Join Date: Feb 2004
Sorry for the length but here is some info from first hand experience on this very subject. I'm Split_G3 if y'all remember me or not, not sure why 5465 is showing up.
Been awhile since I've posted on here but this particular subjuect I am very passionate about and feel I need to speak up. THEBAD and some others is right. I know my post this is long but this is a personal and very extensive study that I put together on my own for a hunting website here in Ohio last season. When they bumped our legal bag limit from 3 up to 6, it took just a few years and many acrossed the state of Ohio, like myself were seeing the detrimental affects....and in Iowa, I believe y'alls regs allow for even more deer than us. Yes, I know I'm from Ohio and these are Ohio's statistics and my personal numbers but we are comparable to Iowa and I assure you that you're heading in the same direction if y'all don't stop killing so many does. Numbers don't lie and these are just hunting numbers, predator killed deer and auto killed deer are not included in the figures. Farm Bureau and Insurance Companies are what is running the show on herd management in many states.
I am a numbers guy, especially when it comes to whitetails. Numbers are very important in the whitetail world. The future of this sport is is hinged on numbers. I hope ya'll take the time to atleast read over this as I strongly believe that the state of Ohio is on the verge of a deer number crisis. First thing I'm gonna do is throw some numbers at you. If there is any numbers/statistics you would like to know that I have not provided, feel free to ask and I will try to provide. This is something I have been working on for quite awhile now and the numbers provided are just a tip of the iceberg of what I will have compiled. I plan to plead my case to the DNR as soon as I have the chance.
1999-2000 Season --- estimated herd size 500,000, 3 deer could be taken legally, Archery season, 1 shotgun season and 1 muzzleloader season....harvest total of all seasons combined 150,432 deer
2004-2005 Season --- estimated herd size 650,000, 3 deer could be taken legally, Archery season, 1 shotgun season and 1 muzzleloader season.....harvest total of all seasons combined 209,513 deer
2009-2010 Season --- estimated herd size 675,000, 6 deer could be taken legally(zone C), Archery Season, 3 different gun seasons and 1 muzzleloader season.....harvest total of all seasons combined 261,260 deer
Number of bucks killed to number of does killed by county.....using 2 counties fron Zones B & C as examples because they have the most deer density and highest deer numbers are in the NE and SE part of the state.. Leaving Zone A out because deer density is already low.
Meigs(Zone C) 2008-2009 Season --- Bucks 1,694....Does 2,907.....Difference of 1,213 more does killed than bucks
Meigs(Zone C) 2009-2010 Season --- Bucks 1,761....Does 3,060.....Difference of 1,295 more does killed than bucks
Guernsey(Zone C) 2008-2009 Season --- Bucks 1,514.....Does 2,643.....Difference of 1,129 more does killed than bucks
Guernsey(Zone C) 2009-1010 Season --- Bucks 1,545.....Does 2,840.....Difference of 1,295 more does killed than bucks
Mahoning(Zone B) 2008-2009 Season --- Bucks 2,694.....Does 4,551.....Difference of 1,857 more does killed than bucks
Mahoning(Zone B) 2009-2010 Season --- Bucks 2,802.....Does 5,061.....Difference of 2,259 more does killed than bucks
Trumbull(Zone B) 2008-2009 Season --- Bucks 1,298.....Does 2,678.....Difference of 1,380 more does killed than bucks
Trumbull(Zone B) 2009-2010 Season --- Bucks 1,190.....Does 2,394.....Difference of 1,204 more does killed than bucks
2008-2009 Season --- estimated herd size was 675,000. A total of 252,017 of those deer were harvested by hunters, therefore that would reduce the herd to lets just say an estimated 400,000. Winter of '08-'09 was tough, not many storms but much colder than normal and cold for an extended period of time from Mid October thru the end of January. Food was few and far between, especially the sustainable winter food sources. Honey suckle was just average and the vast majority of green briar had been picked thru by mid-December and the deer never really touched it beyone that. There were plenty of acorns on the ground but the deer were not touching them due to(IMO) being blown off the trees way too early for their liking in early September due to 2 big wind storms and constant, high, steady winds throughout the whole month of September. Therefore, I believe that a 15% winter kill off would be in the ballpark of the actual percentage. Given a 15% kill off, that is 97,500 deer. Add the 252,017 hunter killed deer to the winter kill off totals and you're looking at a total of 349,517 deer that never made it to the Spring of 2009. That is a little over 54% of the herd eliminated in just one season.....and that percentage does not include deer/car collision totals and Ohio is in the top 10 states in the country for deer/car collision totals. Also total do not include deer killed and not tagged.
2009-2010 Seaon --- estimated herd size was 675,000. A total of 261,260 of those deer were harvested by hunters, therefore that would reduce the herd to an estimated 414,000. Winter of 2009-2010 was another tough one on the deer. It was cold fro an extended period of time and at times it was bitter cold. There were several snow storms, with some snow totals in a lot of areas higher than they had seen in years. In a lot of areas in the southern part of the state, there was a steady 4-6"+ on the ground for more that a month. Sustainable winter food was once again pretty much non-existent. Honey suckle for many was lower than average, green briar had once again pretty much been eaten up by mid-December and there were absolutely no acorns throughout the vast majority of the state. Personally, no question I think 15% winter kill off is in the ballpark but I would guess that the winter of '09-'10 brought us to nearly a 20% kill off. If a 20% kill off is correct, that is a total of 135,000(15%=101,250) deer became victim of a hard winter. Add the 20% winter kill off to the 261,260 hunter killed deer and that brings a total of 396,260 deer never made it to the Spring of 2010. That is just a little less than 59% of the herd being eliminated in just 1 season.....and that percentage does not include deer/car collision totals and Ohio is in the top 10 states in the country for deer/car collision totals. Also totals do not include deer killed and not tagged.
This is just a little snid-bit of information that I figured up. Maybe not important to you but I was kind of suprised when I put the figures together. To me it kinda helped putting it into perspective. The state of Ohio consists of 41,328 square miles and that converts into 26,449,920 acres. One square mile converts ino 640 acres. I wouldn't begin to know just exactly how much of the state of Ohio deer actually live in, nor would I even know how to figure it but I think it would be fair to say half of that....20,664 square miles and 13,224,960. In the '08-'09 season with a herd size of 675,00 deer, that would be a total 32.66 deer per square mile/640acres. With the winter kill off and hunter killed totals subtracted from that, that total drops to just 15.75 deer per square mile/640 acres. As for 2009, the total would drop from 32.66 deer per square mile all the way down to 13.48 deer per square mile/640 acres. Even tho the deer are not spread evenly throughout the state, I want ya'll to think about just how many 13.48 deer per square mile/640 acres is.....that ain't very damn many!!! Thats cutting the herd by a little more than half each season.
Why am I making a big stink about this, 3 reasons.......1) I believe the herd is being desimated, not to the level of a crisis but well on it's way to a crisis if the DNR doesn't man-up, drop bag limits, drop one of the gun seasons and tell the Farm Bureau and Insurance Companies to keep their money and go stick their noses in someone elses buisness and 2) The recruiting of new hunters and youth into this great sport is gonna be tough as nails to pull off when deer sightings are few and far between. And 3) IMO, with the current regulations and bag limits we are killing more deer than we can replace and this will obviously have a HUGE affect over time!!!
I am a hunter who is very fortunate to hunt where I do and have access to the amount of property that I have access to, give or take 1400 acres of private. I have been fortunate enough to take some nice deer in my hunting career. I hunt in an area where there has always typically been big numbers of deer. I'm used to seeing a lot of deer, well over 300+ deer per year. In 2004, my does seen per hour onstand was 1.41 and over the last 6 years my does seen per hour average has dropped to just 0.39......that is a drastic, dramatic drop in just 6 years time. Another interetsing statistic, in the last 2 seasons, my buck to doe ratio has been 2.38 bucks to just 1 doe...yeah, you read that correctly, 2.38 bucks to 1 doe. Sounds great to a lot of you probably but I assure you that it makes for some very long hours onstand, only days here and there that are phenominal and many days of ZERO sightings....and this includes the rut. Hunting can be piss poor more often than not in these conditions. One might argue that, maybe your set-ups aren't good enough, possibly but your talking to a guy that typically sees loads of deer every year and has had several days of 50+ deer sightings in one day during several ruts. Not bragging on deer numbers or claiming to be a deer hunting god, as I said I am very fortunate to hunt where I do and location is everything when it comes to deer hunting.
One important note that I have documented over the past 2 seasons is damn near every buck over the last 2 years that i have seen and/or gotten pics of in the months of November and December are extremely run down, poor looking. The most important part of this is that even my mature bucks, my really mature bucks appear to be very run down. Sure there are many mature bucks that chase does and run all over gods creation during the rut but I assure you that the vast majority of 4 1/2+ year old deer typically don't and should have no reason to run, they know when the does come into heat, they don't have to battle for them and more often than not a doe will damn near come to them when she is ready. Also, last year, I had a 3 day stretch during the rut in which I seen 26 bucks and just 1 doe. Ontop of that, 2 experiences from this years rut, I seen 29 deer one day and out of those 29 deer 18 of them were bucks(not all different bucks). The other experience was on November 9th(I think) I seen 11 different bucks chase 4 does pass my stand. You bet your ass it made for some exciting hunting but for the next 5 days, hunting was piss poor at best with just a couple deer sightings. This was not just the case with me this year, I know many who had damn near similar experiences and have been experiencing it for a couple years now.
We're simply killing too many does and the does are our regenration source. The bucks can't find does to breed, so they run all over hell....even the big ones. It makes sits during the rut very hit and miss, to some it may seem that the rut never really even takes place or gets kicked up real good. The rut is there, it's there every year, the reason you aren't seeing it is because of the herd numbers, mainly the does. Again, this is all just my opinion. Those who are still seeing good numbers or maybe even more numbers than you did say 10 years ago are simply just lucky enough to be in the small pockets of this state that see little pressure or really don't have a lot of deer killed in the area. So yes, I do believe there are areas in the state that still hold decent numbers but it's just pockets here and pockets there.
I am not claiming to be right about killing too many does but I have personal logs and many very reputable resources across this whole state that put in just as much time in a tree as I do and hunt just as hard as I do and I get the same exact response from them. Its either "I just ain't seeing deer" or "I just ain't seeing deer like I used to and when i do see deer, I'm typically seeing far more bucks than does". Also, hop around on other hunting forums and take a look at responses on threads about how the hunting is going in Ohio, over the past 2 years. Out of say 20 posts you will likely read 2 posts where a hunter is having a great season and seeing good action but you will likely have 18 of them in which the hunter is just not seeing deer or few deer. These are people from all acrossed the state as well.
QDM is a good thing but you can't keep preaching QDM and practicing QDM and not eventually see detrimental affects to your herd. Not everyone understands QDM, not everyone understands that just because you need does eliminated on a piece of property doesn't mean all of them need to be killed and just because it is legal to kill 6 deer in Zone C doesn't mean you have to go out and do that every year. The herd in the state of Ohio is on the decrease and over the past 2 seasons it has really taken a big hit. And personally, if this winter keeps up I think we're headed for another big hit. Even tho the hunter killed numbers are down so far this year, I still think we have killed too many. Again, I personally believe that the killing of the does needs to stop. Drop the bag limit back where it was and drop atleast the extra 2 day shotgun season. Sure one could say that "well, yes Pete, we have taken more does than bucks over the years but the numbers aren't really that far apart"......I could agree with that to an extent but when you have numbers like these over and over, season after season, it's gonna have an affect......a HUGE affect!!! I'm affraid that if something is not done soon then our herd is in trouble. Not that I think that it will ever reach a state in which it is unrecoverable, I don't think it will but it could reach a level in which it could take years to rebound.
I HAVE A STRONG FEELING THAT ONE DAY, THEIR GOING TO NAME A BOW AFTER ME
Last edited by 5465; 10-17-2011 at 04:50 PM.