Hunting Season in Review

From rumblings around town, this year’s deer season saw some pretty mixed reviews.

For me, the deer hunt was both exciting and disppointing..I did capture some great trail cam photos..of bucks travelling in our hunt area – but mostly during the dark hours..

Never before have I seen such nocturnal whitetail activity,  I couldn’t believe it..but hey, the trail cam doesn’t lie..the time stamp is right there to prove it!

I wish someone could come up with a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. Sure its great to see movement on the trail cams..and capture some buck shots..but it would be nicer to see some real life daytime action.

I’m not saying that every hunt camp got skunked..but from most I’ve spoken with, deer numbers and sightings were both down across the board…although deer sign on the ground appeared to be about the same..my feelings is because the buggers went nocturnal!

Our record snowfall two winters ago certainly pounded the piss out of the deer population- excuse the expression – and I suppose now we are paying the price for Mother Nature getting even.  But hey, where was the Ministry’s Emergency Winter Feeding program that year???? If ever there was a time for it..but I suppose that’s a story for another day.

Anyhow, it will certainly be neat to watch the herd ‘rebuild’ over the next few years…

BTW I’ve got lots of neat pics and vids on hand, so as soon as I figure out how to post them I’ll make them available right here!

Yours in the Outdoors..

Outdoorsguy

8 thoughts on “Hunting Season in Review”

  1. Hello Jeff

    Welcome back.Regarding the deer hunt i think the last 2 winters have been devastating for the population.Certainly 2 years ago was the worst but last year was also bad.I noticed that alot of the big bucks did not start to really breed the does till late nov to early dec.By this time we had 2ft of snow.Well by the time the big guys were done there job they were totally exhausted and had to find food and fight the cold weather.Given that they were in poor shape and also had to avoid COYOTES as well,i would say alot of them perished.I noticed alot of 4s and 6s around this year.With the lack of any real challengers any truely big boys that were left they could travel when they felt secure,and that would be at night.

  2. Thanks Paul for your insightful commentary on the deer season. You bring up some very good points, including the impact predators like coyotes have on an already weakened herd.

    As we both witnessed this year, the added stress can create behavioural changes in these ungulates, such as becoming nocturnal rather than crepuscular, and delaying the rut.

    Any way you shake a stick at it, our once burgeoning deer population has hit some hard times, and as you point out, Mother Nature is only one of the culprits.

    Thanks again,

    Outdoorsguy

  3. Im wondering if the population took a s!@# kicking with the ministry giving all those tags in lanark for nuisance deer and the farmers taking more then they should of ? Also I have talk to some people around Lanark and they have been seeing what looks like big cats {cougars } any info from the ministry about the release of cougars to control the deer population or fisher problem would like to know . ps nice to have you back Jeff hope to see ya soon thanks

  4. Personally, I think the population is fine. I can’t help but agree with Jeff. This fall I saw an inordinate amount of activity during the twilight hours which only increased as the evening progressed. Lots of does and fawns, lots.

    Usually I see a fair bit of action during the morning and even during the day. This year that was pretty slow. Not many bucks at all during daylight.

    We filled a few tags, nice meat animals. I don’t think this year’s hunt will go down in history as a bumper year though.

  5. Speaking of the ministry .I wonder how many guys filled out there survey forms correctly and honestly.Apparently,and i say this because i have a really reliable source within the mnr, that because the mnr are so short changed with funding the data that is collected through the survey is a major source of imfo that the mnr uses to decide where extra tags will be given out. So if jo blow and his gang think they can get extra tags for there area by stating they have seen all kinds of deer when in fact they haven’t, a couple of years of not being honest can have a real impact on true numbers.Now this is not the only source but you tell me when you saw the last game warden in your area.

  6. Paul, I had heard that as well. Sad but true.

    Based on a couple of small projects I did for the MNR back in the early 90’s – when money was a little less tight – I know that deer yard surveys for ex. and bio data composed much of their population estimation, but I am not sure it that the case today.

    To gain insight into accurate deer or moose numbers, let’s face it, a solid amount of biological data is required. Back in the day, we’d run transect after transect counting deer pellet groups and documenting browse. The info gave the Ministry a great indication of deer population numbers, plus with the winter aerial surveys they use to do.

    Does anyone know if these sorts of wildlife management activities are still going on?

    Thanks Paul for your comments, you raise some very important questions

    Outdoorsguy

  7. Last year when the MNR came to Ottawa to get hunters ideas about how to “fix” the moose tag system they brought
    a few biologist with them. Although I was sceptical at first, it became obvious in short order that in fact they do do
    aerial surveys and other kind of work to keep a close tab on the size of the moose herd in all WMU’s in Ontario. They also use the surveys but
    don’t rely on just one tool. I’m pretty sure they have refined the deer count as well to be fairly accurate. There may
    be pocket of more deer and other pockets of less but they seem to have their act together when it comes to counting
    wildlife. I wouldn’t trust the politicians but the people they have in the field seem to know their stuff. Take a drive out to
    Kemptvill to the MNR office there some time and ask a few questions. They are very friendly and really seem
    knowledgeable on wildlife management

  8. Thanks Iggy, I’m glad to hear the MNR are still on top of these things.

    I know the Ministry has been working hard at improving the tag draw season for moose over the past year. I also know the various tag seminars that many of you have attended looked into that issue; offering suggestions on possible improvements. Where does that stand now?

    Unfortunately, the ever shrinking budgets that many ON departments have had to deal with has taken its toll, and the MNR is one of them. The Kemptville Distirct office, for example, have lost good personnel in recent years, but continues trying to monitor our nature resources law enforcement with scant few CO’s in the field. Not sure how they do it.

    What I would like to know is how the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) is helping? I hear about all the joint OFAH – MNR projects but never really hear to what extent the OFAH is putting member’s money to good use, or how it is allocated? Anybody know??

    I realize there are a lot of OFAH sceptics out there, but I’d like to hear from both sides on this and will open up the issue in a separate Blog posting.

    Thanks again Iggy, you may have sparked a bigger picture here!

    Outdoorsguy

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