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Discussion Starter #1
Kinda new to this topic....and have a feeling this is old news but I find it a bit contraversial\disturbing to the PGC deer herd reduction so posting some links:
1st, the announcement that the DCNR forests are doing great as told by an "independent agency" (Just out this week) http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2015/11/dcnr-independent-review-hails.html

2cd, a five year old paper claiming the push for the PA deer reduction was really all for "green certification" for the lumber products. (paper was posted on the Allegheny county sportsman's leauge website -of which I am not a member)
http://www.acsl-pa.org/pdf/DCNR-DeerReduction-CompleteSeries-5.pdf

I just found it interesting that if you search the five year old doc that claims the need for deer herd reduction was just a lie that the players are still the same in the latest "forest survey" posted above from this week. The older paper claims that herd reduction was really all about the $ gained by lumber being "green certified", not the health of the herd, and the hunters were baited by bigger antlers.

SCS is still the "independent agency" that gave the DCNR the green approval stamp that makes the lumber products more valuable and now Cindy Dunn is just at the helm of the DCNR instead of the Audubon society as she was years back when she was pushing her apparent deer reduction agenda.

If you keep telling the same lie long enough it becomes the truth?
 

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Tell me what the lie is?We needed less deer because they were destroying the habitat and there's reams of evidence to support that and no facts to rebut it.We now have less deer and the habitat has improved so much in this DCNR district that they haven't had to fence a cut in over 6 years and they've taken every one of their dmap units out of dmap in district 9.
 

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I have a state forest lease cabin in bald eagle, less deer, sure you don't have 20 in one group, healthier herd, yes weights are up, racks are not all just crappers, more sucess? Not if almost every cabin is empty and you see only your tire tracks in new fallen snow on the first Saturday at 11am......
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dce said:
Tell me what the lie is?We needed less deer because they were destroying the habitat and there's reams of evidence to support that and no facts to rebut it.We now have less deer and the habitat has improved so much in this DCNR district that they haven't had to fence a cut in over 6 years and they've taken every one of their dmap units out of dmap in district 9.
If there is a lie it is the herd reduction was done specifically for the health of the herd was all I was insinuationg as was looking for responses as this to make me more knowledgeable. I am just wondering if the reason may have been more for the timber production? The cert the DCNR recieved today from my quick reading allows the wood to be more valuable as it has the "green" stamp as coming from a "sustainable" forest. I have no idea how much added value, or if that is even a true statement.

I am also from SW PA, and after talking with a friend who had to sit through more presentations\tours on the topic that he wanted to do when the new management was implemented. I now how have a better understanding after a long conversation with him today of how damaged the Northern tier counties are\were.

I do remeber reading a stat that claimed the PGC "managed" thier land better than the DCNR as the PGC was more profitable per acre from timber. Mature forests support less deer than timbered land I would think. Timbering a small area as compaed to the over all land in a mature forest is going to cause a problem as that area is now a "food plot" so I can see how getting new growth going could be a problem. I would wonder because of the reason of 1.5 million acres of SGLs if the main purpose should be timber dollars or habitat, but I guess on the flip side a mature forest just supports "different" habitat.

There also seems to me to be an inequality between private and public lands with the deer population, although the sale of doe tags in the WCUs do not reflect that aspect. Don't think that can be fixed unless the management areas were reduced in size. From what I was told today that was one of Gary Alt's suggestions?

Like I said, new to this and just trying to understand and have a more educated opinion. Thanks for the info.
 

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There is no lie and there is no green certification conspiracy theory.I had the original report and it clearly stated that in order to keep the certification,DCNR had to do whatever politically was necessary to change the state forest management from a paradigm of mazimum sustained yield to one of bio diversity.That applied to sthe state forests,not private property or state game lands.DCNR asked for many things including longer seasons,group hunting.baiting etc.What they got was DMAP which has been and is a good tool.At one time,DCNR had all of this posted on their website so it's never been a big secret.The truth is,many areas of the NC were decimated and the deer herd needed to be reduced greatly.As a result,the habitat is coming back and the deer are indeed bigger and healthier.By the way,the 1.5 million acres of SGL's are not certified and they're not dmap's which tosses that theory right down the toilet.Speaking of tool,the guy who wrote that nonsense is a tool and a fraud.He claims to have written the first bear and elk management plans for the PGC and he never even worked for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
dce said:
There is no lie and there is no green certification conspiracy theory.I had the original report and it clearly stated that in order to keep the certification,DCNR had to do whatever politically was necessary to change the state forest management from a paradigm of mazimum sustained yield to one of bio diversity.That applied to sthe state forests,not private property or state game lands.DCNR asked for many things including longer seasons,group hunting.baiting etc.What they got was DMAP which has been and is a good tool.At one time,DCNR had all of this posted on their website so it's never been a big secret.The truth is,many areas of the NC were decimated and the deer herd needed to be reduced greatly.As a result,the habitat is coming back and the deer are indeed bigger and healthier.By the way,the 1.5 million acres of SGL's are not certified and they're not dmap's which tosses that theory right down the toilet.Speaking of tool,the guy who wrote that nonsense is a tool and a fraud.He claims to have written the first bear and elk management plans for the PGC and he never even worked for them.
From what I am seeing:
The FSC cert was brought in first (1997) with one of the reasons of obtaining the cert to be used as a tool (leverage) for deer management in the future. Deer management was out of the DCNR jurisdiction. There were no known economic benefits of PA having the FSC cert at the time, but studies have now shown consumers are willing to pay more for materials that are “green”.
http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/resources/documents/economic_benefits.pdf

Once the FSC cert was in place the audit CARs were then able to be used to persuade the PGC for increased herd reduction. This was also coupled with support from other organizations (Audubon and PA Habitat Alliance) wanting ecosystem management, not herd management. I did not find any CARs for over browsing in the last few audits.
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/cs/groups/public/documents/document/dcnr_005406.pdf

Thanks for pointing out the one guy was a “tool”. You get into these papers put out by “experts” and if you start digging into the references it seems like there is so little new research at times, just one researcher regurgitating the findings of another in a way to support their opinion. I will read his works with a different lens in the future.

As I keep saying new to all this, but do enjoy knowing the “whys” of how the decisions were\are made. I get it that there were way too many deer, especially up north. I also wonder how small the deer population has to be to not need to be fenced to allow for regrowth after being timbered. Seems like a pretty big expense per acre.

I mentioned the SGLs only as I don’t see that many deer there which I find odd as they are not FSC certified or DMAP, unless it is because of over hunting or lack of feed or both.

Are the current WCUs are too large for effective “ecosystem” management? My uneducated eyes see areas of inequality in deer populations in 2C. I do wish my eyes would see a few more deer on the public lands in my area....
 

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The state forests and state game lands are managed entirely different by two entirely different agencies.Had the state game lands been certified,that would be reason to buy into the conspiracy theory.

I will tell you this,the habitat is a very complicated matter and many factors can influence regeneration.Deer are undoubtedly one of the biggest factors.They can and have single handedly altered the forest composition.They eat the more preferred species first,allowing the invasive species to take over.That happened all across the northern tier and it's very hard to reverse.Once the habitat gets as poor as it is in mnay areas,it takes far fewer deer to continually impact it.That's what we're faced with today.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
dce said:
The state forests and state game lands are managed entirely different by two entirely different agencies.Had the state game lands been certified,that would be reason to buy into the conspiracy theory.

I will tell you this,the habitat is a very complicated matter and many factors can influence regeneration.Deer are undoubtedly one of the biggest factors.They can and have single handedly altered the forest composition.They eat the more preferred species first,allowing the invasive species to take over.That happened all across the northern tier and it's very hard to reverse.Once the habitat gets as poor as it is in mnay areas,it takes far fewer deer to continually impact it.That's what we're faced with today.
Yeah, I actually read the deer management forum report last night. Wife thought I was nuts. I found it interesting, had no idea about some of the undesired plants taking over like you mention (ferns in particular to me). Glad I'm not in charge.
 

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sdowns said:
dce said:
The state forests and state game lands are managed entirely different by two entirely different agencies.Had the state game lands been certified,that would be reason to buy into the conspiracy theory.

I will tell you this,the habitat is a very complicated matter and many factors can influence regeneration.Deer are undoubtedly one of the biggest factors.They can and have single handedly altered the forest composition.They eat the more preferred species first,allowing the invasive species to take over.That happened all across the northern tier and it's very hard to reverse.Once the habitat gets as poor as it is in mnay areas,it takes far fewer deer to continually impact it.That's what we're faced with today.
Yeah, I actually read the deer management forum report last night. Wife thought I was nuts. I found it interesting, had no idea about some of the undesired plants taking over like you mention (ferns in particular to me). Glad I'm not in charge.
The Michigan DNR(?) claims that after a fire, ferns are commonly first in the lineup of what returns.

Here in Pa, we have had it pounded into us that deer are to blame for the fern.
 

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dce said:
The state forests and state game lands are managed entirely different by two entirely different agencies.Had the state game lands been certified,that would be reason to buy into the conspiracy theory.

I will tell you this,the habitat is a very complicated matter and many factors can influence regeneration.Deer are undoubtedly one of the biggest factors.They can and have single handedly altered the forest composition.They eat the more preferred species first,allowing the invasive species to take over.That happened all across the northern tier and it's very hard to reverse.Once the habitat gets as poor as it is in mnay areas,it takes far fewer deer to continually impact it.That's what we're faced with today.
Well ive been hunting the north central region for 68 years. In the 50s it wouldnt be uncommon
to have a string of 30 or more deer go by you on a single drive. Also common to see 50 or more
deer driving around the back roads on rainy days. Last week i took 2 buck to a taxidermist in
Pennfield which had been taken by members here the first week. On the drive out rt 555 from
Driftwood to Weedville we counted 8 bull elk alone. We saw no deer at all. Now that was an unusually high number of elk to see, but its common to see no deer on that same trip which i make fairly often during the 5 or 6 months a year i spend here. Why is there now such an interest in creating large food plots thruout this area and especially in Quehanna? Years back
we were told it wasent feasable to plant the many pipe and power lines thruout the area.
40 years ago when clear cutting large areas was popular there was no attempt to replant those
areas. Whatever grew is what was allowed to grow. That would have been the perfect time to create the food plots. But i guess there werent enough elk back then to warrent it.
Im not saying the deer herd didnt need to be reduced by large numbers. And the fact is were
meaning our camp is killing as many and larger bucks than we did when the herd was much larger. But having large numbers of elk in the area somehow dosent seem to be as much of a concern as the deer were.
There is no timber managment at all in the entire 50.000 acres of Quehanna. The only management
is with regard to making and marking trails, and gating or otherwise blocking access, and
spending huge sums covering the roads with limestone. There have been large areas fenced, but by
and large whats growing inside looks the same as whats growing outside. Both agencys are like any other government agency. They exist for the benefit of the agency and the employees who work there.
Very little is actually done for the resourse they are in control over.
 

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I would say there shouldn't be any timber management in the Quehanna. The forest is healthier than ever in the spots that I hunt. I know some spots that could bring the DCNR some big money and it would be an easy cut. I wonder if there are rules that prohibit timbering or well drilling in the Quehanna?
 

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Most of QUEHANNA is legislatively mandated to be an old growth forest and will never be cut.There's nothing DCNR can do about it.
 

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Curly Maple said:
sdowns said:
dce said:
The state forests and state game lands are managed entirely different by two entirely different agencies.Had the state game lands been certified,that would be reason to buy into the conspiracy theory.

I will tell you this,the habitat is a very complicated matter and many factors can influence regeneration.Deer are undoubtedly one of the biggest factors.They can and have single handedly altered the forest composition.They eat the more preferred species first,allowing the invasive species to take over.That happened all across the northern tier and it's very hard to reverse.Once the habitat gets as poor as it is in mnay areas,it takes far fewer deer to continually impact it.That's what we're faced with today.
Yeah, I actually read the deer management forum report last night. Wife thought I was nuts. I found it interesting, had no idea about some of the undesired plants taking over like you mention (ferns in particular to me). Glad I'm not in charge.
The Michigan DNR(?) claims that after a fire, ferns are commonly first in the lineup of what returns.

Here in Pa, we have had it pounded into us that deer are to blame for the fern.
Deer are very much to blame for ferns taking over.There's been several burns in Moshannon state forest and I've yet to see ferns dominate afterwards.
 

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I dont believe deer are resonsible for fern growth. Over a 40 year period ive watched a large fern expansion in the yard of our camp. There was never anything there the deer ate which caused the ferns to grow. They are like some species of ground cover we might use around our houses. Once started it just takes over without managment by the homeowner.
Spraying can also control the growth of ferns which could easily be done by DCNR employees. The fern roots are also eaten by deer when other food sources become scarce.
The hands off policy in Quehanna makes no sence either.
Some species such as hemlock, beech, maple, ash and others
are dying off due to a desease or blight.Im seeing that on my own property also. Even healthy large oaks receive severe damage by high winds. Many of those trees would be better harvested. And there are ways of retreiving the logs without tearing up the area with logging roads. If a tree falls across the road in Quehanna you can use a chain saw to open up the road so you can drive thru.
But dont get caught taking the wood with you to burn in your stove. Let it lay and rot is the policy. Typical of
policy initiated by government.
 

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The ferns stop growing when they hit a root source.I wouldn't suspect that you had a root source,like thick blackberry in your camp yard so it's not unexpected that ferns are taking over.Deer are a very big part of why ferns have proliferated.

You are correct about Quehanna but there's nothing DCNR or the PGC can do to change it.
 

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Spraying is the best way to deal with ferns. The problem is it's hard to do on such a large scale that's needed in the north central. The ANF has massive amounts of it. There's large tracts of mature forests with vast amounts of ferns growing under them with very little else. Most people blame the dense, overhead canopy from keeping other "stuff" from growing. They think if we just cut and get rid of the shade, everything the deer need will grow right back.

Sure, growth will occur.....but what many don't realize is there should already be a herbaceous layer underneath that canopy...even before it's ever cut. Anybody ever hear of hobblebush? Ever see it? I know dce knows what it is, but how many others? There's lots of other shade tolerant plants that should be there too.....but aren't(or not in great numbers).

dce is correct when he says the deer are a big part of why ferns cover large areas. It's somewhat simple really. They weren't/and still are not a preferred food for deer like hobblebush and other herbaceous plants were/are. With years of lots of deer, the ferns had the room to grow in the understory while preferred plants got eaten. The problem now is the vast areas of ferns are not just going away with lower deer numbers. They are very well established and makes it difficult for other plants to grow even with fewer deer.

Will deer eat ferns? When there's not much else, and times are tough, sure they do. But that's hardly going to sustain large numbers of deer.

Other things certainly affect the forests including invasive species of plants, insects and funguses and of course acid rain. Deer just happens to be an easier fix than the rest. Tough to tell people to stop burning fossil fuels because we all do it. It's also tough to go back in time to stop all the invasive stuff from coming into the continent.

I always figured if we could focus even half the time and energy that's used in the deer arguments and focused it on helping our forests(and I'm not just talking about cutting......there's a heck of a lot more our forests need help with than just cutting would solve), many of the deer "problems" would fix themselves.

Just for dreaming purposes, if I could go back in time and change just one thing that would have benefitted our wildlife here in PA (and other places), it would have been to stop the fungal blight that affected the American Chestnut! We lost one of the best and most consistent wildlife food producers when we lost most of those mature trees. I'd lead the way in planting the new blight-resistant trees across the public forests once it's feasible. Anybody care to join me?
 

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The deer are being blamed to throw people off the track from the real issue on SGLs.

Managing too much SGL forest, for a climax forest is as large a player in what went wrong as too many deer were. Too many deer is only half the story. Not enough forest being disturbed by wind (mother nature), fire, or logging to kick start the successional process.
 
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