Deer hunters and farmers: the state's real deer management team
The relationship between farmers and deer hunters in Illinois is intriguing, due to the fact that access to hunting land is a huge issue in our state.
What I learned this week after crunching through a study by the Illinois Natural History Survey and talking to farmers and hunters is that farmers may play the most important role in deer management and in the success of the state's hunters.
Having grown up on a farm in southern Illinois, I was aware of the role - to an extent. But some of the results of the study surprised me. For example:
- 51% of farmers perceived an increase in white-tailed deer density on their farms over the past 5 years, and 82% of those farmers favor a decline in the deer population during the next 5 years.
- A majority (68%) of farmers statewide enjoyed deer on their farm, but 46% worried about deer damage; however these attitudes varied across regions.
- One-third (33%) of farmers experienced minor crop damage from deer and a similar proportion (30%) moderate damage, but most farmers (74%) did not take any actions to prevent damage due to deer.
- A majority (71%) of farmers did not hunt deer during 2010-2011 deer seasons, but allowed friends and family to hunt deer on their property.
We'll take a closer look at the study in the July 13 issue of Illinois Outdoor News. I think you'll find the farmer-deer hunter relationship to be interesting.