Monday, November 18, 2002

Out this first day of regular deer season and a trespasser pushed a single doe past me. Not legal today but exciting and of course there was the anticipation that a buck would follow! Carrying the 7-30 Waters has really given me a lot of confidence as there are few places where I hunt where the ranges exceed 200 yards.

I then went to another area, this on National Forest. This area used to be a big producer. There are deer, you can see the trails but they aren't as defined and certainly fewer large tracks. Lots of small tracks, so similar that they have to be the same deer/does. This is disappointing for more reasons than personal want or desire.

I think that there are a couple of reasons for the population decline.

First and foremost is the lack of food in the area. Formerly, the USFS did more clear cutting which provided browse for deer but the environmentalists and the patterns of forest regrowth have combined to severely curtail that browse. The environmentalists have prevented new clear cuts and the old ones are now so old (20 years or more) that the amount of browse is down.

Second, poaching is up and it isn't about eating anymore. Some "older Americans", older workers for the USFS, on the Deerfield district told me that they had found some 20 deer in a pile, in a ditch. No meat had been taken from the carcasses, they had just been shot and the bodies dumped! If this is happening over a broad area, it can't help. Also, another predator is in the area, coyotes. This has also happened in the last 20 or so years. While coyotes don't concentrate on deer they do take them. I think this is having an effect as well.

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