Illinois Whitetail Disaster

What's the hunt looking like this year in your area? Share!
User avatar
Woods Walker
 
Posts: 4945
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:39 am

Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

MZS
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:20 am
Location: Northern Wisconsin

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby MZS » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:11 pm

From the article:

Back in the early days Illinois was blessed with a couple of cutting edge whitetail biologist who were ahead of their time in their approach to state-wide whitetail management. Forest Loomis and Jack Calhoun micro-managed Illinois growing deer herd county by county utilizing county check stations manned by college students and started a new management approach that other states would soon adopt; either-sex hunting. Up to this point, states that allowed deer hunting managed their seasons by larger zones or even state-wide and only allowed bucks to be harvested. Loomis and Calhoun put Illinois on the fast-track to whitetail stardom with their hands-on approach to managing Illinois most precious natural resource. These pioneer biologist deserve way more credit and recognition than they have been afforded. Soon whitetails were at huntable populations in every Illinois county.


So going from buck-only to either-sex back in the 70's and 80's helped the deer herd to increase? This seems contradictory, but I am assuming this worked. Could someone explain how and why?

User avatar
4khorn
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:27 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby 4khorn » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:23 pm

When I was in high school, before 2004, I would drive the backroads at dusk and see up to 100 deer in a given night. 10 years later, I can make the same drive and may not see a single deer. In my area, there are two very large tracts of land that were once pretty well left alone back then. Today, they have been "managed" to "appropriate" levels. Basically each of these places experienced massive doe kills in order to "improve" the herd. I'm all for QDMA in the sense that we improve habitat and promote a healthy deer herd, but in my opinion the whole "growing" trophy deer fad is ruining the sport.

With all of that said, biologists did not have to worry about CWD back in the early days. Attempting to harness the disease and slow its spread has been the primary focus of the DNR for the last decade. Reducing the herd numbers helps accomplish this. The state of the herd may be concerning right now, but imagine if CWD was running rampid throughout the state. What effect would that be having on the sport?

The fact is, deer numbers are down not only in Illinois, but several neighboring states as well. It is a widespread problem and to lay total blame on the DNR is a bit unfair.
My pursuit of a buck of a lifetime is much like the Chicago Cubs pursuit of a World Series...the season ends with a "wait til next year"

Luke

User avatar
Woods Walker
 
Posts: 4945
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby Woods Walker » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:47 pm

MZS: I started hunting in Illinois in the late 70's, and while the herd was growing anyway in those days, the equal harvest of bucks and does is what led to a balanced age structure and sex ratios which is what made Illinois a big buck hotspot.

I grew up in New Jersey and hunted there in the 60's and they were a no-kill doe state at that time. As a result of this if you saw a spike buck in those days that was a "booner". The first gun season I hunted in Illinois in 1979 I never saw so many RACKED bucks before in my entire life! I got a deer a year from that first season and in 1982 I killed a 168 typical.

Bear in mind this was BEFORE QDM, TDM, ABC's or any other alphabetical management schemes.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

User avatar
shaman
 
Posts: 2474
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:38 am

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby shaman » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:25 am

Woodsie, I don't know Illinois. I don't know any of the folks in the article. I have no clue. I am going into this blindfolded.

HOWEVER. . .

Look, I got on Andy's case because he assumes EHD is what killed all his deer. This author is blaming EHD and 20 years of bad management.

I am just going to throw out another hypothesis: poaching. That is, any unauthorized, unreported taking of deer. If you use Occam's Razor on this problem, the simplest thing to assume her is not a disease or incompetent management, it may just be that a lot of folks are going out there and filling their freezers.

I'm not going to say EHD has not played a part in it. I don't know IL's management program, so I cannot comment. However, if the deer are being taken and the state biologists do not have an accurate number of what's being taken, then it throws off their models. Furthermore, let us get political here, ( you have to anywhere, and especially in IL) if folks find out all the deer are being shot and eaten, the hunters are going to be wondering why the heck they spend all that money on tags. The tags provide the revenue for enforcement. The enforcement is not working for lack of revenue. . . wash, rinse, repeat.

Does anyone else see this? Look, I'm not trying to argue that this author is wrong, but I'm saying that it does not take many people to stop playing by the rules before the whole game management game breaks down.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer
Image

User avatar
Sailfish
 
Posts: 1642
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 11:12 am

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby Sailfish » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:27 am

Woods Walker wrote:MZS: I started hunting in Illinois in the late 70's, and while the herd was growing anyway in those days, the equal harvest of bucks and does is what led to a balanced age structure and sex ratios which is what made Illinois a big buck hotspot.

I grew up in New Jersey and hunted there in the 60's and they were a no-kill doe state at that time. As a result of this if you saw a spike buck in those days that was a "booner". The first gun season I hunted in Illinois in 1979 I never saw so many RACKED bucks before in my entire life! I got a deer a year from that first season and in 1982 I killed a 168 typical.

Bear in mind this was BEFORE QDM, TDM, ABC's or any other alphabetical management schemes.


Daggum acronyms!
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

User avatar
Woods Walker
 
Posts: 4945
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby Woods Walker » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:03 am

Shaman: Your points definately have validity and are worth considering. Let me pint out that Illinois used to have deer check stations where you had to take your kills. It was staffed by Uof I wildlife students who'd age the deer and take other physical data. They'd also TAG the deer with a check station metal band. They got rid of this about 7 or 8 years ago. IMO this made it easier for people to take a poached deer home.

But on the other side, I'm sure that the Illinois biologists account for a certain amount of poaching in their spread sheets.

There's no easy answers for sure.
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

User avatar
shaman
 
Posts: 2474
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:38 am

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby shaman » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:59 am

A few years ago I read the story of how KY reintroduced the whitetail. One part of the story struck me as funny, and in relation to this situation, poignant.

Basically, they bred a captive herd for a number of years and then figured they would introduce 20 deer per county. In some counties, the new herd thrived and grew. In some cases it did not. The deer disappeared. In those counties, the wildlife gurus put in 20 more deer. Those disappeared, and so it went. The gurus thought it was wild dogs eating the deer. They just kept throwing deer into those counties until they caught on.

After years of this, the wildlife gurus figured out that it was humans and not dogs that were the root problem. Folks just saw those deer as food and ate them. Although not named, those counties probably constitute the ZONE 4 of Kentucky which still has the smallest registered harvest and the shortest seasons.

My point in bring this up in relation to the issues in IL (and IN, and elsewhere)

1) In most places 20 deer are all it takes to make a thriving herd, given time, but if the locals don't buy into it, you can throw any number of deer at the problem and not find a solution.
2) Humans are very efficient hunters. 20 deer in 400 square miles can be extirpated in a very short time-- that's 1 deer per 20 square miles.
3) The mystery went unsolved for years. The gurus thought it was dogs. Even when the root cause was discovered, the gurus really did not find a lasting solution.

By my figuring, this may be going on all through the Rust Belt. There is no reason for it NOT to be happening. Furthermore, I doubt the experts on this know what to do with it. I question whether they have the data to make accurate models. If they do, I doubt we would be told the truth.

What I mean by this is, assuming I'm right, if a state wildlife official comes out and says all the deer are disappearing to poaching, hunters are going to scream for enforcement, but enforcement is not going to help the problem. Even when hungry folk know it is wrong, they probably are going to keep doing it and keep eating the evidence. Locking up hungry people only creates more hardship. If I am right and the problem IS spiraling upward, then folks are going to stop buying tags, because A) they know they can get away with it or B) they're fed up paying for ineffective game management. It is far easier for wildlife officials to stay mum and hope for a change in the circumstances.

Look, how many of y'all had relations that went through the Great Depression? Did those relations go out and buy tags and go to check stations? I bet a lot of them ate venison during those years, even though there were no open seasons in those days. If somebody showed up with a leg of deer, did any of your kin wonder if it had been properly tagged and checked in? I personally do not have any stories that quite fit that. Frankly, there were no deer around in those days. However, I knew Grandpa and Grandma. If Grandpa came home with a hunk of meat, Grandma got out the stew pot. One day, he came home with a whole live pig on his back. No one in the family asked where he got it.

Now for the big question: How many of your kin got convicted of Poaching?


One other thing. As I understand deer populations-- someone chime in here and help if I'm wrong-- the deer population better than doubles every summer and then hunting and predation and disease and what-else claims about 50% of the herd over the winter. What's left in spring is about 10% bigger than what it was the year before if all goes well. What that means is that if you locally have a good winter, the herd has the possibility of exploding quickly. If you have a major factor hampering the population, the numbers can be very volatile. Hunting accounts for about 50% -60% of the population drop. Now, if you have EHD or an ice storm, or some such, the population will bounce back very quickly. On the other hand, if you have an endemic problem like poaching, you may have depressed numbers for years. This smells more like poaching than epidemic or just bad management.

Last thing and then I'll shut up: overselling tags does not do a whole lot. You figure about 25% success rate per hunter per year. If some hunter gets 2 tags or 20, it does not increase the success rate.
Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries of SW Bracken County, KY
Confessions of a Cervid Serial Killer
Image

Bowriter
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby Bowriter » Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:56 pm

Well, I don;t know how cutting edge entry level wildlife biology 101 is. Seems to me any idiot could figure out just what would happen in a five-year period if you killed equal number of male and femal animals in the proper amount. It would not matter what you started with, either.

We had a test problem that invloved 500-animals with a 2-1 sex ratio and had to figure out what we would have in 25-years if we killed equal sex numbers and the proper total numbers. Of course, we also had to figure out the total number to kill, the acreage required, the habitat mix and all sorts of things. By the way, male animals are usually born in slightly higher numbers than female and have a slightly higher natural mortality. 52/48 is the usual standard.

One thing I know for sure. Just killing equal numbers by sex is prone to being a true disaster if you don't know how many you are going to kill in total and by area.

User avatar
rthomas4
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:07 pm
Location: Hampton, SC

Re: Illinois Whitetail Disaster

Postby rthomas4 » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:21 am

I know absolutely nothing about Northern deer populations, nor anything about EHD; but I do know the results of coyote predation and the affects on deer herds here in the South. Supposedly our herds are down somewhat here in SC ( but according to the automobile insurance institute deer vehicle incidents have increased). We have a very liberal bag limit in the low country (there isn't one) and QDM is practiced in one form or another on most private lands. We've never had an incident of EHD or Chronic Wasting Disease in the state ( and baiting is a common practice). What we do have is a rapidly increasing number of coyotes, coy-dogs, and feral dogs and cats on the loose. This has impacted fawn recruitment and the turkey populations, as well as rabbit and quail numbers. That is the reason we have a 24-7/365 open season on those animals, along with feral hogs. Many people don't realize it, but hogs also will kill and eat fawns as well as depleting food sources.

Is it possible that coyotes are also affecting the Northern herds? Also, how about the areas where the wolves have been introduced. I know that I have hunting site buddies in Minnesota, Montana, and Michigan who are seeing the effects of gray wolves on their deer herds, so is it possible that predation may also be a factor in Illinois?
NRA LM, NAHC LM, Buckmasters LM, The Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NAGR, Palmetto Gun Rights, QDMA, DU, NWTF, ASAdisabled sportsmens' alliance, EDH, and Proud SC redneck REBEL for life.

Next

Return to General Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Deebz and 10 guests