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Thread: Deer Density per square mile.

  1. #1
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    Default Deer Density per square mile.

    I got to thinking about this and I am going to piggyback of the thread about how often deer are actually seen.One member posted a MNR figure of one deer per 2 square mile.I found this figure to be really,really low.I mean a square mile is 640 acres so we are looking at 1280 acres.

    Digging around on the net on a QDM site I found this opinion:

    [COLOR=#000000]At this point, I should probably paint a picture of the local deer population. I live in Ontario’s Wildlife Management Unit 68B. We have one of the lowest deer populations in Ontario, and we have to be conservative with deer harvest because of the hard winters. In this unit, a hunter has a 63 percent chance of drawing an antlerless tag each year. I’m lucky if I have 6 to 10 deer per square kilometer (2 to 4 per square mile). Some years I go without harvesting a single deer, and that’s tough, but usually the years that follow bring success. Now you can understand the importance of providing as much cover and food for deer as possible in this area, especially in winter.

    So this guy is estimating 2 to 4 per square mile so way more than the MNR figure.So 68 B goes from Cambellford over to the Kingston area and as I can see by the map actually contains a fair amount of agricultural fields.I would then not say that he is in a area of the lowest deer population.

    So my question is really what are the actual figures for us guys hunting away from the traditional agricultural range,lets say all north of Highway 7 on the Shield in the strictly bush areas.Do you guys agree on the MNR figure of only one deer per 1280 acres?

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    The MNR has published in numerous places that the Ontario deer population is +/- 400,000 animals. The land area of Ontario is just over 350,000 square miles (+/- 900,000 km^2). That includes a huge area where there are no deer in the north and all the area taken up by urban centres and roads in the province. So out of that 350,000 i would be surprised if more than 150,000 was inhabited by whitetails. That gives a density of just over 2 per square mile. Further, if we broke that down into southern, central and northern areas of the range i expect the density would be <1 in northern areas, 1 to 2 in central areas, and probably 2 to 12 in southern areas.

    Anyone can feel to correct me - just really quick spit-balling with the numbers on my part.
    Last edited by Species8472; December 13th, 2018 at 03:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Species8472 View Post
    The MNR has published in numerous places that the Ontario deer population is +/- 400,000 animals. The land area of Ontario is just over 350,000 square miles (+/- 900,000 km^2). That includes a huge area where there are no deer in the north and all the area taken up by urban centres and roads in the province. So out of that 350,000 i would be surprised if more than 150,000 was inhabited by whitetails. That gives a density of just over 2 per square mile. Further, if we broke that down into southern, central and northern areas of the range i expect the density would be <1 in northern areas, 1 to 2 in central areas, and probably 2 to 12 in southern areas.

    Anyone can feel to correct me - just really quick spit-balling with the numbers on my part.
    I was just running some numbers so they say we have 415,600 mi² in Ontario,s land mass and 400,000 whitetail deer.So it look like roughly one deer per square mile.

    But this is just a overall picture where we can knock most of northern Ontario out of the equation.I am trying to narrow it down to an area we hunters typically hunt deer in Ontario,the traditional Crown land area of big bush.

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    Your 415,000 includes all the
    water. The 350,000 i quoted deducts the water. Mostly great lakes related.
    Bring a compass. It's awkward when you have to eat your friends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Species8472 View Post
    Anyone can feel to correct me - just really quick spit-balling with the numbers on my part.
    Not to correct, just narrow it down a bit....in Eastern Ont the MNR management plan is for 8 deer per sq mile.

    your close:

    In recent years, Ontario’s deer densities have increased into the “problem” ranges
    referred to above. Many agricultural regions in southern Ont. have between 4-10
    deer/km2 of deer habitat, while shield units south of Lake Nipissing have densities
    between 1-5 deer/km2. Densities over 25-30 deer/km2 have been experienced in
    some provincial parks (e.g., Pinery and Rondeau Provincial Parks). A density of
    >100 deer/km2 has been noted at the Sifton Bog in London, Ontario.
    Last edited by MikePal; December 13th, 2018 at 04:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Species8472 View Post
    The MNR has published in numerous places that the Ontario deer population is +/- 400,000 animals. The land area of Ontario is just over 350,000 square miles (+/- 900,000 km^2). That includes a huge area where there are no deer in the north and all the area taken up by urban centres and roads in the province. So out of that 350,000 i would be surprised if more than 150,000 was inhabited by whitetails. That gives a density of just over 2 per square mile. Further, if we broke that down into southern, central and northern areas of the range i expect the density would be <1 in northern areas, 1 to 2 in central areas, and probably 2 to 12 in southern areas.

    Anyone can feel to correct me - just really quick spit-balling with the numbers on my part.
    1 or 2 deer per square mile in Central area just seems to be such a low number.When you think of 620 acres of bush,its no wonder the harvest numbers are low.I mean how many hunters have even the access to this type of acreage.

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    I guess it depends on a lot of factors. On my own 100 acre rural property the number of deer varies year by year and the time of year. Right now I have trail camera pictures of 3 different bucks, 4 does and a couple of fawns. Last January our cultivated 10 acre field was planted in winter wheat and we had from 30 to 45 deer on the field in the evenings overnight to the morning.
    WMU 84 In my area has more deer on average than what they are quoting. I suspect our average is more like 10 or more per square mile.
    Last edited by JMatthews; December 14th, 2018 at 06:49 AM.

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    I'm pretty much ditto to JM above. I have enough trail cams out on the area I hunt to get a pretty good estimate of the number of deer that are using the area as summer range. I'm pretty confident that I'm seeing at least 90% of what is on the 600 acres I hunt (almost 3 months of solid trail cam coverage). I have 10 deer per 600 acres = 10.6 deer /square mile= 4.2/km/2. I would definitely not consider this a high deer density based on what I've seen over 30 years hunting this spot. Prior to the late second hunt, and MNR issuing high number of additional tags and excess antlerless tags, I'd say the deer density was close to twice this when I last considered it to be "good deer hunting".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilroy View Post
    1 or 2 deer per square mile in Central area just seems to be such a low number.When you think of 620 acres of bush,its no wonder the harvest numbers are low.I mean how many hunters have even the access to this type of acreage.
    Think carrying capacity though, there is not a lot of food, specifically winter food in those areas. This is why SW Ontario numbers can remain so much higher compared to Central Ontario numbers.

    When I was in the Yukon I was talking hunting with a big game guide up there, there are tons of animals but you have to travel a lot of ground to find them, even the caribou, there just is not enough resources to sustain the animals all year long.

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    Interesting comments guys, I posted this to kinda ease the minds of the younger hunters who are not seeing or harvesting deer. I know when I put in small food plots turnips and dropped more apples,my deer numbers did improve even in my big bush area.

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