Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I read a hunting magazine today. Stop laughing please. I really did. Why? Why not? Knowing new tidbits is always a good thing in my opinion.

I learned some very interesting stuff about whitetail deer that I bet you don’t know either. The information comes from the Southeast Deer Study Group which is really a national organization. This year’s conference was hosted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Conservation Management Institute at Virginia Tech. One hundred thirty three deer scientists from all over the country attended and presented papers. Hmm, didn’t know there were specific deer scientists but thinking about it, there are plenty of worse things you could be doing.

So here’s what the magazine folks who attended decided were the most important bits of this shindig to share. Thirty years ago, the primary reason listed for hunting at 43% was meat. Today that has dropped to 6%. That one, I have a problem with. If you’re not going to eat it, then don’t kill it.

Urbanization is causing acres available for hunting to decrease and also messing with the area in which deer populations roam. We needed a study for that? There are sanctioned organizations that organize hunts in city parks to help contain overpopulation. Most of these are bow hunts and are growing in popularity. Good for them but only if the harvest is then used for food. The percentage of women hunter is on the rise while the number of males involved is decreasing. Nothing wrong that.

A large number of bucks apparently suffer from intracranial abscessation, bacteria infecting the lining of the brain. The theory is that it enters the body through wounds on antlers. A recent observance had 35 % of kills in a region in Maryland being infected as opposed to 0 in an area in Texas. Nope, no explanation given, no information on how the bacterium affects the deer, nor what the significance of all this might be other than the implication that it’s better to have a healthy population. Kinda true for everything, isn’t it?

As to buck movement patterns in rut season correlating with age, antler size and body condition, there were none. I wonder why not. I would have thought it made a difference. Does tracked wandered out of their home range during rut even though mature males were available for mating purposes. Um, not touching that one but I’m sure you can guess some of what I’m thinking.

And last but not least, the removal versus non-removal of coyotes had an impact on doe-to-fawn ratios. Ya think? If I’ve left you thirsting for more, take heart. The deer biologists meet again in February, February 29 in San Antonio, TX for those of you who wish to attend.

1 comment:

Molly Daniels said...

I'm with you on this one. If you're not going to eat the meat, or even give/selll to someone who would eat it, don't kill it!