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Discussion Starter #1
I was just reviewing the harvest info put out by Fish and Game for zones 28
& 29. There was a drop in both zones. What was curious what seasons
caused the drop. The Bow and Muzzleloader Season kills were all steady or
up. The 6 day shotgun and permit seasons harvest dropped dramtically. I
wonder why?

2003 -04 2004-05
Six Day Buck 210 138 Zone 28 (72 Deer)
Permit 279 226 Zone 28 (53 Deer)

Six Day Buck 159 95 Zone 29 (64 Deer)
Permit 372 339 Zone 29 (33 Deer)

Total Harvest Loss All Seasons:

Zone 28: 130 or 8.97%
Zone 29: 19 or 1.70%
 
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You have to ask why? Cause all these years hunters killed to many antlerless deer, now we are all paying the price of not seeing the numbers we saw back in the 80s & 90s....So its real simple, stop killing so many antlerless deer take 1 maybe 2, allow the others to walk, and stop hunting deer with shotgun after the New Year
 

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Couldn't have been the shitty weather could it?
 
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The only bad weather I was in was opening day of shotgun, and in my area it was snow allday
 

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The weather could have something to do with it for sure! If your going to stop hunting after December you can't limit it to shotgun. Stop ALL deer hunting! Whats the difference if you kill one with a bow, shotgun or muzzy? It's still one less deer!
 
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explaine this to me:

from January 1st till Febuary 15th the state allows unlimited antlerless deer with the shotgun, alot of these deer are bucks that dropped there racks, or BB that will have antlers come the following seasan, or does who are carrying babies

or

from January 1st till the 31st the state allows bow hunters to harvest 2 deer of either sex, we all know bowhunters are more selective then gun hunters

It all comes down to simple math, take to much of your resources and it will be all gone
 

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Look at the antlered deer harvest...lowest number of antlered deer taken since 1985, and lowest number of deer for six-day firearm since 1979. We've had other years with much worse weather, so something else has happened.

If patterns hold true, 2006 should be a banner year.
 
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What has happen is this unlimited anlterless hunting has caught up to us, we the hunters did what the state wanted, the goal has been met, now its time for both the hunters and the state to cut back on the antlerless deer, allow them to reproduce
 

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How about from Jan 1st to the 31st 2 deer with shotgun? I don't care how selective you think you are unless you get real close I MEAN REAL CLOSE like inside a doe your not going to be able to tell if she's prego! Season length is not the answer. Deer harvest numbers is! Limit the number of deer that any one hunter can take! It's that simple! If I can only take 3 deer then it really doesn't matter how long I have to take them! If we can only take 3 deer period I think we would all become more selective!
I also agree the unlimited does is not going to work because of all the deer hiding in between the houses. If I kill 20 deer on farmer Johns property it's not going to reduce the number of deer in the neighborhood down the street!
 
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lets think of the stress we are putting the herd in, they are being hunted for 6 months out of the year
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I agree that the doe limits should be trimmed. Its obvious from the TOTAL harvest across the state that there are less deer available. It just struck me that the shotgun season is where the hit was most visable. Zone 29 is a QDM zone. Been that way for quite a few years. Were the bucks taken, although fewer, better quality? If so, thats was the goal wasnt it? As for zone 28, thats not QDM. But the other season harvests (Bow, ML) were stable or greater.

Maybe less people are hunting the gun seasons? Maybe the WMAs are too crowded and people are fed up? Maybe more people are giving up shotguns and moving to other methods? Or maybe, there really is a heck of alot less deer.

I was just looking for your thoughts and some interesting debate. Thanks for the responses! Keep'um coming!
 

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Too many doe days and too much pressure from mid Dec to Feb 1st in many Zones.

The weather was real bad in Zone 2 for the shotgun week and I am sure that this reduced the harvest. Also, it seems that there are less hunters in the woods and this will continue unless we can get kids involved.

Check out NYS with the Sat opener---would be nice for NJ as well.
 

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A few years ago on the bowsite message board I started telling hunters to stop killing so many does and I the people on that board HAMMERED me telling me that I was an outlaw and an a$$hole, and saying that "we have to do what the state wants us to do and there is no way around it",guys made comments like "well if the state wants me to kill as many deer as I can then I am going have to do it" and "the state wants the deer dead so if it's brown then it's down". And hunters are STILL doing it.

I'm sure that a few of you on this site remember the conversations on that site.... So now I'm going to say it....I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!

Hunters helping the hungry is a good program but people abuse it, they shoot deer just because they have a place to get rid of it,I've heard guys brag that they have killed up to 30-40 deer, what kind of sportsman would want to shoot that many deer, I just don't get it.

Past actions are are going to haunt hunters for years to come.

The extended seasons have got to go,it's not only the hunting that hurts the deer,it's all the driving(pushes) that gun hunters do during tough winter times,you can't make the deer run all over the place day after day, week after week,when they(the deer) are trying to stay idle so that they don't burn off all of their stored fat. The more they run the more fat they burn,the weaker the deer become.

I could go on and on but thats it for now. Sorry for venting.......DBUCK
 

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I'm just glad it was not only me that had a bad year . I think BHC is dead on . Stop the unlimitted doe harvest and put a small number on it .

I love deer meat as much as the next guy but , would also like to see the 3 point rule in each zone . This will not only build up great bucks but will build up the herd number at the same time .

Just my two cents so , please dont hammer me on my thoughts .

Don
 

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I would suggest anyone with issues with the season lengths or bag limits, show up at their county Federation meetings and talk to F&G council members to let your feelings known. Also go to the F&G council meetings and talk to the deer biologists who make suggestions to the council.

I agree many areas have less deer then they had in the "good old days" but 100+ deer per square mile is probably not the best density for the deer and other species that share the woods.
 

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I agree many areas have less deer then they had in the "good old days" but 100+ deer per square mile is probably not the best density for the deer and other species that share the woods.
Joe, we're not all talking about 100 deer per square mile. In my case, I'd like to see 30 to 40 deer per square mile again, like it was in the 1980's and part of the 1990's. Now, in many area's, the State, and QDMA estimate the deer herd at 15 deer per square mile or less, and there is still unlimited anlterless tags available. The State is seeing it, they are just slow to move on it, but they will act. Two years ago, zones 35 (which has seen one of the most dramatic herd reductions anywhere in the state I'm aware of) was moved from a regulation set that allowed shotgun til the end of January, to a set that only has 10 days of antlerless gun season. That was a help, but it took them too long to act. The deer population in some parts of that zones are less than 10 per square mile.

Zone 29 is a QDM zone. Been that way for quite a few years. Were the bucks taken, although fewer, better quality? If so, thats was the goal wasnt it? As for zone 28, thats not QDM. But the other season harvests (Bow, ML) were stable or greater.

Maybe less people are hunting the gun seasons? Maybe the WMAs are too crowded and people are fed up? Maybe more people are giving up shotguns and moving to other methods? Or maybe, there really is a heck of alot less deer.
Scott, if you go back to before the 3 point restriction was put into place, you will see something that may help explain what is going on with zones 27, 28 and 29. I know for a fact, because several have been caught, that some hunters check deer in as killed in zone 28, when in reality they take bucks not legal in a 3 point (zone 35) and check them in 28. The first few years saw a dramatic decline in deer registered as killed in 35, yet a big increase in zone 28. It also happened in zone 25 (no restriction) and I imagine some of the same could have happened with 27 and 29, although zone 27 and 29 didn't decline as much. There was alot of people registering deer in a zone they didn't kill it in to get around having to wait for a buck with 3 points on a side. In my opinion, that accounts for a large part of the increase in the deer harvest numbers for zone 28 and 25, and the decrease in 35 that began shortly after the antler restriction was put in place.

The decrease in 35 specifically can also be traced to the implementation of the unlimited antlerless gun seasons lasting til the end of January. The harvest figures for zone 35 dropped from being between 1700 and nearly 2000 for seasons 1995 to 1998 to about 1200 deer in recent years...some due to out-of-zone registrations, but more due to lower deer numbers.

The herd is down in all those zones now, but the harvest went up, specifically in bow season because, in my opinion, of the EAB in the early season. Those first 3 weeks produced a BUNCH of fawns, some with buttons, some with spots, as well as does killed so that hunters could have a crack at a buck on the September feeding pattern. I like the early season, but hated the EAB rule for down here because the herd in these zones could not support it. After just two seasons of being forced to kill 'excess' deer we don't have, hunters are finding it harder to just see a deer down here in many places. That leads to hunters being less willing to p [no swearing please] up deer because they don't get shot opportunities very often. So they kill them when they get the chance, and the cycle repeats itself.

A monster was created when F & W convinced us that we could not shoot too many deer. Now that numbers are declining, that attitude has to change but that is hard to do. Another part of the problem that I hear from many people is that we pay so much for licenses...permits, more permits, etc., that hunters EXPECT to get more for their money, so limiting the number of days and deer taken will meet with alot of resistance. In other words, we are paying alot, so we should get alot.

I don't know how to fix it. There are alot of other factors that play into it as well. In some places I see the deer numbers rebounding in zone 28, but that is not good. One place in particular is a piece of woods I've hunted for 28 years. Recently, housing developments have been popping up like weeds and deer now find refuge in the small pockets in the back yards. I hunted a 98 acre piece that is bordered on both sides by houses and small (1/2 acre or so) wood lots. In the 1980's (before houses and heavy hunting pressure) we had great hunting in that woods, then came long seasons, unlimited tags, and scarce deer. Now, since houses have been popping up, the deer are coming back...but they will travel 1/2 a mile to a bean field through peoples back yards and those little unhuntable woodlots, crossing two roads in the process, instead of our 98 acres of hardwoods and laurel thickets that border the same field. They also bed in those small backyard patches, and hardly ever go in the woods we hunt, or should I say used to hunt. That place is being cleared as I type this for more houses......maybe that is why the state wants us to shoot them all while we can.
 

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I'd like to see 30 to 40 deer per square mile again
30 to 40 deer per square mile isn't a realistic number.

The maximum density tolerable for native timber species is 20-25 deer per square mile. To retain an existing healthy shrub layer, the maximum density should not exceed 10 deer per square mile.
Some where in all of this is a happy medium, because what we as hunters might want to see isn't necessarily the best for the deer population or the environment.

I miss the days of seeing 40+ deer while out hunting too, but I know that those numbers don't represent a healthy environment.
 

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I have emailed F&G many times pleading for reduced seasons/reduced buck take/QDM but it falls on deaf ears. I constantly cite succesful whitetail states like ILL and IA but usually get told it's different in Jersey. I think that things will not change and it's a matter of just adapting and making the best. If one is lucky enough to hunt some primo land and maybe even get a crack at some semi-suburban areas then you might nail a big buck.
 
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