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Friday, April 14, 2017

Environment - Wild deer herds reported dwindling in Indiana; DNR bonus antlerless deer rule an issue

"Group forms to address Dubois County's dwindling deer herd" is the headline to this long story by Leann Burke in the Jasper Herald (here as republished in the Indiana Economic Digest). A few quotes:

HUNTINGBURG — Jason Messmer of Pike County remembers seeing 10 deer a day on his land prior to 2008. Now, he said, he barely sees one.

Messmer, who deer hunts in both Dubois and Pike counties, attributes the population drop to the epizootic hemorrhagic disease that hit the deer herd in 2008 and to the bonus antlerless deer the Indiana Department of Natural Resources allows hunters to kill each year. Messmer and several other hunters gathered Wednesday for the first Dubois County Deer Advisory Council meeting to voice their concerns about the shrinking deer population in the area.

“These (bonus antlerless deer quotas) are in my opinion out of this world high and need to be dropped,” Messmer said. * * *

The council is focusing on managing the deer herd through the bonus antlerless quotas that allow additional does above regular quotas to be killed during the hunting season. Under 2016 quotas, hunters were allowed to kill one antlered deer — or buck — throughout the entire hunting season, up to two antlerless deer during archery season and one antlerless deer during muzzleloader season. Hunters could kill up to three antlerless deer total over the entire hunting season. The bonus antlerless deer quota allows each hunter to kill additional does during the season, and the quota varies county to county. In 2016, each hunter with a Dubois County license was allowed an additional four does. The majority of attendees at the Dubois County Deer Advisory Council agreed that an additional four is too many. According to an online survey the council is running and an in-person vote at the meeting last night, 141 of the 151 respondents favored lowering the bonus antlerless deer quota, with the majority of those in favor of only one bonus deer allowed. * * *

Indiana Whitetail Deer Herd Management got the idea for the county councils from Wisconsin. Barton said Wisconsin has had an advisory council in each county for years and has seen success. The organization got permission to set up a pilot program in Indiana this year. So far, the group has set up 10 county deer advisory councils.

Gary Walters with Indiana Whitetail Deer Herd Management encouraged attendees of Wednesday’s meeting to contact legislators and share their opinion on county deer advisory councils. Right now, he said, IWDHM is fighting for the councils to exist and for the DNR to take input from the councils seriously.

“Whether you like it or not,” he said, “this is a political problem.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 14, 2017 10:39 AM
Posted to Environment