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Why so many seasons?

Discussion in 'Big Game Hunting Forum' started by ALLSTAR 1, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    ALLSTAR 1,
    I believe I answered your question in a general sense in the second paragraph of my first post. The reason that separate seasons continue to exist in certain areas or states is a different question altogether. Why don't you ask the Missouri Department of Conservation that question? Do you go to the local annual meetings? Do you know who your local wildlife biologist (not Conservation agent - they are law enforcement personnel) is? Do you know where he/she works and what their area of responsibility is?

    Season, bag limits, game management units, etc. exist for the purpose of distributing hunters and hunting pressure and for distibuting harvest. They are flexible within certain parameters (breeding, weather, other recreational interests, etc.). Talk to your local wildlife biologist...they will tell you why things are the way they are and where there might be opportunity for change or alteration.

    Bobwhite quail is one of many species of concern. You can slam me for my expertise and knowledge all you want (we're used to it), but the quail issue is not a 'hunting issue', it's a habitat issue. You seriously want to blame declining quail populations on state wildlife managers when they have very little, if ANY, impact on private land management on a large scale?

    And now you think you have the answer for deer management...as long as it's done the way YOU want it done...let bow hunters shoot 2 deer that "they recover"? Set deer season for 30 days? Issue limited antlerless permits (they already ARE limited...that's why there are quotas)? What are your biological justifications for these?

    Don't complain about supposed increased pressure on the resource then refuse to give your Conservation Agent a name to see if an adjacent landowner is compliant with the law or not.

    Looking at the regulations, you can hunt deer in Missouri from 9/15 - 1/15. If this were continuous, it would be 4 months, not 5. And what is wrong with having long seasons with lots of opportunity to get out and hunt if the resource can handle it? Again, if you think your wildlife folks are out to 'kill all the deer off' you are sadly mistaken.

    What do you base your opinion of "excessive harvest" on? I would suppose you are seeing fewer and fewer deer on your property or wherever you hunt. Have you investigated through thorough scouting the factors that might be responsible for this? Are deer numbers really down that much or have they moved? Have adjacent landownders altered habitat in such a way that they are holding more deer than your property or area is? There are a lot of factors and managers can't manage everyone's "40". Wildlife is managed on a landscape basis (one of the reasons for game management units or ecological management units). What happens in micro-habitats is mostly beyond their control.

    Talk to your local biologist and be prepared with well though-out questions. they will be glad to talk to you and explain things to you and take your input into consideration. That is their job.
     
  2. ALLSTAR 1

    ALLSTAR 1 Elite Refuge Member

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    in Missouri is down 47000! The lowest since 1993! The deer biologists had meetings in Boone co and other places. Whitetail unlimited plus myself and others pleaded with them to change the regs as much as two years ago and NOTHING was done.. so much for hunter input. They cancelled the meetings because they did not like what they were hearing or the "argumentative attitude of those attending".

    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/12/28/4717636/goodbye-and-good-riddance-to-2013.html

    re; quail; why isnt the perfect habitat on huge mdc areas full of quail if that is the reason? Something ?? predators, chemicals, something ?? Find out what it is really is?

    Re; I never said any of the activity I mentioned was illegal, I am saying it should be given the low numbers of deer in the state. MDC encouraged a culture of kill the deer please. Do not buck hunt; kill does, give the meat away if you don't want it. If the farmer is losing a few bushel of beans shoot em and leave em lay.. why should any one care if the resource is diminished in the eyes of many.. they are about as low as snow geese, I guess...
     
  3. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    From the MU Extension Service:
    Harvest regulation

    Harvest regulation is an essential part of sound management principles for white-tailed deer, not only to keep deer populations in relative balance with their food supply but also to keep populations in relative balance with the cultural carrying capacity. Where food is abundant and deer are healthy, a sustained but regulated harvest maintains healthy conditions and prevents overpopulation. In areas where deer are overabundant and food supplies are limited, increased harvests of antlerless deer may be necessary to prevent further damage to the habitat and a decline in deer quality.

    Regulated either-sex harvests are necessary for proper herd management. Buck harvest alone cannot control a growing population. A reasonable harvest of bucks and does will assure a healthy population for the future.

    Missouri is home to about 1.4 million deer. Deer abundance varies across the state, depending on the quality of the habitat and hunting patterns in an area. Hunting is the leading cause of deer mortality in most of the state. Each year hunters take about 40 to 70 percent of the antlered bucks and up to 25 percent of the does. Thus, hunting is the primary factor that governs deer abundance.

    Hunting mortality of does is the single most important factor that governs whether a population increases or decreases. Due to the fact that one buck can breed with many does, the buck segment of the population can remain at lower levels without affecting reproductive rates. This can be shown by simulating a population of deer under various buck and doe harvest rates. For instance, a harvest of 10 percent or 40 percent of the bucks from a herd will produce very little difference in the overall growth rate of the population; however, similar harvests of does would affect the growth of the population.

    If hunting mortality is eliminated (with other mortality and reproductive factors remaining the same), a deer population increases at a very rapid rate, nearly quadrupling in size in a matter of 10 years. However, growth at this rate could not continue indefinitely. As the population increases, it will eventually reach and exceed the land?s biological carrying capacity (Figure 11).

    Proper management of a deer population is accomplished by regulating harvests to keep deer populations below biological and cultural carrying capacity, and managing habitats through sustainable practices to make an area more favorable to deer.

    The appropriate level of deer harvest can be determined only after a variety of information on the population is obtained. Managing a population is difficult without knowledge about the sex and age ratio, productivity, and condition of the herd.
     
  4. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    B]And from the Extension Service on quail - and it's not just Missouri; they are declining throughout their range for reasons wildlife biologists don't fully understand. But I bet there are some things in here that you probably aren't aware of:

    Quail Management FAQs
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    Quail Chick in Brood Habitat

    Early successional habitats have scattered plants that create an umbrella-like canopy. This allows quail chicks to move easily and forage for insects.
    Why are quail declining?
    Missouri's bobwhite quail numbers peaked in the 1950s and '60s then began a steady decline. This is because the patchwork of small farm fields with a broad array of annual crops and forages created ideal conditions for bobwhites: shrub thickets, bare ground, fields with a diversity of grasses, forbs, legumes and crops, and ungrazed woodlots.

    Is it true that turkey eat baby quail?
    A single Florida study from the 1930s noted an instance of turkeys destroying quail eggs. No biological study since has documented turkeys damaging quail nests or feeding on chicks. Turkey researchers have not found a single quail chick or egg fragment while examining thousands of turkey stomachs. In addition, scientists monitoring quail chicks fitted with radio transmitters and watching quail nests via remote cameras have yet to catch a turkey in the act. Given that literally hundreds of studies of wild turkey food habits and predation on quail have been conducted over the past 80 years, the lack of evidence is remarkable. The logical conclusion is that turkey depredation on quail is exceedingly rare, and that turkeys have no direct role in the decline of quail.

    Why have turkeys seemingly replaced quail in many areas?
    Among the changes that have hurt quail, one that relates to turkeys, is the increase in wooded land. Missouri has gained nearly 2.5 million acres of woodland since the early 1970s. These new woodlands are generally not large stands of healthy, mixed forest that provide valuable wood products or homes to forest interior songbirds. Much of this increase is comprised by small stands of less desirable trees such as cedar, Siberian elm or locusts that have encroached into once-open areas. Along with this expansion of wooded cover, turkeys have colonized parts of the state that were formally bobwhite strongholds, particularly in the traditional prairie landscapes of western and northern Missouri.

    Turkeys and quail share some habitat needs, such as grass for nesting, weedy areas for feeding and row crops and acorns for winter food. However, the trees that turkeys require for roosting can spell trouble for quail. Quail need low-growing tangles of brush and briars for protection from predators and the elements. Tall trees shade out this beneficial woody cover over time and provide strike points for predatory hawks and owls.

    Why aren?t we doing more to control predators?
    Whether as egg or adult, quail exist near the bottom of many food chains. Fewer than half of quail nests produce chicks, and more than 90 percent of those losses are to predators. In a study of north Missouri farm landscapes, avian predators took 29 percent of quail with radio transmitters attached, and mammals took an additional 26 percent. Although these losses appear alarming, quail have tremendous reproductive capacity. Given good weather and suitable habitat, quail typically bounce back from even devastating losses in one to three years.

    High annual losses to predators should not be misunderstood to mean that predation is responsible for the decades-long quail decline. Landscapes with good habitat often have high numbers of quail, as well as high numbers of many potential predators.
    Although southeastern U.S. quail plantations practice predator control and habitat management, such efforts are cost-prohibitive on a large scale. Predators are necessarily more mobile than their prey, and quickly recolonize an area after control efforts cease, making any gains temporary at best.
    Many predators prey on quail, but no one predator eats quail exclusively. As a result, there are myriad predator-prey scenarios and no easy predator management solution. Controlling one or two predators will likely only result in increased opportunities for other predator species. For example, assuming one could find a legal means to drive hawks and owls from a landscape, the result would likely be an increase in the number of small rodents, snakes, skunks and feral cats which, taken together, eat a significant number of eggs and adults. Likewise, targeting larger mammals like coyote or bobcat could favor mid-sized mammals such as fox, raccoons or opossums. Indeed, if one set out to eliminate quail losses to predators it might prove necessary to continually control at least a dozen species; not an affordable or palatable option for conservation-minded folks.
    As with the weather, a practical approach to dealing with predation is to consider it a factor largely beyond our direct control and a normal part of quail biology. The good news is that good habitat management can limit the success of individual predators. Practices that return patchiness to the landscape are a step in right direction. Maintain nesting habitat in large blocks rather than narrow strips to help confound the success of nest predators, and fell tall trees to enhance edge habitat to reduce potential perches for hawks and owls. Maintain patches of dense, brushy cover through edge feathering or shrub planting to provide essential escape cover.
    Does the weather really have that much of an impact on quail?
    If you think we get more rain than we used to, you?re right. Not only have the past four years been extremely wet, long-term weather data show that Missouri and much of the Midwest have experienced an unprecedented wet period since the early 1980s. These records also indicate that significantly more rain has fallen during peak quail nesting and brooding periods in recent years. What does this mean for quail?

    Wet nesting seasons can dramatically reduce chick production, as rainwater pooling in the bottom of a nest cools the eggs from below and kills the chicks developing inside. In addition, young chicks cannot regulate their body temperature for a couple weeks after hatching, so they must stay dry to survive. If a hen manages to keep the rain off her brood during a downpour, water pooled on the soil surface may still kill them.
    Beyond direct mortality, increased precipitation makes habitat management more challenging. Woody plants are favored by high rainfall, and even beneficial native grasses can quickly become too thick and rank to be useful to quail. The time interval between management treatments?-such as burning, disking or grazing-?needed to maintain good brooding habitat becomes shorter with increased rainfall, requiring more effort just to keep up.
    When habitat is poor, weather impacts are magnified. Quail surveys show that, despite the weather, quail numbers remain higher on areas with ample habitat, so management is especially important during periods of unfavorable weather.
    Although we can?t control the weather, we can adapt our efforts to fit increasingly wet conditions. The best approach may be to focus on maintaining good brood cover?-weedy areas with sparse grass and ample bare ground. Consider grazing, disking, spraying or modifying the timing of prescribed burns to setback thick grasses and favor broadleaved plants. Two or more such treatments in consecutive years may be necessary to get ahead of the impacts of too much rain. Maintaining idle areas, instead of planting grasses on areas where erosion is not a concern, may also help.
    Why isn?t MDC doing more to help quail?
    More than 90 percent of land in Missouri is privately owned, so private landowners are the key to improving habitat for quail. MDC Private Land Services staff work with more than 23,000 Missouri landowners throughout the state to help them achieve their land-use objectives in ways that enhance the conservation of Missouri's natural resources. Of these 23,000 private landowners, about 17,000 receive assistance from MDC with quail restoration and quail habitat. We have literally hundreds of landowner success stories. The most success seems to come from southeast Missouri, where the spring rains have not been as intense the last several years. Our surveys show that in spite of weather issues in the rest of the state, landowners who manage for quail still have more birds than landowners who do not manage their property for quail.

    In addition to technical assistance, such as habitat-management planning, MDC provides about $500,000 in cost-share funds to private landowners that go directly to quail habitat needs.
    MDC also works with several partner organizations to help deliver an average of $280,000 in matching funds directly for quail needs.
    MDC staff help private landowners apply for the more than $150 million in funds through USDA Farm Bill programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Buffers for Upland Birds (CP 33).
    MDC supports more than 30 private-land quail focus areas, where we offer additional cost-share opportunities and services, such as loaner equipment to help create quail habitat.
    MDC works with partner organizations, including Quail Unlimited, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation and Quail and Pheasants Forever, on quail restoration.
    Our research shows that the vast majority (96 percent) of landowner partners are very satisfied with the assistance MDC staff provide, and 98 percent find it very helpful
    The Department intensively manages 19 of our conservation areas specifically for quail. Quail populations on these areas are again affected by weather, but they are also affected by intense hunting pressure early during the hunting season.
    What can I do to help quail?
    If you?re a landowner, call your local MDC office and ask to speak to your private land conservationist.
    Learn more via the More Quail blog or the Covey Headquarters Newsletter.
    Join a quail-related conservation group such as the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited, Quail Forever or the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Most offer advice or funds for quail restoration projects.
    If you?re a parent, get your kids outside and teach them about nature. Go to a conservation nature center and visit conservation areas whenever you can.
    If you?re a teacher, get involved in our Discover Nature Schools Program.
     
  5. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    ALLSTAR 1,

    Point of all that is that here is a lot of information out there on what is going on in areas where our knowledge is more complete as well as information on what is being done to try to figure out what is going on in areas we don't understand.

    If meetings are cancelled because of a hostile environment and all hunters do is show up and b@#*h, I wouldn't hold them either. They don't make enough money to put up wither the verbal abuse. Why not start a campaign in your area to establish periodic informational meetings with your local personnel where hunters show up with an open mind so there can be meaningful dialogue? That way local managers can hear your concerns and offer explanations as to why things are being done the way they are. As I said before, there may be instances where the local managers might say "yeah, there's no reason we can't do that or change that".
     
  6. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    Oh...and ALLSTAR 1 if you know of farmers or others with a "kill me all" attitude that just leave them lay, you should report them as well. Missouri does have a wanton waste law...it's in your deer regs.

    You say you and Whitetails unlimited pleaded with them to change the regulations??? To do what? Based upon what? All hunters want to see more deer and most hunters think the idiots at the game department don't know what they're doing. "Can't be that many deer cuz I didn't see 'em!" EHD has been an issue in some parts of the Midwest and mid south, but that is a disease which periodically occurs in fairly localized areas (although they may be widespread at times).

    You mentioned your adjacent landowner with 40 acres. If you have and/or hunt on 40 acres, how many deer would you like to see? Let's just say you would be happy to see 10 deer. Considering there are sixteen '40's' in a square mile and, in a rural landscape with many similar hunting properties, everyone would like to see 10 deer, you would have to have more than 160 deer per square mile to make everyone happy - and this assumes 100% visibility and observation rates. Simply cannot happen on a sustained basis.
     
  7. ALLSTAR 1

    ALLSTAR 1 Elite Refuge Member

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    Since we acquired our main 1000+ acre property almost 10 years ago we have participated in every CRP program for quail offered. We have edge feathered, planted covey headquarters, built dozens of brushpiles, sprayed fescue and planted warm season grasses. We had 10+ covey of quail. I saw a single quail last april. One! not one covey, not one dozen, One! Have not seen a single covey while rabbit hunting in 2 years..We have another 130 acre property that had 5 coveys 5 years ago. Now none... Another 800 acre place with no quail..All these places have been managed for wildlife including many things specifically for quail while they are working crop farms.
    I agree that turkeys have nothing to do with quail disappearing but something is and it isnt habitat loss in our case. Hunting pressure is not it either (and I don't think it is on MDC either as no one hunts anymore...)
    We also have land in Kansas and the numbers there are dropping too... Is it possibly serecea lespedeza? I have heard the quail cannot digest the seeds. Is it a disease? I have heard that. The only area I know that has a few quail the guys kill every hawk and owl and coyote and cat they see. Should I turn them in too? They have a few quail. Is it herbicide and pesticide over use. I think that may be. Corn and beans are definitely a mono culture anymore. Lots of possible answers but why do we pay these people ... to find out!

    But this still gets off the original point. We have enough land to do some management of deer but with MDC allowing 4 or 5 months of hunting and unlimited doe tags and add in hemorrhagic disease we end up with a drastically reduced population. Missouri is down 47000 in harvest from last year which was down 30000 from the year before. What does it take to see action from the agency charged in managing the wildlife they claim is theirs.
    Duck biologists know that the best way to reduce harvest is to cut the number of days in the season. I think that is needed for our deer too.
     
  8. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    I copied the information on quail because it specifically mentions several factors beyond habitat that are completely out of anyone's control. A lot of weather- and climate- related issues have and are occurring. Although I have never managed quail myself (never lived in a state except Florida that had quail) I do know there are a lot of negative influences affecting a species that is not very hardy. All you can do is provide habitat so if and when nesting conditions and other factors turn around in quails' favour they will bring off successful clutches resulting in population increase. Game bird populations usually increase rapidly when there is quality habitat and favourable environmental conditions.

    To improve your deer hunting, if I were you I would go talk to a biologist either from the MDC or the Extension Service and find out what you can do to create habitat that holds deer on your property. You mention 1000 acres although I don't know if you own them or not. But 1000 acres should be enough to hold a significant population of deer if you have all the habitat components in place.

    With that amount of land what everyone else does should have minimal impact on your property. If you only want to hunt 2 days a year you would have a wonderful sanctuary for deer from surrounding areas as well. Then you can have your minimal harvest and minimal hunting pressure on your own land and play by your own rules.
     
  9. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    ...and no state agency claims the wildlife is "theirs". Wildlife in this country, at least for now, belongs to "the public" and is held in public trust to the state. It's the North American model for wildlife management.
     
  10. COmarshrat

    COmarshrat New Member

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    ...and no state agency claims the wildlife is "theirs". Wildlife in this country, at least for now, belongs to "the public" and is held in public trust to the state. It's the North American model for wildlife management.
     

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