Friday, February 12, 2010

MINNESOTA NEWS: State Deer Harvest Down

Final figures from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirm what hunters suspected last fall: The state deer kill was down from 2008.

Hunters took 194,200 whitetails in 2009, about 12 percent fewer than in 2008. The DNR's final figures include archery, firearms and muzzleloader season results.

It was the lowest deer kill since 1999, when hunters took 181,000.

The lower kill was by design, said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big-game program coordinator. After years of high deer numbers and permits, the agency dropped the number of permits last year.

Far fewer antlerless, or doe, permits were allocated, especially in northern Minnesota, because the deer herd there was smaller, Cornicelli said.

Because does are the population engine for a deer herd, DNR managers cut back on those permits last year because the DNR's population goals had been met.

The antlerless deer kill dropped 21 percent last year, compared to 2008, while the buck kill only dropped 1 percent.

It's likely overall permit numbers this fall will remain about the same as last year, although liberal permit numbers will be allowed in southeast Minnesota and north of the Twin Cities where the herd is still large.

"I think in a lot of places, we're where we want to be," Cornicelli said of the deer herd size.

"Most of our high population issues are in the southeast and north metro. And we're still trying to increase the herd in the southwest."

The DNR would like to keep the state's deer kill to a range around 200,000, and not the high levels of 2003-2007, when the deer kill ranged from 291,000 (2003) and 256,000 (2005).

"I think 200,000 might be our deer maintenance harvest," Cornicelli said. "Our polls tell us people view deer hunting about being with family and friends" not a high deer kill, he said.

Archery hunters killed 20,700 deer last year, down 9 percent from 2008. The firearms deer kill was 165,400, down 13 percent, and the muzzleloader kill was 8,100, down 15 percent.

Minnesota hunters killed 99,800 antlerless deer and 94,400 bucks in 2009.

Source: Pioneer Press

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Culls of Hilltop Reservation Begin

The Essex County 2010 Deer Management Program began at Hilltop Reservation as scheduled on Tuesday, with several deer being culled, or killed, during a hunt conducted by trained marksmen.

"It was very successful this morning," Essex County Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura said of the program on Tuesday afternoon, citing several deer were culled from the reservation.

The management program is scheduled to continue today, as well as on Feb. 16, 18, 23 and 25. The program is also being conducted at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange on the same dates.

The deer management program at South Mountain Reservation, which began last month, was scheduled to end today. South Mountain Reservation is located in Maplewood, Millburn and West Orange.

The Hilltop includes portions of Verona, Cedar Gove and North Caldwell. The reservation will be closed on those days to ensure the public's safety, said county officials last month.

Fontoura said sections of Fairview Avenue are also being closed on mornings and afternoons as marksmen conduct the management program for safety reasons as well. Parts of Fairview boarder the reservation.

Fontoura said Fairview Avenue will be closed between Durrell Street in Verona and Skytop Road in Cedar Grove as marksmen conduct the program.

Fontoura said Essex County Sheriff's officers are manning the roadblocks on Fairview Avenue, and monitoring the detours these roadblocks are creating through Verona and Cedar Grove.

Fontoura added Verona, Cedar Grove and North Caldwell police officers are also patrolling the area around the reservation and are on call to lend sheriff officers assistance if needed.

During the program, no more than six agents are assigned to cull Hilltop Reservation deer. The program's goal is to remove at least 50 deer from the reservation, but there is no limit to the number they can kill.

Essex County Wildlife Management Consultant Dan Bernier said volunteer, experienced marksmen are using shotguns with telescopic views and slugs to cull the deer. The hunters are shooting from tree stands 20 feet high, so that the only direction they can aim is toward the ground. All of the shooting is taking place during daylight hours.

This is the third year the county is conducting its deer management program. There were 213 deer culled from South Mountain Reservation in 2008 and 83 removed in 2009. A total of 202 unborn deer were also culled from 2008-2009.

This is the first year the program is being conducted at Hilltop and Eagle Rock Reservations.

Last fall, the Verona and Cedar Grove town councils unanimously adopted resolutions endorsing the deer-management program. The towns also signed indemnification agreements with the county, making the county liable for any injury or legal action that might occur during the program.

But those indemnification agreements didn't do much to damper the concerns of a number of area residents who showed up at Verona's last council meeting on Feb. 1 to voice their concerns about the county's deer management program at Hilltop.

One these residents, Valerie Wolfson told township officials many residents are frustrated about the program, and don't understand why the governing body decided to endorse it.

"We who love nature have been ignored," Wolfson told officials at the meeting. "There's a lot of frustration about this. We feel that we have been overlooked, and it's not fair."


MINNESOTA NEWS: Nature Center to Cull Deer

To the staff at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, trees are an important and expensive part of their 507 acres, but trees are more like candy to the 140 or so deer who roam there. (This is 176 deer per square mile!)

Those apple, oaks, white cedars and maples could see more growth and less snacking if naturalist and nature center director Larry Dolphin gets his way.

Dolphin received permission from the city's parks, recreation and forestry board last week to start work on the first deer hunt at the nature center in six years. The project may come back to the park board for another decision later this year. The Austin City Council will have the final vote.

Source: Post Bulletin

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

IOWA NEWS: Deer Harvest Down Slightly in 2009

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that hunters harvested fewer deer in the latest season than the previous year, but numbers overall were very good.

Iowa hunters harvested 136,504 deer in 2009, a 5,750 drop over 2008 numbers, officials said.

Officials said the numbers continue a five year trend of reducing the size of Iowa's deer herd.

Source: KCCI

Monday, February 08, 2010

KANSAS NEWS: Shawnee Mission Cull Ends

The deer harvest has been completed at Shawnee Mission Park, with a total count of 342 deer culled from the herd.

Sharpshooters killed 313 deer, but park officials determined the number did not meet the goal. Archers killed an additional 29 deer in December and January.

Park officials had hoped to reduce the herd to 50 per square mile. However, they said Thursday it appeared they fell short. A deer population survey will be conducted in a few weeks to determine the size of the herd.

Following the sharpshooter phase, a survey estimated that the herd had been reduced to 73 deer per square mile.

Source: Kansas City Star