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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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dma2 hunters only

I live and hunt in DMA-2 in southern Bedford county, unfortunately. I am seeming some drastic changes in the deer population and hunter levels and wonder if anyone else is seeing this. We are in a special situation with the CWD control actions being taken so it is worth looking at how it is affecting us.

A few things i have seen-

I have hunted three mornings so far and have yet to see a deer. Three years ago I saw deer almost every time I went out.

The number of shots I am hearing is scary low. I counted 20 shots the first hour on the first day and yesterday. three years ago I heard that many before legal shooting hours.

Oddly, I have heard no shots to the south of me and very few East and West. No shots on Wills Mountain in the Patience area or in the Evitts Creek valley. If you hunted that area three years ago you would say I am nuts or deaf.

The most cars I have seen in the sgl parking lot is three. I used to count 20 on the main days. My neighbor counts the cars leaving and says he used to see a hundred many years ago and 30 to 40 more recently. This year the max was eight.

I have lived on my farm about ten years and routinely saw groups of 10-12 deer walking through the field behind my house. This year the max group was four. I saw deer every day and now I go three weeks without seeing any. The habitat if the field and surrounding it is better than ever.

I always had three or four resident bucks I saw routinely and this year I saw a small eight point once and he got killed on the road during the rut.

I could go on but you get the idea.

I asked the local warden if there was any CWD actually found in my area. He said the closest one was found on the road 5 miles south of my and that was one of the first found in the county so it must have been 6-8 years ago. None since.

Last year I shot the biggest buck I have shot in 58 years of hunting. Maybe decimating the population to control CWD is necessary but for my part, I would rather have CWD than no deer. I will not be allowing any sharp shooter on my land.

That big buck will probably be my last deer taken in Pa. I went out this year with a camera and will not take a gun until the deer population is at the carrying capacity of the land.

I hope to hear from other DMA 2 hunters on what your are seeing. I hope I am an isolated case or we are in deep trouble if my experience is going to be the result of current control efforts.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 08:41 AM
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We have noticed the deer numbers getting lower in our area to. My brother and his friends put on 14.5 miles last Thursday putting on drives on SF land and only 3 deer were seen and that was on the first drive. Friday they put on more drives on another area of SF and only 10 deer seen. They drove from sunup to sun down. I have hunted every day in rifle so far and i did a lot of walking and only saw 4 yearling doe so far. Cant explain it because there is no one out hunting.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 09:19 PM
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My place is in Monroe township. I have had the same problem seeing deer. Day1- 3/ mon- 1/ tues- 3 glimpses / wed- 1 tail / thurs- 2 on my way in 645 am fri- took a doe dmap Sat- 8 I was blaming on a situation of one side of my property my cousin is clear cutting there still running equipment. Other side of property new pumping station went in they cleared probably 50 acres very noisy, some odor, lit up. First morning only 7 cars went down the road from 4-7 am and I have a large state forest down the road from me. Very few shots even far off only seen one road hunter. My archery season was very slow seeing deer. I don't have an answer.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 10:15 PM
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The PGC is trying hit and miss tactics on this CWD issue... I hunt mostly southern huntingdon county and a few years ago after they issued all those DMA permits the one year it sounded like a war.. Then the next year very few shots anywhere my guess was most of the hunters went elsewhere out of the DMA areas...Now this year it sounded like a war again because most hunters are buying DMA tags instead of doe permits... There are still a lot of deer around but by the first day of rifle season most are hiding...I have yet to ever see a sickly acting deer...My guess is this is all overblown they are trying to wipe out the deer herd in certain areas to control CWD but in a year or so the deer herd rebounds anyhow...I have hunted the CWD areas in VA/WVA and have yet to see a sickly deer Those 2 states did not take the tactics that the PGC did but both states still have a healthy deer population in those areas...You just make the assumption that all the deer need to be wiped out in these PGC declared DMA areas because its never going to happen...Now next year supposedly they are dropping the antler restrictions in the DMA areas which will put more hunter pressure in those areas...You wipe out the deer herd in those areas and most hunters will either go out of those areas or quit hunting deer altogether...As you can see where the sport is heading eventually in a few years the entire state will be DMA...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 11:15 PM
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I think eventually the entire state will be or hopefully they control a state wide ban of no feeding 365 days a year. I am not educated enough to even give a guess of what to do, so it would be stupid of me to give an opinion on something of no knowledge. I just have to trust there is a plan in effect and hoping it will work. Its not going to go away over night. However the PGC is the only agency trying to fix the mess created by another state agency. Who else do we have to turn to!
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 07:44 AM
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1. until they outlaw deer farming, it's going to keep being an issue with the spread of CWD. Until this got popular, back before HR, we had tons of deer, large congregations of them, and no CWD

2. My neighbor shot a doe on opening day of archery that was acting sickly. submitted the head for testing. It came back positive for CWD. ( DMA2)

3. It's a "catch 22" situation. Complain of low license sales/ # hunters, but kill off all the deer and lose even more license sales and hunters

I gotta go agitate the techies!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 09:42 AM
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As a DMA-2 hunter who is hunting in the heart of the DMA and nearest to a majority of the confirmed cases here is what I am seeing.

1. Less hunters during archery: Why? I feel the archery hunters are far more educated on hunting and CWD than hunters who only participate in the rifle season. Many are scared and dont want to take the chance.

2. Same amount of hunters during rifle season. Why? See #1.

3. Overall, there are less deer, especially in the SGL I hunt which was in fact culled last winter after the close of the season. (I have first hand knowledge of the culling, it happened, move on).

4. The PGC increased the number of tags this year in 4A and if you look today, 12/11/2019, there are still 10,965 antlerless tags available. This is ammunition for the PGC to justify herd culling.

5. I have one buck on camera from this summer who's ribs are clearly showing and he is VERY thin. There was plenty of food around his core area and lots of water. No reason for him to be so skinny though it could be some other disease, who knows???

6. I've hunted a lot this season and so have many of my friends who hunt the same general area and neighboring private property. No one has seen the PGC out checking hunters. I believe they are staying out of the area on purpose.

CWD is real, we all acknowledge that. We know it spreads through feces, saliva, contact, and the prions can remain in the soil for many years. The only way to stop this is to find a cure or something that will allow the deer to form an immunity to the disease.

This is the tip of the iceberg. I firmly believe that within the next 10-15 years, all the deer will be infected or dead in my area of the DMA unless a cure is found.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 10:01 AM
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The lack of hunters could be due to them not wanting to eat or gut a deer with possible CWD. I love hunting but if it was in my area no way I am eating that meat. A deer is not worth getting you or your family possible health problems down the road.JMO

I LOVE Hunting,Fishing, my Excalibur and that thing that makes men weak and starts wars.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 11:16 AM
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I've only been hunting in DMA 2 for the last 4 years or so as my primary ground, mostly in and around Monroe and Southampton Twps. I can't really speak to what it used to be but I'd say the year after the first DMA doe hunt was lighter on deer, then it bounced back, and this year I can't really tell one way or the other. Feel like I saw less deer around, but more and bigger bucks (none from stand, of course). In general, though, the deer sign is still very good in most areas I've been and our camp had no problem filling tags this year (except for me) in archery and rifle. My observation in rifle is that there aren't a ton of solo or small groups but there are a few groups of drivers. As soon as the drivers come through (8 AM opening day where I was) they're pushing a majority of deer off the state land and from then on out it's like lockdown. I saw a group of at least ten deer off that drive, watched them get beside the drive, bed down, then backtrack when the side tracker got past. I only heard one or two shots off that drive and talking to a poster later on he was saying how they weren't seeing much. These are the hoot and holler kinda drivers and I think that's the dumbest way to do it. But almost everywhere I've hunted down there have been these kind of drivers. I'm finally starting to learn where the deer like to go when the pressure comes on.

My archery observation is that the deer are pretty patternable and we have a lot of luck in October thru ML and then after that they 'disappear'. It's been this way just about every year and I cannot figure out how kill a deer in the rut. Two years ago we saw a big influx of hunters right along the southern DMA border, then last year when they switched to the DMAPs it went down again.

So while I can't say whether or not there has been a long term decline, I can say that I am still thoroughly enjoying myself.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-11-2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Shiftyshad View Post
...As soon as the drivers come through (8 AM opening day where I was) they're pushing a majority of deer off the state land and from then on out it's like lockdown. I saw a group of at least ten deer off that drive, watched them get beside the drive, bed down, then backtrack when the side tracker got past. I only heard one or two shots off that drive and talking to a poster later on he was saying how they weren't seeing much...

Deer 1, hunters Zero.
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