In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday afternoon or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:
Question: I am quite concerned about the health of our deer herds and would like to know how proper management of deer hunting will contribute to long-term protection of the herds. I know many people still believe hunting will decimate the herds, but I’ve been told that regulated hunting could also help control the population. What is your take on this? (Bill B., Susanville)
Answer: Managed hunting of deer is designed to smooth out the highly dynamic population cycles of deer. They are a classic “boom or bust” species in that when habitat conditions are good, deer populations can rise very quickly, but when they are bad (or over-utilized by too many deer), they can crash just as quickly. These crashes usually occur through starvation and/or disease issues. Managing the population through regulated sport hunting can minimize these types of events.
Another way that managed hunting contributes to herd protection is through the payment of fees for tags and licenses. According to Deer Program Manager Craig Stowers, these funds are used for collection of population, habitat use and movement data, information to monitor and research disease issues, and enforcement of the laws and regulations that are the basis of managed sport hunting. Tag monies are used for habitat projects to benefit deer herds in the state as well.