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Declining Mule Deer Population in the West

bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Posts: 2,614 Senior Member
This article details the differences in the population trends of mule deer (mostly in the west) and whitetail (in the east). I found it interesting, but I'd be more interested in hearing opinions from folks here about what they've seen/experienced. I haven't hunted in a while, so I can't speak intelligently on the subject.

Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.


  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Posts: 4,997 Senior Member
    Pretty spot on. The winter kill of 07/08 was vastly underestimated at 40%.loss, it was closer to 70% in many areas. People moving into winter range is also a HUGE factor. Plus high populations of elk which out compete deer in most of Colorado. But mostly, several hard winters in a row. If they don't live, they can't breed.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Posts: 5,114 Senior Member
    When I lived in Georgetown Co. the area between Idaho Springs and Loveland Pass there were lots of mule deer, cant say the same for the rest of the state. I know north of Rifle used to be loaded, last time I was up there I only saw 2-3.

  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Posts: 4,997 Senior Member
    Lots of deer where they aren't hunted lol
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 2,725 Senior Member

    Understanding wildlife management....making the correct decisions on actions to take....is as complicated as open heart surgery. There are so many factors that enter into the game that it is often very difficult to know for sure what to do. If you have an interest in this discipline, and apparently you do based on your request for opinions, then I urge you to do a little "homework" and research the writings on this subject of Dr. Aldo Leoplod, the "Father" of wildlife management in the USA. Start with his studies of the Kaibab Plateau deer population and its primary predator, the cougar or panther. I could go on and on, but I won't.....
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Posts: 8,227 Senior Member
    I'm on the fence on this issue. I see mulies where I don't expect to see them, such as on the eastern plains, and around my part of the country (look up Canon City, Co.), they seem to be thriving. We also have a huntable whitetail population. OTOH, the last time I hunted the west slope I didn't see any deer or elk.

    FWIW, seems I see more mule deer inside the city limits than any place else.

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Posts: 4,997 Senior Member
    Another thing that skews these reports is using overall state populations instead of herds. In Colorado they're broken up into about 11-12 "herds" based on summer and winter ranges. Some herds are fairing very well, others really bad. Yes overall they're on a decline but there are a few places they're thriving. A few are real close to primary management levels of 40-50 bucks to 100 does for size numbers, and 35 or so I believe, to 100 for trophy management. Like where I hunt, one if the hardest hit, but legendary herds, is sitting around 30/100 and some big boys still exist.
  • TeachTeach Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Since the recent changes regarding recreational use of weed, maybe the OP meant to say "reclining". The deer are kicked back, smoking a big doobie and saying "Ohhhhh- - - - -wowwwwww- - - - -duuuuuude!- - - - -Check out the guys in the orange hats- - - - - -!"
  • shootbrownelkshootbrownelk Posts: 2,035 Senior Member
    The mule deer herds that are in trouble in Wyoming for the most part are near oil/gas fields. They're being pushed off their winter ranges by increased energy activity. Where I hunt, we used to see scores if not hundreds of deer in the fields along rivers & creeks in the area. You can count the deer you see now, in the same places on the fingers of one hand. The G&F usually gives some BS about either drought or habitat loss, but pressure from oil/gas extraction activities has a HUGE impact. It's not going to be an easy problem to solve. The mule deer decline is happening all over the western states, resulting in far fewer tags issued.
  • Elk creekElk creek Posts: 7,926 Senior Member
    Oh yea I can't wait to be out here this fall with those idiots! The drunks are bad enough. Yippy
    Aim higher, or get a bigger gun.
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