Big game and humans need food and shelter to exist and it seems as if things are getting tougher for both species to get by. New Brunswicks moose herd is thriving but our deer herd is suffering.I guess this has a lot to do with the strict regulations on moose hunting and their greater size. Being larger than our whitetail deer,moose can easily over browse the deer and eventually displace them. This has pretty much been the tale on our crown lands and forests. Thirty years ago,seventy percent of the deer herd lived on crown land.Today,seventy-five percent of our deer herd exists on private land,mainly in the southern half of the province. This isn't big news to anyone because its been happening at a steady rate since the early Eighties.
This winter I've noticed that many hunters have become mobilized to band together on several fronts to try to help create a better environment for growing our deer herd. QDMA has firmly entrenched itself in the province with the addition of a central chapter that has some very smart gentlemen at the forefront of this new organization. That's good news because it is going to take hunters with passion, dedication and strong organizational skills to pressure government and big business into changing their respective modes of operation if we are going to see any improvement in our deer numbers. There is also a movement to implement a change in our deer hunting season by jumping the start date a week later. This would be great for hunters wanting to take a big buck because it would coincide with colder weather and increased buck activity. Personally,I don't see any down side to moving the start date for the deer hunt ahead one week but we all know how slowly the wheels of progress move,especially when dealing with the government.
Although QDMA is primarily a private land owner organization,crown lands and how they are managed is also on their agenda and that's a good thing for New Brunswick deer hunters. There is strength in numbers and with an outdoor network already established,I have high hopes that these organizations will usher in a time change in how things are done in our province.
I have been watching our local deer herd that lives in town and I noticed a very peculiar habit the deer have when feeding in and around the village. These town deer have been going out of their way to browse on the cedar trees and hedges in peoples yards and in the grave yard in town. What is peculiar to me is the fact these deer have a multitude of different plants and browse to feed on and yet they head straight for the cedar when it's time to eat. One hunter on a hunting forum tried a little experiment where he put oats and corn out for the deer along with some fresh cedar boughs and the deer cleaned up the cedar first. All this points to the fact that whitetail deer crave cedar in the winter, for some reason. I'm sure a biologist could explain this phenomenon scientifically but the bottom line is deer in New Brunswick want cedar in the winter. The following photo shows the browse line on some cedars on my friends lawn.