Rushville Republican

Sports

July 3, 2014

Bonus antlerless quotas reduced in 19 counties

Indiana is applying some white-tail deer herd management tactics as biologists reduce the number of bonus antlerless deer quotas in 19 counties and increase them in 4 counties. The quota assigned to a county represents the number of antlerless deer a hunter may take in the county above the basic bag limits. A license is needed for each deer taken.

Determining bonus antlerless quotas is based on a variety of factors - crop damage reports, the number of deer-vehicle collisions, the occurring rate of deer-vehicle collisions per billion miles driven, and landowner and hunter surveys measuring individual satisfaction level with deer numbers per county.

“We also look at antlered and antlerless harvest and the proportion relative to each other, and we look at bucks killed per square mile of habitat,” DNR deer management biologist Chad Stewart said.

Data collection starts immediately after each season’s deer harvest numbers are tabulated. Stewart develops his recommendations and provides the data to DNR district wildlife biologists for their input and recommendations. Indiana Conservation Officers also provide input.

Each recommendation is presented to a panel of administrators from DNR Fish & Wildlife and Law Enforcement. The panel reviews the three sets of recommendations to establish the bonus antlerless quota for each county.

If a county’s bonus antlerless quota is changed, the new quota is usually left in place for a couple of years to evaluate the impact.

“If you change it year to year, you don’t have a good feel for the impact of those recommendations,” Stewart said. “We want to see a trend manifest itself over a period before making additional adjustments.”

As a result of the quota changes, 63 counties will be included in the 2014 late antlerless season, six fewer than in 2013. Only counties with a quota of 4 or above are eligible for the late antlerless season, which begins Dec. 26 this year.

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