In order to minimize such damage, the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife recommends that such landowners start a hunting program during the regular deer hunting seasons, which are quickly approaching. Archery season begins Oct. 1 and firearms season begins November 13.
Each district DNR wildlife biologist maintains a list, by county, of deer hunters who want to participate in the program. Landowners having difficulty finding hunters may contact their district’s biologist for a copy. Contact information for district biologists is at www.wildlife.IN.gov /2716.htm.www.wildlife.in.gov/2716.htm>.
A helpful Hunting Permission Form for landowners to use is available at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/2343.htm by scrolling to General Hunting Regulations and clicking on “Trespassing” at the bottom of the page.
To be effective, such hunting programs should provide, at a minimum, one antlerless firearm hunter-effort day during the firearms season for every five acres of permanent deer cover on the landowner’s property. Five antlerless archery hunter-effort days may be substituted for each antlerless firearms hunter-effort day during the archery season.
Antlerless hunter-effort days are defined as the number of days a hunter or a number of hunters spend hunting for antlerless deer. For example, two hunters, each hunting three days specifically for antlerless deer, equals six antlerless hunter-effort days. Four hunters, each hunting two days specifically for antlerless deer on the property, equals eight antlerless hunter-effort days.
In another example, suppose a landowner has 40 acres of permanent deer cover. The landowner should have at least eight antlerless firearms hunter-effort days on the property during firearms season.
Landowners also may want to encourage hunting during archery season.
By providing five antlerless archery hunter-effort days during that season, a landowner could reduce the number of antlerless firearms hunter-effort days from eight to seven.
Participating landowners should adjust future antlerless hunting according to the degree of deer damage observed. Success rates of hunters should average one antlerless deer per five antlerless hunting efforts to maintain a desired deer density. If success rates exceed one antlerless deer per five antlerless hunting efforts, the landowner should increase antlerless hunting efforts in future seasons to reduce the deer density to a more acceptable level. The landowner should also adjust antlerless hunting efforts during the regular deer hunting seasons to respond to the degree of deer damage observed during growing season.
The following statistics will help landowners determine how many hunters and hunter-effort days they should used on their property. On average, only about 50 percent of hunters harvest one deer. Only 10 percent of hunters typically harvest two deer, and only about seven percent harvest more than two deer during hunting season.
Participating landowners should consider sharing these recommendations with neighbors and encourage them to consider a similar program.
Obviously, the amount of hunting pressure on lands surrounding a property will affect the degree to which these recommendations reduce future damage. Further information on managing deer damage is at: wildlife.IN.gov/2781.