Southeast Idaho concerns

Joined
Jul 20, 2022
Messages
12
Have an OTC mule deer tag for southeast Idaho for 2023. A bit concerned about the fact that the snow seems to be beating the deer and elk herds up pretty good. Question is, do I bail on the tag and hope to get drawn in another state? Or do I keep it and hope for the best?
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
34
Not sure what unit you’re holding a tag for, but the winter is patchy here. A few places are getting beat up, but certainly not everywhere. Keep your tag, try to draw a controlled hunt tag in a unit not getting hammered, and plan on hunting either way. There will still be bucks on the landscape


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OP
C
Joined
Jul 20, 2022
Messages
12
Just doesn't seem like you want to hunt it.
Definitely want to hunt. I’m worried about the overall health of the deer herds in southeast Idaho after the impact of this brutal winter. If it were just me, I wouldn’t care but this is also my sons first big game hunt and I was hoping to give him ample opportunity to at least see deer and hopefully get a shot off at one.
 

87TT

WKR
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
2,718
Location
Idaho
So you both have tags? If so. turn yours in and concentrate on finding him a buck. Anyway good luck
 

Idagnome

FNG
Joined
Mar 7, 2022
Messages
17
So, it's been a long, cold winter here in eastern idaho (I'm on the border between SE and upper snake) but the Idaho mule deer general season isn't exactly easy to begin with. I would agree to put in for some controlled hunts. For better or worse there's been a lot of snow everywhere in the western US, so not sure your other state idea is going to be any better. If you both have a tag in the same unit in ID (congrats that's hard to do), I'd hunt it and make a memory. Maybe you don't harvest, but you get to hunt together. Also, the older bucks will be most likely to survive this winter, it will be the fawns that really don't make it. So in 2-4 years we will see an entire missing age class of bucks.

Western US Snow Water Equivalent Map
 

johnsd16

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Mar 14, 2016
Messages
277
Location
North Idaho
If you both have the same tag hunt his hard and plan to eat yours. You already have the tags and if you really are worried about the deer you holding the tag and eating it will keep another alive. Agree to put both in for controlled hunts. If he is a youth there are a couple opportunities that are youth only. If he draws just eat the tag you have.
 

npm352

WKR
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
Messages
424
Go hunt or don't go hunt, because there will be deer around. But as a SE Idaho resident, I'll tell you the reality: this winter has been worse than terrible.

In the 2016-2017 winter they collared 50 fawns in the area, and 49 died. That year put an entire age class off the mountain. It sucked.

This winter has been worse. I've plowed five times in the past eight days, to give you an idea, and it's almost April. It isn't letting up. I lion hunt and the amount of dead deer I've seen is insane. The scary part is the amount me and my friends have seen of adult deer that have starved. Usually it is only, or primarily fawns, but the adults are dying, which is extra scary. Typically, fawns die first, then old bucks who were rutting when the other deer were putting on fat.

On my way to work, I have to drive about five miles going 80 mph and I have lost count of the deer sprawled on the hills.

I still see live deer and saw several herds lion hunting yesterday.

This photo is out my window today. It is the final day of my kids' spring break.

But please remember, according to IDFG, the mountain lions are the reason deer numbers are down, and that's why they took quotas away. IMG_20230326_124033146.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2017
Messages
798
Location
Idaho Falls,ID
I can't speak for every area of Eastern Idaho, but most of it is getting hammered with snow and extreme cold. In late January we had a week of windchills that dipped to -40 to -50 below zero depending where you were. Most of the collared deer died during or shortly after that. Usually deer don't die until late February/ early March. Last year on this day I was laying on a shooting mat in shorts and a t-shirt shooting rockchucks with no snow in sight. Today, I still have almost 24" of snow in my yard and the windchill was 11°. Go hunting, but there just won't be very many deer. The F&G will try to put lipstick on a pig by telling you the deer are "high and scattered", or "close to water", but they know that most of them are already in an icy grave. Don't set your expectations too high, enjoy the trip with your son, and don't be surprised when there's very few deer. Take a fishing rod, if you get sick of staring at a deerless landscape then go catch some fish and get back to hunting!
 

Spoonbill

WKR
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
486
You can also use your non resident deer tag to shoot a mountain lion, wolf or bear. That gives you some flexibility if you aren’t seeing deer but are seeing predators.
 

sneaky

WKR
Joined
Feb 1, 2014
Messages
9,651
Location
ID
Go hunt or don't go hunt, because there will be deer around. But as a SE Idaho resident, I'll tell you the reality: this winter has been worse than terrible.

In the 2016-2017 winter they collared 50 fawns in the area, and 49 died. That year put an entire age class off the mountain. It sucked.

This winter has been worse. I've plowed five times in the past eight days, to give you an idea, and it's almost April. It isn't letting up. I lion hunt and the amount of dead deer I've seen is insane. The scary part is the amount me and my friends have seen of adult deer that have starved. Usually it is only, or primarily fawns, but the adults are dying, which is extra scary. Typically, fawns die first, then old bucks who were rutting when the other deer were putting on fat.

On my way to work, I have to drive about five miles going 80 mph and I have lost count of the deer sprawled on the hills.

I still see live deer and saw several herds lion hunting yesterday.

This photo is out my window today. It is the final day of my kids' spring break.

But please remember, according to IDFG, the mountain lions are the reason deer numbers are down, and that's why they took quotas away. View attachment 535404
Hound hunters deliberately filling female quotas early to close seasons so they'd have plenty of cats to run also played a part in that decision. Cats eat deer year round, we've got plenty of them running around.

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