ODFW Dropping the Ball in Ukiah

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by 57chevy, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. 57chevy


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    This hunting season in Ukiah was the worst I have ever had there in 32 years of hunting and 36 years of going there. My family has been going there for almost 50 years and none of them, father or mother, can remember a worse year than this. ODFW doesn’t seem to care about the dwindling numbers of wildlife in the surround area of the as I was told I wouldn’t understand.

    We hunt along 21, which splits the Starkey and Ukiah units. Where we hunt and have hunted, the ODFW’s private elk reserve is about ½ mile from 21. You know the 12 foot high fence that goes for 40 square miles (plus they added some more later). The one they put in 20 years ago, lying to everyone that it would only be there no more than 10 years. My grandfather then told everyone at that meeting that they would never tear down that fence once it was put in, and he was right. They wanted to show us that they could manage wildlife better than how it has been, so the first year, they started with 600 elk. The next year, they had 1800 elk. Wow, simple math tells you that all 600 elk and twins and they all survived the winter and predators, but how did all these elk get pregnant if all of them had twins? This question was asked by my grandfather at a meeting, and when they found the error, they stated now that a few of the elk had triplets, so they do have bulls in the fence making the babies. Now it is getting private donations from people from out of the state to keep it operating.

    When they started to see the elk population dwindle, they stated it is our hunting practices of killing the cows, so they eliminated cow season and the 1 elk tag, which should help and it probably did. Problem is, the elk and deer are very smart. The cougar, bear, and wolves are very smart also.

    Over the last 30 plus years, I can recall just about every hunting season because this is my vacation time with my family. I can also tell you that since that fence was put up, after the first 3-5 years, you could really notice the decline in elk and deer in the areas. You see, around the fence, there is a ¼ mile no hunting buffer zone marked, which good hunters abide by. But, there are some that don’t, and the fence makes it very easy for poachers to take animals as the fence is clear all the way down it. They can’t go over or under it. The poachers know this and so do the predators.

    This year, there were 4-5 animals killed inside the zone and even one killed on the fence on day 2 of the hunting season alone. 4 verified by gut piles verified inside the zone, one was told, but I couldn’t find the remains. The hunters that hunted by the rules got screwed as the poachers shot the **** out of the heard and pushed them out of the area, so they left before it escalated. I don’t know if they got the plates on the vehicles of the guys packing out the meat or not.

    Last year, I saw around 40 elk during the 2nd hunt. I thought that was average as the group had a few bulls, just no spikes, oh well. This year, not one live elk from 4 out of 6 in the party was seen. The 2 who saw elk saw the same elk; 4 total, 1 bull and 3 cows. I saw a total of 11 deer, no bucks.

    Back to the animals are smart. If elk and deer see a pattern where they see humans and shootings in an area and don’t see them for the most part in another, they will move there, it’s just natural to find a safe haven. I remember several times of finding elk in the woods and giving them a chase, only to have them go into the no hunting zone, stop, turn around and look at you. They are very smart. But you also have the predator being smart, and if you were a predator, you would move to where the food was. And to be helped by a fence to stop them from running in 3 directions down to just 2, would seem for a smart animal to make it easier for the kill and meal. When my daughter and I walk this fence line for exercise, you do see remains and bones up to 100 yards into the woods quite often, proving that predators have adapted to this as well, remember, they are smart. The problem is that we are not smart. The land further than ½ mile away is or has slowly lost its animals that use to freely graze and now has almost become barren without the normal life of the animals. ODFW’s animal report shows you that the population of the elk and deer relatively close to the fence is good. What they don’t tell you is the breakdown of distance they measure this by. The population within that ½ mile is high, but after that, it is very low. This is my belief; I do not have the numbers, just 36 years of field experience up there. This doesn’t even compare to their scientific ways of measuring from the ODFW as they have degree’s and “I couldn’t possibly understand the ways of how to manage wildlife without a degree” quoted an ^#$@ from the ODFW. I do understand that since the fence was put in, the number of elk and deer in the area have now become almost extinct outside the buffer zone. But he did state that once I got my bachelor’s degree in Biology, to call him so I could understand what he does at an equal level in language. I think he lost his silver spoon when he sat on it…

    The ODFW says they are trying to put things back to nature by covering up roads that have been there for over 75 years, so they fill them in and lay a lot of debris on top of the fill to make it look natural. They also have placed many burms in the roads to keep you from driving into the areas. Some of this I can understand. But how is keeping a 40 square mile fence up in the middle of the natural migration path (as of 20 years ago) keeping it natural? The path has since moved a different way, about 6 miles east, so there are no migration animals coming in this area. When asked to see a list of the 25 people who get to hunt in the Starkey area by someone in a meeting, they said those were not for public view; ok, I guess. What have they got to hide? It just seems to me it is hypocritical for them to say they are putting things back to how it was, but leaving their personal zoo intact.

    I would give up my hunting rights in that area and never hunt there again just to have that fence down and get the area back to a normal or “natural” way. If they want to have it back to natural, they can tear down the fence, and if any of their pets want to stick around to be fed, then they will. These animals should not be caged up, even though it is a big cage, it is still a cage. This cage enables poachers an easy path for success and there are far too few game wardens and state troopers to patrol it. I would hope that some of the guys with influence to the ODFW would give them a reality check.
  2. Grizzly_A

    Portland Metro Area

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    This was my first year at Ukiah, and I'm sorry your spot has been so violated over the years.

    I saw about 20 cows and calves the first day, several more the 2 day, and a few more off and on. Not 1 bull, no spikes, though we did find some good tracks.

    The others I was with echo your comments though. One guy has been coming there for close to 50 years.

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