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Old 11-17-2019, 12:44 AM   #1
Cpswing555
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Why???

I have heard several theories, and even a few conspiracy theories so I'm going to ask it here. How can the deer population in an area like the ADK's be and stay so low considering the following facts:

1. There are less hunters than before (from my understanding and some reading)

2. The very same woods use to hold a significantly larger population even into the 70's. (yes there's a beech blight, but there are other foods)

3. Many areas that were clubs and camps are now lost to forever wild and other ADK programs which make it far harder for hunters to reach, yet when we do we still don't see that much higher of a population.

Something just doesn't add up, I get that there are predators, and hard winters, and other issues, but there were wolves, mountain lions, and people shooting way more than one deer in the past. There were also hard winters and other hardships. I am friends with an ex forester and native Adirondacker who has said many times that after logging operations and other changes in game laws, plus the drop in hunters in our area he fully expected the deer population to start to rise in the early 2000's. (even with the beech issue) yet it never happened. Just venting a little. Love hunting up there, we cover a lot of terrain, hunt hard, and understand where to be, but I have only seen 3 deer in the past 3 years.

Thoughts

Thanks CP
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:29 AM   #2
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It’s hard hunting CP and I ask my self the same question year after year. With that said, and this was before my time but I have a member in my club that has been hunting the Adirondacks since the 50s with his father. He believes that ever since they opened up the doe season/ tags in rifle season years ago it just never recovered ever since. He said the roads would be lined with cars and nothing but drag marks in the snow of guys hammering the doe population.

Now to me it makes sense. If that kind of hunt went on for a certain amount of years in the environment like the adks the population could just never recover and rebuild. It would be impossible to go from such high numbers to a major reduction and then some how rebuild back up again given the harsh conditions. Just my opinion....
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:47 AM   #3
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There are a large number of things that impact the deer herd. !. Old growth timber. The older the park gets the bigger the old growth trees choke out the feed they need. 2Preditors. The fur market has bottomed out so trappers are not trapping coyotes as much as they used to. 3. Bears. The adult bear (which we are seeing a rapid growth in numbers) according to DEC will kill an average of 3 fawns a month during the spring. People are seeing bears in areas where they havent seen them before. These are just of a few of the factors.
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:39 PM   #4
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While driving today through PA, South of Gettysburg to CT, I counted 1 to 2 deer dead on the side of the road per ten miles. I only counted them on the Northbound lanes and assume there was an equal number dead from collisions on the Southbound lanes. 100 miles of Rt 15, I-83 & I-78 = 20 to 40 dead deer. Just imagine all the road mileage and the thousands of dead deer, plus a broken leg also would equal a unobserved dead deer.
I have personally killed one on the road near Blue Mountain Lake. The police arrived very soon and dragged it 20 feet into the woods.
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Old 11-18-2019, 07:48 PM   #5
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Forest fires and logging also eliminate old trees and make room for new growth, something which deer and moose love.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:11 PM   #6
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Don't underestimate the toll the coyotes take. They hit the fawn crop hard and also hit the deer yards hard in the winter. Before the coyote comeback we didn't see many does without fawns. Now it is common. It is much harder for the deer population to recover after a harsh winter, IMO, because of the coyote. When they first came into the area I hunt near Tupper Lake, we would see coyote tracks on EVERY deer track once there was snow on the ground. The next year the woods were nearly devoid of deer. Now they seem to have reached an equilibrium--fewer coyotes and more deer, though not like they used to be. I also agree with the aforementioned results of the open deer season they had one year.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:13 PM   #7
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No answer for your question about the Adirondacks, but a study released by people at Cornell has interesting findings for the population controls tried in our area. Seems neither hunting (at current levels anyway), nor sterilization has much impact on the population. They based this on planting red oak saplings and monitoring browsing rates. I've only read this article and not dug into the details of the study yet. I'm about ready to start a round-up operation and would be willing to drive them a few hours north.
https://news.cornell.edu/stories/201...ent-strategies
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:08 PM   #8
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Deer and moose are more prevalent on managed timberlands. It's that simple. More Forever Wild Forest Preserve lands means less deer and moose habitat. I do feel the either/or muzzleloading tag is having an impact, which is why it is currently buck only in Western Adirondack WMU's and Tug Hill. It hasn't been buck only in the East since 2003.

Overall, I compare Northeastern backcountry whitetail populations to be like a roller-coaster; lots of ups and downs. You have to take the good with the bad. Having more than one hunting area is key for that reason. Especially on public land. That's what works for us. We find them somewhere, but not it the same places every year. It's all about the food.
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Old 11-18-2019, 10:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckladd View Post
Deer and moose are more prevalent on managed timberlands. It's that simple. More Forever Wild Forest Preserve lands means less deer and moose habitat. I do feel the either/or muzzleloading tag is having an impact, which is why it is currently buck only in Western Adirondack WMU's and Tug Hill. It hasn't been buck only in the East since 2003.

Overall, I compare Northeastern backcountry whitetail populations to be like a roller-coaster; lots of ups and downs. You have to take the good with the bad. Having more than one hunting area is key for that reason. Especially on public land. That's what works for us. We find them somewhere, but not it the same places every year. It's all about the food.
and weather [weather can and does kill]
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:36 AM   #10
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We find them somewhere, but not it the same places every year. It's all about the food. <<< This

Just because you aren't seeing deer; doesn't mean they aren't there.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cutbait View Post
We find them somewhere, but not it the same places every year. It's all about the food. <<< This

Just because you aren't seeing deer; doesn't mean they aren't there.
This year the snow has been very helpful in seeing where they're not!
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:24 PM   #12
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http://www.deerfriendly.com/deer/new...-2019-new-york

The DEC said in 2017 that an abundance of deer existed especially in urban areas. I know in Forge during warm months, deer seem almost tame. Maybe the secret is stay home and hunt.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Schultzz View Post
http://www.deerfriendly.com/deer/new...-2019-new-york

The DEC said in 2017 that an abundance of deer existed especially in urban areas. I know in Forge during warm months, deer seem almost tame. Maybe the secret is stay home and hunt.
More than once we've had more than 12 deer walk through our backyard and they nightly are within fifty of the house! Every year a fawn or two is born in our yard. We live se of Binghamton.
I jumped a doe then a nice 8pt'er today in my neighbor's yard this afternoon. They never heard me until I was about 50ft away. The ground is soft and noiseless.
I also saw a Pileated Woodpecker. That was V good since I haven't seen one in a few months and I knew there had been a pair around. It was on a beetle decimated ash tree but couldn't find one. When it flew off it almost landed on me but when it was about 10ft away it decided otherwise and flew over my head.
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Old 11-19-2019, 06:49 PM   #14
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Throughout the summer and continuing now, there is a herd of 5 or 6 deer, always does or fawns in my yard each night. I am on the southern edge of Tug Hill. I often could see them in early morning hours during the summer. I've been forced to fence my garden in order to have anything left at all. A fence line of wild apple trees probably does not help. They have destroyed other trees I have tried to grow in my yard. Two of them did damage my car by suddenly darting out as I drove by. In my mind the deer are nothing but giant destructive rodents. I have an IR driveway alarm set up so I know when deliveries or anyone else drives in. It often goes off at 3:00 AM. when I have gotten up to check it is usually a deer or two. It even alerted on a fox at least once. Driving south to Rome for work, I have occasionally seen herds of at least 30-50 (I lose count while driving) in open farm fields along the way. Turkeys seem to be much more road savvy than deer for some reason. Rarely are dead turkeys seen along the roadside, but dead mangled deer are common.

I used to hunt years ago when my dad was still alive, but since my family does not like venison, I haven't hunted in years.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:02 PM   #15
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My two cents: We are finding deer in pockets where there is food, shelter and water.
Some years the population in these areas are up but other times the population is low (2 or three does). The Adks just doesn’t have enough food to support a high pop of deer.
Unless it has been logged then the deer pop increases slightly. Plus bears are a huge impact on fawn survival. But you never know when you might find a corker and that is what makes us come back year after year.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:14 PM   #16
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I'm from a bit North of the park. There is no shortage of deer. They are everywhere. As you move deeper into the park the numbers drop off. It's been that way for the past 55 years that I recall.
Deer multiply like fruit flies where there is feed. Here in Western NY it is not uncommon to see 50 or 60 deer in a field. We count our blessings here for the riches we have. But, the best hunt here does not approach taking your gun for a walk in the North Country. Being able to track for miles without looking over your shoulder is a true calling. And let's face it, the local boys usually fill their freezers. Being able to scout year round makes a big difference.
The deep woods of the park are not as productive as the edges..they never have been and until there are fires or clearing, that's the way it will be.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:28 PM   #17
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It's a green desert, plain and simple. Forever wild is a blessing and a curse for us deer hunters. Yes,miles of public land is fantastic,but the lack of logging and fires as stated earlier by others on this thread is just truth. Predator/prey cyclical balances are now as always a part of the game, but the number one factor is little feed for big game animals.
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Old 11-20-2019, 09:43 AM   #18
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Come to the SW corner of the park, North of Utica and Herkimer, they are everywhere. Meaning each trip (35 miles) to Utica or Herkimer, i have to slow down 2 or 3 times for them standing on side of road. Not counting the bodies on the road, especially in Herkimer county.

During 46 completion 2015-2017 saw one - yes one - deer in the trails, the entire completion effort, and she was close to the Ausable Club. They are going where the living is easier. Not deep in the park.
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Old 11-20-2019, 09:56 AM   #19
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I live just inside the Park at an elevation of 540 feet. We have plenty of deer and gardening is a battle. Drive six miles north, gain 1,000 feet in elevation and hunt Forest Preserve lands and it's an entirely different world for whitetails. And it's been like that for the 40-plus years that I've been hunting, camping and hiking there.

Logging in recent years on private land has helped, but we are turning the corner with the re-growth. I'll still take it over the Souther Zone or a mid-western big buck state because I like being in somewhat of a remote area. It's simply part of the game and I accept it.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:09 AM   #20
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With climate change are deer exposed to new parasites and diseases for which they haven't evolved resistance?

I see a lot of deer roadside near Jay and Keene. I see so many that when it's dark I keep my speed to no more than 50 mph, make sure to have my high beams on, the radio off and I remain on high alert.
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