December 3, 2023

Creative Ways to Thin Deer Herds and Pocket Some Cash

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Pockets of too many deer show up everywhere. Wildlife officials try many things to entice or encourge hunters to take deer in those areas. It’s not always easy and seems to be getting more difficult as hunters are more interested in bagging a trophy deer than thinning the herd. Some of us are just meat hunters (or that’s a nice way of saying we can’t bag the monster buck).

In Maine the officials there utilize an extended archery season in areas with densely populated deer and humans. Some states, like Wisconsin in the past, have a program that allows you to shoot a buck only after you have taken an antlerless deer.

In one area of Illinois, the Baldwin Lake Rest Area to be exact, wildlife management personnel want the number of deer reduced. Here’s their plan. They are going to issue 26 permits during two seperate seasons, a total of 52 permits. Hunters can apply for the random drawing. If successfully drawn, you will be assigned a location within the designated area. Hunters must be in a tree stand, at least 6 feet above the ground and within 10 feet of your designated spot to hunt (sound exiting?).

If you bag an antlerless deer, you can purchase another permit to take a second deer of either sex. Officials hope this will reduce the deer in that area. The same area will be open for the youth hunt as well but information on that will come out later.

Sometimes the creativity garnered by wildlife officials becomes stifling because of restrictions and costs. I could not find on the DNR website what the cost of each permit was or the application fee.

Maybe I am spoiled in my wants and wishes of what a hunt should be like but sitting in a tree, one that is essentially picked out for you by game officials, isn’t what I would put on the top of my priority list. I suppose it’s a good thing they only need to fill 52 permits.

Tom Remington