Friday, February 19, 2010

NEBRASKA NEWS: Extended Season Proposed

Officials are proposing an extra season to help cut Nebraska's plentiful supply of deer.

If approved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, an Oct. 2-11 season would be in addition to the November firearms season.

Farmers have been complaining about damage to their crops by voracious deer, and collisions with deer remain a big concern along Nebraska roadways.

Kit Hams of the Game and Parks commission says biologists want to cut eastern Nebraska's whitetail population by a quarter.

The Oct. 2-11 season would be limited to female deer and would be open to about two-thirds of the state. Any legal weapon could be used, including rifles.

The proposed season will be considered by the commissioners at their March 19 meeting in Lincoln.

Source: Nebraska.TV

MARYLAND NEWS: Record Deer Harvest in 2009, Toppling 2008 Record

Maryland wildlife managers say the weak economy has led to a record-high deer harvest for the second straight year. The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that hunters killed 100,663 white-tailed and sika deer in the 2009-2010 season. That's 226 more than the previous season. Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler said that in a weak economy, hunters try to put more venison in the freezer. - Associated Press

Source: Baltimore Sun

INDIANA NEWS: Record Deer Harvest in 2009

State wildlife officials say Indiana deer hunters set a record harvest in 2009 by killing more than 130,000 deer.

Reports submitted from 453 check stations across Indiana placed the 2009 total at 132,752 deer. That's more than 3,000, or 2 percent, above the 2008 harvest of 129,748. That was the previous record.

Department of Natural Resources deer management biologist Chad Stewart says deer hunting license sales have increased for the last couple of years. He says people may have more time to hunt because of high unemployment.

Source: Indianapolis Star

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OHIO NEWS: Broadview Heights Approves Deer Hunt

After months of debate and discussion among council and residents, a deer hunting decision has finally been made.

The ordinance passed 4-3 Tuesday, with council members Helen Dunlap, Tom Pavlica, Roy
Stewart and George Stelmaschuk voting for the ordinance. Against the ordinance were Robert Boldt, Jennifer Mahnic and Joe Price.

The proposed ordinance was first viewed in a Rules, Ordinances and Franchise Committee meeting back in December, but the issue has been discussed in several forms in years past.

Because of numerous changes over the course of two months that the ordinance was discussed, members of council were able to suggest amendments to sections.

Amendments made include limiting hunting to only one parcel of land of at least 5 acres, with no special circumstances allowed. The declaring an emergency clause was also taken out.

Councilman at-large Joe Price attempted to remove allowing crossbows, but no other council person seconded that motion.

Residents flocked to Tuesday’s meeting to speak before a decision was made, with a few speaking after.

Tish O’Dell, of McCreary Road referenced the petition on, stating there are more than 150 signatures listed of those residents against the ordinance.

The main purpose of the petition is to put the vote to a ballot so that the majority of residents could be heard.

“I think bow hunting is an inhumane way to address this issue,” said Kathy Bianchi of
Thackeray Court. “It’s opening up a terrible can of worms...(pinning) neighbor against neighbor.”

The mayor said in a previous work session that the e-mails he was receiving on the legislation were 60/40 against the ordinance. Both sides were present Tuesday.

“The deer come right up to the windows at night,” said Roger Brain, of McCreary Road. “If you look at the deer population, those deer can reproduce in nine months. If you think you have a problem now, wait four to five years.”

After the decision was made, Council President Helen Dunlap called for a five minute break allowing people to leave if they chose, which nearly cleared the room.

There were residents who chose to stay and compliment council for making a decision.
“I just wanted to thank all of you,” said Steve Kocan of Akins Road. “It maybe didn’t go my way, but I know you gave it some good thought.”

Source: Sun Star Currier

PEER REVIEWED RESEARCH: Limited Benefit of Woody Debris on Regeneration

Deer can limit forest regeneration following logging. Foresters use woody debris to limit deer browsing impacts to new seedlings; it is one tool of many. The idea is this: woody debris creates a physical barrier that protects seedlings from browsing. It is not 100% effective, but it is thought to boost seedling survival by a few percent. In reforestation, a few percent can mean the difference between regeneration success and regeneration failure.

Kruger and Peterson (2009) investigated this technique in northwestern Pennsylvania. They carefully quantified the size of woody debris--this is seldom done in other studies. They found no benefit of leaving woody debris. Beneath and adjacent to woody debris, they found lower seedling densities. Instead, a recalcitrant understory of ferns developed. They argue that woody debris limits light, and this is more important than browsing. This study contradicts conventional wisdom and some of the published literature.

Woody debris retention works in some places at some times. It seems to me that the benefit of woody debris retention will be influenced to a great extent by context dependence. Kruger and Peterson have conducted a careful study and produced some counter-intuitive results. It is incumbent upon other researchers to see how well these results hold up in other locations.

Source: Kruger, L.M. and C.J. Peterson. 2009. Effects of woody debris and ferns on herb-layer vegetation and deer herbivory in a Pennsylvania forest blowdown. Ecoscience 16: 461-469.

UK NEWS: Cold Weather Killing Deer

The "big chill" has delayed the arrival of spring flowers by up to one month and threatened thousands of deer with starvation as snow and ice bury the plants on which they survive.

With the Met Office warning of the possibility of icy weather again today, more evidence emerged, if we needed it, of just how the coldest January in years has hit wildlife and gardens at opposite ends of Britain.

Large numbers of red and roe deer are thought to have succumbed to lack of food in Scotland, with several estates having stopped deer shoots, although the annual cull of red deer hinds does not stop until next Monday. The Deer commission for Scotland has advised managers that they should continue with the roe deer cull, which does not end until next month.

One estate official told the BBC: "As the snow melts and people return to the hills, they will find dead deer. There's no doubt about that." Colin McLean, wildlife manager at the Glen Tanar estate on Deeside, added: "The sheer depth of snow has prevented deer getting at their food in certain places, and the frost has frozen the snow and they can't dig through it. It's nature at work."

But the commission said animals should still be shot on welfare grounds. "Natural mortality is an ongoing event, but this year it's going to be much greater than normal because of the weather we have had," said Robbie Kernahan, its director of deer management. "We'd encourage deer managers to get out and make sure they are removing the animals at greatest risk, which are likely to suffer through March and April."

Although this winter has been exceptional, UK spring has been arriving earlier than ever due to climate change. A major study released earlier this month compiled 25,000 records of springtime trends for 726 species of plants, animals, plankton, insects, amphibians, birds and fish across land, sea and freshwater habitats. It analysed them for changes in the timing of lifecycle events, such as egg laying, first flights and flowering, a science known as phenology. The results showed that more than 80% of trends between 1976 and 2005 indicated earlier seasonal events.

There were warnings of more snow, frost and ice today and tomorrow in areas as far apart as northern Scotland, the south-west, central and western England, eastern Wales, and Northern Ireland. But the good news is that spring, when it arrives, should be spectacular, according to the National Trust.

It predicted a riot of colour from the "perfect weather barometers" of its garden plants. The trust has widened its regular flower count from properties in Devon and Cornwall, where UK spring blooms traditionally appear first, to other sites. In the south-west, last year's wet summer and warm autumn put magnolias heavily in bud. So while they may flower late this year, the display will be "fabulous". At Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, the famous snowdrops collections are expected to be in full bloom next week, two to three weeks later than over the past decade.

Ian Wright, the trust's garden adviser in Devon and Cornwall, said that "once it warms up, everything will be blooming at once, rather than over a longer period of time, so we can expect a spectacular spring."

Source: The Guardian

Monday, February 15, 2010

IOWA NEWS: Near Record Deer Harvest in 2009

Iowa hunters harvested 136,504 deer in 2009, of which, 71,273 were does continuing a five-year trend reducing the size of Iowa’s deer herd.

This harvest is about 5,750 fewer deer than were reported in 2008. Although the totals would likely have been closer with perfect hunting conditions, some decline was not surprising given that there were fewer deer than in 2008.

Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said hunters have done a good job in moving Iowa’s deer herd toward population goals. While he expects the harvest to decrease some in future years, this decrease will be primarily the result of fewer antlerless deer in the harvest.

The recent harvest is one gauge of the deer herd. Others are still underway, including aerial surveys, road killed data and the spring spotlight surveys.

Litchfield said based on the preliminary information, there is potential for reductions of the number of antlerless deer licenses available in about 20 counties in east central, northeast and southeast Iowa. He also said the November antlerless deer season will likely be a thing of the past within two years.

“The bulk of our counties will be at goal within two more years. Counties near Des Moines — Dallas, Madison and Warren — may take longer because we have larger refuge areas to address, and counties in the midwestern part of the state along the Missouri River will likely be last to meet the population objectives,” he said.

“As for the Des Moines area counties and rural subdivisions, we must harvest deer where they are considered a problem and not just in the rural areas in attempts to lower the countywide population. If we can hold a special deer hunt in Waterworks, we can hold one anywhere.”

Surveys in north central and northwest Iowa show deer are concentrated in areas with good habitat, but also show there are areas with very few deer.

“There is less overall habitat in the region. CRP lands, fence rows and groves are being taken out making deer more susceptible. If there is not enough cover in the open country for pheasants, there is not enough for deer,” Litchfield said.

While the size of the deer herd is shrinking, the quality remains exceptional.

“Our deer herds are healthy and we are still producing trophy deer. The deer classic will help as a barometer. Last year, there were about 90 deer that qualified for the Boone and Crockett record book at the event. That was an exceptional year, even for Iowa. And some of the bucks were of proportions that you can’t expect to see every year,” Litchfield said.

Once all the numbers are in, Litchfield said it is important that they review how each season went.

Once a deer herd starts to decline, care needs to be taken because that can get out of hand.

“It’s like sledding down a hill. It’s easy to stop at the top, but if you do not monitor and control your decent, you may find yourself heading towards a place you did not want to go,” he said.

Source: Globe Gazette

MAINE NEWS: Deer Harvest Lowest Since 1930s

Wildlife officials say hunters killed 18,045 deer in Maine last fall, a 14 percent decline from 2008 and the smallest deer harvest since the 1930s.

Wildlife biologists were projecting a small harvest because the deer herd had shrunk following two straight winters with deep snow packs and cold temperatures.

But two weeks of poor hunting conditions in November drove the numbers even lower than expected.

Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife officials say the deer kill in Maine fell less sharply than it did in the neighboring Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, where the harvest was down more than 30 percent.