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Asking about deer population gets myriad of answers

WORTHINGTON -- If you asked 100 people from around the area what they think the deer population is, you would get 100 different answers.

When it comes to deer population numbers there is almost no way to come to a consensus. There will be a group that thinks there are way too many deer. A different group will tell you that the deer hunting is in the depths of despair and that a major overhaul is necessary to keep them from extinction.

It is this great disparity that makes managing deer populations very difficult. The biology professionals use modern techniques to estimate deer numbers, and the average rank-and-file hunter will in many instances place no value in this process. Some hunters want the herd managed for maximum sustainable harvest numbers, while others will work relentlessly to change management to emphasize small numbers and very high quality. This high quality is normally measured in the size of the horns that deer have when harvested.

Throw in the fact that the farmland zone is totally different than west central Minnesota, plus the north is a totally different landscape, and you have a deer management formula that has no chance of pleasing everyone. This does not mean that the agency in charge of deer management has given up.

I was lucky enough to be nominated and chosen to serve on a citizens group that will be meeting over the next several months to help set deer management goals in southwest Minnesota. This public input group has been put together from diverse interests around the state to provide the Division of Wildlife with a feel for the hunting community attitudes toward deer management, and allow them to voice their opinions on the future direction of these efforts.

The first meeting is at the end of this month and I am anxious to see what transpires over the next few months. If you have a strong opinion or thought on the matter, feel free to contact me at I will take any and all recommendations to these meetings, and will share the outcomes as they develop.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend many days in the field each year and will do my best to relay my deer population insights to those in charge of managing this wonderful animal. I am confident that the outcome will still not satisfy everyone, but if you participate in the discussion it is possible to affect the end result. We will just have to see what happens.