On the subject of successful Indian game management operations, the mule deer program on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation deserves a mention. This reservation was famous in the 50s and 60s for its mule deer, but hunting declined here in the 70s and 80s, and many of us wrote off the area. But due to fine game management, they re-opened hunting in the 90s and have now enjoyed two outstanding mule deer seasons in a row. Tom Watts at the tribal headquarters in Dulce tells me they hosted 19 hunters last year who killed 16 bucks, including four book bucks. The success rate here is not really meaningful because Jicarilla has been attracting a number of trophy hunters recently who are willing to hold out for a truly huge deer even if it means going home empty-handed. At any rate, three of the record book bucks tagged here last season were typicals scoring 190, 191 and 197 B & C points. The fourth buck was a non-typical that scored 233 points. Another amazing statistic is that their average gross score was 204 points. This fact underscores one of the attractions that this reservation has for many of us - it produces racks with stickers or kickers and sometimes drops. While these extra points may be a negative to the hunter bent on making B & C record book entries, for many of us they add character to any trophy rack.
But let's review Jicarilla's mule deer programs and highlight this year's changes. Once again, the reservation will offer 20 permits for random drawing, plus one auction permit, which I will tell you about in a moment. As for the draw permits, ten of them will be issued to hunters in a select group of "preferred" applicants, while the other 10 will be issued to general applicants. The application fee is $500, of which all but $6 is refundable. Successful bidders must use a tribal guide and will get a list of them with contact information. However, the guiding agreement is between the two parties and is not governed by the tribe. Daily rates run $200 and........(continued)