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Here's some more info showing the proposed goals and current estimated populations in the 8 management units. These new goals will effect our hunting until 2010. I urge everyone to attend a meeting once the times and locations are announced. I just hope that they aren't planned for like a Friday night right before the holiday's, since few would be able to attend. After the first of the year would be better for everyone. Here's the info...
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/Deer_Population_Goals_141443_7.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #2
If anyone hears of dates and locations of meetings, please post them here.
 

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uhhh I call bs on the DNR report. The deer numbers are no where near 70 deer per square mile. Come on. They would be herded up like cattle. I just dont belive it. That number includes areas that no deer are known to inhabit like downtown. 70 deer per square mile? that is alot of deer I just can't belive there is that many deer in Jackson co.
 

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Fred, you may want to have a chat with your DNR field biologist, Ms. Shannnon Hanna. She also covers my neck of the woods, Hillsdale County, where an average density of 32 dpsm was estimated.

FWIW, based on my in-the-field observations in Jackson County, and frequent communication with good friends that hunt and own property there, deer densities in Jackson County are substantially greater than they are where I hunt.
 

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no doubt Jackson Co has alot of deer. I just think that 70 / sq mile seems high. Maybe I'm wrong but that sure seems like a bunch of deer
 

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FB, I absolutely agree! I think you would be hard pressed to find any individual sq. mile with that many let alone that to be the average. I also find it hard to believe that our deer herd increased by 25% in one year -from ~40,000 to ~50,000 what a joke. I also don't understand how there could be a huge increase in croplands, forests and water for the description of the county. We have tons of new housing and businesses in this county shouldn't "other" be the thing that increased. I found many inconsistancies in what the report said and the numbers they were showing. My only hope is that they will under-estimate just as badly when the herd starts to get thinned out to the point they are looking for.
 

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rethinking and crunching the numbers -

1 square mile = 640 acers
640/50 acres= 12.8
70/12.8= 5.468 deer

so for my instance there should be 5.468 deer on 50 acres. I would belive that. Maybe Jackson co does have an average of 70 deer per sq mile.
 

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farmlegend said:
FWIW, based on my in-the-field observations in Jackson County, and frequent communication with good friends that hunt and own property there, deer densities in Jackson County are substantially greater than they are where I hunt.
That's my take as well. I have access to more than a dozen properties in Jackson & Calhoun counties, they all have substantially more deer than the vast majority of Hillsdale County. Although the area right outside of Hillsdale, especially near the college, is grossly overpopulated.

Interestingly enough, the properties that I hunt in Williams County Ohio and Steuben County Indiana are both near the MI border, and the number of deer there is another notch lower than what you'll find throughout most of Hillsdale County.
 

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according to the DNR hillsdale has 32 deer per square mile lets look at that.

1 sq mile = 640 acres
640/50 = 12.8
32/12.8 = 2.5

so in hillsdale you should have aproximatly 2.5 deer per 50 acres. Sound about right?
 

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The problem is a lot of these guys that hunt jackson, hillsdale, etc. don't shoot alot of does. I know guys that hunt jackson that have about 300 acres, they might shoot 1 or 2 does a year, but these are guys are trophy hunters and they shoot large bucks every year.

I think alot of these manage lands have the same problem. State land you may have 50 different guys on 300 acres hunting during a season and alot will take a doe, but these large private tracks simply won't shoot alot of does because they are trophy hunted by 4 or 5 guys.
 

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Fred Bear said:
according to the DNR hillsdale has 32 deer per square mile lets look at that.

1 sq mile = 640 acres
640/50 = 12.8
32/12.8 = 2.5

so in hillsdale you should have aproximatly 2.5 deer per 50 acres. Sound about right?
Fred, it does sound reasonable to me. Last several years(I keep logs), I don't see a deer at all on about 1/3 of my sits. I would guess that the October 1 density on my huntgrounds is slightly higher than 32 dpsm, but probably less than 40 dpsm.

As jkh mentioned, I believe the highest density in the county is right on the outskirts and within the city limits of Hillsdale, where you'll see deer all night roaming around in densely-populated residential areas; in and around Jonesville is similar. Another dense deer zone is in the more human-populated areas in Somerset Township (NE corner). The least deer-dense is likely the highly ag-intensive and lightly human-populated southeast portion of the county.
 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2005

Contacts: Rodney Clute 517-373-1263 or Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014

DNR Sets Public Statewide Meetings On Deer Population Goals

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a series of meetings around the state this winter to receive public input on deer population goals. Meetings will be conducted in each of the eight Wildlife Management Units in Michigan.

Information about the population goals for each Deer Management Unit (DMU) can be found on the DNR's Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr. Written comments may also be sent to DNR Operations Service Centers until Jan. 20, 2006. Phone numbers for the centers are listed below. Also, comments can be emailed to [email protected].

"These meetings will offer the public the opportunity to work with the DNR on deer population goals designed to manage the state's deer herd through 2010," said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Bill Moritz. "I encourage the public to attend these meetings and offer their comments in order to assist us in maintaining a healthy deer herd in our state."

"As we developed these draft goals, we followed the Natural Resources Policy 2007, which recognizes the need to maintain a healthy herd, ability of habitat to support deer, and the role of the public in establishing these goals," said Doug Reeves, field operations supervisor for the DNR Wildlife Division. "Changes from the previous deer population goals reflect changes in both biological and social conditions with the DMUs. Working through this process has allowed us to propose deer population goals we believe to be appropriate for each DMU in the state."

Western Upper Peninsula
The Western Upper Peninsula Wildlife Management Unit meetings will take place Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the Bay College Auditorium in Escanaba; Thursday, Jan. 5, at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 41 in Watersmeet; Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Best Western Lakeside Inn located at 900 S. U.S. Highway 41 in Baraga; and Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Michigan Room at Northern Michigan University's Don H. Bottum University Center in Marquette. All meetings will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. This includes the following DMUs: 007, 021, 022, 027, 031, 036, 042, 055, 066, 121, 127, 131, 152, 155, 252 and 255. Information for the Western UP Management Unit can also be received by calling the DNR's Marquette Operations Service Center at 906-228-6561.

Eastern Upper Peninsula
The Eastern UP Management Unit meetings will take place Thursday, Jan. 5 at the Manistique High School located at 100 N. Cedar St. in Manistique; Thursday, Jan. 12, in Room 204 of the Lake Superior State University Crawford Hall of Science located at 650 W. Easterday Ave. in Sault Ste. Marie, and Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Newberry High School located at 700 Newberry Ave. in Newberry. All meetings are scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. These meetings include the following DMUs: 017, 021, 048, 049, 117 and 121. Information for the Eastern UP Management Unit also can be received by calling the Newberry Operations Service Center at 906-293-5131.

Northwest Lower Peninsula
The Northwest Management Unit meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, at the Cadillac School Auditorium located at 400 Linden St. in Cadillac. This includes the following DMUs: Leelanau (045), Benzie (010), Grand Traverse (028), Kalkaska (040), Manistee (051), Wexford (083), Missaukee (057), Mason (053), Lake (043), Osceola (067), Oceana (064), Newaygo (062), Mecosta (054), South Fox Island (245) and North Manitou Island (145). Information for the Northwest Management Unit can also be received by calling the Cadillac Operations Center at 231-775-9727.

Northeast Lower Peninsula
The Northeast Management Unit meeting will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Ralph A. McMullen Conference Center located at 104 Conservation Dr. in Roscommon. This meeting includes the following DMUs: Alpena (001), Alcona (004), Antrim (005), Charlevoix (015), Cheboygan (016), Crawford (020), Emmet (024), Iosco (035 and 135), Montmorency (060), Ogemaw (065), Oscoda (065), Otsego (069), Presque Isle (071), Roscommon (072) and Bois Blanc Island (149). Information for the Northeast Management Unit can also be received by calling the Gaylord Operations Center at 989-732-3541.

Saginaw Bay Area
The Saginaw Bay Management Unit meetings will be held on Monday, Dec. 19, at the Midland Center for the Arts located at 1801 W. St. Andrews in Midland; on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Cass City Middle School Cafeteria located at 4805 Ale St. in Cass City; and at the Gladwin High School Cafeteria located at 1400 Spring St. in Gladwin. All meetings will be from 6 to 9 p.m. These meetings include the following DMUs: Arenac (006), Bay (009), Clare (018), Gladwin (026), Huron (032), Isabella (037), Midland (056), Saginaw (073, 173 and 273), Sanilac (076) and Tuscola (079). Information for the Saginaw Bay Management Unit can also be received by calling the Bay City Operations Center at 989-684-9141.

Southwest Lower Peninsula
The Southwest Management Unit meetings will be held Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Eberhard Center located at 301 W. Fulton in Grand Rapids; Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Dale A. Lyons Building on the campus of Southwestern Michigan College located at 58900 Cherry Grove Rd. in Dowagiac; and Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute located at 701 W. Cloverdale Rd. in Hastings. The Grand Rapids and Dowagiac meetings will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Hastings meeting will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. The meetings will focus on the following DMUs: Allegan (003), Berry (008), Berrien (011), Branch (012), Calhoun (013), Cass (014), Kalamazoo (039), Kent (041), Muskegon (061), Ottawa (070), St. Joseph (075) and Van Buren (080). Information for the Southwest Management Unit can also be received by calling the Plainwell Operations Center at 269-685-6851.

South Central Lower Peninsula
The South Central Management Unit meetings will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the Eddy Discovery Center located at 17030 Bush Rd. in Chelsea; Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Montcalm Community College/Ionia Center Ionia High School located at 250 E. Tulle Rd. in Ionia; and Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Animal and Population Health located at 4125 Beaumont Rd. in East Lansing. The Chelsea and Ionia meetings will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. The East Lansing meeting will be from 7 to 9 p.m. These meetings will focus on the following DMUs: Clinton (019), Eaton (023), Gratiot (029), Hillsdale (030), Ingham (033), Ionia (034), Jackson (038), Lenawee (046), Livingston (047), Montcalm (059), Shiawassee (078) and Washtenaw (081). Information on the South Central Management Unit can also be received by calling the Rose Lake Operations Center at 517-641-4903.

Southeastern Lower Peninsula
The Southeastern Management Unit meetings will be held Monday, Jan. 16, at the Imlay City High School cafeteria located at 1101 Norlin Dr. in Imlay City; and Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Summit Academy Schools cafeteria located at 18601 Middlebelt in Romulus. The Imlay City and Romulus meetings will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. These meetings will focus on the following DMUs: Genesee (025), Lapeer (044), Macomb (050), Monroe (058), Oakland (063), St. Clair (074 and 174) and Wayne (082). Information for the Southeastern Management Unit can also be received by calling the Livonia Operations Center at 734-953-0241.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.

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Fred Bear said:
anyone going to these meetings?
I'm planning on going to at least one - I've never been to a session like these, and I'm interested in hearing what's talked about. I wish that Calhoun County were included in the same district as Jackson, Eaton, Ingham, & Hillsdale.
 

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Hamilton Reef said:
Northeast Lower Peninsula
The Northeast Management Unit meeting will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Ralph A. McMullen Conference Center located at 104 Conservation Dr. in Roscommon. This meeting includes the following DMUs: Alpena (001), Alcona (004), Antrim (005), Charlevoix (015), Cheboygan (016), Crawford (020), Emmet (024), Iosco (035 and 135), Montmorency (060), Ogemaw (065), Oscoda (065), Otsego (069), Presque Isle (071), Roscommon (072) and Bois Blanc Island (149). Information for the Northeast Management Unit can also be received by calling the Gaylord Operations Center at 989-732-3541.
Im assuming that the 452 is covered by this meeting as well?
 

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jk hillsdale said:
I'm planning on going to at least one - I've never been to a session like these, and I'm interested in hearing what's talked about. I wish that Calhoun County were included in the same district as Jackson, Eaton, Ingham, & Hillsdale.
If you can go. What is it you plan to bring up?
 

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Deer hunters, here's your shot

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051210/SPORTS10/512100344/1058

Contact ERIC SHARP at 313-222-2511 or [email protected].

The deer population would remain about the same in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula under new goals set by the state Department of Natural Resources. But hunters in the southern Lower Peninsula would see deer numbers reduced by about 30-40%.

Those plans will be explained and discussed at a series of public meetings around the state in the next month, and hunters will have an opportunity to make their opinions known.

I live and mostly hunt deer in the northern Lower, and there's no question that deer numbers in those areas have fallen dramatically in the past five years. My best guess is they are down 30%.

But I don't buy the arguments of people who claim that our northern herd has been reduced by half or more. Those complaints usually come from people who say they don't see deer in places they always hunted. The problem is those people don't understand much about deer behavior.

A good example is a square-mile section where I have two tree stands. I start hunting there on the bow opener Oct. 1. In 1998, I estimated there were about 40 deer in that section. Every time I sat in a stand, I saw lots of deer, probably 10-15 on average.

Today, I figure that section has about 25 deer. If I see two, it's a good sit. That's because competition for food has been reduced to the point that the deer can find enough to eat without exposing themselves in areas of poor cover.

A lot of hunters don't seem to recognize that deer movement changes with population densities, and as forests mature and nearby areas are cut.

Many began hunting when the statewide deer herd topped 2 million. When the season started this year, it was an estimated 1.7 million.

The DNR now wants a deer population of 1.3 million to 1.6 million in 2006-10.

In the UP, the goal is for a herd that fluctuates from 323,000 to 411,000, or anywhere from 4% fewer to 22% more than the 336,000 deer estimated to live in the UP this year. In the eastern UP, hard hit by winter kills, the DNR wants to increase the herd by as much as 40%.

For the northern Lower, the goal is 459,000 to 546,000 deer, compared to the 498,000 estimated for 2005 (or anywhere from 8% lower to 10% higher than now).

The biggest change would come in the southern Lower, where the herd is estimated at 868,000. The DNR wants it at 501,000-602,000, a decrease of 31-42%.

But in some management units the decrease would be more drastic. For example, in southeast Michigan, the DNR proposes cutting deer numbers by about 50%.

If you're a hunter who is concerned about the deer herd, take the time to attend a meeting, listen and make your opinion known.

If nothing else, you'll learn something about how the deer management program works.
 

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Fred Bear said:
If you can go. What is it you plan to bring up?
I'm not really certain I have anything meaningful to say - I'm interested more in listening than in talking. I hunt in five counties - Calhoun, Jackson, Ingham, Eaton, and Hillsdale. I find the DNR's assessment of current population status in those counties to be quite consistent with what I see - for instance, there's no question that there is a much higher deer density throughout most of Calhoun & Jackson counties, as compared to most of Eaton or Hillsdale counties.

Another thing I'm strongly considering is working this winter to form a township or neighborhood QDM co-op in Calhoun County, and my guess is that it would be helpful towards that end to attend these meetings and get a better feel for current hunter sentiments as well as possible future DNR directions.
 

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I wholeheartedly support the proposed deer population goal of 40/45 deer per square mile for Lake County (043) for the coming 5 years. While the habitat, especially the habitat on public land could support a much higher number of deer, I believe 40/45 is a fair number.


Yet, quite frankly, under the current regulations and current DMU boundaries for Lake County, I see no possible way that they will ever reach that desired goal. Here’s why I believe this goal will never be reached:


#1

Right now the DNR’s own numbers show that we have 20-25 deer per square mile in Lake County. I just completed a season where I hunted all over Lake County public lands in every conceivable habitat and I can tell you there is NOT 20-25 deer per square mile. And that’s the problem – there are areas where there definitely are 20-25 deer per square mile, but there are definitely areas where there are as few as 5-10 per square mile. And in managing deer by county lines as opposed to Deer Management Units, there is not a thing in the world that can be done about it.

Currently, with DMU boundaries being set by county borders, what exactly does 40-45 deer per square mile mean?

Because actual Deer Management Units are a thing of the past, our local biologists are forced to estimate deer numbers using a statistical model that I believe inherently skews the results to show a much higher population of deer over the entire county then what there actually is.

In the spring, our biologist will count a disproportionately high number of deer per square mile in areas where PRIVATE land is highly concentrated (larger tracts). Yet, in areas of high PUBLIC land concentration, that are dotted with literally thousands of 1, 3, 5 and 10 acre parcels of private property that border that public land, he will find deer numbers that are disproportionately low. As a result of this, when antlerless permit quotas are set, because of the high concentration of deer in those private land sectors, an artificially high number of private land antlerless permits are issued. What happens? All those land owners who own those 1, 3, 5 and 10 acre parcels that are adjacent to these large tracts of public land, are getting in on that antlerless permit action. (which they have every right to do) But as a result, those who hunt public land suffer greatly because a very high number of deer that are harvested on all those 1, 3, 5 and10 acre parcels that border that public land are being drawn from public land while the landowner who owns vast tracts of private land can easily control exactly what happens on his property.

It makes no sense whatsoever to try to manage deer by county line borders when the land ownership patterns differ so greatly … WE NEED TO GO BACK TO MANAGING DEER by DMU’s, not by county roads which are nothing but POLITICAL boundaries. There is no way in the world the DNR is ever going to get an accurate count of deer by county when the land ownership patterns differ so greatly. And even if they could, they could never control the harvest. Those who hunt the vast tracts of public land are going to lose out every time.

In the year 2000, 13,000 antlerless permits were issued in Lake County.

In the year 2001, 12,000 antlerless permits were issued in Lake County.

In 2003, we had a long, cold and wet spring and we experienced a higher than normal fawn mortality.


In 2003, I was told that deer population numbers were at the DNR’s desired levels - levels decided upon locally by the biologist and approved by Lansing. If that was so, how can they justify/reconcile these statistics?

In 2003 the antlerless kill was down 46% from 2002.

In 2003 the antlered kill was down 33% from 2002.

In 2004 the antlerless kill was down 24 % from 2003.

In 2004, the antlered kill was down 19 % from 2003.

So far … in 2005, check station activity was down 43% in Baldwin.

HOW COULD THE HARVEST DROP THIS MUCH?

About 75% of all bucks in Lake County are harvested yearly. If we take an equal number of does, which, up until this year we have been encouraged to do, in just a few short years (no matter what the deer density or sex ratio was to begin with) this creates a very young doe age structure. The herd then has a very difficult time sustaining itself due to the young doe age structure. This is what we are now experiencing.

Older does, 3 1/2 years old or older, are the fawn producers. The key to a healthy and productive herd are the number of fawns that are born and survive to one year of age and an average young doe age structure is a formula for disaster. By issuing an excessive number of antlerless permits and on both public AND private lands, Lansing has created an age structure in the female deer that does not enable the population to thrive and sustain itself. With DMU boundaries (with the land ownership patterns we have) as they are now, we will never see a situation where we see an age structure in the doe population that will enable the herd to sustain itself.

Does it seem like managing deer by county as opposed to DMU is working? I don’t believe it is. This whole philosophy of letting hunters manage the resource and "education" is nothing short of a disaster. It simply will not work with the archery and firearm pressure LakeCounty endures. It works great on Southern MI private land farm country where everything is within the control of the landowner, but it is a complete and total disaster for Northern MI.

Not only is actual deer population well below the DNR’s currently estimated number, any future estimated deer populations in Lake County will also be well below the goals they set. The numbers will always be skewed by a statistical model used that inherently inflates the numbers due to the land ownership patterns we have.

We need to go back to managing deer by DMU’s. Managing deer by county line borders simply does not work in LakeCounty nor does it appear to be working in the rest of the Northwest Management Unit. It has been a disaster. How difficult would it be to divide LakeCounty (043) into 043A and 043B – DMU’s based on land ownership patterns, habitat and real deer biology? I’m sure the local biologist could handle that with no difficulty or inconvenience at all for him, for Lansing or for the whitetail enthusiasts in LakeCounty.

#2
We need to reinstate the 40 acre land ownership requirement for Private Land Antlerless Permits. Under the current regulations, a person who owns very, very little acreage – even ONE acre, is entitled to purchase an over the counter private land antlerless permit.

Take a look at a plat book of Lake County and note how many 1, 3, 5 and 10 acre parcels of private land there are that border public land on at least one side. There are literally thousands of them. It is ridiculous to issue all these landowners private land antlerless permits! These private land antlerless permits are being filled with deer that reside on PUBLIC land.

We need to reinstate the 40 acre minimum for private land antlerless permits.

# 3
Deer Management Assistance Permits should be issued for crop damage, safety and disease situations ONLY. If one of these small private land tract owners misses out on purchasing an over the counter private land antlerless permit, all he has to do is call the local biologist and the biologist is obligated to come to the land owner’s property and with a minimum of paperwork, hand over to the landowner, DMAP’s. This simply does not work, nor is it equitable when you have thousands of small parcels that border and are enclosed by public land.

Our biologist may be able to get away with recommending 0 antlerless permits for public land in Lake County but the truth is, he is being FORCED under the current regulations Lansing imposes on him to issue an excessive number of private land permits so that he does not end up spending all his time in August and September running from one landowner to the next, handing out DMAP’s. If the biologist lowers the number of private land doe permits to try and control the private land harvest, than anyone that wasn't able to buy an over-the-counter private land antlerless permit can call and ask for DMAP's. If they submit a deer management plan for their property, they are issued DMAP’s. This is absolutely absurd!

For Lansing to say they are attempting to address the problem by limiting public land antlerless permits is just preposterous – both in terms of the private land antlerless permits and the DMAP’s. Where are the vast majority of these private land antlerless permits and DMAP’s being filled? On very small tracts of private land – with deer that routinely live and thrive on public land.

We need to issue DMAP’s only to those who have genuine crop damage issues, safety issues and when there are disease issues.

So those are the three things that keep me from believing the DNR will ever meet the 40-45 goal for LakeCounty … 1) The present DMU boundaries. (county roads boundaries with no attention being paid to landownership patterns and habitat) 2) The present situation where they have eliminated the 40 acre minimum for private land antlerless permits. 3) Issuing DMAP’s to literally to anyone who feels they are entitled to one.

Until these three things change, I don’t think you’ll ever convince anyone that lives in, hunts and spends time on a regular basis in LakeCounty that they can reach and maintain their goals. These three situations keep the herd in Lake County from reaching a structure that enables it to maintain and sustain itself, let alone an equitably dispersed population of 40/45 deer per square mile.

I’ve read a lot lately about managing “habitat” and “ecology” yet when it comes to managing deer they still want to do it in terms of political borders. (county roads) They want to manage deer by political boundaries but they seem to be putting a lot of focus and emphasis on managing ecology and habitat. This makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

Granted we had quite a few deer in the mid 80's through the early 90's. And I would not expect or hope for things to return to the way it was back then. But I don't think it is being at all unreasonable to expect to see a few deer during bow or even rifle season for those who hunt public land.

I don’t think its being the least bit unreasonable to ask that deer management TRULY be based upon the biology of deer as I know the DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.
 
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