With the increase in development, a decrease in farm land and hunting opportunities around much of Americas growing suburban areas, deer populations have seemingly exploded. Contrary to popular belief, this increase in population does not necessarily mean more mature bucks are being harvested. Adversely, hunters are increasingly running into a syndrome we at Patriot LWM have deemed the “Drop in the Bucket” syndrome. The average hunter’s freezer will hold around 2 deer at a time and the suburban areas they are hunting in often holds upwards of 60-100 deer per square mile. Although the key to the reproductive potential of a population lies in its doe herd and its associated age structure, many hunters are so overwhelmed with their increasing numbers that they view their attempt at doe management as “A drop in the bucket”. This mentality has lead to a basic disregard for the harvest of does and those “2 deer a year” end up becoming antlered bucks. The mature bucks are quick to fall from the population with their 3.5 and 2.5 year old counterparts falling soon after. With the extreme level of reproductive age does, a varying percentage are being breed later in life, producing smaller fawns later that spring making 1st year bucks already behind the 8 ball. Increased competition for food stores and other resources only further reduces the overall health of the upcoming buck generations.
How do we fix a broken system?
Education, cooperation and culture change. These 3 things have and will change the lopsided herd dynamics of our nation’s suburban deer populations. In our next blog entry we will dig deeper into each of these 3 solutions.