Possible Closures

Fun CH
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

No wonder I don't see many deer here in the winter. Most of them head out for greener pastures.

From WDFW

"Mule deer can move long distances during spring and fall migrations to avoid mountain snow. Mule deer summering in the Cascades migrate as far as 80 miles to reach adequate winter range."
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Jingles
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Jingles »

Fun CH wrote: Mon Sep 04, 2023 9:03 am I've never flushed or had deer disturbed in the close to 40 years that I have been skiing on WDSW land. In fact I rairly see one. They seem to move into town during the winter.

I'd like to see the WDFW research that justifies the reason for the closures.

If people and deer don't mix why do so many deer hangout in town? Is it because that's the only place that they are not hunted? Snowmobiles aren't allowed on those lands anyway.

I don't think a few snowshoers and skiers are the problem here.

"Wildlife Services, a Federal Agency, Kills More Than 100,000 Animals in Washington Every Year"

"Wildlife Services has an almost $200 million annual budget and kills nearly 2 million animals every year, including tens of thousands in Eastern Washington. Yet despite its macabre work, few members of the general public know the agency exists."

https://www.chronline.com/stories/wildl ... ear,315338
Unfortunately the WDFW Commissioners do NOT follow the science even when presented by their own Biologist, an example is the science proves fewer sows are shot during the spring bear hunt but the commissioners voted to do away with the spring bear hunt to satisfy their environmentalist friends and supporters so it probably won't matter what the science says about the closing of the Game range or how it won't make any difference the Commissioners have an agenda and they will impose it regardless how the science proves them wrong
PAL
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

It was the May 17th issued of the MVN that had a small square saying the impact of winter on the herd was not that significant, this being stated by the director for our region. So what gives?

People are buying the line that it's we skiers and walkers that are the problem. Again, it is the deep snow and it is the hunting that is quite disturbing to them before winter. If we humans are the problems then start early. Oct 1-April 1.

Jingles, rest assured I would never mess with someone's traps. I know nothing about them.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

Jingles, stories like yours are good for every one to hear.

People should also know that's its illegal to harress hunters out doing their thing.

Its also illegal for hunters to bring a deer kill across private property without permission.

These laws are obviously intended to reduce conflict. The attempted closure of public land by WDSW will only increase conflict.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Jingles »

PAL wrote: Sat Sep 09, 2023 7:27 am
Is it still legal to have trap lines? I thought they weren't allowed anymore.
Pearl yes trapping is still legal but using anytype of body gripping traps is not, so now we trappers must use live traps and according to the regs must be checked so as to prevent a trapped animal from being in the trap for more than 24 hours. Which means a trapper must check everyone of his/her traps everyday, consequently trappers are packing down the trail that others that are to cheap to buy a MVSTA trail pass seem to think they can use without consequences to the trapper, then they happen to come across a trap and like you think trapping was banned and spring or even attempt to destroy a trap, which gets damn expensive ( average price for a sturdy cage trap starts in the 200.00 price range,) for the trapper and ends up causing justifiable and reasonable bad feelings for those in the area that are not trapping
The women that messed with my traps, which is a Gross Misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in Jail and or a,$5000.00 fine, the winter of 21/22 ended up costing me close to 2400.00 counting time and expenses of needing to pull my entire line thoroughly cleaning deodorizing, repairing and replacing traps, so yes I have extremely bad and nearly hostile feelings for anyone that decides to mess with my traps.
Can explain more in either different thread or PM so as to not further hijack this thread
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

And I have to agree with you Chris too. We just don't like to go where there is alot of people. The people that are skiing and walking are not what is interfering with the deer.
If the word is right, it's an oxymoron. OK, it is said there are not enough deer, yet at the same time they want to increase the herd but hunting doesn't impact the numbers. Huh?
Also, just read an article in MVN, from May this year. It said "We kept a close eye on the situation over the entire winter, said Region 2 North Central directore Brock Hoenes. But emergency feeding of wildlife is never ideal. In the end, conditions weren't as bad as anticipated for an extended amount of time, but we want to address the concern for future years. (The public called Wildlife to ask about winter feeding)

And this from the article, "Information provided by tracking collars on mule deer wintering in the area shows that adult deer were not highly impacted by winter conditions."
I think they want to increase the herd, so that there are more to hunt, so that they can sell more hunting licenses.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

Wearing bright colors and making noise didn't stop a hunter shooting right over my wife's head targeting a 2 pointer several years ago. When the hunter saw what happened did he go down the hill to see if my wife was OK?

No. He hightailed it out of there. Another hunter saw the whole thing as did my neighbor. I spoke with the hunter that witnessed the close call and he was so shaken that he had to leave the area for the day.

WDFW law enforcement showed up to investigate and if the deer was legal. Since one spike had a nub it was considered legal and since the shooter left, my neighbor was able to make use of the meat.

Most of the hunters that I speak with are decent people who respect private property and hunt according to the law. As with any activity, there are always a few out there who push the line and jeopardize Public Safety and give their sport a poor reputation.

However, lets not pretend people out walking or skiing on a beautiful fall or winter day for whatever reason, which is their right, are the problem.

If there aren't enough deer to kill during the fall hunt, don't find reasons to blame people who aren't the cause of that issue.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

Well, Jingles, I actually have to agree with you there. About way too many people. That's why we don't go to the more popular game ranges anymore. Snow conditions just haven't been right. And I don't like skiing on super packed down trails on the game ranges.
Is it still legal to have trap lines? I thought they weren't allowed anymore.
During hunting season we wear bright orange and alter our behavior. If we see hunters, we go the opposite direction. Generally we try to go where people are not hunting.
I am always alarmed when I see hunters sighting from Twisp River Rd! Idiots. Or even Elbow Coulee.
I must say since Covid, places where we used to go and would see no one, now and then we are surprised when we see someone in one of our "secret" places.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Jingles »

PAL wrote: Fri Sep 08, 2023 10:18 am
And to hunt them, when they are trying to get ready for winter...what hunter does anyone know that goes after the weakest? There are many other places where hunting can be done other than the game ranges.
Pearl
Not trying to be confrontational but with your above statement part of the problem is, this valley has become so populated in the last 30 years with people also wanting to "share the outdoors" . I am not saying it is not possible to find other areas to hunt and a lot of conscientious safety minded hunters do attempt to do just that, me included, however the areas that even as little as 10 years ago are what some considered safe and free from "flower sniffers" aren't as more and more hikers, skinney skiers and snowshoers are venturing forth into what used to be prime hunting grounds, and what (IMO) little concern for hunters or even their own safety by not wearing bright clothes, hunter safety orange/pink.
I can say that where I also enjoy and attempt to run a trap line in the winter and do make every effort to trap in areas that are out of the areas frequented by"nature observers" and some of the areas I have put traps were what could be described as challenging to get to or when I go into an area breaking trail in 2 -3 feet of virgin snow on snowshoes pulling a sled containg my traps and trapping supplies only to have people start using the trail I made and have to use everyday to check traps, making that trap line trail packed which makes those trapline trails easier and easier for others to use,until it becomes pointless for me to keep my trapline going. We won't delve into some of the people walking the trapline trail seem to think they have a right to not only use the trail but set my traps off and or spraying them with something to prevent them from functioning as the should.
Part of me says close all WDFW lands to anyone that is not either hunting, fishing or trapping, and another part says public land open to the public. Guess all I can ask for is for non hunters, trappers to respect the rights , and property of those hunting/trapping regardless how you feel about hunting and trapping.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

For us that live here, we see the effects that hunting has on the deer herds. I propose they close these areas from Oct. 1st through April 30th.
And to hunt them, when they are trying to get ready for winter...what hunter does anyone know that goes after the weakest? There are many other places where hunting can be done other than the game ranges. Yes, game ranges were created for the wildlife, but they will go where the food is and access is easier. Access is made easier by them following many a ski trail I have created out in the silent woods or on the Game ranges.

Two fawn were killed very recently at the top of Spokane Grade. Other deer have been killed. I killed one winter before last when about 8 deer came charging down a hill behind some trees, where I could not see them, and they ran into my car. I believe I heard a dog barking. Hmm.
Perhaps they should close down the roads.
Skiers, walkers, snowshoers can't impact the deer nearly as much as the very deep snow, sometimes with an icey crust.
Do the spokes people in the MVN walk these lands?
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

PAL wrote: Tue Sep 05, 2023 8:19 am
I would still think the deer are stressed from cars, from fleeing from gunshots, snowmobiles. I still maintain my walking on the land is not going to affect the deer as much as the above mentioned stressors.
One more thing I have noticed is that the deer like to follow our broken ski trail, whether on forest logging roads or in the open spaces. They find it easier to get around on them, rather than wade through the deep snow. Just another thought.
this is an important point. I came across some research done in Minnesota that doesn't mention anything about humans skiing or snowshoeing as being an impact concern.

What they do mention is deep snow is more a stressor than cold temperatures. And you are correct dear do you use our trails as do other animals. If anything we are probably benefiting them more than any other recreational group.

Except the few who don't steer clear of them on rare encounters.

I do fear that skiers and snowshoers are being made the scapegoat here for the effects over hunting is having on deer population. Killing the strongest males is probably not great for their genetic pool and survivability. And don't they still hunt females? And how many females are accidentally killed by hunters and SUV's?
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

just-jim wrote: Wed Sep 06, 2023 8:24 pm .
I wont do your homework for you, Chris.

You can look references up. You made the erroneous, un-scientific, statement that non-motorized users do not impact wintering wildlife…..so you can provide some links to support that statement (hint: you find any).

As I stated, there is a ton of research on how motorized and non-motorized winter recreation affects wintering wildlife. The research is extensive and voluminous. BTW – there is an article in this weeks MVNews, about the proposed closures, which quotes professional wildlife biologists saying essentially what I posted.

As to the quote about WDFW’s ‘mission’ – that is just that - of course they support recreation. What it doesn’t get at is why or how at least some of these lands were acquired. But since you seem to know all about it – go ahead and enlighten us.
I’ll wait……..

I was trying to add some perspective from one who worked quite a while in planning, writing of environmental analyses, and application of the science onto the ground - over a couple decades - in this exact arena. And studied the history of these lands.

Don’t like it? I don’t care. I guess your career as a builder means you have some expertise on these issues…..? 😂
But do continue to revel in your own erroneous assumptions. Doesn’t matter to me.
.
my fault I shouldn't try to have a civil conversation with you.

Thanks for your opinion though. You never seem to be able to back up anything you say with scientific evidence and seem to prefer insults and name calling. You got nothing but an opinion. If you present an argument you should be able to back it up. But hey, at least you can justify your part in the slaughter of wildlife.

And no Jim, it's clear that wdfw purchases lands on the basis of its wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. I know that you don't like it when you're wrong, but sorry, that is what is stated by WDFW.


Yea, I'm proud that building houses increased the tax base so the State could have more money to o purchase land for wildlife and peaceful recreational opportunities.

What did you do with the Forest Service when you worked there Jim?
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

MVN llsts the areas. Elbow Coulee is not one of them. That would be hard to enforce. I wonder if game cameras will be used? Perhaps they should be, then maybe they can catch the illegal snowmobilers. They have been on the eastern part of the Big Buck in the past, which is in the closure area.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by just-jim »

.
I wont do your homework for you, Chris.

You can look references up. You made the erroneous, un-scientific, statement that non-motorized users do not impact wintering wildlife…..so you can provide some links to support that statement (hint: you find any).

As I stated, there is a ton of research on how motorized and non-motorized winter recreation affects wintering wildlife. The research is extensive and voluminous. BTW – there is an article in this weeks MVNews, about the proposed closures, which quotes professional wildlife biologists saying essentially what I posted.

As to the quote about WDFW’s ‘mission’ – that is just that - of course they support recreation. What it doesn’t get at is why or how at least some of these lands were acquired. But since you seem to know all about it – go ahead and enlighten us.
I’ll wait……..

I was trying to add some perspective from one who worked quite a while in planning, writing of environmental analyses, and application of the science onto the ground - over a couple decades - in this exact arena. And studied the history of these lands.

Don’t like it? I don’t care. I guess your career as a builder means you have some expertise on these issues…..? 😂
But do continue to revel in your own erroneous assumptions. Doesn’t matter to me.
.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

Can't find a number males vs females.

However if this many mule deer are 'harvested" every year, exactly what problem is WDFW trying to solve by favoring one type of recreation over another.

"There are more than 120,000 state-licensed deer hunters in Washington, of which a large portion hunts mule deer, harvesting between 9,500 and 14,000 annually. "

I do agree that dogs should be leased. There is a sign at Lewis Butte requiring this, however I always see the dogs unleased there.

As well at MT ski trails that allow dogs, most unleashed including one volunteer checking passes.

Enforcement is required. The dogs aren't the problem, the dog owners are.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

The other BB poster claims that the ones we see grazing near the roads and in town, are not part of the larger migratory herd. I've seen large herds in the Rendezvous, not so much in winter but in the fall. I mean I counted at least 100.
Good points Chris. And links and the mission statement.
One deer killed is one less deer.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Fun CH »

mister_coffee wrote: Tue Sep 05, 2023 7:26 am So to me, based on the map, it looks like:

1. Lewis Butte would definitely be closed
2. Elbow Coulee would definitely be closed
3. Big Valley would definitely be open
4. Buck Mountain would definitely be open
5. Pearrygin Lake area would mostly be open
6. Pipestone Canyon might be open or might not

Honestly kind of hard to tell with a map at that scale. In particular I might well be wrong about Elbow Coulee and Pipestone Canyon.
That map should include all the roads.

pipe stone would be closed and the Frazer creek unit also closed.

The area that remains open, Big Valley is where I see the most deer which includes a high number of roadkill along that section of the highway. Many other deer are hanging out in town raiding bird feeders.

In the spring, large herds are seen along the west end of Balky hill road on both private and public lands.


@Jim please post links to support your claim that skiers and snowshoes have a big impact on deer.

Your other claim that WDFW lands were acquired for wildlife is not completely accurate.

https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/land-acquisitions

"The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s mission is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities"

"WDFW's rigorous review process is designed to determine which properties will best meet the state's conservation goals and recreational priorities."

@Jim., Is it good for the deer population to hunt them at a time when they are trying to Max out their winter weight in order to go into winter as strong as possible?

As far as Predators go, their hunting culls the herds of the weakest members, while man is seeking the strongest members. Remember the that year when 1,000 animals hanging in the meat locker? What impact did that have?

I also wonder about the heli-counting of the deer population when snow is covering the terrain. They fly low to flush them out of their cover just so they can count them.

And then there is the cattle grazing issue and WDFW lands used to grow Roundup Ready cattle corn. How does that practice benefit deer the way growing Alfalfa can?

From WDFW management plan.."Agricultural techniques on the Methow Wildlife Area include farming practices that provide quality forage"

There sure seems to be a lot of stressors on the deer population around here. Perhaps Banning Recreation on WDFW public lands gives the appearance that something is being done to increase deer populations for the fall Slaughter.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

Are cougars and bobcats good eating? I sure don't know but I wouldn't think so.
I still agree with you about dogs. Dog owners do not know the havoc they can cause. I think they should be leashed and their poop picked up. There are some places where it is so thick it is disgusting and it is a health hazard according to the EPA. I stopped being a Methow Trails trailhead ambassador at certain trailheads because it was so bad. People may think, oh it's just the parking lot. Oh no, it is a sh---lot.
Once again, I ask about enforcement.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Jingles »

PAL wrote: Mon Sep 04, 2023 8:16 pm I think the biggest impact is the slaying of them. But I do agree with Jingles, the dang dogs. Jingles is it lack of being able to kill the larger predators the reason for their overpopulation? which I don't agree with you on.
The largest overpopulation problem is humans. And no one is talking about that!
And your point is taken Jim. Those were created for wildlife reasons, so maybe wildlife should have the right to peaceful existance and that means not to kill them. If the lands were created for wildlife, then why kill them? The lands were most probably created for...hunters.
I've walked all over those lands in question. Are they considered public lands?
Pearl
Part of the problem with reducing the number of predators is the increasing number of humans recreating in the areas, To expound on this I used to spend the winters predator hunting but many of the areas I hunted in have become used by more and more non hunters out recreating and bringing their unleashed dogs (which also respond to my predator calls) therefore I have abandoned hunting in those areas for safety reasons of both the humans and the dogs that are allowed to run loose as soon as they are away from the trail head.
The reason I predator hunted was as a conservation measure to help keep the number of predators in check, the reason I deer hunt and bear hunt is to put meat in my freezer. Yes When given the chance I still hunt deer and bear but have chosen to use Archery equipment verses rifle, shotgun or muzzle loader and have had someone's phydough run under my stand then turn around and bark at me or other dogs that I have seen chasing does and fawns,. So yes I am a proponent to semi closing some of the areas in question and a STRONG supporter of requiring dogs to be on a 20 foot max leash at all times.
FYI other than coyotes anything I hunt now also becomes tablefare, yes that includes deer, bear, cougars, bobcats, snowshoe hares,
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

Map is crappy.
Elbow Coulee is driven through in a big way. There is a private land holding in there. All heck will break loose if they try to close it. Of course if the county doesn't plow it, no driving through it. But....snowmobilers regularly go in there. I've called it in but there is multiple land agencies that have jurisdiction in there. I usually call the sheriff or the LEO of the Forest Service. It's DNR, FS and Wildlife land in there. There is no enforcement or it comes too late.

From the other BB. Re: Side country ski terrain may close this winter.
Post by dhruss » Tue Sep 05, 2023 9:23 am

"The deer harvest in this area is focused overwhelmingly on male deer, which has the effect of reducing the overall number of deer in n the winter range, thereby reducing competition for winter food supplies and increasing the likelihood of survival for the remaining deer. Since very few female deer are harvested and the buck to doe ratio is maintained at a level that ensures that nearly all the does are bred annually hunting has little long term impact on the overall herd size. In fact in the entire history of scientific game management in North America managed hunting has never contributed to the long term decline of any game species. We should all be proud of that, and thankful. Habitat degradation, changing land use practices, and climate impacts have all contributed to the decline of many species and Mule Deer are among them. In fact they are facing severe challenges both in this valley and throughout their range.

Mule deer are an iconic species in the Methow Valley and as such deserve our concern and protection. As has been pointed out the game range was purchased by wdfw as wildlife habitat and needs to be managed as such. Accommodating wildlife isn’t always convenient or comfortable but in this case a temporary closure to support research and advance conservation seems pretty reasonable."

Ok, so the ranges need managing, which has not really been done and guess we will go to the meeting to find out about enforcement.
I would still think the deer are stressed from cars, from fleeing from gunshots, snowmobiles. I still maintain my walking on the land is not going to affect the deer as much as the above mentioned stressors.
One more thing I have noticed is that the deer like to follow our broken ski trail, whether on forest logging roads or in the open spaces. They find it easier to get around on them, rather than wade through the deep snow. Just another thought.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by mister_coffee »

So to me, based on the map, it looks like:

1. Lewis Butte would definitely be closed
2. Elbow Coulee would definitely be closed
3. Big Valley would definitely be open
4. Buck Mountain would definitely be open
5. Pearrygin Lake area would mostly be open
6. Pipestone Canyon might be open or might not

Honestly kind of hard to tell with a map at that scale. In particular I might well be wrong about Elbow Coulee and Pipestone Canyon.
:arrow: David Bonn :idea:
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

I think the biggest impact is the slaying of them. But I do agree with Jingles, the dang dogs. Jingles is it lack of being able to kill the larger predators the reason for their overpopulation? which I don't agree with you on.
The largest overpopulation problem is humans. And no one is talking about that!
And your point is taken Jim. Those were created for wildlife reasons, so maybe wildlife should have the right to peaceful existance and that means not to kill them. If the lands were created for wildlife, then why kill them? The lands were most probably created for...hunters.
I've walked all over those lands in question. Are they considered public lands?
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by just-jim »

.
It might be worth recognizing that the lands that WDFW administers were acquired for wildlife reasons, not recreation. (Those lands were acquired by a variety of means, which I wont go into here). And that it is the support of hunters - including the ‘special taxes’ they pay - that continues to fund the ongoing management of those lands.

Disclosure - I am no longer a hunter, altho I was many years ago. And, I have no issue with hunting at all.

It might also be of interest; the idea that ‘I’m just x-country skiing and cant possibly affect wintering deer’ is a very common misperception. There is considerable research in this exact topic - going back 35 or 40 years. In fact, some of that research showed there was actually GREATER impact to deer on winter ranges from non-motorized uses - as opposed to motorized uses - because of the relative AMOUNT of time each user spent in proximity to an individual deer; motorized users generally more quickly leaving the presence of animals.

I spent a LOT of time with wildlife biologists on this exact issue in the ‘80’s during forest planning efforts.

That said….yeah….I’m thinking a wide-spread closure to ALL recreation, ALL winter, is probably an over-reaction.
.
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by Jingles »

Rather than total closures I'd say close it to dogs running loose and fine those that let their dogs run loose fines starting at $1000.00 and increase the predator hunting to reduce the coyotes, and cougars. The deer herd has been struggling since the big winter kill off in 95/96 or 96/97 but WDFW won't admit to that, nor will they admit to an over population of predators, coyotes, cougars, bears and of course wolves
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Re: Possible Closures

Post by PAL »

Absolutely right Chris. You know, they close the salmon fishing when the runs get too low. How about hunting season just one season? Oh the uproar. Our economy is so dependent on hunters. Not really. They might shop a bit at the grocers, have a beer a the bar but mainly they like hanging out at their camps. They do buy gas here, but who benefits from that?
I say stop killing them. Maybe they would have time to get the herd larger.
And how will they enforce it? Signage? I think every time I see a "violator" I will call the WDFW and let them know. That ought to drive them nuts.
Of course, first their is the comment period and those comments will be looked at and then they will do what they want.
Also, I notice there were partial closings. The deer don't know the boundaries.
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