The truth is our mule deer herds generally are being mismanaged. Does anyone dispute this?
I think the general perception is that Mule Deer is being mismanaged in all of the western states. In Colorado they have tried several changes to the season lenghts and point restrictions to help produce more mature Bucks but the truth of the matter is they have had mixed results.
The three point restriction failed on deer for several reasons. The biggest was that many Bucks with less then three points were shot anyway and left to rot. The hunters weren’t carefull and often took long shoots at Bucks with significant horn above their ears only to find a large fork horned buck laying there when they walked up. In the area I hunt near Gunnison there also seemed to be an increase in the number of genetically inferior Bucks that grew large fork horned racks that were as big and had spreads as big as four point Bucks. They then went to three day buck seasons which seemed to help the Buck to Doe ratio but still didn’t seem to help produce more mature Bucks. This year they went to five day Buck seasons with very few buck tags (draw Only) in the third season. It is to early to tell if this will help but it definitly reduced the number of out of state hunters in the third season. I saw more Bucks this year then ever so I think that some of the things that they are trying are working except that to be ultimately successful they need to lower the number of Buck licenses period. In Colorado all of the hunts ( except Eastern plains) occur before the rut which doesn’t help in the natural selection process for breeding where the best bucks do the mating and pass on the best genes. The last factor is that it only takes one bad winter here to drastically reduce the Deer herds and set back whatever programs that the DOW has put in place to help the Deer statistics.This happened in our hunting area in 1987 and the Deer herds are just getting back to respectable.