Hunting in Deer Yards

longbow

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I heard rumors after last season that there were outright slaughters in deer yards due to the heavy November snows in Maine. Cars parked "6 deep" and crawling with hunters, slaughtering the bucks. People were petitioning the game department to close the season to save the deer. True or false?
 

Kingman Cruncher

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I heard rumors after last season that there were outright slaughters in deer yards due to the heavy November snows in Maine. Cars parked "6 deep" and crawling with hunters, slaughtering the bucks. People were petitioning the game department to close the season to save the deer. True or false?
I can confirm more than one person I am knowledgeable about contacting the MDIFW to express concerns.

I can confirm that in 2 places I am familiar with in a Jackman, there were cars lined up nose to tail on the hot top where hunters were accessing a yard. In a normal year, no one parks or hunts here.

I can confirm in and around the larger yard in Jackman there was 10x the people hunting it. Now the deer were there and the hunting was hard elsewhere, so it drew people.

In Rangeley my friend we hunt with said the yard and travel path along the Kennebago River there was hardly a place to park. Guys everywhere. On a popular podcast a big woods hunter telling his story talked about like 5 other guys tracks on his buck including bumping into a guy before he shot his buck.

As for the slaughter, there were not many more deer shot as compared to prior years, but the last 2 weeks of rifle and one of ML I can almost say for certain the bucks were all shot within a mile or so of the yard as I know lots of the names on the board. The forks was similar. On the flip side, there wasn’t much for deer left in the woods.

Call it what you will. I have no interest in shooting a buck standing up to its chest eating cedar someone cut and piled up for it, or shooting one in my backyard because that’s where they live all winter. For those that spend any time in Jackman in the winter, they know these deer live right on Main Street on people’s driveways and parking lots because they feed them.

If you want to shoot a deer like that, have at it if it’s legal, but I’m not going to be giving you a high five.
 

Big D

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Ah yes a topic I'm still trying to forget. Yes it happened. Yes it's legal. If I'm not mistaken, by the 3rd week the state had not reached their harvest goals. By the end of it all, 2 and 3 weeks later, total harvest goals were exceeded. Go figure. I'm not sure Maine puts together a detailed report like NH so I'm not sure about age classes/ quantities for specific areas but common sense would say buck harvests would be up especially in areas without any deer permits. There was 30 inches on the ground 3rd week and it was a long winter. Not sure what that means for this year but I guess we'll find out in a few months.

No high fives from me either.
 

mowbizz

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When I first heard about the "yard hunting" I couldn't believe anyone could be so desperate to kill a buck to go shoot one like fish in a barrel...pretty disgusting, even if legal. No high 5s here either.
 

JDK

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Our Inland Fisheries Council representative was contacted at the end of the rifle season to close deer hunting. He told me that there were some issues in Ashland, Portage, and Allagash.

That said, in 2018, the overall buck harvest statewide was down from 2017. The overall doe harvest exceeded management goals BUT there was also a big increase in any deer permits.

https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/2018-Deer-Harvest-Summary_website.pdf
 

NH Hunter

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Maybe the people feeding and creating the habitual, predictable travel patterns should be reminded it's example one why feeding wildlife isn't "helping them"???? Let deer be deer........
 

longbow

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So, late November, deep snow, deer moving to, or in yards. I would imagine that they be easy to approach and get a shot at?

Wouldn't the deer still be moving to predictable areas even without feeding? I would think the feeding would concentrate them even more though.

I have never been up to Maine in the winter.
 
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mowbizz

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Maybe the people feeding and creating the habitual, predictable travel patterns should be reminded it's example one why feeding wildlife isn't "helping them"???? Let deer be deer........
I don’t think “those people” that feed the deer like clockwork every day and attract hundreds to their dooryards care about what goes on outside their little deer farm...they just want them to be there...I don’t get it ...must be expensive to buy that feed?
 

NH Hunter

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So, late November, deep snow, deer moving to, or in yards. I would imagine that they be easy to approach and get a shot at?

Wouldn't the deer still be moving to predictable areas even without feeding? I would think the feeding would concentrate them even more though.

I have never been up to Maine in the winter.

I watched it happen for a seven year cycle here in my town. There are still a few stragglers that hit the same women's lawn at first snowfall even though she hasn't fed the deer In 5 or 6 years. I've written about this many times on the forum. I counted 39 dead deer on the side of the road over a 3 year period. I never went over the bank, or up the hill as she had her 5 acres posted. I can tell you it wasn't odd to see 40-60 deer before dark after the first snow fly. Her yard was NOT a natural deer yard. It seemed like every deer from Kearsarge Mountain and Ragged Mountain took advantage of her selfishness and ignorance upon the first flake flying.

So think about it taking place for 6 years..... every skipper was brought there, or followed the migration to there. It's what they knew. What they didn't know is where the natural yards were. That's a lot of deer being mislead. Now imagine it's been going on for 25 years or longer in places like Jackman or Pittsburg NH. It should be illegal, or if not illegal the people who chose to feed to "help" should be liable for the deer. $1,000.00 a head for every deer found hit by a car, coyote kills within X amount of feet from a grain pile, or every winter kill found with Acidosis (sp) or malnourished bones once cracked open. I bet you'd see the "help" get cut way down, and people would let deer be deer.

That's my .02 on the matter. Again, I've watched It happen, and almost had many accidents on the corner where they crossed. The most nerve racking was probably responding to a fire call on a Dec. evening around 8pm , riding shotgun and come around the corner to 15-20 deer crossing the road coming up over the bank from the river. I have no idea how the guy driving didn't hit one, or wreck the engine.

This wasn't just my opinion. Many wardens visited this woman begging for her to stop. They brought plenty of logic and literature to educate her, yet she continued. It wasn't until the Col. took time out of his day to inform her how tired of it he was. In the beginning the best they could do was put up a "deer crossing" sign. I spoke with my police chief, as well as the fire chief go inform the woman that she might have to live with the feeling of getting someone killed should there be an accident on the corner. They wanted nothing to do with that. It's bullshit, plain and simple. Stop feeding them, or if people feel the need, hold them financially responsible for getting "my deer" killed. (sarcasm for those who may have missed it)
 
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NH Hunter

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I don’t think “those people” that feed the deer like clockwork every day and attract hundreds to their dooryards care about what goes on outside their little deer farm...they just want them to be there...I don’t get it ...must be expensive to buy that feed?
It's attention. "Look at me". I can't stand any that do it, but hunters doing it are worse then the anti hunters who do it. The hunters should know better. They're the same guys that will want to kill every coyote for being a coyote, just to save "their deer" so they can kill it next year. Some of our own make us look like knuckle dragging simpletons. I'm beyond tired of having to waste my breath defending it. It's on them to smarten up, not on me to defend it and keep quiet about it..
 

willy13

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I hunted in Errol NH last Nov. way too much snow to track deer..hip deep snow...Errol doesnt have a ton of deer...its not the ideal place to consider sitting in a tree stand all day...I found where two migration trails intersected, and I spent two full days in a tree stand...saw 21 deer...woulda killed a nice 8 pt the first day, but my firing pin was froze solid...went back the next day, and shot a 8 point...felt like I was in ohio...
 

longbow

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Last year we were hunting Thanksgiving week, northern Maine. We had heard that there was a deer yard in a certain spot. On Sunday while we were scouting before our hunting week, we drove down a road that was near the yarding area and notice a heavily rutted trail coming from up on the hill and heading down. I knew it was very thick down there and we had our usual spots to hunt so we never went back. I am kicking myself for not hanging a trail camera on the trail! Or maybe sitting on the trail? I would think sitting on a trail, migration path, leading to a yard would be ethical. I always say we have to improvise and adapt to changing conditions and be flexible, but we might have missed the boat on that one! May not happen again for many years.

As it was, we had a great week and chased some bucks around in the deep snow. Most of them I don't think knew they were being chased though, we were so far behind. lol
 
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longbow

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I hunted in Errol NH last Nov. way too much snow to track deer..hip deep snow...Errol doesnt have a ton of deer...its not the ideal place to consider sitting in a tree stand all day...I found where two migration trails intersected, and I spent two full days in a tree stand...saw 21 deer...woulda killed a nice 8 pt the first day, but my firing pin was froze solid...went back the next day, and shot a 8 point...felt like I was in ohio...
Any pics?
 
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Kingman Cruncher

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To add context to my post, when I reference yards I’m not talking about a wilderness stand of cedar or spruce, im talking lawns and 1 acre wood lots between gas stations and homes. Does it make a difference? Only you can decide but For me it’s a difference between taking a buck coming off a mountain range to check a yard for does, v one standing in the open thinking it’s winter waiting for the next grain scoop in the driveway.

I once talked to a now retired local Game warden in Rangeley and he said the best thing these Harding town could do was to just close hunting in town limits. He was always furious with guys hunting across the street from the local preserve end of the season in the yard.
 
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willy13

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I was hunting in the hardwoods..migration trails coming off the mountains...they really had no option to walk the trails only...deer yard by the Andro river..
 
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