The people's voice of reason

Deer Harvest numbers have changed over the last few years.

I hope all of you fine folks had a wonderful 4th of July! The heat's been cooking us all this month, but it's still only the start of Summer. Make sure all of you stay hydrated, stay in the shade, and stay cool!

Over the last year or two, I've gone out of my way to mention all the nasty sort of things deer and other critters have to deal with in order to survive. Between the obvious stuff like habitat loss, disease, predators, and the lovely Alabama weather we get from time to time, there's also the elephant in the room; hunting.

Well, sure, it's plainly obvious that the deer herd is thinned out by hunting. The real kicker there, though, is that it's far more complicated than just hunting them. QDMA's been collecting data on deer harvests for decades, and the numbers are pretty interesting to see. Kip Adams of QDMA wrote up a great summary online, and I'd like to make a mention of several of those points.

For starters, we're experiencing a pretty big shift in harvest ratios. Back when QDMA got started, harvesting antlerless deer wasn't really pushed for. Big Bucks or head on back home was the ticket back then. QDMA, however, pushed for more harvesting of antlerless deer. Since then, the amount of antlerless deer harvested has outstripped the number of antlered deer being brought in. Obviously, we're not talking about, "if it moves, it gets shot," type of hunting. That's just plain crazy. Instead, harvesting antlerless deer can help stabilize the deer herd in an area, for multiple reasons.

First, the resources available in a deer's habitat are limited. A specific plot of land can only support a specific number of critters, after all. Second, a limited population provides better disease control as opposed to a deer herd that's increasing in number like crazy. The less deer around, the less likely a terrible illness will go around the herd. Third, despite all of the things working against them, deer are pretty good at repopulating. Allowing the population of breeding does to keep climbing can lead to overpopulation in a hurry. A healthy herd size helps everything.

There's another, interesting tidbit that comes from a good harvest of antlerless deer; meat. Mr. Adams points out that from 2003 through 2016, there's a sharp drop off of 24%, or 870,842 antlerless deer, or to put that number in tasty perspective, we're talking 174 million venison meals. That's a whole lot of food that could do some serious good for folks who need it. To make up for the lack of meat coming in, you gotta replace that protein with more, different protein. Think cattle, pigs, chickens, or even soy fields. Either way, those enterprises can and will interfere with both deer habitat and populations, as well as other critters.

Speaking of doing some serious good with that grub, there's always the option of donating venison from a harvested doe. Most processors can help you with that, or point you in the right direction. If you're hunting area is in need of population control, you can always harvest that extra antlerless deer, and donate that venison to help out the needy folks. We Hunters are a social, responsible group to begin with, so this kind of thinking oughta fall right into everybody's wheelhouse.

I'm not gonna tell you to not harvest that trophy buck that waltzes on past your tree stand this year, for sure. But a key tenet of what QDMA does is maintaining a healthy deer population in order to ensure those deer are still there next season, and every season after. Alabama's a hotbed for deer population, and if we're not careful, we'll be overloaded with Whitetail Deer again. If you're concerned with the deer population on your property, you can always start preparing for your October surveys.

As for me, I'm gonna evaluate the needs of the areas I hunt in the coming months, and I'll make my decision then. I just know that going forward, I might wind up passing some venison on to somebody who could use it. Again, I urge all my fellow Deer Hunters to consider doing the same. So get out there, get those deer counted, clean out that freezer for the harvest to come, and go get'em!


We have just bought a new place in the country so we can expand our small educational zoo and take in more disabled, special needs, abused and unwanted wildlife and exotics. We have been asking for donations and help. We need new enclosures, toys , play skool houses, dog igloos, blankets and dog food. Anything we could use. Its not the moving for us that is hard, it's relocating all of our animals and setting up with new accommodations for them. There is a lot of work that goes into owning a zoo.

Our new location is in Butler County. If you or any one would like to send a donation make it payable to CO Ron or Angie VanHerwyn, 2637 Booker Road McKenzie, Alabama 36456. On the bottom of the check line put Kritter Kids donation. Thank you so very much for your understanding.

Everyone who rehabs wildlife, owns a Sanctuary or a Zoo knows how expensive it can be and we are in the process of moving to our new home where we have more property and a larger place to continue our education programs with more animals and we will be able to continue to take in more handicap, disabled and special needs wildlife and exotics Please help and donate. It only takes a minute of your time, especially anyone who has brought a forever baby to us; they stayed with you for only a short time with us it's a lifetime commitment. We need help to get more enclosures, food (some are on special diets) medical attention and medications. We need more kennels, blankets and enrichment toys.

Once again, no amount is too small. Every bit counts and the animals are very thankful for whatever you can give. Without the help we will be limited to how many animals we will be able to take in. And you never know when you may need that forever home for one of your babies again. All monies go straight to the animals for their care. We are a Educational Zoo that teaches about wildlife & Exotic, and we are also the only facility in the USA that has over 25 permanent handicap and disabled Raccoons. This is our specialty and what we do. I have helped a lot of you by sharing things that I have learned over the years and by taking your handicap babies. I love to help and teach and take in new fur babies with disabilities. Our latest baby has seizures.

All we are asking is your help and understanding... Thank you

Ron & Angie VanHerwyn

Kritter Kids Wildlife & Exotics

Px# 334-374-0180



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