Thursday will be a day of reckoning, for Department of Natural Resources deer managers. DNR officials will be grilled about a November gun-deer season which left many hunters unsatisfied, and it’s likely the event will draw a packed crowd of irate sportsmen and women. Assembly and Senate committees have scheduled a public hearing at the state Capitol. This year’s harvest of 195,000 deer was down almost 30% from last year.
Many hunters blame the DNR’s herd management strategies for a decimated deer population, although other observers believe the state’s deer numbers have been artificially high for too long, and that reduced herd numbers going forward will mean less damage to crops and forest lands, and fewer car-deer collisions on state roads. Hunters, they say, will simply have to work harder to get a trophy buck.