Practical Issues > Fishing & Hunting > Hunting - Index
Summer hunting is a waste of deer

This article explains that many hunters kill and leave the animals to rot and how permits are given out without regard to what could happen to local populations. It also speaks of "special interest groups" are looking to eradicate the deer.

Summer hunting is a waste of deer
By Phil Potter
Saturday, July 10, 2010

How much is a dead deer worth? It depends on the time of year it meets its demise. Indiana's summer depredation permits are issued free and freely in the name of crop damage control with exclusions as what becomes of the dead animals. Most summer-shot deer become maggot farms because few who kill them want to battle the heat to save the meat and the depredation law condones burying or burning the bodies.

Now fast forward to fall and winter deer seasons. Food banks clamor for venison, many hunting families fill their freezers, and even road-killed animals are spoken for. Deer hunting license fees are$24 per animal per hunter for Indiana residents who don't have landowner's permits or lifetime licenses. Non-resident deer hunters have to fork over $150 to shoot one animal.

So why allow a single person the right to shoot up to 20 bucks for free during the summer depredation season? What formula dictates why so many depredation tags can be given to a single farm if depredation tag allotment is based on actual deer density?

Indiana biologists generally agree that deer density throughout the state varies widely but overall it has been estimated Indiana has an average of 20 to 23 deer per square mile. A square mile, or land section, is basically 640 acres long and 640 acres wide. Assuming four farms within this section are each awarded 20 permitsm they could theoretically shoot 80 deer of both sexes, effectively wiping out the entire deer population within that mile section.

Even with limited summer shootingm deer populations can quickly diminish if road kill, disease and animal predator depredation are factored in. These losses leave fewer deer for license-buying sportsmen when regular deer seasons roll around. And that's exactly what some special interest groups would like to see happen — zero deer per square mile.

They coerce Indiana biologists, most who don't generally approve of summer shooting, to allow it and freely hand out the permits. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources knows the importance of deer license revenue but is subordinate to political whims.

Deer can become too numerous, but can be controlled through fall and winter hunting seasons when revenue is generated by license sales. Better alternatives to summer shooting would be fall depredation tags for licensed hunters or late winter antlerless only hunts with greatly reduced tag fees. A caveat for issuing any free depredation permits could be that only landowners who allow free public hunting access such as the farmer-hunter pairing program could get these coveted tags.
Any idea is a better alternative to summer depredation shooting because summer deer killing wastes tons of game meat and prevents little actual deer depredation. Field studies have shown most summer crop damage is done by blackbirds, squirrels, coons, possums, groundhogs and cattle.

© 2010 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin,