March 28, 2014
Whitetail Dynamics: Rethinking “The Deer Depression” - 1
Back in 2011, when we published a downbeat assessment of deer trends across North America, we were called alarmists, pessimists, and even unpatriotic.
How could we dare challenge the notion that America’s whitetail resource was anything but renewable, robust, and ever-giving?
We were simply reading the tea leaves when we published “The Deer Depression,” a forecast of downward-trending whitetail signs that, looking back on it from this dismal year, seems especially prescient.
It’s worth revisiting the story to look at how quickly wildlife populations can cycle, and to remind ourselves that especially when we deer hunters get comfortable, disease, winterkill, land-use, and even our hunting regulations can quickly change the calculus.
But after seeing widespread declines across our whitetail range, and some distressing trends that indicate EHD, predators, and habitat conditions may exact an even greater toll in the years ahead, some whitetail gurus are suggesting that deer hunters revisit our piece.
“I admit to scoffing at the article back then,” says Mike Hanback of www.bigdeerblog.com. “Then BOOM! The massive outbreaks of EHD…new studies that revealed exploding predator numbers and predation on deer…and then toss in the last two brutal winters.”
Read “The Deer Depression” with three years of hindsight, and let us know if we got it right, or if we should be reassessing our ability to forecast. And let us know what you’re seeing in your corner of our deer nation.