State of the State’s Deer Herd

Published on: Jul. 15, 2013

large portion of the region was hit hard by hemorrhagic disease in 2012, with Benton and Henry counties having the most reported cases within the region. In rural areas affected by hem­orrhagic disease, it may be necessary to reduce doe harvest to allow deer populations to recover.

Northeast Region

Deer populations in the Northeast Region have been slowly decreas­ing over the last several years; how­ever, some areas still have high deer populations. Several areas within the Northeast Region ex­perienced significant hemorrhagic disease mor­tality, which likely contributed to the 6-percent decrease in deer harvest from 2011. In general, deer populations in many parts of the Northeast Region have been stable to slightly increasing, including Adair, Lewis, Putnam, Sullivan, Clark, and Schuyler counties. Some counties have ex­perienced declines with the most dramatic being in Monroe, Randolph, and Shelby. However, the 2012 hemorrhagic disease outbreak will result in some localized reductions in deer populations. Localized decreases in doe harvest, without regulation changes, should be sufficient to allow recovery of populations reduced by hemorrhagic disease mortality.

Northwest Region

There has been a steady reduction in the deer population and harvest over the past decade in the North­west Region with harvest in 2012 decreasing by 10 percent from the 10-year average. Declining harvest is a reflection of lower deer popula­tions across many counties, including Atchison, Caldwell, Carroll, Clinton, Daviess, Nodaway, and Ray. Large concentrations of deer are far less common today than in the early 2000s in many of these areas. In areas that were heavily affected by hemorrhagic disease in 2012, a re­duction in doe harvest is likely warranted to aid population recovery. However, a few counties, including Worth and Mercer, continue to have strong deer populations. Additionally, changes in land use within the region are reducing the amount of available habitat, which may be con­tributing to localized reductions in deer density.

Ozark Region

Deer populations in the Ozark Re­gion have been slowly increasing over the past decade as a result of continued conservative regulations on antlerless harvest. A slowly increasing population and poor acorn abundance is reflected by a 22-per­cent increase in deer harvest from 2011 to 2012. Ozark counties with the greatest deer harvest increase compared to the 10-year average har­vest were Pulaski, Shannon, Carter, Howell, and Ripley. Both 2010 and 2011 had relatively good acorn crops, which, as previously mentioned, made them less vulnerable to harvest, allowing populations to increase. The

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