User Login    
 + Register
News : Forecast For Deer Season
Posted by Randy on 2013/10/1 4:39:44 (375 reads) News by the same author

Missouri has an abundance of deer, according to Emily Flinn, a resource scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. She says the key to understanding this year’s deer forecast is regional and even local differences in deer number.

Click to see original Image in a new window

Flinn specializes in managing Missouri’s economically valuable white-tailed deer herd. She says the state’s deer harvest has been stable for the past 10 years. However, she expects a below-average harvest this year.

She says the past 10 years have seen short-term and long-term changes in deer abundance across the state. For example, changes in hunting regulations have achieved the long-term goal of reducing deer numbers in parts of northern, western, and central Missouri. During the same period, less liberal harvest regulations have allowed deer numbers in the Ozarks, southwest, and southeast regions of the state to increase slowly but steadily.

Flinn says differences in how Missouri’s estimated 1.4 million deer are distributed across the state also occur at much smaller scales than regions. The most dramatic differences often occur in surprisingly small areas.

To illustrate this, Flinn points to the differences in deer population densities that resulted from last year’s unusually severe outbreak of hemorrhagic diseases, commonly called blue tongue or EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease). These diseases occur annually, but they are more prevalent in drought years. The extraordinarily severe drought of 2012 led to the worst hemorrhagic disease outbreak ever recorded in Missouri.

Reports of deer deaths come to the Conservation Department from its field staff and from citizens. Last year, the number of reports topped 10,000. Regions with the highest prevalence of deer deaths from hemorrhagic disease were northwest, west-central, and east-central Missouri. Southeast Missouri had relatively low rates of hemorrhagic disease reports. A map showing county-by-county hemorrhagic-disease reports is available at mdc.mo.gov/node/16479.

Even within counties and regions, the distribution of hemorrhagic disease losses was uneven.

“That is the nature of hemorrhagic diseases,” says Flinn. “You can have significant losses in a particular locality, and almost none in another part of the same county. This is one case where hunters and landowners are in the best position to know how deer populations in their areas are doing.”

That, says Flinn, brings up an important point about the challenge of managing deer in the wake of a severe hemorrhagic-disease outbreak. Past experience shows that deer numbers often continue to decline in a particular area for as much as three years after an outbreak. That is because hunters continue to harvest about the same number of deer – including does – even though they are not seeing as many deer.

“Most hunters don’t shoot more than one deer a year,” says Flinn. “If deer numbers are down in a particular area, and everyone in the area continues to shoot as many does as they have in the past, what starts out as a moderate reduction in deer numbers can turn into a big reduction. By the time hunters realize what has happened, deer numbers are down so much that it may take a few years to get back to where they were.”

The lesson here is that hunters who noticed lots of deer dying from hemorrhagic disease in their area last year should consider the numbers of deer they are seeing this year and potentially pass up shots at does to allow local populations to recover.

Flinn says Missouri’s deer harvest also is significantly affected by acorn abundance. This is most important in southern Missouri, where the landscape is heavily forested, and acorns outweigh all other deer food sources in the fall. When acorns are scarce, deer must move around to find food, and that makes them more visible to hunters. Deer behavior and deer harvest are much less dependent on acorn availability in northern Missouri, where acorns make up a smaller percentage of their diet.

The severe shortage of acorns last year due to drought is part of the reason that southern Missouri had a larger-than-usual deer harvest in 2012. Southern Missouri should have higher acorn production this year, so hunters will need to be more active to find deer.

The combined effects of reduced deer movement, a strong deer harvest in 2012, and losses to hemorrhagic diseases in a few Ozarks counties are likely to result in lower harvest totals this year.

The long-term downward trend in deer numbers in some counties prompted the Conservation Commission to reduce availability of antlerless-only deer tags this year in Atchison, Bates, Caldwell, Callaway, Carroll, Dallas, Howard, Laclede, Ray, and Vernon counties, and parts of Boone and Cass counties. Details are explained on page 28 of the 2013 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information booklet, which is available wherever hunting permits are sold, at MDC offices and online at mdc.mo.gov/node/3656.

Flinn said an important point for hunters to remember this year is the fact that chronic wasting disease (CWD) now exists in north-central Missouri. There is no evidence that CWD can affect humans or domestic animals, but it is a threat Missouri’s deer-hunting traditions. It also threatens the $1 billion in economic activity and 12,000 Missouri jobs that depend on a thriving deer herd.

To minimize the risk of spreading this and other deer diseases, hunters are urged to properly dispose of deer carcasses and take other precautions. These are outlined on page 4 of the 2013 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information booklet.

“The long-term health of our deer herd depends on carefully managing CWD,” says Flinn. “I can’t overemphasize the importance of hunters’ role in this effort. We can’t do it without their active help, especially with proper disposal of deer carcasses.”

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/7/28 10:20:00 - Trenton City Council Preview Of Tonight's Meeting; Beer Sales Continue To Be Controversial At Fair
2014/7/28 10:18:57 - Trenton Man Injured In Accident Near Jamesport
2014/7/28 10:16:47 - Pursuit In Sullivan And Putnam Counties Ends In Injury Accident
2014/7/28 10:13:41 - Garden Club Seeks Fair Entries
2014/7/28 10:11:35 - Traffic Accident Kills Elderly St. Joseph Man
2014/7/28 9:58:47 - Annual Jameson Picnic To Be Held August 7th Through 9th
2014/7/28 9:55:15 - Tire Collection To Be Held August 9th In Chillicothe
2014/7/28 9:51:41 - Meadville Man Injured In Motorcycle Accident
2014/7/28 9:49:29 - Princeton School Board Releases Executive Session Report
2014/7/28 9:46:23 - Dollar Tree To Buy Family Dollar For $8.5 Billion
2014/7/28 9:39:39 - Missouri "Sales Tax" Holiday This Weekend
2014/7/28 5:52:19 - Motorcycle Accident Injures One; Driver Accused Of DWI
2014/7/28 4:43:45 - Missouri Congressional Hopefuls Run On Low Budgets
2014/7/28 4:39:04 - One Killed In Shooting At University City Alumni Picnic
2014/7/28 4:30:00 - First In Line: Woman Waits Days To See President Obama Speak
2014/7/28 4:20:00 - Bar Catches Heat For Sign Insensitive To Women
2014/7/28 4:14:32 - Teen Arrested After Gas Station Clerk Pulls Gun
2014/7/28 4:11:10 - Farmers Brace For High Corn Yields, Lower Prices
2014/7/28 4:05:48 - 4-Year-Old Abducted From Missouri Found In Virginia
2014/7/25 6:26:53 - Motorcycle Accident Injures Cameron Resident Near Mooresville
2014/7/25 4:42:55 - Child Abuse Charges Include Snakes, Lizards And Alligators
2014/7/25 4:40:00 - Search Warrant Leads To Two Meth Suspects
2014/7/25 4:30:00 - 3 Convicted In $17 Million Drug Conspiracy
2014/7/25 4:26:15 - Woman Ticketed After Stopping To Help Stranded Ducklings
2014/7/25 4:22:33 - 10-Month-Old Baby Dead After Being Left In Hot Car
2014/7/25 4:15:23 - Husband Documents Wife's Reasons For Rejecting Sex, Sends To Her Work Email
2014/7/25 4:07:44 - Family Feud Sparks Revolt At Grocery Store Chain
2014/7/25 4:01:28 - Livingston County Sheriff Investigation Report
2014/7/24 11:03:48 - Two Spickard Residents Arrested On Drug Charges
2014/7/24 10:51:09 - Fire Damages Trenton Residence This Morning



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM