DNR should be taking deer killed by wolves into account when issuing hunting permits. My opinion...... bucks only for a few years, and watch the population sore again!
"What I was stating is its ignorant to 100% blame the wolves for Ripleys low deer numbers considering hunters have taken more deer throughout the years than the wolves even come close to."
Not really true. A report on the DNR website states that a wolf will eat 15-20 ADULT deer per year. Another report states that in years of deep snow wolves will kill many more ungulates then they can eat. Go look for yourself it's out there.
So lets say wolves consume 400 deer per year, in 2014 hunters killer 145 deer (archery). Don't know what last years numbers were but I'm sure it didn't come close to 400. From 2010 to 2014 the annual harvest was between 400 to 500. So based on FACTS the statement above isn't even close to the true.
@rodb You can not use the number of deer taken last year as a statistic when the population has already been hurt. And as is stated farther up, the packs do not reside in Ripley alone, they are seen outside of Ripley on private land, and are there collars have been tracked all the way to Michigan, I really doubt they come back to Ripley every time they need to kill a deer. So if you really would like to say 400 a year, sure, BUT they do not all come from Camp. The wolves have been there since the early 90s, so how are the just now causing a problem? Kill numbers are as follows. 2005-477 taken, 2006 514 taken, 2007-could not find log, 2008-516 taken, 2009-407 taken, 2010-507 taken, 2011-422 taken, 2012 431 taken, 2013- 308 taken, 2014- 145 taken. Which does not include the disabled vet hunt or deployed soldier hunt. All of which the wolves have been present..... My bad, the wolves maybe killed more deer LAST YEAR then hunters.... Also, 2012 and 2013 winters were extremely cold with periods of deep snow, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with it either....Ripley winters for deer can be extremely harsh with no ag land around for food. Example being: Friend hunted the deployed soldier muzzleloader hunt last year which was around Dec. 2. His bro-in law shot a nice 12 point, when they went to drag it, his antlers fell off, he was in the process of shedding antlers almost 2 months before the normal cycle. Post Rut stress + foot of snow on the ground = Unhealthy animals with limited food source to replenish them.
and what "FACTS" do you have about wolf kills? You say 15-20 per, go look at 5 other sites and tell me its the same. I have seen anywhere from 6 - 30. All of which are speculation or observations on wolves from god knows where. Id be willing to bet they have been killing roughly the same number for the last 10 years, and you cant tell the wolves to stop because they are hurting the deer pop. You cant tell winters to stop being cold and snowing.... so what is the ONE aspect we can control... the DNR limiting deer taken by hunters.....which was my point all along.
Wolves have been there and in other places in the state since the 70s. Wild (feral) dog packs still exist in some places too and they take their share of deer.
There is plenty of activity in camp in the winter and a lot of ag.land bordering camp so i dont think winter kill is a big concern and a lot of people feed deer around camp,winter kill is not a big thing in crow wing and Morrison counties .I have been hunting camp for 30 some yrs. and one thing is for sure there is more wolf sign than ever before and people seeing them in the daylight.Wolf no. by the dnr dont match what the people in camp no. are. Wolf and bear numbers up,hunter and deer no. down not hard to figure it out.Heard 900 people shot 33 deer first hunt.Used to see that many deer a day,not even 10 a weekend for the whole gang anymore.My guess is the Dnr is trying to see what predator no. it takes not to have hunters to control a deer heard.Maybe camp becomes full time facility with no hunting.Interesting thought?Have hunted up in northern Mn. for 42 yrs wolf no. up and deer no, way down even after years of no doe or very few permits.
Hunting used to be great at Ripley, saw plenty of deer & didn't see wolf tracks back then. What's so complicated about this?
In my opinion, it was a combination of too much antlerless harvest, winter, and predators. Extreme cold for a prolonged period will kill deer, especially fawns, even if they are finding enough food. They just don't have the body size to survive. That, combined with huge antlerless harvest increase from 2004 through 2013, and the herd took a plunge. Now that the herd is down, wolves can keep them down. So it will take a longer time to get numbers back up. But they will come back. They are coming back in other parts of the state that have wolves.
You also have to factor in that fewer guys are willing to waste their primary tag on a doe or small buck in there. So what the harvest on the first hunt tells us is not much. Maybe guys were seeing deer but not shooting where in the past with bonus tags available, guys were willing to kill one.
And that is my very unscientific opinion on the matter.
You all miss the number of fawns that wolves bears and coyotes take and if you kill mom you kill both.Predators kill year around not only at hunting season when the young will live.So think about those numbers instead of one doe kill.Please show me where deer numbers have rebounded with over populations of wolves.
The whole northern part of MN for the most part is recovering from overharvest/winterkill. It has in the past as well. Remember the tough winters in the mid to late 90s? The deer herd recovered in northern MN to populations that were never seen before. So high that many areas had 5 deer limits. There were lots of wolves then too. Deer numbers are increasing all around Camp Ripley as well and there's wolves there too.
I am talking up way up north not cental mn,way up north where the wolf population is high the deer density is low and has been since wolves were delisted.I am just saying where the wolf density is high,like in camp your deer heard is going to have a hard time rebounding.While i agree hunters have some degree in reducing deer population i dont think harvest numbers of does in camp over the years are a big factor .Camp is a large place that had great deer number till the over population of wolves and bears showed up.Like i said i have see first hand over the last 40 yrs what a high wolf population has done to the deer heard around Effie Mn. 12 yrds,take your theory up there and talk to the locals and see how the people that live with them react.I am not going to change your mind and mine is based on what i have seen over the last 40 years up north and the last 31 yrs. in camp. just sayin.
Wolf numbers in Camp haven't changed much in the last 15 years. Deer were at an all time high density with the same number of wolves that there is now. The thing that drove deer numbers down were doubling to tripling the antlerless harvest from 2004 through 2014. Hunter harvest is the highest source of mortality in Camp. Sorry, comparing Camp to northern MN is apples and oranges. But even up north, research shows that hunting is still the main source of mortality in most years. Winter some years. In extreme NE MN, winter and wolves probably rule. But even up there, string together some mild winters and deer will increase in the presence of wolves. The statistics just don't bear out what you are saying.
Looks like Ripley harvest this year will be lucky to break 150. 38 the first weekend and maybe 100 the second. If there are 15 wolves in Ripley I would bet they will eat more than the hunters killed this year.
Dnr says 12 to 15 wolves .Camp officials say 40,want to bet which ones closer to the right number?
Who are the camp officials? And DNR is not studying wolves in camp. Camp environmental group is.
The same camp officials that changed the hunt to no permits.Camp officials know every thing that happens in camp from men ,machines ,wolves deer ect.http://www.startribune.com/camp-ripley-sets-new-deer-rules/386148911/
Thank God they did that xt. I totally agree with that decision. On the other hand, if there are 40+ wolves up there, it would probably be the highest wolf density in the entire world. In fact, Ripley is 83 sq. mi. and that means wolves are eating 10-12 deer per sq. mi. if they eat 800 to 1000 deer. I don't think that is possible. I could believe that there are more wolves than DNR or the environmental group thinks there are, but more than triple that estimate? I don't think so. Wolves are territorial and have a very complex social structure. They don't tolerate each other very well and pack size usually isn't that big. And their territories are quite large. They kill each other for entering another pack's territory.
I'll have to respectfully disagree with you xt. But I'm not an expert by any means and could be wrong. Best of luck hunting this fall. Hope you shoot a big one!
Thanks 12 yrds.i agree that hunters do there part.Used to be 35 and above deer per sq. mile. Bou. says there still is? Hunter no. and kill rate say other wise.I would say your 10 to 12 deer per sq. mile figure by wolves is about right.My guess is about 15 deer per sq. mile is about right in camp now.We will see what happens with new regs. and debate after that.I liked the old day when you saw 20 deer a day.I think that is still possible with the right management,because it was the norm yrs ago.Now there is more forest management to help the deer survive in larger numbers.