Game expert: Deer herds dwindling
SUNBURY — The sport of hunting may seem less exciting, as deer numbers are dwindling on state game lands. A local game expert said a change needs to be made in the current deer management policies. Tom Boop is on the Governors Advisory Council for hunting, fishing and conservation.
He said in the 1980′s and ’90s there was a need to bring herd numbers down, because farmers were starting to see too much crop damage. Boop said that is not the case now, “The pendulum has swung pretty far the opposite way. You get out into the state forest lands, the deer numbers are quite low. A deer herd should be somewhere around 20-25 deer per square mile to have a huntable population. In many areas of the northern-central part of the state, the deer herd is estimated to be about 5 deer per square mile or less.”
However, Boop said it may not seem that way to local landowners, “Certainly locally on private land we have plenty of deer. But if you get out into state forest lands, the deer numbers are quite low. Yet, you drive around here, probably last night here at the radio station parking lot, we could have seen 10-15 deer in the fields. But most of those are probably coming off of private lands, and hunters don’t have access to them.”
Boop called deer “homebodies.” He said they do not roam very far and can reproduce often, and that is why there are so many on private grounds. This has been making sport hunting more frustrating for some. Boop said besides asking folks to hunt on their private lands, an answer to the issue is still unclear. (Codi Jade)