I hear you. Truth is that where we are, up in Zone 1 of KY, you can take an unlimited number of deer. The only limitations are that you are limited to 1 antlered deer and after the first 2 it cost $15 per 2 deer. In my case, I have freezer space for no more than 5, so I take two, Moose takes two, and Angus is still a youth-- he takes one. However, this year is special. Moose did not buy a license, and he volunteered to accompany Angus on his last hunts unarmed. Now that Angus took his buck, I bought him an extra tag for 2 more anterless.
So shaman, why not keep going after 5? Freezers are cheap.
Ahhh! Now we come to the crux of the problem. I hunt a single 200 acre plot. When I first got on the place back in 2001, deer weren't sparse, but there were fewer of them. I called in the wildlife biologist and he made recommendations and I started seeing improvements almost immediately. One of the biggest factors was limiting access. Before we arrived, everyone in the neighborhood was using the place as an un-official WMA. Over the years, by keeping it to just us, and controlling the number of deer taken, we have seen huge improvements. I would say that from 2007 - 2011, we had about as many deer on the property as you could possibly pack. Then things started to change.
Some say it is coyotes-- there are a lot of them to be sure. It could be poaching. It could be that I just have not kept up with the food plots. My guess right now is two things:
1) We have had 3 really bad years for acorns. One year was too wet, one two dry. This past one, should have produced a bumper crop, but it didn't. The deer we took both had corn in their bellies from feeders. Normally there would be no corn and their stomachs would be full of acorn.
2) The economic downturn has left a lot of folks out of work. I'm not saying there is poaching going on in a big way on my place, but it could be that the overall population is down from that.
So back to the point: restrictions. Yes, the state has the ultimate say, but right now, the biggest restrictions on what we are taking come from me and the dictates of the land. If I want everyone to keep on shooting their fill, I need to keep managing our harvest. Remember, that we are into this all year round. The filling of the freezers in November is just a small part of it.