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More Whitetail Deer Now then at the Time of Columbus?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by <*(((><, Dec 3, 2019 at 5:18 PM.

  1. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    I was watching a little bit of MeatEater last night, and heard Steve Rinella the show host state that it has been determined/thought that there are more Whitetail Deer now then there was when Columbus made it to the West Indies. What say you?
     
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  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Two words:

    Farm
    Land
     
  3. <*(((><
    • Contributing Member

    <*(((>< Luke

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    That's my thoughts exactly. There is a tremendous amount of food available to them currently. Just thought I would see what others think.

    I bet populations in the mountainous regions (some parts out west here) are relatively the same though.
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have been hearing that for some time. In my youth, killing a deer was a once in a lifetime accomplishment. Now one a week, kind of like going to the grocery store. Turkeys, too. But other game, not so much; I don't think quail are as common as they used to be.
     
  5. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    I'm pretty sure the are more whitetail now and by a large margin. In much of the mid west there is a nearly unlimited food supply. Statewide the numbers in Iowa are down from 10 years ago but still high.
     
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  6. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    Probably, but fewer of some of the other native animals at that time (Elk, Black Bear, Wolves, Mountain Lion, etc) in places where they used to range.

    Now we have Feral Hogs, oh joy..........! :(
     
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  7. Jeb Stuart

    Jeb Stuart Member

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    The reason, there is more knowledge, game management and hunting. The Whitetail, was almost non existent in Virginia right after WWll. Deer had to be transplanted from Pennsylvania to start the herd back up. Which it did and now around 200.000 animals harvested each year.

    zIG2lRo.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 7:43 PM
  8. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Since no one can prove or disprove this, here's my theory........the upper Midwest once had billions of deer, unfortunately T-Rex's were snacking on them and would have wiped them out. Fortunately the T-Rex's met their demise and deer once again thrived. Then the Buffalo herds came and pushed them out for grazing rights. Along came the trains full of buffalo hunters and the balance shifted back to the deer. When the John Deere tractor came along the food supplies got better and deer herds started to increase. But it wasn't till genetically modified crops arrived that the antlers got bigger and populations exploded.
     
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  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    The harvest rates for deer here in Wisconsin are very similar to the chart posted by Jeb Stuart. The estimated population mirrors it too. When I was a kid, there were very few deer in the southern farmland area of the state. Farmers around here went North to hunt, because there were no deer. Now they can't shoot enough of them. Used to be it took 4 hunters together to get a group antlerless tag and then you were lucky to get one every other year. This year the stae gave me 8 free ones and I could buy as many as I wanted more, over the counter. Deer have adjusted and have acclimated themselves towards humans and their Ag crops. Where once two harsh winters in a row would decimate the herd, deer are so fat going into fall from Ag crops that hard winters mean nuttin, even to bucks that ran off all their fat during rut. No more of coming upon 30-40 dead deer in a deer yard, bellies full of pine needles while they starved to death. Deer just go to the nearest house up north now and get fed "deer corn".

    Enforcement of game laws and better understanding of deer management have gone a long ways too. Since deer and hunting are such a money maker for the state, the state is making sure there are plenty of them. Deer are and always have been a "fringe" animal. Back before Columbus and the country was covered with forests, there wasn't near the "fringe" there is now. More fringe, more deer.
     
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  10. Olon

    Olon Member

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    Especially when John Deere combines came along, spreading grain seed in their wake. Once again the deer population began to thrive. Then came the common use of Case and eventually CLAAS machines, once again depleting their food supply.
     
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  11. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    There is plenty left in the field for them this year.
     
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  12. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    how about buffalo?
     
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  13. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Member

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    I remember my great-grandfather saying when he was a boy, there were no deer in Alabama... there were truckloads of deer released. His son-in-law, my Grandpa, said used to be they never saw a deer and were happy to see a deer track. Last I heard, there were 3million deer in Alabama.

    When I attended hunter ed with GA DNR in 2003, they said there were 2.5million deer in GA. At the time, there were only about 700k registered hunters in GA and we're not putting a dent in them. I don't know what the statewide population is up to now, but since they opened it up for baiting on private land, the processors and taxidermists I know have been swamped. Last several years, in my part of the state, there also seems to have been an increase in the numbers of bigger bucks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019 at 11:00 PM
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  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    How would anyone know the population of deer before Columbus? Modern firearms pretty much wiped them out till modern game conservation brought them back. That is true of raptors, buffalo, lots of species. Man is the most invasive and destructive species that has ever lived on this planet.
     
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  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    There is a lot fewer bison, that’s for sure.
     
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  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    And as I told the Sierra Club solicitor, my ancestors worked long and hard to get to the top of the food chain, and I prefer it that way.
     
  17. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Veracity is a secondary concern. It is a "factoid" that underlines the effectiveness of the North American model of conservation. It also speaks to the adaptability of many cervids. There are deer browsing lawns in the Bronx. And elk were a plains game until hunting, cattle, and the plow drove them into the mountains where they are doing rather well. In large part due to your Pittman-Robertson excise tax payments, as well as hunting licenses etc. Well done, High Roaders!
     
  18. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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    ^^^^
    When I was a youngster (preteen) we lived in the SouthEast corner of Kansas for 6 years. My Brothers and I spent a LOT of time outdoors and in the woods along the Verdigris River. We NEVER saw a deer in all that time and only once I can recall seeing a deer track. Now that area is a Meca for big whitetails. But back in the mid to late 60's you simply didn't see any.
     
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  19. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    two things have allowed deer populations to rebound and grow, 1). the elimination of natural predators (wolves, mountain lions, (and reduction of black bear and coyote)). 2). the control of human predators (hunting in certain seasons only and limits on size and sex).

    in the "olden days" shooting spots, as many as you could, year 'round, buck or doe... lead to a serious decline. its like the local pond that gets fished without regard for the future.
     
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  20. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Two more words:

    Timber
    Cutting

    Prime deer habitat are edge zones. Farming and timber cutting greatly expanded the number of edge zones from the nearly endless virgin timber stands (at least in the east). It did take establishment of game management to allow the herds to flourish.
     
  21. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    One begat the other for sure.
     
  22. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    My father was born in 1936 and grew up in south central Kansas area, near Kingman. He said it was nearly a county wide celebration when the first deer was seen "in the wild" in many years. They nearly chased it to death with vehicles in hot pursuit. Nowadays, the weekly local paper lists multiple car/deer accidents in the police blotter.
     
  23. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I started in college in Alabama in 1965. It was very unusual for anyone to even hear about someone killing a deer. It started getting better in the late '60s and early '70s. By the time 2000 rolled around, it was gorged with deer in the southern half of the state. Now they are everywhere.

    There were few whitetails in the West before the late '60s but there were plenty of "stupid" mule deer. If you jumped a muley, just get ready and he would stop before the next rise and look back to see if he was being chased. Then you just 'popped' him. Now the whitetail have displaced the muleys out of all the bottomland and muleys have declined.
     
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  24. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    I think the Depression had a lot to do with the dramatic decline. Heavy forest is considered a deer desert. No real cover or food. Get crop land with brush lots and the deer population explodes

    I had a neighbor that grew up on a farm in south central Michigan in maybe the 40’s-50’s. She saw a deer and told everyone in her second grade class. The teacher made her stand in front of the whole class and apologize for lying because deer were considered extinct. Next day her bus driver saw the deer and informed the teacher of the error of her ways.

    I can tell you that I grew up on a farm in northern Indiana in the 50’s-60’s. Saw one doe with a fawn once maybe 1960. By 1990’s, there were herds of over fifty on that same farm.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 7:38 PM
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  25. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    my gpa grew up during the depression. he said there were no deer and very little other game. skunks, mink and fox and few coons were all he could catch.

    they ate the coons and gave the foxes to his checx hired hand who would eat them..

    even way up into the 1980s the deer here had not recovered from the depression. if you saw 3 deer in the 1980s during a season yu thot yu was golden.

    now its routine to see as many as 10 deer a day.
     
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