Monday, May 08, 2006

VIRGINIA NEWS: Group Forms to Fight Declining Deer Population

Deer hunters concerned with a declining deer population on national forest land have created an alliance to increase the presence of the animals.

Myron Reedy, co-founder of the Shenandoah Sportsmen’s Alliance, said Rockingham County needs a group dedicated to improving the habitat for deer.

"It’s a shame to not have enough deer in the forest for hunting," he said. "Hopefully this group will be able to figure out some corrective changes."

For the last five years, the number of deer killed during hunting in Rockingham County has declined. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 5,536 deer were killed in 2000, compared to 4,085 killed in 2005, a 26 percent decrease.

Rodney Mongold, another co-founder of the alliance, worries that future generations will become bored with the outdoors if there is nothing to hunt.

"This is about the children," he said. "I don’t want my kids out on the street or playing video games. But if they get bored being in the outdoors, that’s what they might do."

The concerns of the alliance stem specifically from a decreasing number of deer killed in the George Washington National Forest. According to the game department, 1,050 deer were killed on national forest land in 2000. Last year, 656 were killed, a 38 percent decrease.

"I don’t want to have to drive to Kentucky to get a nice white-tailed deer," Mongold said. "We’re losing tax dollars if no one comes to the state to hunt."

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