Our Camp in Grugan Township, Clinton County falls into one of these cold spots. It's possible we only have 3 deer per square mile!
Within the Sproul State Forest, our camp is surrounded by Bucktail State Park Natural Area, along the West Branch of the Susqy. No logging will ever be done. The forest just goes on and on, no agriculture for miles. Steep rugged mountains, poor soil and darn few deer.
How big are these cold spot areas? My guess is these are huge areas that will never again support many deer.
"In another fairly stunning move last week on the deer-management front, Robert Schlemmer, president of the commissioners' board, and Commissioner Dave Putnam both talked about identifying large deer-population "cold spots."
Places within individual wildlife management units where deer numbers are low, in comparison to surrounding country.
In the past, hunters have simply been told by deer managers ó in essence ó every WMU has areas with lots of deer and areas with less deer. What matters most is that the unit goal is met.
That can be a tough pill to swallow when your camp is in an area with low deer numbers and you hear the PGC wants to increase the doe kill for your WMU next season.
"In looking at the large cold spots, I think what we have to look at is what can we do, and what can't we do," Putnam said.
He added later, "I think we have to identify the areas, and, maybe there's nothing we can do there. But if that's the case, I think we need to say that."
Putnam said he knows there are large swaths of Pennsylvania's mountains where the forests are mostly mature, and therefore offer little to deer in terms of food.
"We've got very large areas out there with very little food for deer...," he said. "I think we need to identify these large cold spots and maybe accept the fact that they're only going to have three, five or seven deer per square mile."
Such a place is Sproul State Forest in parts of Clinton and Centre counties, according to Putnam.
"And pretty much everything contiguous in northern Centre and Clinton counties," he said.
While there may be little the PGC can do about changing the habitat so that it can hold more deer ó it can't force the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to cut timber on state forest, for example ó the PGC can address cold spots through doe-tag allocations.
"We could lower the allocation for the unit, and address the hotspots with the DMAP program," he said.
DMAP ó deer management assistance program ó enables landowners to manage deer on their lands to meet their needs by affording them extra doe tags above and beyond those allocated for their WMU. DMAP tags can only be used on the lands for which they are issued.
Commissioner Jay Delaney noted the board last year did exactly what Putnam talked about.
WMU 3B, which Delaney represents, has the second-lowest deer density in the state at about 13.9 per square mile.
"It's the only unit that I consistently get complaints about the herd being too low," he said.
Delaney successfully lobbied his fellow board members prior to last season to lower the doe-tag allocation for WMU 3B, while then encouraging landowners in the unit that felt they had too many deer to utilize DMAP to address their problems.
"We tried it last year, but I don't know that we'll see the results until next year or the year after that," he said.
Putnam and Schlemmer gave no timetable for when the board will present a list of the state's deer-population cold spots."
Large Deer-Population Cold Spots