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I take it these mule deer

I take it these mule deer units are not that good if there are so many left over tags? second season rifle looks to be oct 22-30?

I have an elk tag in this unit so I figured it would be worth while to grab a mule deer tag also. 

exbiologist's picture
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yeah, sorta

Although, they have been tweaking a lot of things for part of the Middle Park deer study on buck survival.  

The population is well over objective and the sex ratio is very high too, which means they can issue a lot of tags, but the success is pretty low and the area is already saturated with hunters, so lots of tags go to leftovers.

 

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Is there a reason the success

Is there a reason the success is low?  Is it the high altitude terrain?

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dark timber

If you can't see them you can't shoot them, and theres a ton of dark timber in those units.  The deer generally aren't in the most visible country in units like that during 2nd season.  They are just leaving the alpine country during that last week of October in order to escape before the heavy snows, but they aren't on the open sagebrush breeding grounds in the area in significant numbers until later in November.  So, in serious mountain units, 2nd season is a tough time to deer hunt. The bucks are still a good ways from the pre rut, when they start seeking out does, also making them a little vulnerable to hunters.   

Take unit 28 for example, the 5 year average buck only success rate is 23% in 2nd season, which isn't much better than muzzleloader success at 19% average. (23% is really not that bad compared to some states-it would be a trophy unit in California or an average unit in Utah).  During 3rd season, it jumps a couple points to 27%, but was at 43% last year when there was a lot of snow.  Then 4th season averaged 48%, and 79% just last year.

Unit 371, which is almost entirely wilderness, is even more interesting to look at.  Muzzleloader averaged 26.4%, presumably because the deer were still quite visible up in the alpine country.  But 2nd season only a little better at 29% (and 0% last year, probably because the hunters couldn't get at the deer, either because of snow depths, or the deer already dropped to private lands).  In that particular unit, where there is very little medium or low elevation public land, the success is actually worse in 3rd season at 24.8% on average.  In 4th season, success fell even further, with 0% last year and a 19% average.  

Another comparison:  this time lets look at a typical West Slope-Colorado Plateau type unit, where there is no alpine country, and there aren't many access problems.  62 would be a good example, but similar comparisons might exist with a lot of other units.  Muzzleloader success is way higher than units 28 or 371 because it's easy to get at the the deer's summer range because it isn't high elevation wilderness.  The only trick there is getting close enough. 5 year average success is 48%.  2nd season increases incrementally to 54%, then 3rd season jumps to 63% because the deer are a little pre rutty, and coming down into more visible country (probably), but in that particular unit you have excellent access to medium and low elevation public lands.  Then 4th season you have a lot of seeking activity, and still no access problems, and success is at 86.7%.  

 

You can infer a lot from trends like these, and is why I study this kind of stuff.  

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Thanks for the feed back.

Thanks for the feed back. That is a ton of useful information. Much appreciated!

mossbuck35's picture
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Joined: 04/29/2010
Posts: 117
Drew my first choice

 I just found out on dow website that I drew my 1st choice, I will be hunting 2nd season buck. Im pumped, I hope its my year to get a big one! Hope every body else got the tags they want Thumbs up

mossbuck35

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