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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting results from last years harvest. It appears 2421 spike bucks were harvested on the westside, an increase of close to 1700 bucks. Buck harvest over all was up on the westside. One of the predictions was that people would take a spike and this would save an older buck. This does not appear to have panned out. I have always said the weather is a better predictor of buck harvest for westside bucks and last year was a dandy it appears. What does appear to have happened was success rates were raised between 4-5% simply due to spike harvest.

Saddle Mt. unit had a 183 spike harvest, and incredible 613 forked horn harvest, decent 336 3pt, but dismal 91 4pt+ harvest.

I predict slim pickings this year.
 

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Interesting results from last years harvest. It appears 2421 spike bucks were harvested on the westside, an increase of close to 1700 bucks. Buck harvest over all was up on the westside. One of the predictions was that people would take a spike and this would save an older buck. This does not appear to have panned out. I have always said the weather is a better predictor of buck harvest for westside bucks and last year was a dandy it appears. What does appear to have happened was success rates were raised between 4-5% simply due to spike harvest.

Saddle Mt. unit had a 183 spike harvest, and incredible 613 forked horn harvest, decent 336 3pt, but dismal 91 4pt+ harvest.

I predict slim pickings this year.

Very sad but true Rank . I would have to agree...
 

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Seems you’ve presented a fairly good assessment of the situation. I don’t know how spike harvest affects future harvest of the different point count groups so maybe we need to combine spike with forky numbers just to simplify. What makes things difficult is the number of mature/older bucks with fork, three and four point antlers. I’ll define mature/ older as being 5 years or more. Weather does have a significant impact on mature buck harvest in two different circumstances. Fair weather puts more hunters in the woods and foul weather produces more buck activity. Both have the same affect on harvest rate. We really need to digest this for while to see what happens. It’s really difficult to do any meaningful field studies in order to reach any conclusions.
 

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Interesting results from last years harvest. It appears 2421 spike bucks were harvested on the westside, an increase of close to 1700 bucks. Buck harvest over all was up on the westside. One of the predictions was that people would take a spike and this would save an older buck. This does not appear to have panned out. I have always said the weather is a better predictor of buck harvest for westside bucks and last year was a dandy it appears. What does appear to have happened was success rates were raised between 4-5% simply due to spike harvest.

Saddle Mt. unit had a 183 spike harvest, and incredible 613 forked horn harvest, decent 336 3pt, but dismal 91 4pt+ harvest.

I predict slim pickings this year.
For 2021 I will guess there will be 140 Spike, 280 Fork horn, 160 3 pinoint, 50 4 point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I agree DogZilla15, one year is not a trend or even valid data past a snapshot in time. I did go back in my records for the S.M. unit ('69-'72), the department used to keep track of 1-2 pt percentage of the harvest and it averaged 52.5% of the harvest. 2020's harvest shows a 65% of harvest being a 1-2pt. In 2019 the 1-2pt harvest (we had one in the Doe hunts) was 332 versus 279 3pt+, or 54% of the harvest. If harvesting spikes is going to have an impact, we will see the higher percentage of young buck to older buck ratio continue and total harvest will remain the same. The golden question is what does that do to our breeding stock, besides lower the trophy bucks that will be taken? I would take foul weather as being more responsible for buck harvest, we see very high hunter numbers on opening weekend, but usually poor harvest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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How was the effort? Much of the cascades were closed. Did more hunters hit SM?

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How was the effort? Much of the cascades were closed. Did more hunters hit SM?
19.6% more hunters than 2019
16.4% more hunter days than 2019
 

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One kind of odd way of looking at it is getting early season spike shooters out of the field in the late season. A very small percentage of this group could potentially harvest a more mature buck later on although probably not enough to have much effect overall. I think the key is getting as many bucks as we can beyond three years of age. Over harvest of young bucks depletes the potential for older bucks no matter the headgear they’re wearing. A very high number of Blacktail hunters just want to shoot a deer and don’t give a hoot what the herd composition is. One thing I’ve had on my mind for many years is a split Blacktail season. A three week early hunt for the fair weather hunters and a second hunt for those more serious about what they come home with. Maybe the last week of the second season a 4 pt or better season with a special tag for which we pay extra to hunt only during this time. Season date, Nov. 9 through 16. ODFW is always concerned about over harvest of Mature/four point bucks but so many “mature” Blacktails don’t have 4 points. What makes 4 pointer is genetics.
 

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On a positive note, the 3 spikes that I personally known were killed, were killed by a a disabled teenager, and 2 young adults accompanied by their fathers for their first kills at 18 years old. Pretty sure they'd be eating tag soup this year and possibly giving up hunting all together because they failed to kill the hardest animal to kill this side of the Mississippi.
. But as I get the jist of most of your past posts on different new adoptions to the odfw hunting program, you all couldn't give a dam# about a cool story like these and just chalk it up to more hunters and less deer in your neck of the woods. Sad
 

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Bladdershy.... I think you be wrong. My hunting spot has been ruined by logging and spraying of the logged area to kill browse. The number of deer in my old hangout has nothing to do with hunting. I was lucky enough to have started deer hunting when there was plenty of deer. Those days are long gone. I killed my fifth buck at age 18. The only service my father provided was transportation before I had a drivers license. He had zero influence on my success. If a person requires success to become a hunter or fisherman, I’d sort of believe their heart isn’t really in it to begin with. I got skunked five straight years before I caught my first steelhead. I was born to hunt and fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How was the effort? Much of the cascades were closed. Did more hunters hit SM?

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Yes, about 600 more.
 

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Taking a spike is definitely not saving older bucks on a 1:1 ratio. Many hunters taking spikes wouldn’t find a bigger buck, and finding and shooting a spike is nearly as easy as a doe. Finding an older buck gets a little harder each year they’re alive. It’s common sense that spike harvest is a bad thing for blacktail populations. It’s not sustainable at all given where folks claim the numbers are.
 

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Is anyone surprised our incompetent Fish and Game department came up with this brilliant idea? Like others have said, the folks killing spikes are not harvesting mature bucks. Just a good way to tank our buck numbers.
 

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If ODFW keeps going the way they doing things the west side Blacktails will be an endangered species, they are going to do the same thing with Elk , I can understand they need sales to keep things going but hunters are going to give up eventually and stop buying tags and licenses.. just my opinion.
 

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In’em... True, it isn’t a 1:1 ratio but it would have an effect. I don’t think finding a spike is almost as easy as finding a doe. In all my years, I haven’t seen all that many spikes.

In’em also brings up a good point about overall deer numbers. They’re pretty bad. Anything that increases harvest makes it worse.
 

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It is pretty simple math that letting more animals reach breeding age will result in more deer. One of the best examples of this in practice is the 3pt+ restriction for Saddle Mountain Unit elk.
 

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I agree deer numbers are way down and taking spikes is not going to help the problem. Mature bucks are going to be harder to find. We will not get the good number of deer like years past until we deal with the predator problem.
 
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