Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: Growing Human-Deer Conflicts in Putnam County

Deer have become such a problem in Putnam County that residents should be able to shoot them even when they're not in season, a man complained to county commissioners Tuesday.

Arnold Cyrus of Trace Fork asked commissioners to declare deer in the county a public nuisance so he and other residents could shoot them during the hunting off-season to prevent the animals from destroying crops.

"We need help on this some way or another," Cyrus said.

He said farmers growing alfalfa, clover, soybeans and a variety of flowers are constantly battling against a growing deer population.

State Division of Natural Resources representatives recommended he and other farmers put up fences around their property to keep the deer out. But residents would need fencing at least 8 feet high, and "we farmers don't have that kind of money," he said.

Cyrus said he's tried all the "old wives' tales" to deter the animals from eating his plants, but nothing seems to work.

Commissioner Joe Haynes agreed something needs to be done: "But the question is what?" Commissioners can't override state law and allow residents to shoot deer in the off-season, he said.

After Tuesday's meeting, DNR Capt. Stephan Stewart said county residents can apply for kill permits to shoot deer if they are causing substantial damage to gardens or other private property. The property can't be within 500 feet of another residence, highway or business, he said.

"We can authorize to use a bow and arrow to destroy the deer, and if that cannot be safely done, then the people ... will have to try fencing and repellents to prevent the deer from destroying their property," he said.

Source: Charleston Gazette

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ARKANSAS NEWS: 2008 Season Second Highest Deer Harvest in History

If you thought that last deer season was a good one, you were right. It was the second best ever for Arkansas, according to Brad Miller, Ph.D., Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's deer program coordinator.

Miller gave a report on the 2008-09 deer season to AGFC's commissioners at their May meeting in Little Rock Thursday. He said the deer totals are preliminary, with reports from a few deer hunting clubs still to come in. In the last season, over 184,000 deer were checked by hunters, Miller said. This is second only to the all-time high of 194,687 in the 1999-2000 season.

The last season was about a 7 percent increase over the 2007-08 hunt, Miller said.

The number of bucks taken by hunters was down lightly, but the number of doe deer checked showed a significant increase. The doe increase was in all deer zones of the state except Zone 17, which is the land inside the main Mississippi River levees.

Overall, Miller said, the mountain areas of Arkansas showed a decrease in deer taken by hunters, but the Delta, the Gulf Coastal Plain (south Arkansas) and the Arkansas River valley were up.

The number of deer taken by hunters in Arkansas has climbed steadily since 1938, when just 203 were reported. The deer checked total passed 100,000 for the first time in 1987. Top years were 1998 with 179,225, 1999 with its record 194,687 and 2000 with 182,132. Then the totals declined with a fewer number of days for deer hunting and other restrictions, before rebounding the past three years.
In other action Thursday, the commissioners:

Heard a report that repairs to damage from recent storms on AGFC lands and facilities will cost $6,242,585. This will be reimbursed to the agency by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), 75 percent, and the state of Arkansas emergency funds, 25 percent.

Accepted a donation of two tracts of land totaling 1.81 acres at Sneed's Creek, on the White River upstream from Calico Rock, with the land to be used for a public access area.

Agreed to purchase two tracts on the South Fork of the Spring River in Fulton County for access areas. One is known as the Sturkie Site on Sunrise Road, and the other is at the Arkansas Highway 385 crossing of the river upstream form Salem. AGFC will pay $32,800 for the two sites, with 75 percent of the money to be reimbursed from the federal Sport Fish Restoration fund, which uses excise taxes paid on fishing and related equipment.