Agricultural Deer Control Program - CLOSE to camp

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by RGrizzzz, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    We recently found out a property about 2 properties over (3/4 mile at closest point) was enrolled in the PA Red Tag Program (pa.gov) this summer, and shot 26 does. (via what a neighbor "heard") The old timers in camp seem to be disappointed by this, thinking it's going to badly influence the hunting, but I have mixed feelings. The last few PA rifle buck seasons we saw a lot of does, and no bucks. During the summer, it's mostly does as well. My opinion has been that we likely need to do some QDM and harvest does to balance out the population. Has anyone else run into a situation like this? What has your experience been?

    If it has significantly negatively affected the hunting, is there any opportunity to work with the game commission/authorities to provide feedback?
     
  2. Drycreek

    Drycreek Well-Known Member

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    Twenty-six does on how many acres ? I agree that too many does is a problem. If you don’t reduce them to meat in the freezer then all they are doing is eating forage that a buck could be eating and producing more mouths. First though, you have to take inventory and have a management plan.

    When I owned a larger place than I do now I was on a state management plan. We inventoried deer by game cam and they issued me tags. The place was only 217 acres and they issued me 5 doe tags every year. I filled them the first year but never did again because I thought that was too many. The manner in which they determined how many bucks and does to take was voodoo as far as I’m concerned. I figured since I spent way more time on that place than they did that I was in a better position to determine how many deer to kill. I still believe that. I finally just didn’t sign up for the program anymore and never regretted it. We then had to use the tags on our license but that was ok with me. Only two of us hunted there and we generally took a buck and a doe each. Per my rule, the buck had to be at least 3.5 years old and preferably 4.5. During the 10 years that I owned that place I couldn’t see any apparent fluctuation in the number of deer. I’m not trying to say I’m a better biologist than the state guy was, but I think they spent their time on the larger places, and especially places where they had invites to hunt.
     
  3. Turkey Creek

    Turkey Creek Well-Known Member

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    IMO, If your not seeing bucks and habitat is not limiting its the fact that too many bucks are getting killed, not that you have too many does. The odds of a doe having a buck or doe fawn are 50/50. So if your neighbor killed 26 does then he hypothetically killed 13 up and coming bucks. With that said if a landowner has tried and unsuccessfully been unable to control crop damage by allowing hunting access during the normal seasons I am not opposed to them being able to implement other control measures.
     
  4. readonly

    readonly Active Member

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    26 does is neglible. I have trapped on farms that killed hundreds with damage permits. The fact is that massive ag crops attract huge numbers of deer. I'm not seeing any deer this bow season because the white oaks on my place are a bust. However, I know the deer have shifted to the corn fields a couple of miles away. They'll be back around November. Deer shift for food. I do think that you would be well suited to try to work with the property owner to see if your club can be incorporated into their management plan.
    One of the farms I trapped on with a huge damage kill had very little hunting. I asked about it. Said generating maybe 10k in lease fees wasn't worth the hassle of having to deal with hunters who thought they should be able to have a say in farm operations to suit their needs. Also the deer killed in summer, would probably not be in the area by hunting season anyway, after the crop was harvested. They're trying to stop the damage today, no three months from now.
     
  5. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    The nursery property is roughly 200 acres. It's a pine tree nursery, not Ag crops, so I'm slightly skeptical of any serious damage. All of the neighbors also have properties in the 100s of acres. The whole area is mountains/forest, so I kind of believe that number isn't huge. There's no local Ag. If it starts happening every year, that could be a different story. The rumor is they're already approved for when the season opens back up in February for another 30.

    Regarding not seeing tons of bucks, my opinion is that the olders bucks are smart enough to avoid properties where people are hunting. Several no longer have any hunting pressure, and that creates a challenge. Some years our guys bear hunt, which is only 2 weeks before rifle deer, which could be additional pressure. With lower doe density, maybe bucks are seeking in a bigger range.
     
  6. gut_pile

    gut_pile Active Member

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    26 does on a 200 acre ag field I wouldnt even blink an eye.

    26 does in a pine plantation where deer aren't going for food (presumably), is a lot

    How many deer do yall have per sq mile? How many do you see a hunt on average?
     
  7. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    There's a lot of resident deer on/around our property. We've never done a density survey.

    We've been in touch with the PGC, and it seems like something is fishy here. Apparently the property owners have reported no kills to the PGC, so they're illegally killing these deer. We'd like to hear from the warden regarding how they determine how many deer are allowed to be harvested, and if other property owners have input.
     
  8. Deadeye

    Deadeye Well-Known Member

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    The old "I heard what a neighbor said he heard from a guy that said he had heard, etc" may come into play here.

    If the PGC doesn't have any knowledge of Doe Tags being issued to shoot 26 Does, then there is a good chance that at least part of the story is false. IMO.

    However, Being I was raised and lived in Pa for 38 Years of my life, I saw the Boom Days of deer population where seeing 30-40 Deer on a Day's Sit was not uncommon. I personally seen over 100 filter down through a draw on a deer drive one Saturday. Looked like a John Wayne Cattle Drive.

    Also after the Season and Winter set in, where there were still crops out Reports of seeing over 100 Deer out feeding in the fields seem to happen every year or two.

    Then came the Doe Tags, and quickly followed the Bonus Doe Tags to where you could shoot up to 3 Doe. That first year I knew a Guy that filled all three of his about 50 yards after entering the woods when he shot the Momma Doe and the Two Yearlings stayed and he shot both of them too. Guys were going crazy about being able to shoot 3 does after years of almost No Doe Tags.

    I saw the herd quickly desolate into very few Deer per sighting and days. I remember one year when the Does "packed up" and every one was talking about seeing "those 11 does" that were running together and what a big deal was made of seeing that many at one time.

    We were still only allowed 1 Buck- 3" Spike or bigger.

    Eventually just after I moved they changed the rule to 1-Buck with 3-points on a side. That was when, after a few years more and bigger Bucks started being seen.

    From what I gather, still have family there actively hunting, and they are split on the results. Some like it and say the Bigger Bucks are worth it, and others hate it and say it is hard to get a youngster to go when they can sit all day and maybe see 1-3 deer. They get bored easily and just don't want to go anymore.

    My one Nephew is a great example. He was started early hunting with his Father and Me. He shot several Does and later Bucks. But he began to loose interest as he got older and saw fewer deer each sit and now I think it has been years since he has hunted with his dad.

    Shooting all the Does can provide more food for the Bucks to eat, but if you have No Does you won't have any Bucks either. Both because they will be where the Does are for Sex and as my one Uncle used to say "you shoot a Doe your Killing your Buck for next year".


    But I'm rambling now. Carry on.
     
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  9. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    There is definite proof that the property is enrolled in the red tag program, and that tags were given. What's rumor is how many deer were shot, and what were done with them. The program mandates any harvests must be reported to the PGC and deer must be properly processed. Time will tell.

    I feel like there are a lot more PA archery hunters these days, who take a significant number of deer, especially the bucks.
     
  10. jlane35

    jlane35 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with more archery hunters killing more bucks, which is leading to much less rifle season pressure. It’s both good and bad depending on how you look at it.
     
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  11. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed reading and reminiscing about the bygone glory days of big deer herds in PA.
    A few observations about the neighbors 3/4 mile away shooting all of the deer;
    1. Being very concerned about this situation sounds a lot like me, but I try to avoid obsessing about things beyond my control. I'd try to file this story and forget about it. Life's too short to clog my mind with how to program the latest electronics, and such like.
    2. It may not be true; I have observed that if an individual in the neighborhood gets excited about local events, the local wags and pranksters just invent bigger stories for the benefit of watching the individual get even more worked up. The local factory where these losers work has a policy "if you don't hear a rumor by 10:00 in the morning, by all means start one".
    3. My longterm experience observing deer movement on multiple cameras scattered across several square miles of area tells me that few deer in Pennsylvania types of habitat move or range a 3/4 mile if they have everything they need locally. My one friend has a thousand acres with excellent habitat and a high deer density. Right beside him is a thousand acres of open woods public land with low deer density. The interesting thing here that many hunters have discovered after fruitless days of hunting is that very few deer cross that property line in one direction or the other.
    So, I'd suggest that you focus on the things that you can change. Better habitat on your land. More food, more cover are the simple keys to holding deer. In deer language acreage means nothing, ten acres of thicket holds more deer than several hundred acres of open woods.
    Also, my experience is that having slob hunters on a neighboring property is often a short-term condition, these guys, whether they be landowners or, more commonly, lessees, are usually as transient as the wind, running after the latest rumored hot hunting spots and wearing out their welcome within a few years everywhere they go. Hunters who stick around for the longterm are generally the ethical ones who have an invested interest in the future health of the deer herd and care about more than just slaughtering animals and drinking beer.
    So hopefully that story isn't true but I'm predicting that (hopefully) it won't affect your success this fall. Good luck.
     
  12. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    Great points MM! I tend to agree with most of what you said. I'm old enough to remember the "big deer heard days", and frankly, I don't think the times are that much "worse" than they were in our neck of the woods. You definitely see more deer when guys are in neighboring camps. I'm curious what the opening weekend will look like this year, with both Saturday and Sunday open this year, with the pandemic hopefully on it's way out.
     
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  13. RGrizzzz

    RGrizzzz Active Member

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    As an FYI, the PGC says you can get 1 red tag per 5 acres.
     
  14. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    We get DMAP tags for our place, a landowner can get one tag for every 40 acres. They come in voucher form, which is free, then myself or anyone I hand them out to can buy a doe tag at a license agent anytime they want to, but the tags can only be filled during regular hunting seasons. We don't always use them, but they are a great management tool, if we decide in the middle of the season that we have too many deer we can go buy another tag on short notice at any time. Each tag costs $4 more than a regular doe tag.
     
  15. weekender21

    weekender21 Well-Known Member

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    We have a small Christmas tree farm that borders our place. They shoot bucks and does year round. I’d rather they didn’t but we have a high deer density and I don’t think it’s a major impact.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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