Yea, we had some wet weather opening weekend but there is always some sort of weather issue during the season that could be blamed for poor hunting. I'd be surprised if we don't see lower harvest numbers next year too.
I'd buy the argument if it weren't for the fact that the last 15 days of the firearms season was up as compared to last year.
And as far as lower harvest numbers next year....barring a big EHD outbreak (or some other catastrophic event), I see the numbers going back up to the 120,000-125,000 range.
But you still went out on the good days to attempt to kill deer, correct?
Some were and some weren't. As we all know there are die hard deer hunters and so called "weekend warriors". In the past some even hunt opening morning and that was it...
The Live From The Stand went almost postless during the Christmas week until the end of the "Special Antlerless Season". Very few of even us die hards went out in that or the last of archery. I know I did not...
Joe Caudell predicted an above average year, but that prediction went by the way side with the horrendous opening weekend.
The reality is....as compared to last year we were up in early archery. Up in the muzzleloader season, up in the late antlerless season and up in the last 15 days of the firearms season ...
Day one of the firearms season was a giant train wreck weather wise, AND...no one other day in the firearms season EVER totals more than day one...It just doesn't happen and it can't all be made up.
It is a interesting idea for sure! Being in it would take a bit of getting used to, as you would have to feel very exposed to the deer...
I wonder if the fabric is as durable as it is on other models they make?
I came across this bit of info on the durability of the fabric (after I asked the question of course).....
When I first heard about this product, I figured the SurroundView material would have to be porous and flimsy. It’s neither. Originally used for outdoor patio awnings, it’s heavy, tough, and made to withstand bright sun and bad weather. The practical advantages are obvious, but it also makes for a much better hunting experience.
I've thought for a long time that most "standard" size rifles are too long of pull for the average guy (whatever that is). I know my Ruger M77 is a bit long for me. You don't notice it at the range when you have just a shirt or light jacket, but when you have all your hunting clothes on it can be an issue. If the new Savage system allows something on the short side of standard, then I think it's a great idea. My 358 Hoosier is built on a youth model Savage 110, and it's a perfect fit when I have a few layers on.
I've run into the same thing. A 14" length of pull is fine during the Summer months when shooting, but come hunting season, with heavy clothes and maybe a pack on, it's too long for me and as such, while I'm way past being a "youth", that sized gun just fits me better...
In the end, I think what we'll find about this year's harvest numbers (when compared to last season) will be...
Youth will likely remain steady to up a bit...
Archery will be up.
Muzzleloader will be up.
Late antlerless will be up a bit.
Firearms will be down, but when the numbers are looked at it will only be the opener (IMO due to the statewide weather event that day) that will be down. Days 2-15 will be up significantly, but not enough to offset being down 19,000 deer on the opener.
So the final total will end up around 114,000 which will equate to about a 5% decline for this season as compared to 2016's numbers.
What about next year? Barring a major shift in season dates and length, a huge Winter kill or major EHD outbreak, I think 2018 ends up between 120,000-125,000 deer.
So if it wasn't the weather, then what do you think it was?
I'm merely staying away from definitive statements I cannot point to actual proof outside of speculation. Personally....if we could hit replay button and have good weather on the opener I believe we break 120K honestly. However...that cannot be proven obviously.
I went back and looked @ the numbers for every opening day of firearms for the last 8 seasons. The average harvest on opening day was 24,750 deer. The worst opener in that period was 2013 and it was still almost 21,000 deer.
This year, the opener (using rough data) was roughly 6,000 deer. Other than the weather, I don't know what else explains it.
Per DNR. The reason bonus antlerless limits are set high is to create the illusion that herd numbers are good to encourage hunter's to shoot more. Wouldn't lowering those limit's have the same reverse effect in creating a illusion that herd is not good and hunter's in turn would shoot less? HHHMMMM. Late antlerless is a deer reduction tool period. (That's straight from DNR as well) If we are in a maintenance phase than it's not needed. (Just another week long firearm season.) Personally never participated and can safely say never will
I can't say in your case, but in many cases I think that this line from your post above...
(Just another week long firearm season.)
illustrates what many people's main issue is with Indiana's deer season.
They don't like the firearms season structure in the state, and don't look @ the late antlerless season as a deer reduction tool, they look @ it as "just another firearms season"...
The "late special antlerless season" is only in counties that DNR believes more antlerless need to be taken out. We can argue till the cows come home if their method of figuring that is correct or not, but it is what it is. As far as I know they use the same method that was in use decades ago when they grew the herd.
The "late antlerless season" is a management spigot than can be turned off and on easily.
Antlerless harvests are declining because the doe population is declining is my take on statistic's. I agree the current population level is going to be more of the norm and I do not expect any major changes coming from DNR. I have spoke with Joe via email couple months ago and he said expect lower bonus antlerless limit's as yes we are entering a maintenance phase. I do expect some counties , esp. Northern to see bonus tags reduced to level's that would allow for some growth. (But we will have to wait and see.) Just because DNR and/or deer Biologist make those recommendation's doesn't mean that's what will happen as others have a say in the number bonus tags.
If herd reduction is working, there will be lower numbers of antlerless deer being harvested. On that point we agree.
But even if the DNR lowers every county to a 3, it won't have a major impact on herd numbers as any hunter can purchase an archery tag, muzzleloader tag and crossbow tag and kill three antlerless deer if they so choose without ever purchasing a bonus antlerless license. If they then choose to kill does with a bonus antlerless license they can purchase 3 of those as well to use anytime during the season. It would keep hunters out of the late antlerless season, but it would just move the harvest around, not lower it.
That has been the thing that I've tried to get across to people who think the late antlerless season is THE problem with deer management in Indiana. It's not, IMO.
boonechaser I don't have any objection if county antlerless quotas all dropped below 4 (say 3 or less). Shoot the number of hunters this would impact is so incredibly miniscule that is isn't worth having IMO as I can still hunt does late season with my bow if I still have solid numbers and could justify going after one without the late season firearms season on antlerless.
If all counties were to drop to 3 thus eliminating the late antlerless I believe you might be surprised on the impact. Remember it is accumulative impact year after year. Just a mere 5000 less doe harvest x 5 years x offspring increase from year to year is a big number. Everyone says the deer reduction program began in 2012. But I argue it began long before that when bonus system was first introduced and to be honest our deer herd needed reduced. Personally I don't ever see the deer herd getting to population number's that we had in late 1990's early 2000's in my lifetime at least.
With all due respect, I don't think it would have much of an effect @ all...
I went back and looked @ the data from three seasons....2009,2012,2016.
In 2009, the total number of antlerless deer killed was 79,772. Of that number, 59,053 were killed during the firearms and muzzleloader seasons (as there wasn't a late antlerless season that year). That total (59,053) equates to 74% of the total antlerless harvest that season.
In 2012, (the first season after the reg changes), the total number of antlerless deer killed was 90,312. Of that number, 63,825 were killed during the firearms, muzzleloader AND the late antlerless seasons. That total (63,825) equates to 71% of the total antlerless harvest that season.
In 2016, the total number of antlerless deer killed was 67,694. Of that number, 49,355 were killed during the firearms, muzzleloader AND the late antlerless seasons. That total (49,355) equates to 73% of the total harvest.
Point being...(on a percentage of total antlerless harvest basis), that number has totaled somewhere between 71-74 percent of the total antlerless harvest (for the three seasons, I cited) with a firearm whether that season included a late antlerless season or not.
In other words, it certainly appears that there aren't more antlerless deer being killed (as a percentage of total antlerless harvest) with a firearm because of the late antlerless season, it has just spread the number of antlerless deer killed with a firearm out...
FWIW, I went back and checked from 2009-2016.
Before the reg change in 2012, the percentage was 2009-74%, 2010-75%, 2011-74%, for an average of 74%.
Since 2012 (after the reg change), the percentage was 2012-71%, 2013-69%, 2014-68%, 2015-69%, 2016-73%, for an average of 70%.
So in actuality, the percentage of antlerless harvest with a firearm has actually dropped a bit since 2012, even with the addition of the late antlerless season...
Finally...I don't think the IDNR is looking to increase the herd. My understanding is that they wish to stay in more of a "maintain" mode @ this time.
Early archery had a extra 7 days and late antlerless had additional 6 days I think. All speculation aside we are down for second year in a row. Obviously the planned herd reduction plan has worked. Myself am hoping for continued lowering of bonus antlerless tags. Ideally dreaming my county be lowered to a 3 just to get out of late antlerless season. End day there will be a 2018 Deer Season and work and plans already are underway.
If you look @ the last 4 years we have complete numbers for (2013-126,000, 2014-120,000, 2015-125,000, 2016-119,000), the yearly harvest has averaged about 122,500 deer per season. Is that down from the years before that? Yes, but that was the goal with herd reduction. Point being...it shows a pretty steady harvest number over that period of time.
As far as this year goes, if you look @ the numbers for the opening weekend of the firearms season, it's impossible to not see the impact the weather had. There was a 20,000 drop as compared to last season and for hunters to be able to make up that much of the deficit during the other seasons is impressive IMO.
Next...when you look @ the recent history of the late antlerless season, the DNR drops counties out of the late antlerless season every year and I'm sure they'll drop a few more next season.
Finally...(and for FWIW), here's my prediction for next season. If there isn't a big change to the regs, and barring some major issue like a huge Winter kill, a major EHD outbreak, (or another firearms opening weekend with weather like we had this year)...I think the harvest will go right back up to the 120,000-125,000 range next season...
Well...I'd say 113,000 is a given. Last time I checked, the number posted was 112,962. We've also surpassed last year's antlerless total of 4,202 with a total this year of 4,497 (based on rough data of course).
I think that if not for the lousy weather on the opening weekend of firearms season, we might have have topped last season's total harvest, this season. What do I base that on? The rough data posted so far...
Early archery was up roughly 5,000 deer as compared to last season.
The last 14 days of the firearms season was up roughly 8,500 deer as compared to last season.
The muzzleloader season was up by roughly 2,000 deer as compared to last season.
And now, the late antlerless season is up 300 deer as of 7:30 pm on January 7.