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Thread: Deep snow for Southeast deer -

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default Deep snow for Southeast deer -

    I think the deer in SE are in for another tough one this year. As much as I hate to lose opportunity, I think we might need an emergency order in the regs this year.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    I haven't spent any time in your area, would it help for snowmachines to make trails for the deer to walk?
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    A lot of Southeast does not really lend itself to snowmachines - imagine Seward with bigger trees.

    It isn't just a lack of mobility that will get to them. The snow ends up burrying their food sources. Right now, it isn't too bad with the powder we've been getting, but as soon as it gets wet, and it will, they will not find anything to eat.

    They will amble down to the beach and try to eat seaweed at the low tides, but there is no food value in it for them. Then, the tide comes in and they move back into the snow.... this gets repeated over and over until they starve.

    I'm just trying to think ahead. I honestly think ADF&G should be lowering limits this year. Which hurts us all in the short term, but will help us out later on.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoggyMountain View Post
    A lot of Southeast does not really lend itself to snowmachines - imagine Seward with bigger trees.

    It isn't just a lack of mobility that will get to them. The snow ends up burrying their food sources. Right now, it isn't too bad with the powder we've been getting, but as soon as it gets wet, and it will, they will not find anything to eat.

    They will amble down to the beach and try to eat seaweed at the low tides, but there is no food value in it for them. Then, the tide comes in and they move back into the snow.... this gets repeated over and over until they starve.

    I'm just trying to think ahead. I honestly think ADF&G should be lowering limits this year. Which hurts us all in the short term, but will help us out later on.
    Shouldn't F&G raise the limits? The more deer harvested, the less competiton for food and less starvation.

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    Default Big die off

    MTRifleman, you would be correct if deep snow had not hammered SE deer populations as early as last year. The guys down there will tell you more about it. I was down near Juneau in an area guaranteed (tongue in cheek) to produce deer. I saw a total of 2 does and 2 fawns in 3 days of hunting, that prior to the big snows would have produced sightings of at least 20 animals. Over the next few days, 4 other hunters only saw one buck.
    I have heard that the herd die off was 70% in some places.
    As of T-day snow throughout SE was minimal. The snowline even went back up the mountains in some areas. The deer followed the snow back into the high country. I heard Juneau has had lots of snow since and even had temps down to -15 on new years. The folks jumping into the bay really earned their Polar Bear pins.
    Hopefully the bucks have had time to put weight back on since the rut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    Shouldn't F&G raise the limits? The more deer harvested, the less competiton for food and less starvation.
    The winter snows don't really coincide with hunting season down here. When they are early they are on the tail end of the season. So, the deer are not really competing for food at the time of year when you'd normally hunt them.

    If they ever compete for food, it is in the spring. But, if you've been here you'd see that there isn't any need to compete for it since it is everywhere.

    Shortening the season or limiting the number and sex or maybe both would help get a few more through that rough stretch.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    One of the reasons that ADF&G is staying away from any EO closures or rules is the Fed control in SE. It would play into the subsistence Fed laws and the results would be disastrous for the non-rural resident .... while not having any affect on the rural resident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by muskeg View Post
    One of the reasons that ADF&G is staying away from any EO closures or rules is the Fed control in SE. It would play into the subsistence Fed laws and the results would be disastrous for the non-rural resident .... while not having any affect on the rural resident.
    And yet another broken link in "the system."

    The state and the Fed need to work together. The city and the state need to work together. Instead, they get in eachother's way and we "the people" will get lost in the shuffle.

    If this is the case muskeg, I guess I'll just self regulate again this year if necessary and hope others (both rural and non-rural) do as well.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Palin (state) is getting along with Ketchikan (city) just like the Fed is getting along with the ADF&G .... LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by muskeg View Post
    Palin (state) is getting along with Ketchikan (city) just like the Fed is getting along with the ADF&G .... LOL
    It is so unfortunate.

    Unrealated, but I am on my 5th appeal regarding my dad's retirement/health benefits. Finally we are getting to a hearing stage. That's what I wanted to begin with. But, before getting there, companies in Washington, New York, and the Division of Retirement Benefits all had to get involved.

    It is such a jungle of nothingness between common sense and justice when the whole of the world feels entitled to jobs that determine other people's fate.
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Quote Originally Posted by muskeg View Post
    One of the reasons that ADF&G is staying away from any EO closures or rules is the Fed control in SE. It would play into the subsistence Fed laws and the results would be disastrous for the non-rural resident .... while not having any affect on the rural resident.
    Johnnie, I believe that the "Feds" will follow the recommendations of ADF&G. If the state feels there is a need to close the season, the feds will too. I think that's the way it worked either last year or the year before?

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    I am a member of the Juneau/Douglas ADF&G advisory committee. I can tell you that there is talk about adjusting the deer season for next year, and it will probably come about through an emergency reg.
    We have gotten POUNDED by snow, again. The depths are hard to imagine. I run a trap line that starts at sea level and runs up to 800' over the course of around 3 miles. This is all done on snowshoes. I have not been able to reach the last 2 miles in over 2 weeks, as temps below zero and well over 8 FEET of snow in the upper reaches simply don't permit travel.
    It did start warming today, so hope to try a trip up the line. We'll see.\

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    Our snow is gone in Sitka ,for good I hope. Be good for the deer to have a mild winter. The last ten days people have slaughtered the deer on the beaches.Personally I think the season should close on December thirty first most years you can get all the deer you want by that time. Sitka being classied rural the subsistence season runs though January.As far as harvesting deer for food the best time is August and a buck . Couple inches of fat ,eating in the alpine ,excellent I am sure the Chatham side of the Island is still winter but forty five and wet here the last few days.
    Jim in Sitka

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska viking View Post
    I am a member of the Juneau/Douglas ADF&G advisory committee. I can tell you that there is talk about adjusting the deer season for next year, and it will probably come about through an emergency reg.
    We have gotten POUNDED by snow, again. The depths are hard to imagine. I run a trap line that starts at sea level and runs up to 800' over the course of around 3 miles. This is all done on snowshoes. I have not been able to reach the last 2 miles in over 2 weeks, as temps below zero and well over 8 FEET of snow in the upper reaches simply don't permit travel.
    It did start warming today, so hope to try a trip up the line. We'll see.
    Very glad you're on the board here too Viking. Addressing the human issue is as crucial as looking at the stats. I really like seeing people in your type of position around and in communication.

    Warm outside now... BRING ON THE RAIN!
    "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-

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    Quote Originally Posted by muskeg View Post
    One of the reasons that ADF&G is staying away from any EO closures or rules is the Fed control in SE. It would play into the subsistence Fed laws and the results would be disastrous for the non-rural resident .... while not having any affect on the rural resident.
    That's the entire point of the Federal law, folks who live there (like you) get their seasons reduced last. Bad for folks like me who say want to travel to hoonah or whatever to hunt but the same for folks in hoonah (or POW or Petersburg or Whatever) folks here and elsewhere have aurgued this to the death but the law is written the way it is and nobody (Murkowski, Young, Begich) wants to touch it. The feds will close the subsistance season if need be but ADF&G would have to close the sport season first.

    As for the snow here at UAS theres plenty of uncovered browse in the woods, did see one set of deer tracks too at housing which I haven't seen the last couple years, I think this melt will help them out a bunch. The difference this year between past years is that the snow all came at once and it was fairly dry during and right after the rut so the bucks could recover some. I don't think this years die off is gonna be that bad compared to a few years back.
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    Let's wait and see how the winter plays out before declaring a winter kill disaster. At this point, the majority of the snow we've had in the northern SE area has come since Jan 1 and we're seeing heavy rains and warm temps projected through at least the end of this week...So let's just see how it goes.

    On a side note, I walked the beach fringe around Auke Wreck and the snow was up to my knees, so probably 30 inches...that was before things started melting in a big way.

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    It is not the depth of the snow that kills the deer, it is the duration of deep snow. January has not been particularly bad for deer this year. The deer I see daily are still in wonderful shape. We still have the two worst months for snow ahead of us. Historically, February and March are our worst snow months. When snow depths greater than 7 inches persist over 90 days, the deer die. That depth is chosen because the snow covers all the forbs at that level and what is left to eat will not carry the deer over. What is really important is the green-up that occurs in April and May. If that is covered with snow the deer will be in real trouble. They can live most of the winter on their fat reserves but need the nutritious new shoots that come out in the spring to carry them through. Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.No View Post
    On a side note, I walked the beach fringe around Auke Wreck and the snow was up to my knees, so probably 30 inches...that was before things started melting in a big way.
    Now that's downright funny! I live out at 17-mile.

    During the BIG snow year of 2006/07, there was a snow day (school canceled) around thankgiving. We went hunting above the highway in my neighborhood. Snow was nutsack deep in the meadows. Deer survived it pretty well.

    I think old growth with good slope (snow melts and drains) and aspect is a key factor in survival. When it gets real bad, I've seen 'em eat spruce and hemlock needles off blowndowns.

    If it had been snow the last two days, we'd have another 12-18" and the deer would have definately been starting to stress. It was 4 feet deep on my back deck on Sunday before it warmed up. Some drifting due to the northerlys.

    Woody browse will keep 'em alive when the snow is deep, but extreme cold and rotten/frozen snow causes them to use additional energy. They really needed this break.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdb3 View Post
    It is not the depth of the snow that kills the deer, it is the duration of deep snow. January has not been particularly bad for deer this year. The deer I see daily are still in wonderful shape. We still have the two worst months for snow ahead of us. Historically, February and March are our worst snow months. When snow depths greater than 7 inches persist over 90 days, the deer die. That depth is chosen because the snow covers all the forbs at that level and what is left to eat will not carry the deer over. What is really important is the green-up that occurs in April and May. If that is covered with snow the deer will be in real trouble. They can live most of the winter on their fat reserves but need the nutritious new shoots that come out in the spring to carry them through. Jim
    Additionally, aren't the fawns the most vulnerable? Most bucks and does that make it past their first year are in reasonably good shape as I understand it. The fawns have little to no fat in November, let alone in February and March when they're barely hanging on, pile on that they use more energy to get around, and add a late season heavy snow and their done for.

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    i know on kodiak the bio's say its hypothermia that gets the deer, every six hours or so they've always got a nice beach to walk on, so staying outa the snow ain't the problem and theres enough feed on the beaches and windblown areas to feed them, but they just can't stay warm enough on the rock. But, i'd imagine the deer in SE are in a different situation...more or less two different habitats and ecosystems.
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