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Today sitting in my stand and enjoying the nice weather I got to thinking that things have really gone to hell for our deer in New Brunswick. I don't think it can get much worse!

I started hunting deer in 1990 but remember prior to that the great bucks being shot in the eighties. I remember the Antlerless deer program brought out in 1990 and back then they gave a lot of permits. If I recall correctly it was to increase the deer numbers. Back then we had average winters and prior to that we had average winters. We also had lots of coyotes. I remember asking lots of questions about deer and where they were shot to anybody that would listen. I became addicted to whitetail deer hunting. I skipped university on several days waking up and seeing frost and just had to go hunting instead of sitting in a classroom listening to some foreign prof ramble on about integration and synthetic division.
I think I learned more about hunting deer then my degree over those 5 years.

Every year the antlersless deer permits became less and less. The population was suppose to increase wasn't it? A simple mathematical equation tells me that if you shoot 80% male deer every year then you are going to create an unbalanced deer herd. But to this day after 20 years of managing does we end up with less deer then we ever had.

I remember reading an article in a magazine describing the growth of whitetail deer populations in North America and how everywhere it was on the rise at a face pace except for New Brunswick. New Brunswick regardless of what was put in place continued to decrease. Obviously we have no control over the reasons for the crazy decline. The experts have tried their best with what they had to work with. Our government officials are too greedy to stop the main cause of our decline. It's not the hunters ruining the herd. Even if we closed off the season for 2 years that would only save maybe 10 000 deer. The end result would still be a herd far below the numbers in 1990 when managing the deer herd for growth began. So why bother closing it??? Why bother having antlerless tags???? It doesn't do any good anyways??? The deer still end up dying off and eventually the herd is going to be gone. Here's to a great future of no deer hunting in New Brunswick.

Thanks Irving for screwing up something that so many of us enjoy! And to the govermnent that allows the clear cutting and spraying to continue. **** Heads!
 

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I completly agree, Its down right deppresing. My Family has owed a small piece of woods 80 some acres in zone 23 for many many years, My father built our current camp over 40 years ago. And there where 2 camps there prior to this one. Well Irving bassically owns everything around us. We were heart broken this deer season, to our disbelive we came accross a huge and I mean huge choppings. In the new choppings it was the best deer hunting area around us by far. Now its whiped out.Almost brought tears to mine and my fathers eyes. In the middle of the choppings you can see 3 of our blinds that they left hanging in the trees. One of witch my father build over 30 years ago. Now this years deer season has been a rite off around our hunting grounds. I managed to tag out but nowheres near MY DEER CAMP well so called deer camp.
And to top it all off I ran into one of irving guys out in the choppings and we are told that they have a 10 year plan. To cut from the current chopping back to the highway. Next year they plan to cut another area witch leads up to our land, They plan to clear cut it. The irving guy was basically telling us that our litle piece of land along with our neighbour on one side who owns more then us but still nuthen coppared to irving will be the only piece of woods left standing in the area, But itll be alright THEY REPLANT. Well itll never be alright not im my lifetime anyways and deffinatly not in my fathers. SO i to would like to thank Irving And our government for screwwing so many of US. I will never be convinced this is for the best. Not for our woods or for our deer.
 

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Irving has the balls to put up fancy signs showing a tree planter at work with some sort of bull crap saying "Growing for the Future" or some other crap. That would be like the U.S. government putting up signs in Iraq where they dropped bombs reading "Building for the Future"


Irving does not care about wildlife or the state of the forests. They may have their own wardens and biologists that say everything is fine but they are just collecting a paycheck. Dumb Dumbs!

I hope lightening strikes the plantations and burns them down. That would be sweet revenge.

We will never see it get better. It's too far gone. Unbelievable the government alowed this to take place over the last 3 decades.

I wonder if Gerry Parker wrote a book about the "Fall of the Deer Herd - 1977 to Present" if it would be for sale on every Irving gas station counter. Kind of ironic that Irving sells his other 2 books that were written about hunting in the good old days.
 

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So I am starting to get the feeling that you think Irving sucks? haha
I am not sure what the issue is here in NB. I am from NS but have lived in AB and ON. Both provinces Clearcut and spray. In AB there was a foolish amount of whitetails and they are constantly spreading north. They sure don't have much for deer yards around Edmonton. Sure they don't have the snow depth that a lot of NB has, but they have the cold which deer yards help with (sometimes 10 degrees warmer in a dense conifer stand). Their coyotes are A LOT smaller. They do not have near as many CC planted in spruce then sprayed. If deer like aspen/poplar regen then that must be why there are so many. I wish we were in the aspen business in NB, because you just cut them down and they grow back thru suckering.
It is complicated and unfortunately we can't blame one individual item, but it is combination of many. There is no doubt that the priority of the government and industry is on timber (softwood mostly) production and this leads to intensive forestry practices.

The issue over deer yards is fairly straight forward because I have seen a lot of plantations acting as deer yards in the winter. You need the feed, it is as simple as that. One way or another, a deer has to eat a lot and eat nutritious food to have 2 fawns every year and sometimes three. I have only seen single fawns this year with adult does, which I don't understand. Last winter was not that bad.
Until the forestry practices are changed, we need the farmers to grow high nutrition crops instead of poorly managed pastures that get at most 2 cuts of hay off of them. We need more alfalfa in the hay like in Alberta. enough of this timothy grass.

This won't win an essay contest but it is a few of the random thoughts floating around.
 

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I remember talking to an older gent approx in his 80s came in the shop back in the 90s and said you know tom a farmer does'nt shoot all his bulls, i think of him when i read these post and where we are today with the herd. he said this shortly after the bucks only started he was on to something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Max4

Growing high nutrition crops is only going to help a very small part of this province. This very small part also known as private land is already being pressured to the max from guys that would normally hunt crown land infiltrating into the private areas. Have you ever seen so many hunters around the farms these days. It's unreal. The deer don't have a chance. Hardly a buck makes it past 1 1/2 years old. That's pathetic! The majority of the province is not farmland. Never was and never will be. I think the reason why Alberta is doing so well is because of so much farmland giving the deer a great boost come winter. Yeah the winters are pretty tuff there also but with the great nutrition spread throughout the province is key. The northern areas where less farmland is present gets nailed just as we do when they have a lot of snow. Just look at nothern Saskatchewan 2 winters ago. They lost more then 30% of their deer herd and people were getting worried. In the farmland areas it was different.

The winters are no harder now then they were 30 years ago. The deer just don't have a place to go to anymore.
 

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I remember talking to an older gent approx in his 80s came in the shop back in the 90s and said you know tom a farmer does'nt shoot all his bulls, i think of him when i read these post and where we are today with the herd. he said this shortly after the bucks only started he was on to something.
While I agree that a farmer doesn't shoot all his bulls, I don't know of any farms that have a 1 to 1 ratio of Bulls to Cows, sometimes it's more like 1 Bull to 50 cows, so I don't think that's a fair comparison. A wild whitetail buck and a domesticated bull do not lead similar lives


I don't know how to fix our problems in NB, but at least in my eyes, killing many of the bucks is a better solution than killing many does. One doe usually has 1-3 fawns depending on a number of factors, but one buck can breed tons of does. I think we need to take a long hard look at a way to affect the coyote population, and we'll be much better off than bickering over softwood lumber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wardo,

Are you satisfied shooting spike horns and yearling bucks? If so then the system we have in place is fine. That's your choice and is completely legal in this province. If it's allowed then so be it but at the end of the day the quality of the deer herd is not good. Managing for numbers is what they are trying to do now and it has not worked. Ever since 1990 it has not worked. The forestry issue is way to large of a problem then anything we can do about coyotes. Christ they can clear a very large piece of woods in less then a week.
 

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I’m confused... Then why is it that the only closed areas to deer hunting in the Province is in the areas where there are no Mr. Irving’s?
 

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Bucknut, I don't see the connection between saying that shooting all the does is not the solution to me saying that I like shooting yearling bucks. How did you get to that conclusion? As far as that goes, I think you'd agree we would all be happier to have a population of 250,000+ even if there was a high density of small bucks. That's a problem easily remedied (See Pennsylvania). However, my comment was not meant to be pro-forestry practices, it was in direct response to Tom's comment. Please, I do not want to turn this into another Forestry 101 thread. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, not by a long shot, but here's a few of my thoughts on the matter:

It's a fact that Coyote population in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia has exploded since 1970. We have no data to say that the rapid decline of whitetails in this province has not been aided by Antler only licenses. If your solution is to allow 50,000 hunters each year to take a shot at either does or bucks during a 4 week rifle season as it used to be, that seems like a much better way to devastate the population than that. Our current system may not be bringing the population back to pre-1990 numbers, but I think it may be slowing the eradication. You simply have to look at the harvest numbers to see that it may have stabilized the rapidly declining numbers of the late 80's. Between 1985-1990 the amount of successful hunters went from 28% Successful in 1985 to 14% Successful in 1990. Between 1991-1995, it was 15%,14%,14%,12%, and 14% successful, respectively. The amount of Hunters in the woods between 1985-1990 dropped from 110K to 82K as well, while between 1991-1995 it remained pretty static. All that being considered, it looks as though from a statistics standpoint alone, the Antler-less program did halt the decline, temporarily.

We're not the only place to implement a buck-only season, and I "think" it's been proven as an effective way to increase whitetail populations. A quick Google search will lead you to studies on the feasibility of the plan. If you want to look at how quickly things can go the other way with a high doe harvest, look at Nevada. They now have a rapidly shrinking population of Deer and a ratio of 45 Bucks per 100 Deer. Since the late 1980's, the population has dropped dramatically from a high of a quarter of a million (Sound familiar?). I know this may seem like apples to oranges, but I just wanted to point out that managing Whitetail Herds is not an easy task. I don't think it's as easy as saying stop the Irvings from harvesting lumber and we'll be a-ok. It's going to have to be a combination of things. I agree that the Irvings are devastating the forests, and it's terrible, but that's not the only problem, and we need to realize that.

I'll see if I can find the study that I was recently reading on predation. It said that a Whitetail deer in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia needs approximately 30% body fat to make it through the harsh winters without starving to death. Add pressure from predation of a very healthy and exploding population of Coyotes, and that percentage goes up and up. I believe this has much more to do with our declining population than Buck Harvest.
 

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To me its a combination of all the things that we have discussed, yotes,cutting,winters,bucks only, its taken some time but now were seeing it. The older man in my shop that day was talking about killing all the breeding stock.
 

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Wardo

What I meant by what I said is that the deer are in such bad shape that what difference does it make if we make it an open season? The end result is that we won't have deer hunting in New Brunswick. Wether it be after a severe winter and just about everything dies off or if it takes 10 years.

The herd has been managed since 1990 for increasing the population and 20 years has passed and nothing done about the forestry. So I'm guessing nothing will be done in another 20 years. So why the hell bother. Might as well make it a wide open hunting season for 2 weeks. The end result may be slightly more then 5000 deer shot but at least we might start seeing buck sign and some of the bigger bucks around like we did back in the eighties.

The places you mentioned about using bucks only to increase the deer herd were not in areas where winters can kill off deer like they do in this decade. NO mature woods means no place for the deer to go here in New Brunswick. 30 years ago we had places for the deer to go and survive the winter.

It's not a matter of stopping the harvest of lumber. It's the way in which it's being done. Years ago the cuttings were smaller and selective. At least something was left behind. The cutting of wood is good for wildlife to some extent but not wiping out an entire areas and thinking the nearby animails will do fine.
 

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I don't think it's time to pack 'er in just yet Bucknut. Just a couple of years ago in 2006/2007 we had a major resurgence in the amount of whitetail in the province. It was finally looking as though we were getting somewhere, and in 2007 20% of all licensed hunters were successful. Unfortunately it was short lived and we seem to be in our worst positioning ever at this point. Last winter was mild, if we can string a few together again, we might just recover a few deer.

We can't be sure that the PC government won't do something to prevent the Forestry sector from cutting the deer yards, or from using that damn herbicide spray we all despise.
 

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With few bucks breeding lots of does, we have a lot of Bucks running themselves ragged breeding throughout November and into December. By the time the snow falls these bucks are in bad shape and aren't ready for the winter to come. I found two mature (in tact) whitetail buck skeletons this spring...no sign of broken ribs, shoulders, legs or anything. If coyotes had gotten them the bones would have been dispersed in various places. I'm optomistic, but do see problems with our current management system. I see even bigger issues with our tree harvest practices. Also, put a bounty on Coyotes like there was on Wolves.

I have seen 13 deer this fall. All does.
 

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Gents;
Not that I have a problem with an antler point restriction, kinda like QDMA on a large scale - but I don't think the numbers agree with what you guys are saying. Antler point restrictions are used where nearly 90% of the bucks are shot in any year. Do you really think the buck kill here is that high? I find that hard to believe. Also, for bucks to be "run ragged" trying to breed all the does, wouldn't they miss some if there are not enough bucks? Wouldn't this be the first clue that there are not enough bucks? Don't we know what percent of the does here are bred? that would put an end to that arguement quickly.
 

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I think as Tom said it is a combination of all the factors. I've been following deer hunting in NW Ontario now for a few years. Their deer hunting is phenomonal. Not sure how bad the winters are but they do still have big stands of softwood left for wintering areas. They also have wolves and the deer population is still flourishing.
 

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Sorry BuckNut, pretty sure New Foundland and PEI have it worse than us! Not sure what Nova Scotia is doing for managing their herd, but I know several zones are either sex. If you look on Nova Scotia hunting site they have killed way more nice bucks than nbhunting. I know the winters are very simmilar and irving is just as bad as nb and they have as many if not more coyotes than NB. So the question is why the heck are the deer dissapering from NB? Have one stand in havelock on my back 300 acre block where 2 years ago I had 5 different bucks coming in daily on camera, the next year not one and this year only one small spike buck. This year I know there are at least 9 different does up back and I have had a camera there since oct 1 with bait steady and not one other buck than that spiker! I was fortunate enough to see 5 bucks this year hunting, and be with a friend when he harvested a nice buck, but other than that nothing to get excited about. I hunt more than anyone I know as my work schedule is 48 hours on and six days off, and this year I have seen close to 50 does and 5 bucks, so if my math is right that means there are ten times more does than bucks! I agree Bucknut IRVING SUCKS!
 

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Bearhunter;

With all due respect, you can't be serious that the winters in NS are the same as here in NB. You may think that because you live in Sussex. I've lived in Truro, Bathurst, St. Stephen and central NB and there was only one winter comparable between the two provinces back in the early 2000's when Halifax was pounded by snows. Other than this, NS gets far more rain, and we get tons of snow.
 

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Bearhunter;

With all due respect, you can't be serious that the winters in NS are the same as here in NB. You may think that because you live in Sussex. I've lived in Truro, Bathurst, St. Stephen and central NB and there was only one winter comparable between the two provinces back in the early 2000's when Halifax was pounded by snows. Other than this, NS gets far more rain, and we get tons of snow.
It's not really the snow itself that kills the deer. It's the ice storms/rain we get in March that lays a thick crust on the snow. Yotes run on top, deer fall through and cut their legs to rat ****. Its the end of the winter rains and hail that kills the deer.
 
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