By Mark Kenyon
There’s a lot going on in the whitetail world these days. I’m sure you’ve seen the many articles and discussions occurring lately about the challenges facing deer & deer hunters. But many of these discussions, cries for concern and opinions are simply based on personal observation. The average hunter, like you or me, doesn’t typically have all the high level data at our finger tips to make educated observations. That said, we’re fortunate that this kind of data actually is made available for us by The Quality Deer Management Association in the form of their annual Whitetail Report.
They’ve just released their 2015 edition, and as usual it is packed with interesting data, trends and analysis. If you’re an avid whitetail hunter and/or concerned about the current state of deer & deer hunting in North America, this is a must read.
Luckily the 2015 Whitetail Report is free to download. Click the link below to download your free copy, and if you’re not convinced yet, check out the most 5 most fascinating insights I’ve pulled from the 2015 Report after my first read through.
1. Record High % Of Mature Bucks and Record Low % of 1.5 Year Old Bucks Harvested: The trend of passing on younger bucks continues, as during the 2013/2014 season hunters took the lowest % of 1.5 year old bucks ever recorded, and harvested a higher % of mature bucks than ever before as well! The report has got full details on all the age trends across the country and it’s fascinating.
2. Michigan Hunters Kill 3 Times the Number of Bucks Per Square Mile Than the Other Midwest States On Average: Don’t know what to think about this, but my home state hunters are somehow killing THREE times the average # of deer per square mile. Either Michigan hunters are just that good or we’re just killing way too many deer … your call. More info on deer harvests per square mile can be found in the report.
3: Midwest Buck Harvests Have Declined ~20% Over Past Decade: The topic of deer population declines isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and in this year’s Whitetail Report the guys did a great job breaking this down on a YoY basis and by looking at the 10 year trend. That 10 year trend is pretty scary for some states as the Midwest is down about 20%, Iowa is down 43%, Minnesota is down 27% and Wisconsin 26% and antlerless harvests are way down for many states as well.
4: Hunters & State Wildlife Agencies Are On Two Different Planets: Given these numbers that show significant harvest and population declines, it’s pretty interesting to see that Wildlife Agencies don’t seem to be too concerned. The QDMA polled state wildlife agencies about what the greatest issues of concern for them currently are and they voted their highest rated issue being too HIGH of deer densities. Meanwhile most hunters are concerned about the exact opposite issue, that being too few deer.
5. Boone & Crockett Entries Are Down 50% or More In States Like Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York and Minnesota: Continuing with the trend of reduced deer herds, the Boone & Crockett Club also noticed some very concerning numbers this past season. Entries in 2013 were down 50% or more in some of the top whitetails states, and they worked with the QDMA to understand why. The Whitetail Report breaks down this issue and showcases a fascinating graphic showing where entries are down.
In addition to these items, this year’s Whitetail Report is just packed to the brim with other great whitetail related info. Other topics covered include:
– Antlerless deer harvest and age structure trends
– Deer harvest by weapon type trends
– Insight into other issues impacting deer management
– Highlights of legislative issues impacting deer and deer hunting
– A look at the recent efforts some are making to legalize the sale of wild venison
– Trends in fawn recruitment rates
– Private land access programs
– And much, much more.
If you’re an avid whitetail hunter, you simply need to check out this year’s Whitetail Report.
Want to hear more on these topics? Listen to our podcast episode with Kip Adams, who helped compile this report, as we discuss the current state of whitetails in North America –> The Wired To Hunt Podcast – Episode #41: The Current State of Whitetails in North America w/Kip Adams