Monday, August 15, 2011

Experienced Insight Into the Deer Management Issue

Came across a well written article on Outdoor Life's Big Buck Zone.  The article was written by Craig Dougherty and is entitled "Are We Killing Too Many Does."  It provides some great insight into the current deer issues many states, including Pennsylvania, are currently facing with their deer management programs.

Craig is a well known authority on deer management.  During his 25 years in the hunting industry Dougherty has held senior management positions at the Crosman Corporation, Golden Eagle/Satellite Archery and Bear.  He and his son Neil founded NorthCountry Whitetails a wildlife consulting and recreation real estate company.  He has published in numerous outdoor publications, co authored a book and served as a hunting TV consultant and has consulted with numerous hunting industry companies.  He served on the Board of Directors of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, The Archery Trade Association, and recently stepped down as Chairman of the Board of the Quality Deer Management Association after four years of leadership and growth.

I would like to share one quote from the article that to me says a lot about where all hunters need to work towards in understanding the issue:
"The possibility of too many doe tags being issued for a given area is very real. But, no one is forcing hunters to squeeze the trigger. Ultimately it is the hunter who makes the final management decision to take the numbers down, leave them as is, or let them increase. Hunters can count, hunters can see if deer are eating themselves out of house and home and hunters can figure out how to impact herd dynamics. We can’t lay this all at the feet of the professional deer managers."
Hunters need to be the managers at a given property level not the broad brush of the wildlife management units.  If we could apply this simple management strategy to our own hunting grounds, wether they be public or private, many of the deer problems we face would be erased.  I encourage all deer hunters to seek out information and educate themselves to the level that they become the managers.

Are We Killing Too Many Does?
Deer harvest numbers have been trending down in recent years and some hunters aren't at all happy about it. While deer herds are healthy and bucks are plentiful around most of the country, there are certain pockets where whitetails seem to no longer exist. "The deer just aren't there" has become the battle cry of more than one sportsman's group nationwide. As one Pennsylvania hunter lamented, "There were no deer when my grandfather was a kid, so nobody shot does. We grew the herd and were told to start shooting does; everybody had a pocket full of doe tags. Now we're back to where my grandfather started. What the heck happened?"

To read the full article click here.

1 comment:

David R. Jackson said...

"Some populations have fallen so low that they are extremely difficult to bring back (especially in poor habitat and severe winter areas)."

Why would you want to bring back deer in poor habitat with severe winters - so they starve to death??