It seems that in the last year or so I have seen more deer in the woods than ever. Now, some might claim that deer numbers in the state are too high, but there will be others who will tell you that they are too low. I believe that the long standing Illinois deer herd estimate of 800,000 animals has dwindled to 700,000 animals over the last few years. But can you believe those numbers?
Could it just be a matter of location, if that makes sense? There are certain areas of the state where the deer herd at been hit hard by EHD. Of course, then you are going to see fewer deer for a few seasons and then a possible rebound. Or maybe the deer are getting even smarter and heading to areas that offer no hunting. There are a lot of hunters in the woods these days, and seasons like last year might suggest that the deer are heading to safer grounds.
Or is it possible that we have taken too many bucks out of the herd and the population equation is out of whack? Typically, this idea might suggest more deer, and in order to control a deer herd, we must take more does. But as hunters in the woods might suggest, they are not seeing deer. Do they really mean bucks?
The deer herd population in Illinois will always be open for debate. I just know from my standpoint that this past year has been a good one in my deer woods. What does that bring to the table for this year’s hunting season? It may just not mean a thing!