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Area deer registrations finish well below last year

Area deer registrations finish well below last year

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 12/2/20

REGIONAL— Those North Country hunters who failed to get their deer this year apparently had plenty of company. With final registrations now in for the 2020 firearms deer season, hunters tallied …

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Area deer registrations finish well below last year

Area deer registrations finish well below last year

Posted

REGIONAL— Those North Country hunters who failed to get their deer this year apparently had plenty of company. With final registrations now in for the 2020 firearms deer season, hunters tallied a total of 4,544 deer in the DNR’s Tower work area, which includes deer permit areas 117, 118, 119, 130, 131, 132, 176, 177, and 178.
That’s down 16 percent over season totals in 2019. While a lower harvest was expected given the reduced number of antlerless permits issued by the DNR this year, the buck harvest was off as well. Hunters in the Tower work area registered 3,607 bucks this year, compared to 4,173 last year. That’s down 14 percent.
“The buck kill is the best indicator of population change over time,” noted Tom Rusch, Tower DNR wildlife manager. Recent severe winters, with months of deep snow cover, have affected both winter survival of deer as well as limited the reproductive potential of female deer, according to wildlife managers. Many area hunters also put the onus on heavy predation from gray wolves as a factor in their lack of success.
Rusch noted that the buck harvest is down most sharply in permit areas on the north and east sides of the Tower work area, reflecting the impact of deeper snow in recent years than experienced in areas to the south and west. Even so, the declines were found across the board, with lower buck registration numbers in every permit area in the Tower work zone.
Meanwhile, the antlerless harvest was down 24 percent compared to last year, most likely reflecting the reduction in the number of antlerless permits issued this season as well as fewer deer overall.
The record-setting warm temperatures over opening weekend likely impacted hunter success, by limiting deer movements, which typically peak in early-to-mid November as part of the annual rut. Bucks are typically highly active during that period, but they risk overheating in the kind of temperatures the area experienced opening weekend, which likely reduced their activity.
But temperatures in the 60s were quickly replaced by the fourth day of the season with sub-freezing highs and 5-9 of fresh snow around the area. The colder temperatures increased daytime buck activity and provided hunters better visibility in the woods as well as tracking snow that remained for the remainder of the season.
On a statewide basis, hunters had registered 175,536 deer as of Monday, including 93,395 bucks and 82,141 antlerless deer. The latest numbers remain preliminary until the DNR has an opportunity to review them for accuracy and include the additional deer harvested during the muzzleloader season, which continues into December. The department will issue final numbers on the season in February.

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Snowshoe2

When deer numbers get so low it is hard for a population to sustain itself with wolf and hunter harvest combined being too much. Been a long time supporter of wolves being present, but time to have a cut in population of at least 50% if you want to continue to have a reasonable deer population.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Immer Treue

Snowshoe

Comments such as, “ Been a long time supporter of wolves being present, but time to have a cut in population of at least 50% if you want to continue to have a reasonable deer population. ” will keep wolves on the MN list for a long time. Since the 2012/13 wolf count, the numbers have fluctuated from a low of 2211 to a high of 2856

And the last count winter 2020 of 2696 +/- 500 confidence level. Even toward the high end of the counts, cut the number in half, and the population number falls under the MN goal of 1600 within the state.

The deer numbers most important variable is winter severity, keeping in mind that northern Minnesota was never really good deer habitat. Logging opened the area from old growth low productivity forests to the current mishmash we now have. Perhaps good for deer, as long as winters are not too severe, not so good for critters like Fishers. The winters from 1999 -2008 were pretty mild, deer numbers increased, so did wolves. This put pressure on moose from two ends, wolf predation, but more importantly indirect moose mortality in regard to brain worms and liver flukes spread by deer, to which moose have no immunity.

Wolf numbers are fine, deer numbers need be kept in check. The most important variable to deer numbers is winter severity, to which you, I or the DNR has no control.

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Immer Treue

Snowshoe

Comments such as, “ Been a long time supporter of wolves being present, but time to have a cut in population of at least 50% if you want to continue to have a reasonable deer population. ” will keep wolves on the MN list for a long time. Since the 2012/13 wolf count, the numbers have fluctuated from a low of 2211 to a high of 2856

And the last count winter 2020 of 2696 +/- 500 confidence level. Even toward the high end of the counts, cut the number in half, and the population number falls under the MN goal of 1600 within the state.

The deer numbers most important variable is winter severity, keeping in mind that northern Minnesota was never really good deer habitat. Logging opened the area from old growth low productivity forests to the current mishmash we now have. Perhaps good for deer, as long as winters are not too severe, not so good for critters like Fishers. The winters from 1999 -2008 were pretty mild, deer numbers increased, so did wolves. This put pressure on moose from two ends, wolf predation, but more importantly indirect moose mortality in regard to brain worms and liver flukes spread by deer, to which moose have no immunity.

Wolf numbers are fine, deer numbers need be kept in check. The most important variable to deer numbers is winter severity, to which you, I or the DNR has no control.

Sunday, December 6, 2020
Snowshoe2

The endangered species goal for wolves in Minnesota was 1,250 animals in the spring before pups are grown. Maybe Mn conservative goal is 1600,which is fine. Mn DNR studies have shown once spring deer populations-pre fawn is below 13 der/mile wolf predation and hunting pressure, the cumulative effect can drive and does contribute to a decline in deer populations. Yes close to the BWCA and the Gunflint area WSI is a big factor in deer numbers.

Right now with 2500 adult wolves in the spring and double that population by fall a conservative harvest of 400 wolves will have no biological effect on the population, but it sets up long term reasonable management of the wolf.

Much of the deer range like Longville-Grand Rapids DNR goals is 20 deer/mile in the spring. Now it is around 10. Due to hunter harvest and wolf predation. The Longville area wolves moved and expanded there about 1991.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Immer Treue

You omit the fact that wolf pup mortality is ranges between 30-60%. Annual wolf mortality is roughly 20%. There will not be 5,000 wolves roaming the woods next fall. A take of 400 wolves is anything but conservative. A wolf season should not be synonymous with delisting. Despite the wolf zones of the past, there was little “management“ other than killing wolves just to kill wolves. There are more variables that must be taken into consideration.

Monday, December 28, 2020