Monday, January 23, 2012

Deer management is at a crossroads

Roadkill buck from 1/22/12 in Colleton County
Deer herd management is a constant balancing act for Mother Nature, ...and then mankind gets involved. When deer season ends, a host of deer hunters immediately quit putting out feed corn (all of a sudden the corn is way too expensive) and deer become stressed and step up their search for food. All too often, January and February appear to be have high deer and vehicle collision rates, as deer ramble close to roadways looking for green grass to eat. The small 8-point buck pictured here, made it through hunting season just fine. He did not fall under QDM guidelines for some sportsman, and he slipped by all the others. Despite having the potential to become a shooter buck next season, he did not make it past a busy Saturday night of automobile traffic. Broken pieces of auto headlights in the road were not hard to find, and one hopes that the auto's occupants drove off just fine. Deer mortality is coming under new focus these days, with the influx of coyotes likely at least partially to blame for the decrease in deer herd numbers. Habitat changes have also negatively affected deer herd numbers, but with the SCDNR set to propose buck limits to the S.C. General Assembly, hunters had better prepare for changes. South Carolina may join other states that have already chosen buck limits. For an overview of the deer management recommendations click here.


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