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Oh Deer

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https://reason.com/2019/06/18/oh-deer-3/

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In 1900, the last known passenger pigeon to be hunted was supposedly shot by a boy in Ohio. Seven decades later, he said he had no idea what type of bird it was at the time. The species, which once traveled in flocks so vast that they darkened the sky for hours at a time, had served as a plentiful and cheap source of protein for 19th century settlers making their way westward. While early Americans hunted the birds for food, professional hunters later massacred them for sport. All the while, the pigeon's nesting territory and forest habitat were gradually eliminated as white men plowed their way to manifest destiny. In 1914, when the last captive pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo, a species that had once numbered in the billions was extinct.

....


With many fauna depleted from sea to sea, hunters and early conservationists began to develop the "North American model" of wildlife management. One of its key tenets: eliminating markets for game and wildlife products. As a definitive report published by The Wildlife Society recounts, old boys' networks like the one found at the New York Sportsmen's Club played a significant role: "The club's membership included many influential lawyers, judges, and politicians, who often acted in their official positions on behalf of the club. At a time when there was limited or no government oversight on wildlife, they drafted, led efforts to enact, and enforced the first game laws directed against market hunting."

Eventually, states began to regulate the taking of wildlife. They instituted license systems, bag limits, and hunting seasons. The federal government played its part as well, via the Lacey Act of 1900, which effectively outlawed commercial hunting nationwide "and remains the most powerful legal tool to combat this activity," as the report put it.

The upshot is that selling products from wild game animals has effectively been illegal for more than a century, a source of great pride among many sportsmen and -women. That status quo suits most environmentalists, too. Regulation managed to close off the commons, and many species rebounded. It's an oft-touted conservation success story. Yet it has brought about new problems that stem from a new reality: wildlife overabundance.

As it becomes clearer that the current regulatory scheme is counterproductive to managing wildlife in an era of plenty, it's worth exploring whether markets could provide incentives to deal with animal populations that have gotten to nuisance levels.

By 1900, the white-tailed deer population in the United States had plummeted to 500,000. Now there are perhaps 30 million roaming our continent, where they trample crops, pick over gardens, and bound across highways. Every year, deer and their ilk are involved in more than a million vehicle collisions, causing dozens of fatalities and costing billions of dollars.

...

"Today, it is quite likely that more people live in closer proximity to more wild animals, birds and trees in America than anywhere on the planet at any time in history," journalist Jim Sterba wrote in 2012's Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds. Sterba has documented the far-fetched approaches some communities are taking to deal with their whitetail worries, like spending more than $1,000 per animal on sterilization programs on Staten Island or shelling out about a third of that to bring in sharpshooters to cull herds from Illinois to Connecticut—often to little effect, given the uphill biological battle against cervine fecundity.

Part of the reason for the rise of these programs is a steady national decline in the original wildlife management tool: sport hunting. Participation has fallen from 11 percent of American adults in 1960 to just 4 percent today.

...

Legal markets for venison might not solve deer population problems entirely, but they could be a tool to align incentives better and help fund culls. "Instead of being donated to food pantries or sent to landfills," Sterba has contended, "the venison and byproducts could be sold, perhaps as a locavore delicacy, to recoup some costs" of thinning the herds. In a 2012 article for the Wildlife Society Bulletin, seven researchers floated the idea of licensing commercial deer harvesters to help manage overabundant whitetail. That's the basic approach Australia has taken with its most prominent nuisance animal, which also happens to be a national symbol: the kangaroo.

....

Despite nostalgic narratives about a sacrosanct decision to end commercialization in the 1900s, markets have a long history of playing a part in managing wildlife. Commercial hunting and trapping already underpin the management of beavers, alligators, kangaroos, and more. Much of Europe takes it as a given that wild game is sold and bought—Italy is known for wild boar (it often goes with pappardelle), and you can purchase moose meatballs in Sweden. In an era of overabundance, it seems odd, if not outright counterproductive, for so many U.S. state and federal policies to cling to long-standing prohibitions on marketing game.

It's one thing to slam the commons shut in the wake of the last passenger pigeon being shot. It's another to refuse to experiment with market solutions when, in many places, deer have gone from decimated to "eastern devils." If population trends continue, we could see state-level experiments in permitting the sale of game meat. Who knows? One day soon you might find wild venison in stalls at American farmers markets.

That would be nice, I would probably purchase some.  Letting the products resulting from sports hunting and culls be sold on the open market is a smart idea,  as the situation in Australia clearly demonstrates.   And personally I have been involved in one deer/vehicle incident in my life,  something I never want to repeat.   If these polices reduce the deer population enough to reduce vehicle accidents involving the animal then it's a good policy.

 

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***I'm not a hunter, nor do I care to be***

I whole heatedly agree with proper game management. That being said, Indiana's deer program is pretty much completely run by the insurance industry and is a detriment to the species in my opinion. We harvest too many deer. And the late season doe season, many of which have already been bred greatly exacerbates the situation. 

I think the American Alligator is a prime example of proper management. While I don't have first hand knowledge, from what I've read and seen, it's a healthy mix of conserving the resource and maintaining healthy levels of animals in the wild. With gator leather goods being readily available commercially. 

I think even a bigger issue looming on the horizon is invasive species. This applies across the board, flora and fauna. 

 

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3 hours ago, Impartial_Observer said:

***I'm not a hunter, nor do I care to be***

I whole heatedly agree with proper game management. That being said, Indiana's deer program is pretty much completely run by the insurance industry and is a detriment to the species in my opinion. We harvest too many deer. And the late season doe season, many of which have already been bred greatly exacerbates the situation. 

 

 

Shame IO...I'm proud to be part of the 4%.  Ethical hunters absolutely believe and practice conservation.

You lost me on the insurance industry thing....I think the DNR does a marvelous job managing deer populations in Indiana.  Do you spend much time on their website or read their annual harvest reports?  Also disagree on your harvest comment. 

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1 hour ago, TrojanDad said:

Shame IO...I'm proud to be part of the 4%.  Ethical hunters absolutely believe and practice conservation.

You lost me on the insurance industry thing....I think the DNR does a marvelous job managing deer populations in Indiana.  Do you spend much time on their website or read their annual harvest reports?  Also disagree on your harvest comment. 

Nothing against hunting, I'm all for it, just not my thang. 

The insurance industry is the one pushing the agenda for more and more deer being harvested. The insurance industry, as Muda alluded to wants the deer gone. I believe we harvest too many deer in Indiana. I am vehemently opposed to the late bow/doe season. If you look at data on deer harvest between Indiana and surrounding states, our harvest are smaller and lower quality. I listen to Jim Strader quite a bit, https://www.jimstrader.com/index.htm , and he's of the opinion our management system is flawed as well. We have a customer who literally feeds his family with what he catches and kills, he often brings me stuff, the venison summer sausage is KILLER! At any rate, he was in a couple of weeks ago and this subject came up, obviously he has no data just his opinion, but he maintains his kills aren't the quality and the size they were, 10-12-15 years ago.

One thing to keep in mind we live in different areas, and I'm sure you're not hunting in your back yard. In this area, there are MANY special programs for day/weekend deer harvest. Brown County State Park has/had one, Jeff Proving Grounds has/had one, there are several state and federal lands that had lotteries for non-standard deer stamps. 

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.  

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On 6/18/2019 at 1:39 PM, Impartial_Observer said:

Nothing against hunting, I'm all for it, just not my thang. 

The insurance industry is the one pushing the agenda for more and more deer being harvested. The insurance industry, as Muda alluded to wants the deer gone. I believe we harvest too many deer in Indiana. I am vehemently opposed to the late bow/doe season. If you look at data on deer harvest between Indiana and surrounding states, our harvest are smaller and lower quality. I listen to Jim Strader quite a bit, https://www.jimstrader.com/index.htm , and he's of the opinion our management system is flawed as well. We have a customer who literally feeds his family with what he catches and kills, he often brings me stuff, the venison summer sausage is KILLER! At any rate, he was in a couple of weeks ago and this subject came up, obviously he has no data just his opinion, but he maintains his kills aren't the quality and the size they were, 10-12-15 years ago.

One thing to keep in mind we live in different areas, and I'm sure you're not hunting in your back yard. In this area, there are MANY special programs for day/weekend deer harvest. Brown County State Park has/had one, Jeff Proving Grounds has/had one, there are several state and federal lands that had lotteries for non-standard deer stamps. 

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.  

You got me thinking IO...this was a good conversation.  Talked to a couple of hunting buddies of mine that focus more on deer than I do.  This is one of their responses....and its only an opinion.

Do I think the Insurance Companies are lobbying to have more deer harvested each year?  For sure.  They would be stupid not to.  There are more than 14,000 vehicle-deer collisions in Indiana (source Indiana DNR).  In 2017, one in every 74 drivers hit a deer.  That sucks.  I am not sure how much money that means to the insurance companies, but I bet it’s in the millions.  If each accident averages $1k, that’s $14MM.  And, as you stated, without citing sources, many forums claim that insurance companies lobby millions to have the deer harvest go up.  Thus, they hope their claims will go down. 

From 1951 – 1981, annually, there were less than 20k deer harvested in Indiana.  This number rose steadily until its peak in 1996 at 120k deer harvested.  The figure has remained steady between 100k – 120k each year since 1996 (source 2017 Indiana DNR Harvest Report).  So, have I seen the quality of large bucks decline in my lifetime?  Sort of.  We never really saw a lot of great bucks anyways until recently (w/i last 5 years).  But yes, since then, they are even rarer still.  But excluding disease, we have to control the overall population somehow.  Thus, I do not mind the extra does we are allowed to kill each year.  I do support Indiana’s one buck per hunter per year rule.

Was this guy noted below killing bigger bucks 15 years ago?  Yep.  I would agree to that.  But that’s when we could kill 2 or 3 bucks per season, so guys did that – and took out the marginal ones, that given another year or two would have been monsters.  And that is why we switched back to ONE buck per year per hunter.  His observations are solid and the DNR took our concern and changed the rules.  Overall, do we kill too many deer in Indiana?  Not by my observations in Clinton County.  Each doe produces more twins and triplets than single births each year.  So you have to kill at least 2, if not 3 doe just to remain constant with deer herd numbers.  It is my opinion that the Indiana DNR watches the herd numbers closely and they do an excellent job of managing the number we can harvest each year. 

I will tell you this little gem.  Our deer processor up in Young America has a theory.  He has seen the number of deer coming into his shop decline by 30-40% over the years.  However, it always seems that the total number of deer taken in Indiana remains constant at 120k.  He thinks the DNR fudges the overall figures for the SOLE PURPOSE of keeping the insurance companies happy.  It may be so…

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1 hour ago, TrojanDad said:

You got me thinking IO...this was a good conversation.  Talked to a couple of hunting buddies of mine that focus more on deer than I do.  This is one of their responses....and its only an opinion.

Do I think the Insurance Companies are lobbying to have more deer harvested each year?  For sure.  They would be stupid not to.  There are more than 14,000 vehicle-deer collisions in Indiana (source Indiana DNR).  In 2017, one in every 74 drivers hit a deer.  That sucks.  I am not sure how much money that means to the insurance companies, but I bet it’s in the millions.  If each accident averages $1k, that’s $14MM.  And, as you stated, without citing sources, many forums claim that insurance companies lobby millions to have the deer harvest go up.  Thus, they hope their claims will go down. 

From 1951 – 1981, annually, there were less than 20k deer harvested in Indiana.  This number rose steadily until its peak in 1996 at 120k deer harvested.  The figure has remained steady between 100k – 120k each year since 1996 (source 2017 Indiana DNR Harvest Report).  So, have I seen the quality of large bucks decline in my lifetime?  Sort of.  We never really saw a lot of great bucks anyways until recently (w/i last 5 years).  But yes, since then, they are even rarer still.  But excluding disease, we have to control the overall population somehow.  Thus, I do not mind the extra does we are allowed to kill each year.  I do support Indiana’s one buck per hunter per year rule.

Was this guy noted below killing bigger bucks 15 years ago?  Yep.  I would agree to that.  But that’s when we could kill 2 or 3 bucks per season, so guys did that – and took out the marginal ones, that given another year or two would have been monsters.  And that is why we switched back to ONE buck per year per hunter.  His observations are solid and the DNR took our concern and changed the rules.  Overall, do we kill too many deer in Indiana?  Not by my observations in Clinton County.  Each doe produces more twins and triplets than single births each year.  So you have to kill at least 2, if not 3 doe just to remain constant with deer herd numbers.  It is my opinion that the Indiana DNR watches the herd numbers closely and they do an excellent job of managing the number we can harvest each year. 

I will tell you this little gem.  Our deer processor up in Young America has a theory.  He has seen the number of deer coming into his shop decline by 30-40% over the years.  However, it always seems that the total number of deer taken in Indiana remains constant at 120k.  He thinks the DNR fudges the overall figures for the SOLE PURPOSE of keeping the insurance companies happy.  It may be so…

Perhaps Wolves should be reintroduced to Indiana? 😉

 

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9 minutes ago, Impartial_Observer said:

Perhaps Wolves should be reintroduced to Indiana? 😉

 

More cougars?? 😉

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I should bookmark this thread just for the conversations on my insurance.

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