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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone hunt this last season? I might have enough points for it this year. I’ve hunted it 3 times for deer and 1 for ‘lopes (batting 4/4) and been there many more so I know it well... just wondering how the herd is doing.
 

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Anyone hunt this last season? I might have enough points for it this year. I’ve hunted it 3 times for deer and 1 for ‘lopes (batting 4/4) and been there many more so I know it well... just wondering how the herd is doing.
I'm going there this year. If everything works out in the draw there will be 6 or 7 of us, may be 2 more, we will see. Average of a little over 8 points between all of us. We are splitting up into 2 may be 3 groups. Planning on spending most of the season there.

As said, the herd continues to drop off, but I'm looking forward to hunting it.
 

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I don't know about the genetics; typically even big, big bucks generally lack mass in the antlers.
I also don't know about mismanagement. Dry years, big cats, too many visitors, and other things outside the realm of management hurt the unit in my opinion.
 

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I don't know about the genetics; typically even big, big bucks generally lack mass in the antlers.
I also don't know about mismanagement. Dry years, big cats, too many visitors, and other things outside the realm of management hurt the unit in my opinion.
That unit has water all over compared to a lot of other eastern units. It has a lot of land that people can’t and won’t go into. Large ranches with canyons that intimidate 90% of people. The steens should be thriving still. People hiking arnt killing deer but the coyotes and cats do all year. I hunt Nevada every year. Water is much more of a issue there then the steens and yet still produces way more deer even now that they are cutting tags and numbers because of drought they still have more deer! The difference they control predators
 

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I agree with stumpy, I honestly don’t believe a mule deer have been mismanaged. I believe a lack of predator management has been the downfall of our deer herds and that is due to all the die hard liberals in this state not ODFW.
As far as the steen or any other OR unit for that matter mature buck numbers should be better this year that the previous couple. We lost pretty much all of our fawns in 16-17 and again in 17-18 and most of the bucks alive then have either been killed by hunters or something else. We are just now starting to see some older 4.5yr old deer on the landscape again. Last year in SE OR there were a lot of bucks and a lot of 3.5yr old decent deer just very few bigger deer only because of reasons mentioned above. This year there will be a few more bigger bucks and the next few years should be pretty good if we get another decent winter or two.
Overall deer numbers in OR are still down but mature buck numbers are in the uprise with the mellow winters we’ve had.
 

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I have probably posted this a dozen times over the past 15 years, but it obviously needs to be posted again. Mule Deer population in 1960 was around 600,000. According to odfw population estimates, mule deer population in 1990 was 300,000. Measure 18 passed in 1994, so obviously had nothing to do with the 50% decline in populations. In the 70's and 80's, odfw issued multiplied 10s of thousands of antlerless tags where the harvest was 95% on public land, although the stated purpose of the hunts was private land damage by mule deer. Since then, ODFW has continually reduced the numbers of mature bucks in the population, which has had a very definite impact on the productivity of our mule deer populations. Obviously, winter kill, predation, car accidents, etc are also a factor, but to give odfw a pass for the mess we have is ignorant.

The sad fact is, ODFW is claiming around 160,000 mule deer in Oregon against a management objective of 345,000. What is sad is that 160,000 also includes whitetails in ne oregon, from what I can tell. Whitetails are also apparently included in the harvest stats for mule deer. The truth is, there should be no mule deer hunting in this state at the present time.

By the way, a mature buck, is NOT a 2.5 year old spindly3 x 4. It is a 4.5 to 8.5 year old dominant buck that does are willing to breed with during the first estrus cycle. Those guys are mostly gone from the landscape, and that is one of the primary causes in our low fawn/doe ratios, regardless of how bad the winter is.

scoutdog
 

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Steens unit should be ripping it up, buck harvest is well below buck fawn recruitment, actually about a half. ODF&W showed a decent population gain in the last estimate. This unit could be my poster child in by buck mortality interception theory. I wonder if they have radio collared Does in that unit, would be interesting to see their survival rates versus say Northside or M.C.
 

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Knock-on-wood, but one saving grace on the mountain is that the big dogs haven't settled in-------yet.

For some reason, once the big cats got a foothold (as in right after the no hound dogs debacle), deer and elk numbers went to shirt. A few are taken before the roads close, and a few coyotes as well, but once the snow hits, it is a winter playground for the fanged critters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Let us hunt horses.

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
In India cows are sacred, not to be harmed. In America, horses are sacred.

I’d hunt horse on Steens. They are a destructive invasive competing for the same resources as native deer and elk. But it’ll never happen
 

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We had two tags two years ago, we hunted from daylight to dark for 11 days. This Tag along with ALL other units in the state I don’t think ODFW is being truthful on harvest/actual deer numbers. What’s the Gain for ODFW? Revenue. Hunters, A false sense of hope that deer #’s are there.
👆, and my fear is that the present Mule deer initiative will be deemed a success and they'll open up tag numbers again before they've attained anything sustainable or significant. They're already increasing numbers in some areas.
 

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I have spent a fair amount of time hiking around Page Springs Campground the last few winters. To see the destruction the cows have done is very saddening. The grasses have been chewed down to the ground everywhere. Cow tracks and cow pies every step you take. It has to have an affect on the winter conditions for the local deer herd.
 

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I have probably posted this a dozen times over the past 15 years, but it obviously needs to be posted again. Mule Deer population in 1960 was around 600,000. According to odfw population estimates, mule deer population in 1990 was 300,000. Measure 18 passed in 1994, so obviously had nothing to do with the 50% decline in populations. In the 70's and 80's, odfw issued multiplied 10s of thousands of antlerless tags where the harvest was 95% on public land, although the stated purpose of the hunts was private land damage by mule deer. Since then, ODFW has continually reduced the numbers of mature bucks in the population, which has had a very definite impact on the productivity of our mule deer populations. Obviously, winter kill, predation, car accidents, etc are also a factor, but to give odfw a pass for the mess we have is ignorant.

The sad fact is, ODFW is claiming around 160,000 mule deer in Oregon against a management objective of 345,000. What is sad is that 160,000 also includes whitetails in ne oregon, from what I can tell. Whitetails are also apparently included in the harvest stats for mule deer. The truth is, there should be no mule deer hunting in this state at the present time.

By the way, a mature buck, is NOT a 2.5 year old spindly3 x 4. It is a 4.5 to 8.5 year old dominant buck that does are willing to breed with during the first estrus cycle. Those guys are mostly gone from the landscape, and that is one of the primary causes in our low fawn/doe ratios, regardless of how bad the winter is.

scoutdog
Agree with what you said. Very very good points. I'd like to add that at the time the population peaked you could poison the hell out of predators. Running dogs or using bait is a valuable tool, but it could never knock back predators like poisons could.

It's a stretch to say measure 18 had no effect on the big game population. No effect, like as in 0? Come on, can argue the ethics of using bait and hounds but their effectiveness is higher than 0%.

Could easily be wrong but my best guess is that we went from the 600k number to 300k as poisons were phased out. Then you get to see that number cut in half by effectively eliminating predator hunting, to where we are today.

Some will argue both my points. But if you gave me management of any unit in the state for 5 years. With the use of poison, hounds, and bait. I'd bet every dime I have those big game populations would skyrocket, regardless of all the excuses being pushed lately........ Weather, grazing, habitat loss, etc.......All play some part, but they aren't the elephant in the room (PREDATORS). Let someone like me manage one unit in the state for at least 5 years and the results will speak for themselves.
 

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EO Farmer, obviously predation is a significant part of the problem. My point is, and has been for the past 15 years that overharvest, combined with harassment/disruption of deer and elk normal habits, is also a significant factor. We are a big part of the problem, but for the most part, hunters and fish and wildlife agencies refuse to admit that, and take action to change their damaging impact on populations.

If your 5 year plan includes dramatic decreases in mature buck harvest, road closures, season length limits, and ending rut hunts, as well as all your predator controls, you will be wildly successful in dramatically increasing populations, far more so than any of the proposals I have submitted to odfw over the years. On the other hand, if you make no changes to the current hunting scheme and human access to critical big game habitat on a year round basis, I think you will find limited success in most parts of eastern oregon. Of course, the chances of you being allowed to use poison, dogs, bait, etc to lower predator numbers is zero with a capital Z, so this is an academic exercise.

On the other hand, we have the power to rebuild the mature buck/bull populations in our deer and elk populations, thus maximizing reproduction potential, and use road closures, and motor vehicle limits to provide better security to those populations. We just refuse to use it.
 

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Agree with what you said. Very very good points. I'd like to add that at the time the population peaked you could poison the hell out of predators. Running dogs or using bait is a valuable tool, but it could never knock back predators like poisons could.

It's a stretch to say measure 18 had no effect on the big game population. No effect, like as in 0? Come on, can argue the ethics of using bait and hounds but their effectiveness is higher than 0%.

Could easily be wrong but my best guess is that we went from the 600k number to 300k as poisons were phased out. Then you get to see that number cut in half by effectively eliminating predator hunting, to where we are today.

Some will argue both my points. But if you gave me management of any unit in the state for 5 years. With the use of poison, hounds, and bait. I'd bet every dime I have those big game populations would skyrocket, regardless of all the excuses being pushed lately........ Weather, grazing, habitat loss, etc.......All play some part, but they aren't the elephant in the room (PREDATORS). Let someone like me manage one unit in the state for at least 5 years and the results will speak for themselves.
How was there ever any game at all before humans were around to manage predators?

QQ
 
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