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Thread: Parry Sound-Muskoka deer. What are you seeing?

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    Default Parry Sound-Muskoka deer. What are you seeing?

    Good morning, just wondering what those of you whoa re in Parry Sound/Muskoka area or have hunting property around those parts are seeing.

    I have extremely high hopes that after two very mild, short winters (relatively speaking) that the deer in this part of the province can regain some lost numbers from the previous 4 brutal winters. Looking back at some pictures from those springs and there is still a foot at least of hard snow pack in the bush in mid-late April. The last two springs have been much easier on them, with most of the snow gone by late March (and much slower starting too).

    For my part in WMU49 Sprucedale area, the neighbour at my camp saw some deer about 10 days ago already. Thats extemely rare, as they usually dont return from the winter yards until much later. Im heading out this weekend to put some cams up.

    I'll try and keep this thread updated over the year, feel free to add your observations!

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    Good to hear that deer are being spotted already. Our group also hunt in the Sprucedale area and the last few years have been slim pickens.
    Guns have two enemies................rust and government

    OFAH and CCFR member

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    been seeing a decent amount around Orrville area, good numbers of moose too!

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    I canít speak for Parry Sound or Muskoka, but up in WMU 10 mild winters can only do so much to help grow the deer herd. Loss of habitat due to logging and land clearing has had a significant negative effect on our deer population. High wolf numbers are the cherry on top of the problem. Habitat cleared for agriculture is lost forever and it will take a generation for logged areas to grow back and provide sufficient shelter.

    Gentle winters like we just had will reduce the normal over-winter mortality but, unfortunately, wonít bring the herd back to where it was 15 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Menard View Post
    I can’t speak for Parry Sound or Muskoka, but up in WMU 10 mild winters can only do so much to help grow the deer herd. Loss of habitat due to logging and land clearing has had a significant negative effect on our deer population. High wolf numbers are the cherry on top of the problem. Habitat cleared for agriculture is lost forever and it will take a generation for logged areas to grow back and provide sufficient shelter.

    Gentle winters like we just had will reduce the normal over-winter mortality but, unfortunately, won’t bring the herd back to where it was 15 years ago.
    Around here its almost entirely winter that dictates population. In that winter dictates things like predation, fetal abortion, and starvation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blasted_saber View Post
    Around here its almost entirely winter that dictates population. In that winter dictates things like predation, fetal abortion, and starvation.
    I’ve heard that some of the traditional deer yards in central Ontario, e.g. Lorring, have suffered. The importance of quality deer yards can’t be ignored when it comes to overall herd health.

    This what writer/retired MNR biologist had to say about the Lorring yard: Situated in the wilds somewhat below the French River on the Pickerel River system, east of Hwy. 69 and west of Hwy.11, The Loring Deer Yards has been one of the largest and longest lasting deer yards in Ontario. It was first identified as a deer yarding area soon after deer in central Ontario became common, around the turn of the 20th century. Severe winters, especially in 1961, wiped out tens of thousands of deer in the province, alarming many who loved deer and deer hunting. Logging, which had seemed to coincide with surging deer herds in forested areas, was on the wane. The Dept. of Land & Forests was led to believe that by replicating logging efforts, the deer population south of North Bay could be rejuvenated.

    By the late 1970’s, the Loring Deer Yard was an official MNR program. Bulldozers and snowmobiles were used to build and maintain trails to help deer move through deep snow; browse and later, other deer foods like pellets were provided; and, wolves were trapped to reduce predation.
    Studies were done and results published. Policies, directives and reports were written. There wasn’t a deer manager or biologist who didn’t know about the Loring Deer Yard and who hadn’t heard about Ernie Bain and Paddy Stillar.

    By 1988, management efforts had doubled the size of the Loring Deer Yard. In some winters, it held as many as 20,000 deer. But, time brings change. MNR(F) adopted new policies and directives. Active deer yard management efforts declined. Eventually, trail-making and feeding was a role for volunteers. Predator (wolf) control was discontinued. In recent years, deer numbers in what was once the best known deer winter concentration area in Ontario, if not Canada, have plummeted. Is the Loring Deer Yard history? Only time will tell.”
    Last edited by Sam Menard; April 14th, 2021 at 01:33 PM.

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    Our hunting property is also in the sprucedale area and we have had one or two deer on our cams hitting the salt licks for the past week or so

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    I'm not sure about this year, I havnt hunted there since 2017 , But our camp in Sprucedale had 11 deer hunters and 2 prime walker hounds last fall and both dogs didn't cut one fresh deer track. That's enough for me to keep hunting at home were I see 20+ deer a day. I do miss the big woods hunts, But not enough to miss getting skunked.

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    I'm just west of Huntsville and have deer moving through just about everyday. Last week we counted over 20 on the property at one time. Four went by my back window as I was having coffee this morning. We have only lived here for 7 months so I don't know if there are more or less deer here than in past years. Only twice have I seen a really good sized animal. For the most part they are not big. I'm going to buy a trail cam and put it out back soon. We've had a moose and a small bear go through as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frenchie View Post
    I'm just west of Huntsville and have deer moving through just about everyday. Last week we counted over 20 on the property at one time. Four went by my back window as I was having coffee this morning. We have only lived here for 7 months so I don't know if there are more or less deer here than in past years. Only twice have I seen a really good sized animal. For the most part they are not big. I'm going to buy a trail cam and put it out back soon. We've had a moose and a small bear go through as well.
    It's less then before. Significantly less. A few absolutely brutal, long, cold winters with lots of snow just decimated the herd. Literally -20 with a foot of snow in early November to -20 with a foot of snow still in late April. Snow depth well over 4 feet at its height

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