Winter Visitor in Leadore

Okay, no carcasses this time. Just an old mule deer doe with the maze-running skills of a champion lab rat. We looked out the kitchen window one afternoon and she had worked her way past Bob’s gauntlet of fence panels toward the prize: the bird feeder. Once at the center of the puzzle, she has to avoid the guy wires that prevent the post from falling over. But the reward comes as she inhales the fallen millet and sunflower seeds. Problem is, it doesn’t stop there. She has been known to knock the bird feeder clear off and stomp on it.

We were careful not to go outside the house or let the dogs out while she was inside, lest she panic and hurt herself. Bob actually thought he had her outfoxed with this assembly, but no. Next day he had to improve it, which has finally done the trick. No soup for you, Muley! Bird food is for birds, chipmunks, Ratatosk the squirrel, voles and deer mice. I know, I know: we are already working on a better design so this doesn’t happen next winter. We need a taller, sturdier post that will put the feeder out of reach of a deer on its hind legs. Or something.

Next day: Outside and pissed off about it! 

MT Fish, Wildlife Parks aerial survey shows increase in Bitterroot mule deer

Result might be due to change in hunting rules-

Eyes in the sky: FWP aerial survey counts Bitterroot deer on the ground. By Perry Backus. Ravalli Republic.

The figures look good.

Poaching level surprises Oregon wildlife managers

A reason for the decline in mule deer in Oregon?

The study that found this wasn’t looking for poaching per se. It simply emerged as a very major cause of death.

Good to get this out there before wolves are blamed. There are only about 20 wolves in Oregon so far. Already the article mentioned them.

Poaching level surprises Oregon wildlife managers. AP

There were 500 radio collared mule deer in the study. The study period was 5 years. The study was between Bend and south to the CA border. A total of 128 deer died during the 5 years. Poachers got 19, legal hunters got 21, cougar got 15,8 died when hit by vehicles, disease felled 5, 4 got into non-vehicle accidents (such as entanglement in fences). 51 died of unknown causes, which would have put more into each of the previous categories.