Skip to comments.Hunters lament lack of deer, but farmers beg to differ
Posted on 01/16/2005 9:39:16 AM PST by Willie Green
There are 1.6 million deer in Pennsylvania, so many that they are eating themselves out of forests, farms and parts of their home range.
The voracious herd has prevented tree regrowth in vast tracts of the commonwealth's commercially valuable hardwood forests, eats millions of dollars of farm crops and collides with thousands of cars and trucks, causing damage and death.
Yet there aren't enough deer for some hunters, who aren't seeing as many through their rifle scopes as they did a couple of years ago.
Those hunters now want the state to go back to rules that would put greater limits on how many deer can be killed, and they already are gaining some political support for their position.
A recent study refutes the hunters' claims, though.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
As a result, I am seeing deer everywhere. I sometimes even see one crossing my street when I go to work in the morning. They came into my yard last summer and ate up most of my vegetable garden. I think I'm going to have to acquire a taste for venison and shoot me one or two next season.
Missouri is overrun with deer. South of the corn belt, the deer are smaller but just as numerous.
That's what it sounds like. The deer figure out they won't be shot if they get to the farmland areas plus the food is better --- all that corn. But the farmers don't like hunters shooting their cows, horses, dogs, kids by mistake.
One problem for the deer - - which are too numerous - - are the black bears. Here in Pike County, PA on the same 90 acres three bears were taken during this past hunting season, but only one deer. A couple of miles away, 11 black bears were removed from a fish hatchery.
The PGC's studies have shown that as of a couple of years ago, black bears were killing as many fawns as coyotes.
When you have creatures that need 20,000 calories a day in the fall to bulk up before hibernation, meat is probably less of a hassle than getting 70 lbs of blueberries for the same calorie count.
I've never shot any of those, but I do have a good record for feral cats up in the NW corner of CT while upland bird hunting....oh yeah, sorry and a few wild dogs who were running deer....
As a motorcyclist, I can verify that there has been an explosion of various antelope including deer and moose. It is now unsafe to ride a motorcycle at night in many locations.
Most of PA is nasty. A good indicator is the number of bloody splotches in the road on the interstates. Route 81 coming south out of Binghamton, NY and going south to Scranton is just about the worst stretch of highway anywhere for deer hits. Vermont and Maine are overflowing with moose and deer.
Route 88 and 86 from Albany, NY to Erie, PA are a good place to avoid from dusk until an hour after sunrise as well.
Now, let's talk about mule deer in Wyoming and Montana...
Here in York County, southcentral PA, deer are numerous, so are homes and it's becoming too dangerous to hunt with high-powered rifles anymore. Soon, it'll shotguns and slugs. Up north, deer are more scarce because there aren't as many homes and people, so the deer population is kept well under control.
Ah, yes. As a low-brow yahoo, I hate it when these yuppies move out here and start changing things.
Some of the hunter's lack of sucess is self-inflicted too (at times). Down here in NC, you can drive into certain areas and see a sea of orange clothing about 200-400 yards from the road. I typically trek back 2+ miles in to set up, and have above average hunting sucess. Many of these hunter wannabes simply need to get off their a$$es and get in the woods. The automobile is a wonderful thing, but it has turned many into lazy slobs.
Yes --- but it's just that not all who call themselves hunters are really hunters --- there are some who are having more fun pretending they're hunters --- drinking tons of beer and shooting everything in sight. They give the real hunters a bad name. The best tasting deer are those corn-fed ones that raid the farmers corn fields and gardens. Very tender meat.
Creepy. You were posting at the same moment/roughly the same exact thought.
By MARK JOHNSON
Associated Press Writer
January 15, 2005, 11:40 AM EST
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Forty years ago, Charlie Scheer rarely saw a deer near his 625-acre nursery in Laurel on the eastern end of Long Island.
Today, he regularly sees five or six just crossing the road when he drives to his local deli in the morning.
For Scheer, 63, president of the Long Island Farm Bureau, the animals are more akin to vermin than furry woodland creatures. Across the country, the rising white-tailed deer population is wreaking havoc on farms, changing the ecology of forests and causing ever more motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.
"We're a wholesale nursery and the deer can do a lot of damage in one night, both feeding and rutting," Scheer said. "They go after anything. They're not picky. It's one of our most pressing problems."
Deer damage to agriculture in New York was between $58 million and $60 million in 2003, said Paul Curtis, an associate professor and extension wildlife specialist at Cornell University.
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation estimates there are now 1 million deer living in the state. Nationally, the white-tailed deer population has increased from about 500,000 in the early 1900s to 25 to 30 million today, according to various researchers.
In pre-European settlement times, deer population density was 10 to 15 deer per square mile. In the 19th century, numbers dwindled as land was cleared for agriculture and commercial hunting became widespread.
In the early 20th century, states limited hunting, preserved open space and imported the animals. Much of the land cleared for agriculture has since been converted back to wild land as farmers abandoned the business.
Now, in places like southern New York and northern Pennsylvania, there are 30 to 35 deer per square mile, Curtis said.
"In some ways we've been too successful at bringing the deer back," Curtis said.
While they still have some predators in the Northeast, mostly coyotes or bobcats, their main animal predators, wolves, are gone. And the conversion of woodlands into suburbs has created a favorable habitat with year-round food sources.
Man is now a deer's most feared predator, but the number of hunters is declining, especially among teenagers who today have more options to fill their time.
In 2003, the total deer harvest in New York was more than 253,000, an 18 percent drop from 2002, according to the DEC.
The number of big game hunting licenses sold in the state dropped to 592,930 in 2003, from 684,462 in 1999, a decline of 13 percent. Meanwhile, the number of deer management permits, given to farmers and others to control deer numbers, rose to 685,696 in 2003 from 489,191 in 1999.
Today's high deer population may shape how the country's forests look decades from now. The animals are reducing the number of trees and seedlings and affecting which species will survive, forestry experts say.
In the 14,000-acre Letchworth State Park in western New York, a 1,200-acre "safety area" for recreation where hunting is forbidden has seen vast damage from overbrowsing by deer.
"There are no saplings, no underbrush for ground nesting birds," said Richard Parker, regional director of the Genesee State Park Region. "There will be no regeneration of the forest. In 40 to 50 years, as the current forest dies, there will be nothing to replace it."
The deer are "eating anything and everything that's there," he said.
With voracious deer gobbling red oak, sugar maple and white ash seedlings, species like black birch and beech are gaining an edge.
Michael Conover, a wildlife professor and director of the Jack Berryman Institute at Utah State University, estimates deer cause at least $750 million in damage to the United States timber industry annually.
The loss of ground-level trees also removes habitat for several species of songbirds that need them for nesting.
Humans, too, face increased dangers. There were 1.5 million deer and vehicle crashes in 2003, injuring 13,713 people and causing $1.1 billion in vehicle damage, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released in November.
Control programs vary, with some towns and cities hiring sharp shooters to cull the herd, some states expanding their hunting seasons, and many encouraging the hunting of female deer.
Those programs have had mixed results with many hunters still reluctant to take female deer after years of chasing antlered bucks. And most hunters only take two or three a year because they don't have the time or space to butcher more.
"We view it as problem of our own making," said Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife and sanctuaries program for the Humane Society of the United States. "We have created an ideal landscape for deer."
Fencing deer off from suburban areas, using repellants and planting undesirable vegetation can mitigate some of the problems.
"Hunting certainly doesn't provide a long term solution," Simon said. "Deer compensate by showing more productivity in reproduction. You just can't hunt out enough deer and people living in suburban areas don't want hunting. It's not a safe or socially acceptable solution."
Scheer says many farmers in his area have taken to putting up fencing to keep the deer out, but that forces the deer onto neighboring farms. He allows hunting on his nursery, but the deer that are taken are soon replaced.
"Deer are supposedly wards of the state," Scheer said. "The state is really going to have to step up to the plate. There has to be better management of the herd."
It's really simple:
Bambi has the State Hunting Guide and a calender and knows when it open season and they stay where the "No Hunting" signs are posted for safety.
I see it all the time, they group up and have class for the younger of the herd.
Yeah, I know. It's getting harder and harder, even out here SW Colorado in the mountains, to find hunting areas without some A-Holes screwing things up.
As far as the tenderness of the meat, I believe it lies in the kill...swift and clean, or a bad shot and chasing it down. The adrenalin pumps when the quarry is wounded and runs...tougher meat. As far as taste, corn fed is a mild taste while deer that feed on more "natural" forage have a little gamier taste, which I perfer.
Of course, the prep and cooking method can cure just about anything........now I'm hungry.
So yer saying deer are really socialist liberals ?:o)
Thinking , rules, regulations, paper laws, time frames and signs will keep em safe ?
So they think.
I'm sure they taste better than a lib does though (having never eaten a lib and not planning to as it may be like mad cow.)
A lot of my new neighbors up here resemble Todd and Margo from that Chevy Chase Christmas movie ("Christmas Vacation"). You should have seen the scowl I got from one of them when I was putting up my multi-colored lights for Christmas.
Give them an Elvis on velvet as a peace offering.
as soon as Rendell pulls a few out of his wife/kids, windshield, he might re-address the problem
Libs have a very gamey taste because of a lack of personal hygiene. They don't bathe. Also there is a buildup of toxins in the meat from repeated ingestion to poisons with names like Cocaine, Crank, Speed, Meth, THC, LSD, and the like.
[or so I've been told . . .]
The problem was created by the state.
It spiralled out of countrol the year "Game Wardens" became "Game Protection Officers" and in triple their normal numbers invaded the woods frightening the deer out into the residential neighborhoods.
To paraphrase Willie Sutton: "[I rob banks] 'cause that's where the money is".
The liberals deserve to live in the world they are creating. I have in-laws who live near a seasonal creek. The job-averse people [called "homeless" by liberals] leave garbage along the creek. My in-laws now have a problem with rats.
They actually can be pretty smart that way. In areas where they cannot be hunted they are pretty bold --- fearless. I've seen the ones in San Antonio residential areas almost run someone down taking out the garbage.
Send the hunters to the Kansas City area, specifically the area around Longview Lake and the James A. Reed wildlife refuge!
A recent "census" by the MO dept of conservation says that there are about 140 deer per square mile there! Other area parks have 65 or 70 deer per square mile.
It's gotten to the point that they've opened up archery seasons in what are pretty much suburban, residential areas, or at least, right next door.
the deer actually will lay down and nap within 25 yds of the house...
we can't grow anything.....they even walk up on the sidewalk and nibble at my potted plants...
even little trees my hubby plants, he has to put cages around...
now I ask you....is this why we moved to the country , so we can have every bush and tree and flower and veggie behind fences?.....lol
I actually like watching the deer....but boy, it does ruin any gardening instincts that one might have.....
MO did a study on trying to relocate deer from suburban to rural areas. They found that the stress of the relocation had terrible results. Nearly 80% of the deer that were relocated were dead within just a few months.
the trouble with wildlife is this:....when we think we are being kind and good stewards and good conservationists by setting aside wild lands and parks and "green belts" and making it nice and pretty for the wildlife, they florish....which means they survive, and thrive and then produce multiple offspring, and guess what......they need more land so they move into neighborhoods, and towns, and busy human areas....
unless they fear human activity, or dogs, they will naturally keep expanding their territory.....
just like bears and cougars and coyotes, deer will keep going to where there is more food ( fewer deer to compete)....
prime example:...remember how quaint a picture of a Canadian goose used to be?......now, they are nussances and stay around for the entire year....
I was thinking the same thing. The hunters would see more deer, and the farmers less, if more private land were opened to hunting.
Yes --- it was the Canyon Lake area --- I couldn't believe how aggressive the deer were --- and it was there that they practically ran down someone taking out some garbage --- and they're very bold when they're eating up the golf course in broad daylight --- in areas where hunting is done the deer are far more shy of humans.
We had a record kill in Missouri with new regulations last season (2004).
There was no limit on numbers of antlerless deer killed as long as you had a tag for each one. There was a antler minimum size of 6 points (2x3 or 1x6) for bucks that protected younger bucks. Unlimited any deer permits for antlerless deer.
And the season was extended a few days with muzzle loading, youth hunts age 15 and under, and archery season.
Mo. Dept of Conservation has been under fire by auto insurers because of the high number of deer -car collisions caused by large deer populations. I was not real happy with the new regulations as our hunting party was unable to harvest several nice bucks we would have had easily last year. We had to settle for smaller antlerless deer, with one exception of an 11 pointer. But now I think the program will increase the size of bucks and might actually work better for hunters and reduction of the car/deer collisions. We will wait and see.
I have noticed a trend to urban people buying into rural farmland and forming hunting clubs so they have guaranteed places to hunt. I can see this might make less land available for some hunters, including our party, but overall it has not hurt our hunt since fewer hunters are on adjoining tracks. Although one tract of land has been bought by a self proclaimed environmental wacko that is completely off limits to hunting. This trend is the danger to hunters in the future.
Just like the city slicker don't like people marrying their sisters and cousins.
(This opinion offerred in the spirit of "One bogus stereotype deserves another.')