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Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? #8593674 05/08/22 01:29 PM
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This week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Game voted to enact emergency measures to close three controlled deer hunts around the state, losing nearly 1,000 deer tags. The decision comes amid a growing number of resolutions by state wildlife agencies to reduce tag numbers due to concerns with drought, habitat loss, and disease.
Two other states recently issued decisions to decrease deer and pronghorn tags statewide. Wyoming voted to decrease tags by 11,300, and Utah recently voted to decrease its general season buck tags by 1,000, claiming concerns over its current drought conditions.
“We’ve got urban sprawl, conversion to agriculture…climate issues, drought, huge wildfires, and all those things together just seem like death by a thousand cuts,” said National Wildlife Federation sporting director Aaron Kindle in a recent interview.

The decision to decrease tags by state wildlife agencies isn’t necessarily an unusual event. It’s very common for state agencies to fluctuate in the number of tags they release annually.

The bigger concern is the trends behind these decisions, including decreasing populations of mule deer and pronghorn and the continued loss of habitat throughout many western states.

Days Without Rain

more:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/u...mp;cvid=0be5a291e8f1438992503667fd2796e3


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8593781 05/08/22 03:57 PM
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Sure, other states may reduce tags to prevent overhunting when conditions don't support larger populations. They will also increase tags when the population gets too high in order to reduce overpopulation. It is how game management works.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8593790 05/08/22 04:10 PM
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If there isn’t any food, shouldn’t they increase tags to lower the population?


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8594390 05/09/22 03:31 PM
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They do to a point, but certain numbers are needed for a healthy population.
They also need to protect private lands where game tends to congregate in droughty years, irrigated lands etc.

It is a delicate balance for sure.
Many of our herds migrate so management has to look at many areas not just where they are in hunting season.

Good question hogslayer. Our species, some at least can bounce back pretty quick but others can take years . Pronghorn can have triplets and that helps a ton with their numbers, twins are most common though.
In Wyoming the public has a say in management via our public meetings and comments, they do matter. You will not find many if any hunters that want to see tags increased to numbers that knock down any species except predators. Most probably don't understand what you asked about needing to be done.
Mule deer winter range is another concern but for sure more mature bucks getting taken is not what most want.
We see some relief with our snowpack right now but spring and summer rains will be key, we need a strong monsoon this year.

Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8594547 05/09/22 09:14 PM
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I come from a farming/ranching background. In a drought, we sold cows. Hopefully before everybody else did. When graze is sparse, it can get over eaten and take years to return. Animals suffered and if there were too many, it could take a lot longer time to recover.

I think they are doing it all wrong. But, I’m not on the ground there.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8594709 05/10/22 02:12 AM
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The thing is that most of these areas that are seeing tag cuts are in a multi-year drought, but many of these places have also had EHD and other disease issues. So the local populations are already below population objectives (aka well below carrying capacity, even during drought years).

If the units were at or above objectives coming into this you would have seen tag increases during this drought to reduce pressure on the habitat.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: Fitzwho] #8594744 05/10/22 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Fitzwho
The thing is that most of these areas that are seeing tag cuts are in a multi-year drought, but many of these places have also had EHD and other disease issues. So the local populations are already below population objectives (aka well below carrying capacity, even during drought years).

If the units were at or above objectives coming into this you would have seen tag increases during this drought to reduce pressure on the habitat.


This right here.
The state can't go out and buy more wildlife, like cattle next year. Populations need certain numbers to stay viable.

It's not all doom and gloom just yet, for Wyoming anyway but late summer going into fall and winter will be key on moisture.
We've had some rain/snow lately that has helped soil moisture while not necessarily helping snowpack, but we've also seen some decent snows in the mountains late April into early May. Some basins did not get the added moisture though and are still looking pretty droughty.

We drive through part of pronghorn range that was in rough shape last winter and had the huge blizzard that took lots of game. The prairie looks good right now, greening up nicely and a good number of pronghorn are back from winter range. Hoping to see lots of twins and maybe a few triplets this spring.

Elk numbers are through the roof in Wyoming, might be some good leftover elk licenses in June.

Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: Double Naught Spy] #8594817 05/10/22 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
Sure, other states may reduce tags to prevent overhunting when conditions don't support larger populations. They will also increase tags when the population gets too high in order to reduce overpopulation. It is how game management works.

Someone should teach the fools at TPWD how this works with dove/turkey in some areas.

Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: huntingbig8] #8594894 05/10/22 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by huntingbig8
Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
Sure, other states may reduce tags to prevent overhunting when conditions don't support larger populations. They will also increase tags when the population gets too high in order to reduce overpopulation. It is how game management works.

Someone should teach the fools at TPWD how this works with dove/turkey in some areas.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: TXHOGSLAYER] #8594993 05/10/22 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by TXHOGSLAYER
If there isn’t any food, shouldn’t they increase tags to lower the population?


No, because the issue isn't that there is NO food. It is that food is much more limited.

Also, the opposite of that usually would not be true then either, lowering the number of tags to increase the population when there is way too much food (unless responding to a population crash when that actually make sense).

Also, if the population is in decline due to stresses like limited resources, you don't want to speed up the process by increasing the number of tags.

Right now, the populations are being stressed. Stress, temporary or cyclical, can be a very good thing from a population perspective. It helps weed out (kill off) those that are weak, sick, or biologically ill adapted to handle the stress. In other words, it kills off a chunk of the population that isn't apt to be able to contribute well to the benefit of the population.

Hunters tend to try to get the best whatever they are opting for, when hunting for meat or trophies, right? How many meat hunters go after the scrawniest most sickly looking deer they can find? How many trophy hunters look for an undersized buck with a poor rack? So with the population stressed, percentage-wise, hunters are going to take a disproportionate amount of the best game available - the very ones that the population wants to survive to keep the population healthy So, the lower the number of tags gives some of the best, most fit game a better chance at survival and passing on genetics to future generations. This happens while the stress even is killing off many of those individuals you definitely don't want passing on genes to the next generation, the very game hunters often will pass on if given a choice.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: Double Naught Spy] #8595049 05/10/22 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
Originally Posted by TXHOGSLAYER
If there isn’t any food, shouldn’t they increase tags to lower the population?


No, because the issue isn't that there is NO food. It is that food is much more limited.

Also, the opposite of that usually would not be true then either, lowering the number of tags to increase the population when there is way too much food (unless responding to a population crash when that actually make sense).

Also, if the population is in decline due to stresses like limited resources, you don't want to speed up the process by increasing the number of tags.

Right now, the populations are being stressed. Stress, temporary or cyclical, can be a very good thing from a population perspective. It helps weed out (kill off) those that are weak, sick, or biologically ill adapted to handle the stress. In other words, it kills off a chunk of the population that isn't apt to be able to contribute well to the benefit of the population.

Hunters tend to try to get the best whatever they are opting for, when hunting for meat or trophies, right? How many meat hunters go after the scrawniest most sickly looking deer they can find? How many trophy hunters look for an undersized buck with a poor rack? So with the population stressed, percentage-wise, hunters are going to take a disproportionate amount of the best game available - the very ones that the population wants to survive to keep the population healthy So, the lower the number of tags gives some of the best, most fit game a better chance at survival and passing on genetics to future generations. This happens while the stress even is killing off many of those individuals you definitely don't want passing on genes to the next generation, the very game hunters often will pass on if given a choice.



I guess that makes sense. Especially if the populations are already low as was reported here.


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Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: Dave Davidson] #8595069 05/10/22 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
I come from a farming/ranching background. In a drought, we sold cows. Hopefully before everybody else did. When graze is sparse, it can get over eaten and take years to return. Animals suffered and if there were too many, it could take a lot longer time to recover.

I think they are doing it all wrong. But, I’m not on the ground there.


This makes the most sense. If you are going to lose deer due to starvation you might as well harvest them. If you have enough feed for 100 deer and have 1000 you may end up with fewer than the 100 you should have managed for. A real problem Wyoming has is sheep. They eat the sage almost right down to the ground in many areas. In those areas deer and elk are pretty thin in number. Interestingly nothing is ever said about reducing the level of grazing sheep do. It seems presently Game management is not what it should be.

Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: jeh7mmmag] #8595101 05/10/22 09:16 PM
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Domestic sheep are not all over the state but yes they can be a real issue in drought years.
WG&F has to work around the grazing leases on BLM and USFS lands, they have nothing to do with setting those. They are set by the Federal gov't. The BLM and the USFS sell the grazing leases and mange them not WG&F.

Elk are not hurting anywhere in Wyoming, herds are doing really well and most are above objectives. Mule deer are hurting due to various reasons, predators and drought being the most influential I believe. We have had issues with EHD around the state for deer and pronghorn.

Lots of info will be out when Job completion reports for 2021 come out. They will have all the population estimates, habitat evaluations and reports from last fall's hunting seasons. To get all that now you would have to listen to all the season setting meetings across the state.

Re: Utah, Wyoming, and Oregon Are Cutting Big Game Tags Due to Drought Conditions. Will Other States Follow? [Re: rickt300] #8596531 05/12/22 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rickt300
Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
I come from a farming/ranching background. In a drought, we sold cows. Hopefully before everybody else did. When graze is sparse, it can get over eaten and take years to return. Animals suffered and if there were too many, it could take a lot longer time to recover.

I think they are doing it all wrong. But, I’m not on the ground there.


This makes the most sense. If you are going to lose deer due to starvation you might as well harvest them. If you have enough feed for 100 deer and have 1000 you may end up with fewer than the 100 you should have managed for. A real problem Wyoming has is sheep. They eat the sage almost right down to the ground in many areas. In those areas deer and elk are pretty thin in number. Interestingly nothing is ever said about reducing the level of grazing sheep do. It seems presently Game management is not what it should be.



You can go to sell barn in the spring and always by more cattle when you have grass. You can’t do that with deer.

Migratory deer like those in Utah and Wy are managed off age structure and fawn recruitment.

Has very little todo with sheep or domestic, the BLM and NF communists watch those stocking rates and utilization like hawks. Also remember these are migratory herds


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