5 years or older Recent survey data and feedback from hunters suggests that a

5 years or older recent survey data and feedback from

This preview shows page 24 - 26 out of 102 pages.

Recent survey data and feedback from hunters suggests that a growing number of hunters in Delaware would like DFW to impose further restrictions that would allow more bucks to reach older age classes, which is a primary tenet of QDM. However, other survey data from the general public in Delaware indicates that the public supports hunting for managing the deer population and for providing meat for one’s family, but they overwhelmingly do not support hunting for trophies. The division plans to conduct opinion surveys in the near future to determine the level of support amongst hunters for such a change, but it must also be very cognizant of the general public’s perception relative to hunting. Deer Population Regulation Deer Harvest– The annual deer harvest, particularly of antlerless deer, is one cornerstone of the Delaware’s deer management program. No other method available is as effective or economical as deer hunting for regulating deer populations, and hunting is necessary to keep deer populations from growing beyond their ecological and biological carrying capacities (McCullough 1979 and Brown et al. 2000). Delaware enjoys a rich hunting heritage, and a majority of the public supports deer hunting and recognizes its importance. In a telephone survey conducted by Responsive Management (2007), 87% of Delaware’s general population felt that deer populations should be managed properly in Delaware and 70% felt that hunters should have the opportunity to hunt deer. Deer hunters harvested 505 deer in 1954 in the first regulated Delaware hunting season of the modern era. Today, deer hunters annually remove approximately 14,000 deer from the Delaware landscape at little to no financial burden to the general public (Figure 5). The deer harvest peaked during the 2004/05 hunting season, during which 14,669 deer were harvested. Since then, the annual statewide harvest has declined slightly. Based on the 2006-2007 Delaware Department of Natural Resources annual Hunter Mail Survey, approximately 55% of Delaware deer hunters are successful in bagging a deer each year. Of those hunters who are successful, approximately 70% harvest two or less deer each year. Traditionally, deer seasons were only a few days long to prevent the overharvest of the still relatively small deer population. However, as deer populations increased, it was recognized that antlerless harvest was needed to regulate population growth. Removing antlerless deer from the population primarily removes female deer and the multiple offspring they could have produced in future years. Removing antlered deer is not as effective for population control because one male deer can breed numerous females. For hunters who were indoctrinated in hunting bucks only and conversely for protecting antlerless deer, to be persuaded to begin harvesting does and antlerless deer has been a challenge 16
Background image
for all states, including Delaware. However, the majority of Delaware deer hunters have recognized the need for deer population control and have demonstrated their willingness to harvest antlerless deer. In a recent report put together by the Quality Deer Management
Background image
Image of page 26

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture