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Some options.......

Discussion in 'Indiana Whitetail Hunting' started by Dean Weimer, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. Here are several means to accomplish a balanced, healthy, whitetail herd in an individual state complete with a great age structure BESIDES what we currently have in Indiana (let's say doe harvest is set up like it currently is in Indiana). Let's just focus on setting up the firearms season structure. What do you think is best, and why.....?

    1) Holding the firearms season in December, after the November Primary breeding period.

    2) Shortening up the firearms season ( say one week instead of two) and holding it towards the end of Primary Breeding period.

    3) Shortening the firearms season and holding it in December, AND having a One Buck Rule.

    I think that all well meaning and educated people realize that managing a herd for an older age class of bucks actually goes hand in hand with proper biological deer management (complete with a balanced buck:doe ratio, smaller overall herd, etc) in general. Which one would get the job done best?????????????????
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2006
  2. Before choosing an option let me ask you this; what deficiency in Indiana's current deer herd are you trying to correct?

    What would you estimate is the current B/D ratio statewide?

    What percentage of the carrying capacity would you say the herd is currently at?

    Are hunters seeing too few mature bucks?

    What is the current hunter success rate in Indiana, for bucks and for does?

    Before coming up with a solution it's good to identify the problem. From the limited reading that I have done on this forum it does not seem like that many people are complaining about the current state of deer hunting in Indiana, at least compared to the amount of moaning that is going on in a lot of other states.

  3. You'd have to ask the DNR questions #1 and 2. Question No. 3= yes. Don't know the hunter success rate off hand.

    Munster, while there have been improvements in our herd in terms of mature bucks, we are still behind others. This thread was designed to look at some different management schemes based on some others in the Midwest. Which one do YOU like?
  4. Munster,

    That is one of the things I have been trying to get people to look at. On another topic in this forum, I mention that in my observations I am seeing a buck to antlerless ratio of 1:2 and if 1/2 of the young are button bucks, a buck to doe ratio of 1: 1.6. That is why I am in favor of an equal buck & doe harvest (more like Ohio) than the current bonus county limits.

    That said, deer populations are very sporadic inside a county due to many factors. My proof is this: I live in Whitley county and am happy with what I see. I talk to a guy in Koscuisko and he can't believe the deer damage he has. I go over there and in one evening see 3-4 groups of deer on his farm, all 12-18 in size each. I am 10 miles away and don't have those kind of deer. Example two, I planted 1/2 acre of turnips and another 1/2 acre of brasicas. Nothing ate it. I know a guy in Noble county who couldn't get his turnips to grow more than 6" high because the deer ate them off. He is trying it again this year to see if it was a fluke and there are always 5-6 deer in that plot. I planted clover, see deer in it and a few nibblings, but not the effect they claim by putting a fence around some of it and noticing the difference in height. I don't see heavy browsing or other signs like some people down south do, so I don't believe as strongly in the masacre of the does.

    Furthermore, I have family in Ohio and because of the late season and the SHORT season, he feels the poaching is much higher and he feels more young people are giving up on the deer and going to rabbit and other small game to hunt. Granted, that is his opinion. For that reason and because of everyones busy work schedule, school schedule, I am more inclined to keep the gun season long, but to use the OBR to offset that longer season.
  5. Scott...I can agree with you on this scenario. I enjoy being out for the longer season and utilizing the OBR to offset the long season seems to be working. Also, as the long gun season winds on the number of hunters in the fields/woods decline too. There are many that hunt only weekends or opening weekend and don't hit it hard during the week after work or don't take vacation during this time like some of us do. Although there may be a lot of tags issued for firearms season it would be interesting to know how many hours per hunter are actually spent afield during this time period. I'm betting the number is low.
  6. Good questions Munsterlndr.

    Before tackling a problem be sure that you really have a problem.

    Look at the percentage of deer being taken in the gun season.

    A very large percentage is taken the opening weekend. A REALLY large percentage is taken the first week.

    Shortening the season will have people killing more younger bucks as they are running out of time.It is bad enough now.

    The other states that have short season are by and large killing more deer than we are.

    Taking the gun season out of the rut will have the dumb young bucks out wandering around still trying to figure out what happened and they will get bumped off.

    In our zeal to protect bucks are we over reacting?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2006
  9. Do I hear an AMEN??;)
  10. AMEN!!!!!!!!!!
  11. basic numbers

    With regards to Munster's post defining the problem. I think part of the problem in answering a lot of the questions is the size of the herd. I was on another website thats a national site and they had a spreadsheet of all states giving herd size and percentages taken etc. The State of Indiana was one of three States that could not provide information on the actual size of the herd.

    This maybe a question for Dean or Joe but why wouldn't the State of Indiana know the size of the herd when other states come up with this number?

    I would find it hard to balance or manage anything if I didn't know the number I was trying to balance.

  12. Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can I get a hallelujah for Brother Rookie?

    O.K. Rookie, you're an intelligent man: Why doesn't the state try to census/survey the herd any longer?

    I've been told by state officials that it's too expensive and doesn't offer a true number.

    If this is true, then why does every other state do it???
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2006
  13. Right now, Indiana and Ohio are looking pretty darn attractive to this Michigander. I'd say, though, that before you start tweaking deer management policy much more that you should be pushing the IDNR for some answers to the questions that I posed.

    You need to come up with some reasonable figures for how many deer there are in Indiana. It does not matter that the figure is exact but it gives you a baseline to measure future changes from. Without that you are whistling in the dark when trying to judge the impact of any changes that are made.

    Once the size of the herd and the approximate B/D ratio is detremined you can set some objectives and chart a course for acheiving those objectives. If you want to get the sex ratio closer to 1:1.5-2, then hammer more does and use the OBR to protect some of your bucks. Try that for a few years and see what happens. If you are still not to where you want to be then you can look at some other options. These might include changing season dates, intensive education on identifying BB's, some sorts of AR's, whether voluntary or mandatory, more incentives to harvest does, whatever it takes. This is not rocket science and there are a lot of options that can be looked at to solve the problem, but as I said, you need to know where you stand before you can fix it.
  14. Each of the firearms season suggestions seems to have its own problems involved.

    1) Holding the firearms season in December, after the November Primary breeding period.

    This would likely make it much more difficult to kill mature bucks without the urge to reproduce forcing them to show themselves during daylight. If mature bucks are not showing themselve frustrated hunters will either begin settling for young bucks or doing more drives to force mature deer to move. While deer drives are not that big of a deal, causing people to settle for immature deer is not a good thing. Also, older, more rut depleted bucks drop their racks sooner even as earlly as Mid-December. Do we really want potential B&C bucks shot as does after they have shed their antlers?

    2) Shortening up the firearms season ( say one week instead of two) and holding it towards the end of Primary Breeding period.

    The problem with this suggestion is that it is the firearms hunter that does the lion's share of controlling the doe population. Considering how we are struggling to control the doe population with the current 2 week season I don't see how that is even remotely feasible. Holding the firearms season at the end of the primary breeding period is potentially a better idea than having it in December but it still runs the risk of getting hunters in a "hurry up mode" especially when combined with a shorter season. Selectivity increases as oppurtunity (read time afield) increases not decreases.

    3) Shortening the firearms season and holding it in December, AND having a One Buck Rule.

    This suggestion combines the worst parts of the previous two.
  15. Deer Demon,

    I would like to know where you come up with the following:

    1) THat the herd has been increasing for the last 6-7 years.
    2) That we are struggling to keep the does in check as it is.

    I have posted on here numerous times now that for the last 7 years I am seeing a buck to antlerless ratio of 1:2 and a buck to doe ratio of 1:1.6 if 1/2 of the fawns I record are button bucks.

    I seen a helluva lot more deer in the late 80's and early 90's than I see now. I remember the statewide deer car collisions used to be over 12,000. Now I believe they are around 10,000 and there are a lot more people on the roads now then before. Don't believe me? Try to get a tractor and trailor across US 30.

    This leads me to my next point, how can David4759 truely believe natural, car, dog mortality is higher than the hunter harvest when Farm Bureau always tells you exactly what the deer/car collisions are every year and its 10,000-12,000? If that were true then hunting would have little or no impact on the population.

    You guys are throwing around general information with nothing to support it. Some of us do too, but look at jbwhitetails DNR provided statistics on button buck harvests, record book deer to antlered buck harvest, and the number of antlered bucks being taken each year. Look at the record book and some of these older posts. No where has there been an increase in mature bucks being taken than in the last 5 years. WHat's different???????? Oh yeah the OBR. It is having an impact, deal with it.