Idaho Fish and Game reminds all deer hunters that most antlerless mule deer hunting opportunities were eliminated for the 2021-2022 seasons in the Southeast Region. This includes general archery-only hunts, general youth-only hunts, controlled youth-only hunts, and extra antlerless controlled hunts.
Why the change to this season’s antlerless deer hunt opportunities? The intent is to increase mule deer abundance and improve general hunter satisfaction in the Southeast Region.
During average winters, adult survival is very high and fawn survival is around 60%. During harsh winters, adult survival can drop (causing severe population declines), and fawn survival can approach zero. Though last winter was mild overall, the Southeast Region has experienced some average to severe winters beginning in 2016 that reduced mule deer abundance. As a result, mule deer hunter harvest, success rates, and general hunter satisfaction in this region have dropped below levels experienced prior to these winter events.
Wildlife managers cannot control the weather. They can, however, use strategies like reducing the harvest of females following a series of tough winters to protect this important reproductive segment of the deer population. Though most antlerless harvest has been eliminated this season and next for the Southeast Region, there are still plenty of deer hunting opportunities in this region for both archery and rifle hunters. And, when mule deer numbers rebound, the option exists to bring back more antlerless opportunities if desired by the hunting public.
Know before you go! Be sure to always check the most current rules and regulations for your favorite seasons and particular hunts. Hunters can find seasons and rules online at https://idfg.idaho.gov or by grabbing a rules brochure at the nearest Fish and Game office or license vendor.