Quality Deer Management

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Quality Deer Management

There is no other big-game animal in North America like the white-tailed deer. The whitetails habitat is so widespread that it covers just about all of North America and parts of Central America. The white-tailed deer is the most commonly hunted big game animal ever. Before the settlers arrived, an estimated 30 million whitetails inhabited what is now the United States and Canada. But as settlers pursued them for food and market hunters slaughtered them with snares, traps, and set guns, the deer population underwent a disastrous decline. By 1900, only 400,000 whitetails remained.

What happened ever since 1900 has truly become a huge conservation success story.

Through a massive effort by sportsmen and wildlife managers, market hunting was outlawed, sport-hunting regulations were established, and habitat improvement programs began. Because of the efforts of these concerned people the whitetail population has risen to around 20 million.

The deer population has increased so much that in many areas, they suffer from chronic starvation. “Bucks only” laws passed years ago to help in re-establishing the dwindling deer herds now work against the deer by resulting in an overabundance of does. Even with the overabundance of does many hunters refuse to shoot a doe. They believe in the old saying, “It takes a doe to yield a buck.” This is entirely true but it ignores the basic law of nature that any piece of land, and the food and cover in it, can support only so much game. If the excess game is not harvested by hunters or killed by predators, nature will take over and exterminate enough animals as needed or more through disease and starvation. That’s why hunting is a much more humane means for a deer ...

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...also depend on how wildlife agencies respond to this idea.

Throughout history, many northern states have gone all out on shooting bucks. Now they realize that just shooting bucks do not equal quality deer herds.

I believe that it is time to make Quality Deer Management a part of every hunters game plan. The benefits may not happen right away but after a couple of years you will have years and years of quality hunting. You not only will have a better hunting experience but you will also have fun implementing Quality Deer Management on your land.

Bibliography: June 18, 2001 July 19, 2001

QDM: Are You Up To Its Challenges? Deer and Deer Hunting November 1999 Krause Publications Inc.

QDM: Can Your State Make It Happen? Deer and Deer Hunting November 1999 Krause Publications Inc.
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