UP hunting.. horrible or just me?

Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by alfred_in_cedar, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    The DNR is not publishing the WSI anymore but they are using data from NOAA interactive snow maps, so saying so shows your ignorance on the subject of winter severity. Once this covid crap goes away you should attend some of the Sportsman’s Coalition meetings. Forest Meister and myself are regular attendees where this subject was discussed at our last meeting just prior to the covid shutdown took effect. At that meeting the preliminary deer camp survey results were a bulk of the agenda. They are very informative.
     
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  2. IceHog

    IceHog Premium Member

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    Awesome buck!
     

  3. Cork Dust

    Cork Dust

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    Actually, this is what was attempted in the early 2000s. Each DMU was inventoried, a population estimate made and buck-to-doe ratio calculated, along with some recommendations with regard to habitat management and target herd density to be in-sync with the habitat. NRC came together, looked at the numbers derived and determined that the overall deer tag issuance numbers would have to be radically reduced, not just for annual doe tags, but buck take as well. They deemed the outcome too radical for sportsman to embrace in large numbers. Why the need for reductions so sweeping that they would be broadly deemed unacceptable? One simple answer: Winter habitat degradation...throughout the entire peninsula on Federal, private and State lands. Fifteen years later, many of us were still asking the same question of the managers why do you continually focus on APRs when the pinch-point is over-winter carrying capacity. Had you been in attendance at a meeting held in March of 2015, you would have witnessed an open donnybrook between the UP Sportsman's Alliance officers and UP. Whitetails officer in attendance, all of them were members of the advisory comm. to the MDNR on Whitetail management regulations. What were the arguing about so vehemently? APR recommendations submitted to the State legislature that were absolutely non-binding and eventually ignored by the State legislature who formed their own.
    I actually had to stand and ask the four people engaged in a shouting match to please be quiet since the other attendees did not come to hear them snipe at each other publicly...which did not go over well among these exalted self involved collective asses. Jim Hammill was the only member of the Advisory Committee who abstained from Public comment. On the break I side-stepped the queries of "who did I represent?" from the boys. and sought-out Jim to aske him whether it would be worthwhile to apply for the vacant seat on the advisory committee. He responded by telling me he was not seeking to be reappointed. I then asked him why no coordinated effort had been made to stabilize winter deer complex acreage? He said that every single time he had attempted to address habitat He was shouted-down by the APR adherents. He told me to stay in contact with him because he was on the verge of working-out a grant from SCI to launch a joint venture that coordinated State, Federal, Corporate managed forestlands, and private holdings to identify and address Winter Deer Conplex locations, current status, management and expansion. This was the birth of the U.P. Winter Habitat Work Group, now referred to as the UP Habitat Work Group.

    Why the longwinded background story? Trophy Specialist, all of your suggestions on their face are quite easy to accomplish...UNTIL you factor-in that deer over a large segment of the UP geography are in motion, either emigrating to or immigrating from Winter Habitat to summer range, which both increases the complexity of all the actions you suggest because the manpower needs and dollar expenditures ramp-up significantly due to the relatively short time window when deer are actually on summer range throughout the UP. There was a proposal to purchase nearly a thousand tracking collars arrays and rotate use of these around among the DMUs to gauge movement distance and timing to aid in population estimation timing within each DMU. This was by CWD monitoring which redirected the tracking collars to the border zones currently being monitored.

    I recently watched a private lands forester berate the NRC during the comment period at their meeting here in Mqt. over miss-management of deer via doe tags in a DMU in the southern tier south of Escanaba. The local wildlife biologist was called-up from the back of the room where he explained that they issue the doe tags, yet they remain unfilled and unused since this is mostly private camp and club land. This is just one example of the complications of whitetail management in the U.P. that Forest Meister summarized better. I have hunted in two areas with mandatory APRs in the Delta/MQT county line area...simply put, they worked, yet when the post card survey was conducted the proportion of positive respondents was too low to institute them long-term. This is a heavily hunted area with a lot of small camp holdings and high hunting pressure; a 140 8pt would be a monster buck. I hunt grouse there and have for a couple of decades. The bucks with 4x4 racks were easily more numerous under the point restrictions, yet, not supported as a management goal by the hunter base, despite the ample data that young bucks doing the majority of the breeding exhibit greater overwinter mortality in severe due to weight loss from an already too low winter entry body weight when they are still growing year around, unlike mature deer.

    I also owned a camp adjacent a major Winter Deer Complex in Baraga, Co. that I sold in 1997 based on a conversation with John Ozoga on high snowfall areas and wolf predation; essentially John pointed-out that the four wolf packs that had established at the base of the Keweenaw peninsula, combined with high annual snowfall would require multiple mild winters in sequence to enable the herd to recover to pre-1996 levels.

    John Ozoga wrote a short piece for a now-defunct hunt/fish periodical up here... He titled it: In Search of Monarchs. He offered three main points to achieve QDM type deer herd management goals: Habitat management, with central focus on Winter Deer Complexes; Focus on obtaining a higher percentage of mature deer on the landscape; a willingness among hunters to not shoot a buck every year. After reading through this thread, I sincerely doubt that there is much consensus or resolve on the value of these points.

    There was one point that Jim Hammill made early-on in our discussions of focusing the Public's attention on Winter Deer Complex condition and area as the principal means of stabilizing deer numbers in the UP; he repeatedly said, if the effort succeeds neither of us would live to see the overall benefits of the effort.

    What I would suggest is organize a sportsman driven camera survey on a stratified basis within DMUs, designed and orchestrated by the local wildlife biologist(s) and technicians. This would amplify the manpower to get the SD cards out in the woods on these transects over a specific interval and back to get the numbers viewed per unit area recorded for extrapolation to derive an estimate over the DMU's total area. IN-synch a radio collared migration array for a subsample of deer later in the early fall within those same DMU's would provide data on where and how far they go. This could be run like the wolf surveys which sample roughly 62% of the total DMU number within a year. The Miss. State Univ. fawn and adult deer predation data for the three annual snowfall tiers could be applied as an overlay, with range estimates used to inform predation based on WSI annual values.

    The MDNR already has trend data taken and recorded real-time from their check stations on pedicel diameter for 1.5YO bucks, which provides them with an index on antler growth rates that is geography specific. As the UP Habitat Work Group initiative's efforts are implemented and allowed to run, a simple multiple regression analysis of WSI, optimal stem count per unit area within a DMU, and pedicel diameter data could be derived. The other option would be to build a Bayesian based model that is informed through time as the data improves both in terms of frequency and area monitored, as well as time sequence assessed. I have approached our Region 1 Wildlife chief to access the collective expertise of the MSU Quantitative Fisheries Center in their internal assessment efforts at trying to quantify deer number and total UP population...

    The other option would be to approach MSU Quantitative Fisheries Center which has already developed several wildlife population assessment models for the MDNR.
     
  4. johnIV

    johnIV

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    I think we've known this for years as hunters and sportsman.
     
  5. johnIV

    johnIV

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    Managing the deer habitat at this point in many places in the UP is dead. With logging operations depleting all the beech and big woods these deer lived and fed on for years, it's never going to return. They've planted australian pines to replace there original resource that provides no food only maybe some bedding and thermal cover areas. Food sources have been destroyed up there annually from 1997 by logging operations. Since 1997, I haven't killed many respectable bucks. Prior to that, many of us at camp could expect a wall hanger annually. Loggers IMO are the reason the big bucks disappeared in my area. I could set up on Beech ridges and kill big bucks fairly regularly. With these beech trees removed, the bucks move on to food sources that provide nutrition. Unless agriculture is close by, the nutrition provided in today's UP woods isn't going to sustain quality bucks. At least not where I hunt.
     
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  6. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Banned

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    The DNR seems to be ignoring the data. Theyalleged mild winters the last two in a row increasing the antlerless quotas, areas and regs yet the deer kill is down two years in a row. They bew it and now want even more herd reduction. A clear demonstration of incompetence. As for attending meetings, some of us have to actually work for a living. Maybe after I retire I can get more involved.
     
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  7. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    On the subject of blaming logging operations for "depleting all the beech", there are some facts that should be explored anyone jumps to an "obvious" conclusion. The facts deal with a deadly disease called Beach Bark Disease.

    Beech Bark Disease, (BBD) which has been brought up and discuss on this forum before, is another one of those wonderful imports from abroad that is having a severe impact on a native species. Studies vary but anywhere from 75% to 97% of trees can be expected to succumb to BBD. What timber producing business operation in their right mind would not salvage what they can while the beech still had some value rather than let it stand and lose everything? We are talking about millions and millions of board and hundreds of thousands of cores being at risk of becoming worthless if not removed.

    That said, both the DNR and the USFS have been racing against time to save what beech they can. Working under the direction of entomologists, certain trees that appear resistant have been designated as "no cut" in many areas where the other dying beech is being salvaged. it is hoped these trees are actually resistant to BBD and will propagate themselves so that over time beech will once again return to the forest. It ain't goin' to happen overnight, thought. The DNR in conjunction with other entities has also been collecting seed from obviously resistant trees and growing them in a nursery setting. Some of these saplings should be being out-planted already.

    Not sure who is planting ''Australian pines" or where they are being planted, but will keep my eyes open. FM
     
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  8. johnIV

    johnIV

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    Obviously you have a camp in the UP so you know the deer numbers were less than half of last year's numbers anytime crossing the Mac bridge this year. I went back up for a few days of hunting when colder temps settled in. Numbers were even lower returning yesterday morning showing a 60% reduction in harvest as of Thanksgiving last year.
     
  9. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    Honestly, what is it exactly, about depleted winter habitat that is not getting any better, that is so hard to understand? FM
     
  10. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    Saying someone won't listen when presented with good ideas and using that as a reason not to present them sounds strangely like my Teddy Roosevelt quote above. Why not take your good, solid, ideas that are surely backed by facts and sound empirical date to the Powers that can act on them? If at that point they do not pay heed one has fought the good fight and surely would have earned the respect of fellow outdoorsman.

    On the other hand, if there are no solid facts that can be backed by scientific data it might be best to sit back in the weeds and merely complain.

    There is a saying in the UP that goes like this: "Nobody ever lost an election by bashing the DNR." For some reason I feel it may have some application here. FM
     
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  11. johnIV

    johnIV

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    Regardless of whether it's for that reason or just to cut trees for paper products or other reasons, it's depleting the resource that deer utilize. My intent isn't to say it's happening TO impact the deer quality but rather to say it's HAPPENING...Period. Not really sure what can be done about it if anything can. Like the saying goes, "It is, what it is"! Like every thing good, doesn't last forever. I've since taken my deer hunting for quality bucks to Ohio. I love the traditional UP deer camp and will do it every year for 2 weeks regardless as it's not about just killing but enjoying the time spent at UP deer camp. I'll always be looking for that Bill Rushford mega monster buck moving south thru my hunting grounds migrating as he's rutting hoping for a shot. Well, maybe his great grandson at this point.
     
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  12. ryan-b

    ryan-b

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    What would be the point in basing anything off bridge count numbers this year? Travel is waaaaaayyyyyyy down due to covid.
     
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  13. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Banned

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    The DNR was telling us That deer hunter numbers were up this year.
     
  14. johnIV

    johnIV

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    We had more hunters in our area than ever this year. I wouldn't count on hunter numbers being down this year. Where did that info come from? More deer licenses were sold this year than last year. That came from the DNR. Travel is down yes as a whole but hunters traveling to hunt I do not believe is down.
     
  15. onebad800

    onebad800

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    Bridge count was at -33% as of midnight thanksgiving day