State Park Deer Hunts Spur Revitalization

Despite the outcry from some about wildlife agencies offering regulated deer hunts in state parks, and most of those with the outcry don’t understand anything about wildlife or biology, it’s been proven time and again that reducing the impact from overpopulated deer is beneficial.

whitetail doeHow? Not only by improving the health of the deer themselves but also with new growth in the parks and benefits to other wildlife that use the regenerated vegetation.

Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources has supervised state park hunts for 17 years. A study by Purdue University shows that those have helped the parks’ forests rebound from decades of constant browsing and damage by the deer.

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According to, a research team led by Michael Jenkins, associate professor of forest ecology, found that a 17-year-long Indiana Department of Natural Resources policy of organizing hunts in state parks has successfully spurred the regrowth of native tree seedlings, herbs and wildflowers rendered scarce by browsing deer.

“We can’t put nature in a glass dome and think it’s going to regulate itself,” Jenkins said. “Because our actions have made the natural world the way it is, we have an obligation to practice stewardship to maintain ecological balance.

“Hunting in natural areas is controversial,” he said. “But when deer are overabundant, they start to have undeniable negative impacts on the ecosystem.”

Read the full report here.

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