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Front Page » April 19, 2011 » Emery County News » Deer Managment
Published 1,101 days ago

Deer Managment


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By COREY BLUEMEL
Staff writer

Bill Bates, regional director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources hosted an open house at the Museum of the San Rafael recently. This meeting was to gather comments and inform wildlife enthusiasts in the area concerning the declining mule deer herds in the state of Utah.

"We are hosting several of these open houses around the state," Bates said. "Our goal is to bring you, the residents of Utah, information for how we are managing the deer herds throughout the state, then we will have a question and answer time."

Bates introduced Justin Shannon, who has a masters degree in wildlife management and is the big game biologist for this district. Shannon presented a power point presentation outlining the Utah State plan for management of the mule deer.

"Our job is to manage the wildlife in Utah for the benefit of the public," said Shannon, "and to that end we have put together a comprehensive plan to manage the mule deer." Shannon told of how the data is gathered concerning mule deer, along with other big game. He said they get their information from public input, surveys, through the Regional Advisory Councils, and holding open houses.

One of the questions asked following the deer hunt last fall dealt with the hunter satisfaction of the number of bucks each hunter saw during the hunt. The majority of the respondents, 53 percent, said no, they were not satisfied. Of those same hunters, 51 percent said they were not satisfied with the size of the bucks they did see during the hunt.

"We have five options to get more and bigger bucks," said Shannon. "We can have more limited entry hunts, we can have more short range weapons hunts, we can close more roads and trails, we can go to two point or better, or we can close the hunts for several years to allow the deer numbers to rebound." Shannon listed the reasons most people hunt in this state are centered around nature, getting away, and spending time with family and friends.

Shannon explained the mule deer management plan for Utah was instituted in 2008. He said in general season areas, the objective is to have 18-25 bucks per 100 does. In limited entry areas, the objective is to have 25-35 bucks per 100 does. In premium limited entry areas, the objective is to have 40-50 bucks per 100 does. Other strategies for gathering the number information is to monitor the fawn and adult deer survival rates. He said this gives wildlife resources reliable population models to follow.

He also said samples are taken across the state to collect population numbers. Wildlife resources has radio collared more than 600 fawns statewide to collect survival rate numbers. "If our survival rates on does and fawns are not good, then we will not have any bucks to hunt," said Shannon. "The division tries very hard to balance the quality of the hunt with the opportunity for everyone to hunt."

Shannon said WAFWA, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, is comprised of 23 agencies in the western United States and Canada was organized in 1922 and has worked promoting management of wildlife. The mule deer working group of WAFWA has listed issues and needs for healthy mule deer herds.

The first is habitat change. The mule deer herds in Utah are losing habitat and winter range very quickly to encroachment from humans, and drought conditions during the past years. Habitat is critical for the survival of the mule deer. With drought, the proper amount of forage is not available to get the animals through the winter. The DWR and its partners have spent more than $70 million to improve more than 600,000 acres of mule deer habitat during the past five years.

Along with the habitat projects, agencies have worked together to install fencing along the highways to reduce the numbers of animal mortality from collisions with automobiles. The DWR has increased the number of predator permits to better control the number of predators to the mule deer herds. Other projects include stopping poaching, limiting the spread of diseases, and performing valuable research to better understand the factors that impact mule deer.

During the question and answer time, Shannon, Bates, and DWR officers Chris Wood, Ben Sterns, Brad Crompton, Nicole Nielson, and Wade Paskett, answered questions and heard comments from the people at the open house. The comments were: the herd numbers and the possibility of conflict with the number of elk competing for range; reducing the hunting age to less than 16 is reducing the animal numbers; the removal of deer from the cities and towns; and the number of predators on this range.

was instituted in 2008. He said in general season areas, the objective is to have 18-25 bucks per 100 does. In limited entry areas, the objective is to have 25-35 bucks per 100 does. In premium limited entry areas, the objective is to have 40-50 bucks per 100 does. Other strategies for gathering the number information is to monitor the fawn and adult deer survival rates. He said this gives wildlife resources reliable population models to follow.

He also said samples are taken across the state to collect population numbers. Wildlife resources has radio collared more than 600 fawns statewide to collect survival rate numbers. "If our survival rates on does and fawns are not good, then we will not have any bucks to hunt," said Shannon. "The division tries very hard to balance the quality of the hunt with the opportunity for everyone to hunt."

Shannon said the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, is comprised of 23 agencies in the western United States and Canada was organized in 1922 and has worked promoting management of wildlife. The mule deer working group of WAFWA has listed issues and needs for healthy mule deer herds.

The first is habitat change. The mule deer herds in Utah are losing habitat and winter range very quickly to encroachment from humans, and drought conditions during the past years. Habitat is critical for the survival of the mule deer. With drought, the proper amount of forage is not available to get the animals through the winter. The DWR and its partners have spent more than $70 million to improve more than 600,000 acres of mule deer habitat during the past five years.

Along with the habitat projects, agencies have worked together to install fencing along the highways to reduce the numbers of animal mortality from collisions with automobiles. The DWR has increased the number of predator permits to better control the number of predators to the mule deer herds. Other projects include stopping poaching, limiting the spread of diseases, and performing valuable research to better understand the factors that impact mule deer.

During the question and answer time, Shannon, Bates, and DWR officers Chris Wood, Ben Sterns, Brad Crompton, Nicole Nielson, and Wade Paskett, answered questions and heard comments from the people at the open house.

The comments were: the herd numbers and the possibility of conflict with the number of elk competing for range; reducing the hunting age to less than 16 is reducing the animal numbers; the removal of deer from the cities and towns; and the number of predators on this range.

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