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Reading all this I'm thinking about what the farmers are saying around camp I have in 1B. There is a 4500 acre Game Lands across the road from camp and Erie Wildlife Refuge west of me. Even though I give pause when they say how many deer and bear shoot for crop damage I will not say anything because I hear their side of it. The PGC used to plant crop field on the game lands but refuses to do so now, where do you think the herd heads for supper now. The wardens hands are tied by the bureaucrats running things and the farmers are left no recourse but shoot the critters causing the loss.
 

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The game commission should help pay for the cost of 3D wire fence it works well cost effective and it’s a win for everybody. As a farmer and a hunter I hate to shoot for crop damage but the bank doesn’t care they want paid. Nobody wants to shoot doe and once your shoot one not hunting ur a villain of the world.
 

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I've seen deer browse on conifers numerous times.

But it's not really a preferred food for them, is it?

I've always heard that they just eat conifers when they are really hungry and there is not much else to eat.

Is that right or wrong?

If it's right, and the deer are heavily browsing the conifers, then the deer are over-populated relative to the food supply.
 

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The game commission should help pay for the cost of 3D wire fence it works well cost effective and it’s a win for everybody. As a farmer and a hunter I hate to shoot for crop damage but the bank doesn’t care they want paid. Nobody wants to shoot doe and once your shoot one not hunting ur a villain of the world.
i wouldnt say nobody wants to shoot a doe. i killed 4 of them last year and ate part of one last night for dinner.
 

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The game commission should help pay for the cost of 3D wire fence it works well cost effective and it’s a win for everybody. As a farmer and a hunter I hate to shoot for crop damage but the bank doesn’t care they want paid. Nobody wants to shoot doe and once your shoot one not hunting ur a villain of the world.
Actually the PGC does do cost sharing on deer and elk deterrent fencing and provides bear deterrent fencing if the specifications are met. Suggest you read the following sections of the game and Wildlife code.
Sec.

541. Authority to provide deterrent fences.

542. Investigation after receipt of application.

543. Purchase of materials and construction.

544. Maintenance, repair or replacement.

545. Request for review.

546. Limitation on expenditures for deterrent fencing.

547. Unlawful acts.

§ 541. Authority to provide deterrent fences.

(a) Fences for deer or elk.--
In areas of this Commonwealth where deer and elk are present on lands open to public hunting and are, in a material way, injuring or destroying farm crops, fruit orchards or commercial tree nurseries where ornamental or fruit trees are grown for sale or regeneration on commercial forest lands, the owners or lessees of such farms, fruit orchards, commercial tree nurseries or commercial forest lands may make application to the commission for assistance in the erection of a deterrent fence. Except where produce is raised for market on a commercial basis, the provisions of this section shall not apply to gardens or truck patches.

(b) Fences for bears.--In areas of this Commonwealth where bears are present on lands open to public hunting and are, in a material way, damaging or destroying beehives where ten or more hives are placed at one location or imminent danger exists of such damage or destruction, the owner of such beehives may make application to the director for assistance in the erection of a deterrent fence.



Cross References. Section 541 is referred to in section 542 of this title.
 

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My hunting buddy's 40 acre horse farm was adjoined by a Christmas tree operation that had major issues with deer 40 years ago. But that family eventually stopped harvesting the trees and let the remaining ones grow. When they were still selling Christmas trees, recall them grumbling about bucks destroying some of their trees in late summer/early fall. Did see some that had been pretty well shredded from "buck rubs" back then.

Years later, one of the family members shot a huge buck in the fall, well before rifle season and when investigated, claimed crop damage. Got cited, because it was common knowledge around there that they hadn't been harvesting Christmas trees for years.

IIRC, another neighboring farmer had turned the guy in, because everyone around there wanted a crack at that buck once the season started?
 

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Don’t think the game commission will pay for fencing around my neighbors 2000 acres plus the 1000 he leases!😁. The big complaint they have is the PGC refusing to plant their own crop fields and letting it all go back to brush. They expect the farmers to feed the herd for them.
 

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And yet just about every gamelands I've ever hunted has food plots and/or ag fields on them.
SGL 69 had ag fields years ago when I hunted ducks there. Now the fields are brush and weeds. If I’m thinking right the PGC would let the farmers plant the fields, but had to leave 20% of the crop standing at harvest time. They shut it down even though it basically cost them nothing. One neighbor told me he isn’t giving anything a pass next year, he’s sick of his complaints falling on deaf ears and his living ending up in deer and bear poop.
 

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SGL 69 had ag fields years ago when I hunted ducks there. Now the fields are brush and weeds. If I’m thinking right the PGC would let the farmers plant the fields, but had to leave 20% of the crop standing at harvest time. They shut it down even though it basically cost them nothing. One neighbor told me he isn’t giving anything a pass next year, he’s sick of his complaints falling on deaf ears and his living ending up in deer and bear poop.
They make half-assed attempts at planting food plots on SGL 69. It’s pretty pathetic though.
 

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Sounds like the farm I hunt in Dayton.
Why not ask the red tag/dmap farmer if you can hunt his property? Problem solved. If he says NO then go to the GC and say ***.
I have never hunted these type of farm properties but from what I have been told and looking at a few of these farms most are farm land (fields,etc) the deer are on the neighbor's posted ground until the sun goes down.
 

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Which WMU?
View attachment 174586
Above is the population guestimates I pulled from the latest Report...
Thanks for the numbers as it confirms what I have been saying about 2D which is down a whopping 18% from the 5/yr average. The Gameless commissions answer to this is to raise the tags a whopping 14,000. Pretty bad when the broken habitat of 2D carries almost 10 dpms less then 2F which includes the ANF.
 

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They stopped years ago planting food plots on SGL 171. No idea why but its a big open weed field on top of the mountain now.
This is actually one of my pet peeves and something I complain to anyone in the Game Commission I can get to listen.

I fully understand and support the establishment and maintaining broadleaf fields, wildflowers and forbs in areas that are being managed for and supporting populations of farmland wildlife, such as rabbits, pheasants, woodcock and/or grassland bird populations. But, I am a big advocate of the concept of managing for the species that actually live in the various game lands habitats.

I was around when they spent millions upon millions of dollars to create herbaceous opening, actually what food lots in the middle of the big woods forested habitat are called.

For a long time after establishment those herbaceous openings, food plots, were planted to clover, winter wheat and other crops valuable to and for big woods species, such as deer, turkeys and bear. The grouse also used the edges of those opening, especially through the summer months when they had chicks in need of insects. Usually the forested edges around those food plots also had the ideal brushing areas that were preferred for the nesting needs of ground nesting birds such as turkey and grouse. Since those were the species that you would normally expect to find in big woods settings it only made sense to manage those herbaceous opening for the wildlife that actually living in those areas.

With the clover and winter wheat those food plots would be the first places the deer and turkey headed to following a long and harsh winter, or for that matter even after a mild winter. Those ideal and nutritious food supplies in the early spring allowed the deer and turkeys to recover weight they lost in the winter which then resulted in a better recruitment rate of that year's young. Then the Game Commission crews mowed those fields in the summer to keep the clover in good condition. That keep those fields in ideal condition and also in heavy use by turkeys raising poults and also by deer raising fawns or growing antlers. Those fields allowed the deer to go into the next fall in better condition and thus better able to survive a harsh winter.

That worked well for a long time. But, then the big austerity program where the Game Commission was trying to save money came along. At the same time there were some upper level habitat management personnel within the Game Commission that pushed for allowing fields and woods opening to revert back to old growth and more brush type habitats. That was partly to save money by not mowing the openings or just mowing a few strips through them but in my opinion it was also because some of those upper level management personnel were really only species specific focused. Their focus was all on grouse and woodcock with little to no management incentive toward other species and especially not for anything that would possibly increase deer or bear numbers. What has been even worse is that they trained an entire force of local land managers to focus their management practices on those narrow species objectives instead of a full range that included all wildlife populations and habitats.

Now those same food plots that cost millions of dollars to establish get little to no maintenance with little to no mowing or planting. It is also rare to ever see a turkey, deer or bear making any use of them. But, since they are deep woods areas they don't typically have rabbits, pheasant of other farmland game species using them either. And even if they did they are not located where small game hunters are going to go looking for farmland game species. In my opinion we have take a giant step backwards in forest land wildlife habitat management.

If we could just influence the Board of Commissioners and upper management personnel within the Game Commission perhaps we could once again get back on track to managing for the species that already live out there instead of trying to manage for a few pet project species that fall into their special interests.

At least that is my opinion on the subject based on what I have observed and experienced over the past couple decades.

Dick Bodenhorn
 
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