UP hunting.. horrible or just me?

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

  1. johnIV

    johnIV

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    Interesting. The number was -53% when I crossed it yesterday at 745am. Lots of deer were added to that number thru out the day. Still a third down.
     
  2. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    My deer camp data supports that. Based on the number of hunters I’ve seen. Lots of deer sightings. More than last year and the year prior. Older age class bucks have eluded me so far but there is lots of season left.
     
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  3. ryan-b

    ryan-b

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    Have been blown away by how few hunters and how few gun shots I’ve heard over hear in a extremely popular area to hunt in NWLP. Specially since license sales were up so much. The restrictions right before the opener, and the doubling down the the whole covid will kill you thing really seems to have effected hunter numbers over here.
     
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  4. stickbow shooter

    stickbow shooter

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    Well plenty of hunters in my area .
     
  5. Trophy Specialist

    Trophy Specialist Banned

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    Consider yourself lucky then. Deer numbers have been trending downward in most of the U.P. including my area. My proprrty is prime habitats to with 8 acres of food plots, ideal cover, but I have cedar and maple sprouting everywhere. Lots of wolves, bears, coyotes and cats here, yet antlerless permits increasing. Sad to see.
     
  6. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

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    I have not been paying a lot of attention to the details other than reading press releases that say license sales are up but I do not recall seeing a press release saying actual hunter number were up. I could have missed that, though.

    Whether up or down there could be a lot of variables in this far from normal year that might affect the perception of numbers, not the least of which being whether "normal numbers" of hunters were willing to travel or merely hunted from home. FM
     
  7. greense1

    greense1

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    From what I saw it was an absolute ghost town near us in the western UP. Our camp had 4(usually have 10-12) and a few of the neighboring camps weren’t even there at all. It would shock me if there were more people hunting in our area than usual. It looked and felt the exact opposite.
     
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  8. U of M Fan

    U of M Fan Premium Member

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    I noticed more people in our area. Too many Wisconsin plates.
     
  9. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    There a lot of campers parked along the forest service roads where there has never been camps before. Established camps had trucks parked around them. Trucks have been parked where I have never seen before all fall.

    Public land usage is up a least in Mackinac and Chippewa county where I travel.

    I was totaling my Deer Camp Survey sightings while watching deer all afternoon. So far this season 156 sightings, 15 buck sightings and doe to fawn ratio greater than 1:1 in favor of fawns. All categories are higher than the last few years.
     
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  10. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

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    Wanted to add a comment about Beech in the Upper Peninsula: Beech only grows in the eastern 2/3 or so of the U.P. and thus has no relevancy to considering habitat in the western 1/3. The species is ever so slowly migrating its way across.

    I collect a lot of tree seed and though I have always had a standing order for 50# of Beech seed, I have never filled it. That is not due to the mortality from Beech Bark Disease, which can vary from site to site (seems less lethal in NW Lower Peninsula). But rather due to the way that Beech doesn't even flower at all each and every year (something I pay attention to as I have been asked to collect Beech pollen for allergy labs in the past). Michigan is a northern range limit for the species, and as a woody plant approaches it's range limit, it is less often successful at setting seed than it is in the core of it's natural range. In the NW Lower, I have only ever seen good Beech crops about one year in three in my life, maybe one year in four. That is enough to perpetuate the species. Wildlife do consume Beech nuts as an excellent hard mast food source, but there are several others and I believe Oak is far more significant to hard mast levels on the landscape in Michigan.


    re: Winter Habitat Quality & Size in U.P. - I have been perplexed by reading about this and the new working group. Is there something specific that is missing? The U.P. is the only place I have ever seen where young conifer thermal cover is increasing, naturally. Which I would trace to low Deer #s. You won't often see waist to head high Hemlock in the Lower Peninsula and outside of a high lime area, you will hardly ever see White Cedar regen at all. Both of those are on the increase in the U.P. from what I see. The slow return of "Canada Yew" / "Ground Hemlock" / "Taxus canadensis" to many areas of the U.P. is also an obvious sign of the now lower browse pressure. That species is extremely rare in the Lower Peninsula.

    If Winter Habitat is some sort of bottleneck to Deer population #s, I would like to learn what specific parts of that idea are a problem. I have heard thoughts in the U.P. that winter habitat concentration just makes things too easy for Deer predators and that has led some to stop feeding Deer in winter as a result.



    This year I have been wondering about Deer in the U.P. in a specific way - did the October snows trigger any early migration, placing Deer in their winter areas a bit early this year?
     
  11. Waif

    Waif

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    The thermal cover I'm familiar with is older cedar.
    Several to a foot size in trunk diameters at our waist height type stuff.
    In tracts large enough to break high winds quite a bit , and umbrella the snow a bit.
    Alas , no browse involved.

    Ideally , woody browse would be prolific at the edges. More ideally , quality browse.
    It does not seem to take many deer many years to reduce browse capacity of a revisited yarding area. Subject to what's on it's perimeter of course.

    The area I found winter kills (years ago in the Midish- Northern lower) had a browse line where deer had been able to leave the thermal cover. A browse line on younger cedars ,out of reach of fawns. And maybe some yearlings. And cedar may not be the best browse.
    In my opinion it's not even midgrade when it is the entire browse availability.
     
  12. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

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    I have always found "browse" to be extremely situational. What is true about it in one place can be different just a few miles away.

    But am always looking to learn how it all "fits together."
     
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  13. erik73

    erik73

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    Seen 8 different bucks during bow season. Nothing huge but I did manage a 6pt & 7pt with my crossbow. Mackinac & Chippewa co
     

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  14. Cork Dust

    Cork Dust

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    These cuttings are occurring due to a disease that is projected to kill ALL the beech trees in those beech/maple highlands in the UP Forestry Division in concert with USFS and MSU Forestry Dept. is researching disease resistant beech strains for broad scale replanting. This has been repeatedly communicated to the Public for nearly a decade. Why is it more rational to leave the trees to die, as well as serve as habitat for pathogen spread? With regard to forest practices, yes, whole tree harvest does have a marked impact of wildlife, yet, the other side of that coin was the marked beneficial impacts of the paper pulp industry's cuttings on deer habitat to lead to the population boom that occurred in UP deer populations in the 1980s through the late 1990s.

    Personally, from 38 years of living and hunting in the central and western UP, I attribute much of the downturn in this years deer kill to a markedly erratic weather interval that overlaid much of the rut. We went from a slowly descending cool fall to instant winter and then back to 50 and near 70F weather for a week, pretty warm for deer with full winter coats ready for ambient temperatures down in the 20s to single digits. Deer became nocturnal during the thaw, with some dispersal toward winter yards in areas that experienced high snow depths.

    I would echo Forest Meister's Teddy Roosevelt quote with one from Jerry Garcia; "Ya ain't gonna learn what you don't wanna know!"
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  15. Tilden Hunter

    Tilden Hunter

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    I know one winter feeder who has quit just for this reason.