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      Illinois Whitetail Alliance addresses concerns on low deer population

      Hunters and non-hunters reported a significant decrease in deer sightings.

      Les Davenport has been hunting since he was a teenager, and says 2013 was one the worst hunting seasons he's seen.

      Hunters and non-hunters reported a significant decrease in deer sightings.

      Growing unrest concerning this issue prompted the creation of the Illinois Whitetail Alliance which consists of veteran hunters wanting to propose and create ideas concerning this issue.

      Davenport has associated the low population with several reasons, including too many issued permits, disease, and poor state management.

      "We want to see more regional management of our deer herd," said Davenport. "Right now the only way our DNR manages our whitetail herd, is through the vehicle crash rates. And that's not the way you totally should manage a deer herd. It should be done through hunter attitude, it should be done through surveys, through biologists actually getting out in the field and studying what deer population each county has."

      The issue affects more than just hunters, Davenport thinks.

      It affects our economy. A quarter of a million deer hunters use local stores to buy permits and equipment, according to Davenport.

      "It's a huge economic factor for a Midwest state like Illinois that doesn't have a lot of tourism draw otherwise," said Davenport.

      With a less than desirable season for in and out of state hunters, this could have long term devastating effects.

      "Once you start losing deer hunters, you don't gain them back," said Davenport. "You have kids on computers right now, and if a father stops hunting, or an uncle stops taking his nephew, his kids hunting, you're going to lose that in this society. And then even when the deer do come back, you're not going to have the hunters to hunt them."

      The Illinois Whitetail Alliance is hoping to draw more political attention to this issue, with significant elections coming up.