All summer we have been monitoring our fields, food plots, and woodlands for deer population, and our conclusion is that the fawn survival rate is way down this year. I can only guess that this is due to the high bear population. Bears do raise cane with newborns left by their mothers when they leave them to feed. I have three different bears on my cameras from June through September, and even one bear can comb a large forested tract clean of any food. In any case, we are setting up to hunt bear next fall. We had a similar situation with coyotes several years ago, shot a bunch, and the problem seemed to go away. I'll keep you posted.
This year we have instituted Quality Deer Management Standards to our camp. By this, I mean we have researched what that means, and implimented whatever parts of it would seem to apply to our area. Since we are under fairly light hunting pressure, the simple rule is, shooting does OK, shooting bucks with less than eight points is not.
This rule is being found hard to swallow by some camp members who do not often get deer. For those of us that regularly harvest two or three, it is no big deal. I sympathize with hunters who resist the change. After all, some of my campers are truly in it for the meat they can place in the family freezer. But as you can see from past summer and fall postings we have many four and six point, two and three year olds, and we have regularly harvested them over the past ten years or so. This year we are letting them live so that they may join the ranks of the more seldom seen eight, ten and twelve pointers we do love to bring in. I hope to increase exponentially the handsome trophys hunters at LRDC bring in. I will keep these rules in place a minimum of three years before I try to measure success/change.
These rules are not cast in stone. A first time hunter, a far traveled guest, or youth on their first hunt, hey, take what you will...get hooked, become a lifelong addict to nature and hunting. THEN we'll clamp down on you! (-:
You can see in the pictures a four,
and eight point buck.
The six and eight point do spar a bit,
and also you can see in the darkest picture, a Fisher. This is a little guy, I'd guess ten/fifteen pounds...
For those of you who do not have them in your part of the country, they too take fawn after fawn for dinner. Here in Northern New England, we call them the Wolverine of the East. They are tough to the core, fearless, and they never give up. I have live-trapped them, and driven them miles away to free them, and they never, ever, stop attacking the cage they are in. They average 15-20 pounds, but can reach double that. And when they do, they are nothing to mess with. While moose hunting with a LRDC pal several years ago about twenty miles North of camp, we saw the biggest Fisher either of us had ever seen. Comparing this one to weights of beaver and other animals I have had more experience with, I'd have guessed this one at about 40 pounds. Any game warden would scoff at that but my buddy, no stranger to the woods and nature guessed closer to fifty
pounds. Whatever it weighed it was huge and nasty as we watched it savagely aattack a rotten tree trunk and eat mice or some other small rodents it found. We both had scoped 30-06's on it and while it was not in season, I did feel an urge to take it, just to prove that they get that big. When I trapped them, even the smallest was eager to take on my 100 pound Lab (who knew better) and he was no slouch for a fight!
So, Friday at noon, I light the out door fireplace, and retreat into camp to get into Scent-Lok and other gear. I'll stay in camp long enough to hear other rigs arrive, the unloading of gear, beer, ATV's and laughter and raucous greetings, before we sign the log as to what stand we are headed for, and head out, Winchester Featherwight 30-06 in hand...