The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether there is an optimum buck-to-doe ratio to manage for that maximizes both hunt quality and hunter opportunity. This project will also help biologists examine how the age structure of harvested bucks may change in relation to winter severity. This project has included GMU’s 54, 61, 62, 80, 81, 75, 77, 78, 751 and 771, all in southwest Colorado
The preliminary results have demonstrated that the age structure of bucks harvested varies between the Data Analysis Units (DAUs) included in the study. 2011 was the fifth and final year planned for the larger scale project and biologists are looking forward to comprehensively analyzing the data; however, in 2012, we continued to solicit teeth from buck hunters in GMU 54 because managers in the Gunnison Basin are continuing to monitor population dynamics following the severe winter of 2007-08. We are always looking for ways to enhance our mule deer management and this project provides a tremendous data set for examining current mule deer objectives.
This project would not have been possible without the help of mule deer hunters from across the country. Thank you to those hunters who took the time to return their tooth and/or survey card last year. In 2012, we sent out 349 surveys to GMU 54 buck hunters. When it was all said and done, we had 69 surveys returned (almost a 20% response rate) that included 45 teeth. Remember, this project is intended to benefit Colorado mule deer hunters, so your participation was critical.