Mid West Big Deer Harvest Decline

big deer harvest

The extreme winters have taken a toll on the deer throughout the mid west, as well as extreme drought conditions and EHD(Epizootic hemorrhagic disease).

By Adam Doby

As I was working at the Monster Buck Classic in Kansas this past January I just couldn’t help but notice that the big deer harvest numbers were down and the big bucks brought in and entered into the Monster buck contest just seemed to be down from the previous two years. Not that there weren’t some really nice bucks brought in, but the amount of them was just obviously down. I asked several others at the show if it was noticeable to them and they said yes. One of the outfitters I spoke with at the show told me in the fall of 2012 on a farm in Northeast Kansas they found seventeen dead bucks in one small pond.

I never found any dead deer but heard story after story of farmers and locals who did, one really nice drop tine buck was found in a pond about 450 yards from our house, just across the property line from where I hunt. I saw this video on YouTube and it just really hits home in seeing this, it’s not a very pretty thing to see the animals that we love and respect and want to help conserve getting wiped out by this awful damn disease.

Big Deer Harvest Numbers Down

I hunt in northeast Kansas and I run up to ten trail cameras throughout the season and the number of shooter bucks I get on those cameras has declined over the last couple of years, I believe caused by EHD (Epizootic hemorrhagic disease), drought, extreme winters, predators and over harvest in previous years. The drought and the cold winters have caused a decline in quality food sources but the main reason for the decline in the big deer harvest numbers I believe is EHD. As if EHD wasn’t bad enough Kansas made crossbows legal and even extended antler-less seasons, which  neither of these made much sense to me at all, why would you add a crossbow season and extend antler-less seasons when your deer herd was obviously hurting? I don’t know maybe I’m wrong, what do you think?

The big deer harvest numbers are down all across the heartland and there are a lot of people talking about it and Bill Winke of MidWest Whitetail recently wrote an article on his blog after attending the Iowa Deer Classic about the big bucks harvest numbers being down at the Iowa Deer Classic.

Mark Kenyon over at Wired To Hunt recently wrote an article about the QDMA for the first time is convening a “North American Whitetail Summit” to discuss ways to combat this recent trend in whitetail populations.

I sure hope the deer population will rebound, but this winter in the mid west has been brutal and I sure hope this summer isn’t as dry as it has been the last couple of years. Whitetails are amazing creatures and seem to adapt to many strenuous conditions, I just wish they could catch a break this summer and have a mild moist summer. Only time will tell. The stress they have gone through lately makes me appreciate them more and more everyday.

Has there been cases of EHD where you hunt lately?