Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The North American Deer Summit

© By Othmar Vohringer

Over the last decade, the ones believed to be an indestructible world of whitetail deer has taken a beating. What are the reasons for the overall decline of the deer populations? Scientist from the QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) found out that the decline of the deer herds can be attributed to:
  • Growing predator populations, seriously impacting fawn survival rates.
  • Urban sprawl is the cause for rapid wildlife habitat loss.
  • Disease, such as the quick and devastating spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) and more recently the spread of the Bluetongue Virus and “Deer Warts” (Cutaneous fibromas), has taken a huge toll on the deer herds in some areas of North America.
  • Government “Deer Management” should be renamed as “Political Management” or “Hunter Management”. It is my contention for years now that government wildlife services in the past have been more concerned with keeping hunter happy than with sound science based deer management/conservation programs. I am glad, that finally, scientists have come to that conclusion too.
Personally I also find that over the years all the hoopla about killing large numbers does has contributed to the decline of deer herds too. While killing does can be a good management tool to reduce deer herds quickly it also can quickly backfire. Especially then when predator populations are not kept in check or some deadly disease or harsh winter conditions adversely affects deer herds.

It is my opinion that if things don’t change quickly we will have some serious deer conservation problems in the next few years. It is a very likely scenario that we will see some drastic measures being taken to protect deer, and that might very well mean a total ban on deer hunting in some of the most adverse affected areas, or at the very least a very limited number of deer tags being made available.

It is for this reasons why concerned deer hunters have established the National Deer Alliance (NDA) last year. The aim of the NDA to be a unified voice for deer hunters and work toward science based solutions for the many challenges our North American whitetail deer populations face. Part of the NDA mission is the creation of the North American Deer Summit. This is the second Summit of this kind and is to be held on May 6 to 8, 2015, The Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky.

The first summit, held in 2014, had the goal of identifying the various challenges facing the deer populations. This years summit will establish a priority plan of what issues need to be addressed immediately and to begin developing a plan of action to be taken.

This is a very important event, involving all stakeholders in the deer hunting and deer conservation community. This is something you, me and all fellow deer hunters should make a priority to get involved with and actively participate. The summit is open to the public, meaning everybody can, and should, take part in it.

As passionate deer hunters is should be all our duty to make sure that future generations of deer hunters have the possibility to enjoy what we do today, and maybe for too long have also taken for granted.

For more information visit the link of the North American Deer Summit.

Visit the North American Deer Summit registration page.

Become a member and supporter (it’s free) of the National Deer Alliance.

Here are some articles on the subject that might interest you:

EHD and CWD: What’s the Difference?

Have We Killed Too Many Does?

10 Reasons You Don’t Want CWD in Your Woods

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