How many deer die a "natural death"?

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Mobuck

Hawkeye
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Dec 25, 2007
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missouri
We're in the process of preparing 80 acres of CRP to return to crop production and the first step is/was harvesting the grass hay to clear the ground and encourage fresh new growth prior to a full field burn down chemical application. We finished moving the hay bales yesterday and had a considerable pile of bones collected from the accumulation of deer that had died in this field over the past 37 years. Of course, many had already reverted to natural and total decomposition so we only found those which had died within the past 5 years +/-. We're the only ones hunting this field so very slim chance this is the result of poor hunting practices. A couple are probably the result of vehicle strikes that made it into the field.
I'm guessing somewhere in the 15-20 animal range and certainly missed some that were in the brushy ditches and closer to fence rows than we mowed. Quite a few shed antlers from a 4" spike to 1/2 of a nice 8 point rack--fortunately none were found by tractor tires.
This is a high deer population area where I've seen up to 75 deer at a time flocking to the food plots after snow flies. Makes me wonder about MDC's 'efforts to reduce CWD by better population control'. We're restricted to 2 antlerless tags per hunter on that farm. Oddly enough, 2 miles away on a farm where deer are seldom seen, MDC is offering population control tags to landowners.
 

contender

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As a hunter safety instructor,, one of the things I discuss is the "carrying capacity" of land,, as well as how mother nature will add her own controls if we humans don't assist in some of it.
I've found my share of deer remains enough to know when it was "natural" vs. man assisted.
 

kmoore

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That number varies a lot out west by the winters. Colder, deeper snow, when it hits and for how long. I have never seen numbers just that it was worst winter kill or less winter kill due to conditions. I had an uncle who worked on UP rails from Pendelton to Baker city Ore. He told of spring time hillsides littered with dead deer after a bad winter. Some was elk most was mule deer.
 

Mobuck

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I'd like to see MDC push out a plan to help landowners who actually know what's going on with 'their deer herd'. One thing that needs to happen is a 'trade in discount' for doe tags. Donate a deer to "Share the Harvest" the state's locally funded venison donation program and buy another doe tag for 1/2 price. I could easily reduce my crop damages on this sort of program.
 

rugerjunkie

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Another thing that needs to happen is farmers who collect payment for crop damages need to let hunters who ask permission to hunt access to do so or else lose qualifications to crop damage payments. Not pointing fingers Mobuck…just commenting.
 

hittman

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Those of us who ride motorcycles applaud a good deer kill ….. natural or by hunter only of course.

Landowners should be able to harvest and eat or donate as many as they want from their own property.
 

fiasconva

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York County, Virginia
IMHO, I would think a lot more deer die of natural causes than ones killed by hunters. There are probably a lot of deer that are basically nocturnal that are never even seen by hunters and die a natural death undiscovered.
 

The A Team

Bearcat
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Almost got one this morning, with the company van. Where I live a ‘natural’ death for deer is usually in the headlights of a vehicle. They have plenty of food and crops to eat and there are enough houses to make hunting with a firearm dangerous to the neighbors.
 

Selena

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Another thing that needs to happen is farmers who collect payment for crop damages need to let hunters who ask permission to hunt access to do so or else lose qualifications to crop damage payments. Not pointing fingers Mobuck…just commenting.
Allowing people on your property to hunt is a judgment call. Those that are safe to have roaming with firearms generally already have a place to hunt. Those asking, especially a few weeks into the season... Enough to say our policy (for those we don't know) is references are required.
 

rugerjunkie

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Allowing people on your property to hunt is a judgment call. Those that are safe to have roaming with firearms generally already have a place to hunt. Those asking, especially a few weeks into the season... Enough to say our policy (for those we don't know) is references are required.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Once upon a time we had conservation programs that paid landowners for doing xyz and part of enrolling in the program was you had to allow hunting if asked. If the landowner developed a record of refusing people access they had to repay the program all of the payments they received and were booted from the program.

All I was saying was if a farmer wants payment for crop damage then let’s see some access for hunters to help reduce the herd. It is tax money paying for these programs is it not? I also disagree with the comment “those that are safe to have roaming with firearms generally already have a place to hunt.” Having a place to hunt is about the hardest thing to acquire and it is getting harder every year unless you are willing to shell out some big money for a hunting lease.
 

Mobuck

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"Another thing that needs to happen is farmers who collect payment for crop damages need to let hunters who ask permission to hunt access to do so or else lose qualifications to crop damage payments. Not pointing fingers Mobuck…just commenting."
Not necessarily a universal answer. In my case, we have plenty of willing deerslayers right here at home. Unfortunately, MDC has determined(although I'm nots sure how) that I should be restricted to 3 deer tags on my farm. Only 1 buck with a firearm for the season and only 2 does with a firearm per county(we farm in multiple counties but have to buy tags to hunt on land that's not 'contiguous' to our homestead). Additionally unfortunate, MDC concocted a program related to herd reduction based on amount of 'contiguous land' in the operation. So even though we own/operate 2000 acres, no single 'contiguous' area meets the minimum size of 500 acres.
The more disgusting part of this is I can get permits to kill deer during the summer AND LEAVE THE CARCASS TO ROT but I can't get extra permits to kill the same deer in November and donate them to charity. I'm fully capable of managing the number of deer on my property w/o 'help' from additional hunters but this waste of resources seems counterproductive.
Regarding the use of 'taxpayer money': MDC owns at least 5 public hunting areas within 20 miles of where I now sit amounting to several thousand acres managed for game. My taxes and deer tag purchases pay for those PLUS the thousands of dollars of crop damage and other damages related to 'the state's livestock' (you don't want to get me started on the damages caused by river otters and beavers).
 

trebor44

Blackhawk
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Dec 18, 2012
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Idaho, East of Boisemento, or is it Boisangelos
More deer are killed by developers and those seeking "paradise" here on earth. Use to have lots of deer before the housing and emigrants moved in! In particular "winter range" is now the ubiquitous sub-division here in Idaho (also Montana, Eastern WA and Wyoming to name a few places)!
 

contender

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Animals adapt to the land & when places are places off limits to proper controls,, they thrive.
My business is Animal Damage Control.
MOST of my work is inside city limits, where controls are not allowed in a traditional manner.
No hunting or discharging firearms.

Some of the biggest deer & bears I see are in places where hunting is NOT allowed for one reason or another. Plentiful too.

As for farmers,, Mobuck's explanation of how the deer management is handled shows how often people without true knowledge or understanding of the local environments fail the people AND the animals.

Places to hunt. Yes,, habitat to hunt SAFELY has been shrinking for a long time. But let's focus on the discussion of farmers, getting money for crop damage,, and the allowance of hunters to access their property.
Hunters MUST look at the problems faced by farmers.
Seek permission EACH & EVERY TIME YOU PLAN TO HUNT. The farmer may need to work a section or may have family in some places etc. Respect HIS property. I always ask; Would I want a stranger on my place w/o permission, with a firearm & most likely zero knowledge of my property? Would you?

Safety. Sadly,, there are MANY MANY people who are just not safe. They will shoot anything,, including livestock, or in the direction of a home w/o regards to anything else. As a Hunter Safety Instructor,, this is a BIG thing with me. I want to know who's on my property,, and that they are SAFE with a firearm, AND know the difference between a deer, an elk, a cow, a horse, or a goat.

I have no problem with a farmer getting compensation from the state or feds for crop damage. And if the law says they must allow hunters, fine. But hunters ALSO have a responsibility to let the farmer know that THEY can be trusted. Ask permission LONG before hunting season. Offer to visit to know where to hunt safely. Offer to show proficiency with your firearm of choice. Offer to share harvested meat with the farmer. (Most often refused due to the fact they get their own.) And above all else,,, if you get permission, do NOT assume you can bring all your buddies with you!

Access to land is a two way street.

And I can close this with the fact I recently was granted access to a large horse ranch, where the deer are a bit of a nuisance,, and they fear slob hunters. They've had issues in the past,, and yet,, upon a polite conversation with them, where I ASKED about the better places to see the deer, the property lines, the access, etc. And I volunteered to show proficiency with my handgun, (it was declined,) to let the owners & caretakers know I'll be a good steward for them. I also allowed how I'd gladly & willingly shoot a varmint (coyote, groundhog etc) INSTEAD of a deer if the opportunity was presented. No fees, private access,, behind a locked gated ranch. About 20 minutes drive from my house.
I plan on letting them see first hand my respect for them & their place. I truly hope the first critter I see is a coyote or a groundhog.
 

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