The Illinois Whitetail Disaster - Don Higgins

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by Fitz, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. HunterC.

    HunterC. Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    It is obvious that this will not "get it done". His article simply shed light on the situation. For the people who have been aware of the horrible situation but have been sitting back waiting for the DNR to fix things, this might get them to take a stand and start expressing there disgust. How many more people who reads this article will start going to meetings and such? If it is just 1 person or 1,000 people it may be just enough for things to change. Ultimately the DNR has to fix the situation and not the individual hunters. How many people are as passionate about Whitetail management? I'm sure that number is extremely small compared to the total number of hunters in the state of IL. People expect the DNR to know what is best for the herd and they think they should be adjusting the laws with how the herd is doing each and every year.(Which is what should be going on but from what I have read here people feel that this is not happening.) If the tags are there, people are going to buy them simple as that. This is when the DNR should step in if there are to many antlerless/antlered tags being filled. Simply put the DNR is a fault for the situation and the guys who run the DNR should hold the same amount of responsibility. There is a reason there is a DNR, if it is up to the individual hunters why is there even one now???
     
  2. jrk_indle84

    jrk_indle84 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Posts:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    3,519
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Adams co, IL
    I'm not sure what the last sentence has to do with anything. I agree there needs to be a DNR. But wecsit here and blast the DNR and the job they are doing and then expect them to fix the problem. How does that make sense. If you use articles like this yea it brings attention to the problem, hate to break to everyone this didn't get people talking about it btw, but all it is doin is telling people yea get pissed off and blame the DNR and not trust anuthing they do or say. How does anybody think that's gonna get the point across.

    It you walk into your bosses office for a raise and don't get you don't turn around and go tell the rest of your co workers your boss is a idiot and doesn't know what he's doin and they need to band together and feel the same way. What that gonna accomplish besides getting you sent to the unemployment line. And that's basically what this article is saying. And to say that just because the tags are available you won't stop people from doin the same thing is the biggest cop out about this whole thing there is. Are we all a bunch of little kids that need to be told what to do in everything. And yea your right there probably aren't many people involved in land and herd managment so why not, in this case Don, use his influence to get peopoe to understand the importsnce of that instead of passing the blame on to somebody else.

    So since everbody want to put it on tag sales and too many does being taken here's the Illinois harvst reports for the last 7 years.

    http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/pages/annualdeerharvestreports.aspx

    If anything all it may show is yea we in Illinois may have been taking out too many deer over those years if the population wasn't bouncing back after every year but nobody was *****ing until this year. Which I think like somebody said last night was only because they aren't seeing deer. But again they continued on their own to shoot a high number of deer each year and think nothing about it. We have people around here that over the past couple years have taken 30-50 deer each year off a couole hundred acre farm that are now saying they're not seeing as many. Well no kidding. They did it to themselves not the DNR and not anyhody else. If you can't take a little personal responsibilities has a hunter and do something without it being forced onto you then you probably shouldn't be hunting.

    We got told all the time when I was a Marine to police your own. Reson being if you didn't hold people accountable for themselves and the higher ups got involved it would be a lot worse. And I can almost guarantee you wait around to be forced to change your ways or in this case not shoot everything that walks by and a lot of these same people complaining will be doin it then. Especially if you use ways like this to try and get the word out and influence the DNR.
     
  3. englum_06

    englum_06 Die Hard Bowhunter

    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Posts:
    2,381
    Likes Received:
    7
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    I want you to tell me how I can hold Mr. John Doe across the property line accountable for shooting too many does.

    How do I do that?
     
  4. jrk_indle84

    jrk_indle84 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Posts:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    3,519
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Adams co, IL
    Do exactly what I did and go over and talk to them. Be neighborly, discuss what goals you both want to have, offer help with reaching those goals, and share info you may have. Does it work with everyone, no, bit its a heck of lot better then sitting back and complaining and waiting for someone to fource them to so things you do.

    We had 40 acres sell last summer that divides the property I hunt. I saw them down there one day and stopped amd struck up a conversation about completly different subjects and it turned to hunting. Over this fall we continued to talk and I even helped them search for a deer they shot. We also share trailcam pics and work it out so we don't disturb eachothers hunts.

    Not too difficult, and I don't even own the land I hunt. He coulda told me to go to hell since I wasn't the owner but it worked out.
     
  5. HunterC.

    HunterC. Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    I feel like you are seeing thing's from only one side. You are hunting private property and from the sound of it there are not government land around that property. Correct or no?? This may work on private land but tell me how you are going to do this on government land?? I don't hunt in IL so I don't know how the public land is up there, but around here if you see a legal deer on government land most people take it. I have passed deer on our lease that borders National Forest to just have it shoot by someone else hunting on the government. You might be able to talk to hunters on private property and work a management plan out but on gov't land I just don't see that possible.
     
  6. jrk_indle84

    jrk_indle84 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Posts:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    3,519
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Adams co, IL
    I guess that's somewhat true. And no I don't have public land real close to where I hunt. I was only answering to the question of how you get neighbors to not shoot does and took it has neighbor meaning private land.

    I guess I can't speak for the whole state but around my area most people are hunting private land. There's not really much public available as far as big chunks of ground. There used to be but with state funding being in the crapper many smaller spots are shut down. We have more outfitter owned ground around then public but I'm guessing they do a pretty good job of managing the property or else they wouldn't be around and their both pretty well known.
     
  7. frenchbritt123

    frenchbritt123 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Posts:
    4,708
    Likes Received:
    159
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    In less than a week this thread has more hits than the weekly beer lineup thread has had all year.
     
  8. HunterC.

    HunterC. Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    I hope I didn't come off as being an a**. I was just trying to make the point that you can not expect everyone to manage the herd like if it was private property. Some people are going to kill as many deer as they can, especially if the DNR will keep issuing them tags.
     
  9. jrk_indle84

    jrk_indle84 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Posts:
    6,278
    Likes Received:
    3,519
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Adams co, IL
    Ha no you didn't you actually made me curious to see what public land numbers were, I agree and dont honestly know what it would take for public land to be managed besides DNR involvment. And actually I was way off on how many acres are actially there. So I looked up some info.

    During 2011-2012 in the one that's within maybe 5-10 miles from me the number were 88 and 93 total (bow and gun) deer harvested in two areas. Statewide in 2010-2011 there were 2164 gun and 3918 bow and for 2011-12 there were 1977 gun and 3427 bow. This is off IDNR website under public hunting section. They didn't have 2012-2013 report just had a little note saying it was pendind as of like March of last year. So they're not real quick I guess.

    It didn't break anything down as to how many hunter there were and I'm not sure how accurate they'd be anyway. The couple times I've went on public land you were supposed to just sign in buts there's nobody around really to check and make sure you do.
     
  10. Beehunter

    Beehunter Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Posts:
    506
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Central IL
  11. atlasman

    atlasman Die Hard Bowhunter

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    1,955
    Likes Received:
    422
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Uncertain
    Guys at the DNR are basically politicians. They will come to your show or speak to you in private and tell you all the wonderful things they are going to do to make your state the best place to hunt on the map.

    When they get back to their desks behind closed doors they all have the SAME job to do as far as deer go...........keep numbers under control. Buck/Doe ratios, age structure, nutrition, QDM, antler size are all things they have no interest in because they do nothing to help them keep their job.

    They want you to buy a license, they need you to keep killing deer.........they have zero interest in which deer and stories of guys passing on numerous bucks to get a shot at one they prefer one even worse eat tag soup is a nightmare for them.

    Out of state license sales and outfitter money you say???..........LOL. My brother and I called the Montana Fish and Game office to voice our concerns over the cost of a buck tag $1,300 at that time. We were told in no minced words "We don't want anymore out of state hunters here so we will continue to raise the price until you finally give up". Apparently now they settled on a quota and a price around $1,000 (just for a tag!!!). It's not uncommon to see 100+ deer from your stand a day out there with 30+ being bucks.

    They just don't care and never will............trying to change your DNR is a total waste of resources.

    Where I hunt it is VERY difficult to draw a doe tag even for residents. You would assume the population is dangerously low and the does are in need of protection. Couple days left in ML season this year and I saw 23 does on a short walk around about 1/4 of our land and my brothers and dad saw 31 deer all day including 4 bucks.........at the tail end of 11 weeks being hunted. We tell the DEC every year and their answer is they won't give out more doe tags until we start killing more bucks in that area.

    I used to spend time wondering why our DEC didn't do more to fix hunting.........then I decided to just save my money and buy land that no one could tell me what to do on (besides laws of course). 28 acres at the house and 350 at the cabin. We are VERY happy hunters these days and hunt land as good as any in the state. All by cutting the DEC out of the equation.

    Take care of yourselves guys...........on whatever scale you can and you will be happier then arguing with your DNR.
     
  12. Tiskilwakid

    Tiskilwakid Newb

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Posts:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    My solution, Hit the IDNR in the Wallet!!We, Whitetail Hunters pump billions into the Illinois economy!! Stop feeding the monster!!Take a few years off deer hunting and go fishing, hiking, picking mushrooms or hunt in a state that truly see's the Economic attribute that Giant Whitetails are ! Dont buy hunting licenses and tags for a couple years, bet that gets there attention!! Once the land of Giants, now, just Giant land!
    I am blessed to have watched the whitetail herd in my part of Illinois rise from nothing to become the greatest whitetail herd on planet earth. As a kid running the creeks and woods of east-central Illinois we basically had no deer whatsoever. Seeing a deer track was newsworthy and announcing such a discovery was more likely to bring ridicule than belief. Then, slowly at first, the deer started to appear. When I shot my first buck back in 1979 I only knew of three men who had taken a deer and two of those were harvested down in southern Illinois.

    Back in the early days Illinois was blessed with a couple of cutting edge whitetail biologist who were ahead of their time in their approach to state-wide whitetail management. Forest Loomis and Jack Calhoun micro-managed Illinois growing deer herd county by county utilizing county check stations manned by college students and started a new management approach that other states would soon adopt; either-sex hunting. Up to this point, states that allowed deer hunting managed their seasons by larger zones or even state-wide and only allowed bucks to be harvested. Loomis and Calhoun put Illinois on the fast-track to whitetail stardom with their hands-on approach to managing Illinois most precious natural resource. These pioneer biologist deserve way more credit and recognition than they have been afforded.

    Soon whitetails were at huntable populations in every Illinois county. Not only that but with the management approach of these cutting edge biologists, the state enjoyed a whitetail herd with great age structure and proper sex ratios. By the mid-1980s Illinois was home to a whitetail herd that would please any deer hunter. Monster bucks were present in suitable numbers in every county for those seeking the challenge while a growing population meant plenty of opportunities for the meat hunter as well. Illinois became the destination of choice for whitetail addicts from across the globe.

    Then disaster hit. No, it didn’t hit with the force of a tornado that was obvious and clear to see. In fact many didn’t even realize anything happened. But it did. And it was bad. Loomis and Calhoun retired and some time following a new whitetail biologist was hired. Paul Shelton was a waterfowl biologist from Tennessee when IDNR director Brent Manning hired him to come to Illinois and oversee the greatest whitetail herd on earth. Shelton was noted for his “computer models for waterfowl management” and apparently the idea was that he could bring this experience to Illinois and use it on our beloved whitetail herd. The problem is that whitetails are not waterfowl and in the past 20 years Paul Shelton has yet to figure that out.

    Today the Illinois deer herd is in serious trouble and Illinois deer hunters are finally seeing it. Most are blaming two straight years of massive deer die-offs from EHD as the culprit. They are only partially right. Today’s deer herd disaster is the result of 2 years of EHD and 20 years of bad management. The quality of Illinois deer herd has been slowly trending downward for some time but the casual deer hunter didn’t see it and most wouldn’t even acknowledge the possibility … until this year.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With a firearms season harvest that was down 25% statewide and archery harvest figures likely to mirror those of the gun seasons, eyes have been opened and voices raised. The thing is, most of those who are finally upset have no idea how bad things really are. The “harvest” may be down roughly 25% since last year but the “herd” is really down more like 70% in some areas. On top of that, if you compare this year’s firearms harvest to that of 2005, it is actually down 40%. If you think the deer hunting was off this year, mark my words, the worst is yet to come.

    IDNR biologist Paul Shelton and his cohorts John Buhnerkempe and Tom Micetich are in over their heads and yet have never worked under a DNR director with the guts, motivation, desire or wisdom to rein them in and get them on track. Current director Marc Miller seems to be no different. Team Shelton has destroyed the great deer herd nurtured to life by Loomis and Calhoun, yet I am not sure if that fact is as sad as having a string of IDNR directors without the concern for Illinois deer herd to insist that the management of our deer herd get back on track. I find it frustrating and more than a bit odd that Illinois fish biologists do an awesome job of managing Illinois waters for quality fishing with well-designed regulations such as creel limits and size limits, yet our whitetail biologist manage our deer herd like high-school drop-outs using $1.99 Wal-Mart calculators.

    I personally was at a meeting in Decatur a few years back where John Buhnerkempe was telling a group of hunters about the approach they take to manage Illinois deer herd. Buhnerkempe said that they simply look at the herd numbers at the beginning of the season and set a goal of how many of those deer they want to be killed by the end of the hunting season. He went on to explain that they don’t care how those deer are killed or which ones are killed, they just want to get the herd down to a specific number. I’m serious folks, that is Illinois’ whitetail management approach in a nutshell. No regard at all is given to setting regulations that will improve sex-ratios or age structure. Nope, just go out and kill X number of deer. What’s worse is they can’t even do this right as evidenced by this year’s dramatic drop in harvest. They are so slow to react to changes within the deer herd that calling them “reactive” rather than “proactive” is too kind. It takes them years to even address a problem and never really admit that there was a problem to begin with. Again, mark my words, we haven’t seen the worst yet.[/QUOTE]
     
  13. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Posts:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    2,855
    Dislikes Received:
    32
    Location:
    NY
  14. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Posts:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    2,855
    Dislikes Received:
    32
    Location:
    NY
  15. trial153

    trial153 Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Posts:
    8,963
    Likes Received:
    2,855
    Dislikes Received:
    32
    Location:
    NY
  16. HunterC.

    HunterC. Weekend Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Posts:
    534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jonesborough, TN
    Some very good reads trail153. I was not surprised to learn that nothing can be done to hunting regulations without going through the political process. Hunting is about money just like everything else in today's world. How can we as "hunters" get more input in the political process?? How can we change hunting from being about money to being about the well being of the herd again?? I personally believe if we can find the answer's to these questions we can turn everything around and get what we as "hunters" want and non-hunters and politicians want as well.
     
  17. Schultzy

    Schultzy Grizzled Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Posts:
    9,692
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thanks Christine. I thought maybe it was mother natures way of taking over when pops get too high. Thanks for letting me know. I figured it couldn't be the case with the low deer numbers you all have been reporting but thought I'd ask away anyway.
     

Share This Page