Deer Population Question - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Deer Population Question

Hunters in the western part of the state say there plenty of deer, while in the northern big woods not many. I no longer deer hunt. Years ago up north while spotlighting would see 100+ deer and while hunting 20+ a day. I agree that the population was too high. Now with the lack of hunters and shooting as reported on this site why doesn't the deer herd increase to the past levels? In the Hillsgrove area of Sullivan County there is lots of logging so the forest looks better than ever but no population explosion.
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 08:48 AM
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I was thinking the same thing of other areas where deer harvest are not that high but numbers of Deer do not seem to increase.You would think some areas would be overrun with deer due to lack of harvest.On the other hand where I grew up in Blair county I hear reports from in laws about the big deer herds near their home in recent years.All the ground around them is private ands hey have had good opening days seeing and harvesting deer.My guess is not that many hunters anymore is one reason and ground being posted.Not sure about any sgl in the area other than a few scattered reports thru the grapevine.
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 08:49 AM
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As predation increased deer numbers went down. This was both human predation and predators like bear, bobcats, coyotes, and eagles. Human predators have controlled predation, meaning we control length of season, numbers of animals taken, hours ect. The other predators can hunt 24/7 and kill all they want. The more predators you have, the more they kill. It is hard to bring a population back up, if predator numbers are rising. All the predators I listed above have gone up in numbers. As we have seen deer in areas in or near the towns and cities seem to be doing good number wise, this is due to less predators in these areas. The same thing happened to small game when raptors were protected, small game numbers dropped. Many will try to tell you its all about the poor habitat, but the predators use the same habitat and are rising in numbers. Another good example of how predation lowers game numbers is what happened out west, when the wolves were reintroduced. You will hear all kinds of stories and theories, but the fact is predators kill game, the more you have, the more they kill and game numbers drop. A good way to bring up game numbers is reduce predation. Not always an easy thing to do, bear, coyotes and bobcats have more opportunities to be hunted, but their numbers still have risen. Many anti hunters oppose the killing of predators so their numbers rise to the point, that game numbers are so low, that seasons are closed for the human hunters. Less human hunters and the deer numbers not coming back, look at predation as a real problem. You will even hear from some, that all this predation is good because it makes for healthier animals and a healthier herd. I guess if you do not care if you have enough game left for the human hunters this may be true. I would rather see a human hunter kill a deer and eat it than a coyote kill one and not even eat it. A few years ago when hunting in Maine our guide told us of 32 or 34 deer that were yarded up in the winter and two coyotes came in, in one night and killed them all. Now with chronic wasting disease coming on that will be just one more problem. All things equal when predators increase in numbers, prey numbers decrease , however when the prey numbers drop low enough, predator numbers will decrease, many moving to another area to find prey.
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 09:01 AM
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The biggest thing I believe contributes is the habitat and I see it where we hunt in the farmlands of south central PA. Back in the day the two farms we hunted were the only two farms that had any crops so the deer flocked to there from far and wide. It was not uncommon to go out spotlighting in October and lose count at 80 deer in a single field. Since then between hunting pressure and a number of farms growing crops the deer have started to spread out more. As such we have seen a drop off in the number of deer showing up during hunting season.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 09:10 AM
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A more natural prey/ predator balance is a good thing. Letting nature takes its course, taking into account for human influence as a predator, seems like a prudent course to me. Populations of both predator and prey will ebb and flow.
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 09:22 AM
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I don't know. In my area, lots of deer taken for crop damage and survival. South Central PA as well. I would say I see more big deer pics from the western part of PA now. Our big woods have all been timbered, the pictures in my head from when i was a child are no more....
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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 05:17 PM
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Less hunters=less deer moving. Not saying theres not areas with few deer, but areas with few hunters moving deer are pretty common now. Even here in 1A I hear hunters complaining about a lack of deer and a lack of hunters.

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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 05:59 PM
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Hunting in the ANF Monday and Tuesday I saw 4 deer and one hunter. Hunting morning or afternoon wed. Thurs. and today in 1B on private land I saw 3 other hunters and 14 deer. My daughter hunted a couple times and has seen 3 other hunters and over twenty deer 2 of which were bucks, a fork horn and a six point counting the brow tines. Not legal 1B bucks. She is still complaining about the 1B AR. I'm still telling her to come to camp and hunt 2F with me.

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"When a pine needle falls in the forest, the eagle sees it, the deer hears it, and the bear smells it."
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 06:08 PM
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I can tell everyone one thing for sure. The population of deer is a heck of a lot healthier than the population of hunters...
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-30-2018, 06:28 PM
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Imo the reason the deer population doesn't bounce back is the number of anterless tags which is not much below what it was when we had way more deer. they took the herd down in half the time they thought they would with those tags. add to that a bear population double their target and tons of coyotes, and there is a lot of the answer. The current goal in most of the state is a stabilized herd not an increasing herd.
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