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Thread: SE Winter Kill?

  1. #1

    Default SE Winter Kill?

    Does anyone have any idea how deer did this winter in Southeast? With record setting snow fall I can only imagine that winter kill was quite high...but I haven't heard. Any info would be great.

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    I've heard mixed reports about deer kill in our area....I know during the end of the season it was pretty easy to get a deer off the beach....However, I've already seen deer out along the road this season...Which is usually a good sign - All of the deer I have seen look fat and in good health..

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    same here, there was a pretty big melt off in january that probably helped a lot
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  4. #4

    Default Deer Tunnels

    I talked with a friend out on the coast, they still have over 6' on the beach but the deer have made tunnels from the fringe to the beach.

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    Well...tonight I saw a few deer along the rode - 1 of em looked good, one looked REALLY skinny and the other one just didnt look healthy period - but not as skinny as the other one...

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the info guys. Hopefully this next season will be as good as the last!

  7. #7

    Question I called F&G about this the other day

    I called a biologist at F&G the other day to ask about this. He is expecting a high mortality this year, and they have heard a lot of reports of seeing deer bodies from commercial fisherman, people in Tenakee, etc. He also said F&G was considering reducing the season (the example he gave was bucks only), but that without hard numbers about the size of the population before the winter, they'd have a hard time justifying that to the BOG. He seems to believe that we basically lost the fawns and a good number the bucks too. It also makes me wonder how many of the pregnant does will still have fawns, when mom isn't getting the nutrition she needs, the fetal fawn can die too.

    I have been seeing deer on the Juneau road system too, which is encouraging. That said, we can't really get a bead on how the population on the islands fared just be seeing deer on the mainland. My concern is that if we lost a lot of bucks and a large number of fawns, that the population will take a few years to recover. The guy I talked to was great at F&G, willing to take the time to explain things too. He said they might put an article in the paper because a lot of people are curious how the deer population was impacted. I'll be calling F&G back in a few weeks after they get the results of their pellet transects, and I'll post the results here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKJOB View Post
    He also said F&G was considering reducing the season (the example he gave was bucks only),

    He seems to believe that we basically lost the fawns and a good number the bucks too.
    Seems odd that they'd hammer on the bucks only if the bucks already got hurt by this winter. To keep the gene pool diversity as high as possible, I'd rather see the total bag limit dropped for a few years and keep it either sex.

    Another thought along the same lines is, if the buck population is way down and they lost most of last year's fawn crop, why hunt only bucks, especially if they don't reduce the bag limit too. With the fawn crop decimated, if the remaining bucks get hit hard, you have no bucks coming up through the ranks from this year's fawns to replace the bucks you take out of the herd. I'd say for the good of the herd, again, don't put all the pressure on the bucks after this die off. If this year's fawn crop is weak because of the hard winter, then you'd have two weak years of bucks coming up. Believe it or not, breeding age bucks are important to a healthy herd too.

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    Default limits

    I'd rather be able to hunt for 1 buck/1 doe rather than the usual 2/2 than have the season reduced. I think if the herds were hit as hard as we suspect then there's no reason to cut the season, makes more sense to cut the bag limit.

    I cruised off the beaches of Admiralty last week and saw a total of 22 deer. Group sizes were from 2-5 and they looked pretty good. I'm sure the bodies will start showing up as snow melts.

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    Member muskeg's Avatar
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    The POW deer seem to have made it ok. I was out there today and saw several good looking deer. The north end of the Island and some interior got more snow. There could be some die off in some areas. ADF&G is scheduled to start looking around. Mainly on the north end.

    Twodux .... one Buck can service a whole lot of Does. Why kill the mothers? Unless you got lots of em.

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    Default Inbreeding

    More chance of inbreeding Johnny.

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    makes for the best tasting deer, right?

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    On the south end of the Tongass we have been lucky. Yes we set new records but the snowfall was different this year than in 1972. This year we had high snowfalls in November and March, in 1972 we had high snowfall in December, January and February. Each of those months we had around 50 inches each month and that caused the browse species that the deer eat to be burried and not available to the deer in the spring. This year even though we had almost 90 inches in March the browse was still available and with the warm winds and heavy rains we are loosing the snow cover very rapidly. I have already seen new shoots of skunk cabbage coming up and lots of deer tracks to 500 feet in elevation. All good signs.

    Now, that said, I'm afraid we may have high deer die-offs on the north end of the Tongass. I know Hoonha got clobered and there are reports of large numbers of deer floating in bays. When the snow is 6 to 8 feet at the beach line it is very hard for the deer to get back over it if they go to the beach to look for seaweed. When the tide comes back in the drown. Only time will tell, but the Forest Service and Fish and Game are planning to do beach mortality counts so hopefully we will know more in the next several weeks. Jim

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    I'm hoping it aint too bad!

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    Member muskeg's Avatar
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    Twodux ..... I don't think in-breeding would be a problem in just a few years. Besides the different Does would spread the gene pool.

    Look how long it has taken the Kodiak herd to show signs of in-breeding. And I think that herd was started with just a few animals. If in-breeding is the cause for the sterile Bucks that are now showing up at an alarming rate. The jury is still out on that one.

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    Default Sterile Bucks


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