IDNR: Deer numbers need to go up in some counties
Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:08:28 GMT —
Illinois Department of Natural Resources wants your input on the future direction of the deer population within the state.
Officials say they plan to revise deer population objectives for 41 counties beginning with this year's hunting season.
Several years ago a joint state task force decided to reduce the deer population to lower the number of deer-related traffic crashes and other incidents.
Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller says a two-year review shows some counties may need to shift its focus from reduction to maintenance or growth of the current deer herd. Officials manage the state's deer herd by county and state population goals in order to reduce conflicts between deer and people - such as automobile accidents and crop damage. They also want to ensure deer health.
Officials tell KHQA that may mean changes to Illinois' current deer hunting seasons and the permits sold this year.
Mark Alessi with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said, "Deer impact everybody in the state and deer like other wildlife are held in the public trust. We use the deer hunting seasons as a tool to manage the deer populations. The number of permits available, and the number of seasons available. The late winter antlerless season for example is a management tool."
IDNR officials tell KHQA, though the population numbers now are under the magnifying glass, they examine the herd over decades.
The deer harvest has been down the last couple of years, but Alessi with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says numbers bagged are actually up from 20 or 30 years ago.
The IDNR's deer management review followed several public meetings in 2013 as well as surveys of hunters, landowners and others.
Officials acknowledge they must manage the deer herd based on conflicting viewpoints from hunters, wildlife observers, farmers, homeowners, outfitters and others.
An online survey is available for input, click here for more information.