Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

June 15, 2013

Fewer W. Md. fawns survive

It’s true. Based upon a variety of monitoring techniques, what the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service calls fawn recruitment is declining.

A fawn is considered to be recruited if it has survived into the fall and winter hunting seasons.

Basically put, fawn recruitment is the number of surviving fawns per adult doe.

“We use our deer season harvest data. We age deer taken to meat processors. For 10 years we have been analyzing the observations of bowhunters,” said Brian Eyler, the agency’s deer project leader.

So what are the fawn recruitment numbers for Almost Maryland?

Eyler said Allegany County’s numbers have been basically stable, ranging from 0.6 fawns per doe in the early 1990s to a recent number of 0.4.

In Garrett County, there were 0.7 fawns per doe in the 1990s and 0.8 in 2000.

“Since then, there has been a steady decline in Garrett,” Eyler said. “This past season the number was 0.3.”

Based upon the existing deer population in Garrett and the regulations for the upcoming hunting season, Eyler said, however, that “the sky is not falling.”

Hunter behavior, Eyler said, can throw a twist into the calculation of the fawn recruitment rate. In other words, biologists may be seeing fewer fawns at butcher shops because hunters aren’t shooting them.

“There is a lot of hunting now that is based upon recognizing what you are shooting,” Eyler said. “Some hunters are trying not to shoot button bucks or trying to take only a big, adult doe for their antlerless tag. This selectivity could make the fawn recruitment look lower than it is.”

Eyler said he is not losing any sleep over the health of the deer herd in far Western Maryland.

“There are plenty of deer out there,” he said, referring to the herds as being stable and healthy.

However, the fawn recruitment rate makes Eyler concerned about any change in regulations that would increase the antlerless harvest.

Such a change would be the requirement that buck hunters kill only animals with three points on one side.

“That requirement would take 85 percent of the antlered deer killed in Garrett County off the table,” Eyler said. “The hunters who aren’t shooting a buck would shift over and take an antlerless deer. That could increase the antlerless take there by 50 percent.”

During the most recent seasons, about 1,900 antlerless deer were killed in Garrett County, according to Eyler.

Eyler said biologists just don’t have the regulation wiggle room that existed a decade ago.

It is a fact that coyotes, bears, bobcats and even fishers kill and eat fawns, according to Eyler. The difficult part is putting a number on that mortality, said Eyler, who hopes to get funding to study the predation of fawns.

In 2012, 92 bears were killed in Maryland by hunters. The most in any previous year had been 68 in 2009. A dead bear won’t kill and eat a fawn.

Eyler points out that the fawn recruitment numbers and other statistics used to gauge the health of a deer herd are similar in other regional states, all of which have varying sets of harvest regulations. “This isn’t just a Maryland situation,” he said.

“One thing we have going for us in Maryland is that our fawns are born in late May and early June, a pretty tight window,” Eyler said.

“In the south, where there is an extended breeding season, coyotes can pick off fawns for more than six months.”

The deer hunting regulations will remain the same for Region A, which includes Garrett, Allegany and the western portion of Washington counties.

One antlered deer and one antlerless deer will be allowed in each of the bow, muzzleloader and modern firearms seasons.

Regulations for the 2014-2015 and the 2015-2016 seasons will be established a year from now.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

 

1
Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outdoor editor admits making straw purchases

    I’ll admit it. I’ve made straw purchases and I’ve made them knowingly.
    I can only hope that the individuals to whom I have passed on those purchases used them wisely.

    July 12, 2014

  • 11th Maryland bear hunt scheduled Oct. 20-23

    It is getting to be that time of year when those of us who would like to hunt bears in Maryland start thinking about applying for one of the limited number of permits.

    July 6, 2014

  • Wildlife official protests more Sunday hunts in far W. Md.

    Joseph Michael believes that the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service put its regulations cart ahead of its regulations horse, at least when it comes to allowing more hunting on Sundays in the state’s three westernmost counties.

    June 28, 2014

  • Bear country bowhunters can pack

    It has been four years in the legislative making, but people bowhunting for deer in Garrett, Allegany and part of Washington counties will be able to carry handguns to protect themselves from bears. Although bow season will begin Sept. 5, the law does not become effective until Oct. 1. The law applies to Deer Management Region A.

    June 1, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The answer my friend ...

    Recently, the Times-News published
    a photograph of sea gulls that had
    landed on the parking lot at Braddock
    Square Shopping
    Center in LaVale
    My first thought
    was, “If those sea
    gulls landed in the
    Gunpowder River or
    Big Hunting Creek
    on their way here
    from the ocean I
    hope they didn’t have
    felt soles on their
    feet, otherwise they
    will spread rock snot
    to our trout streams
    in Allegany and Garrett counties.”

    March 15, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads