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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Franklin County
Re: Have foresters hijacked deer management in PA?
Forests, regen = food and cover.
This is the part many miss in the three goals of the deer program. "A sustainable forest for the future" means having trees and bushes that make a healthy forest. That healthy forest being the year around food source for not only deer, but all the woodland critters.
Second thing missed by many (me as well for a long time) - being green and thick does not make it deer food. Deer are picky eaters. They have a preference, just like us two footer critters... Then unlike us, they can not go to the store and by Vita Vitamins or better food. they have what they have - the nutritional requirements are set by Ma Nature.
Deer not getting the daily MA Nature approved levels of nutrients means a smaller, more disease prone herd that is less likely to produce next years fawns.
So the sustainable forests make a sustainable deer herd. The healthier more balanced the two are to each other makes it better for both. It also makes it better for the other woodland critters that also depend on what the growing season produces.
Always remember. It is not mast (acorns) that gets a deer through the six or seven months of no growth (Late fall, winter, early spring) it is what grew the prior spring and summer. Mast is a temporary high calorie food. Temporary being the operative word there. It is also unreliable as at times, it will not be produced in any volume for several back to back years.
Browse is the answer. The experts on producing commercially desirable trees are the foresters. The experts on using those same tree species as a primary and preferred food source are deer.
Support the foresters and you support the deer.
As for the forest certification - I personally can take it or leave it. It is wrapped in politics and the social greening movement. but in the long run, it is no real issue to the deer numbers. Foresters would be asking for X harvest of deer with it or without.
For those still hung up on the forest certification, take it on as a separate issue. It is a convenient scape goat for some in the "no deer" crowd for sure. Clearly it addresses and mandates deer management as part of the program. Add the Eco - groups heading the program up - a hot button wild card for sure. But Understanding the forestry practices in use today, forest certification aside, in relation to the deer program and hunter desires makes it a non-issue.
If this runs true to form, someone will comment on or post the 300 page Audubon report of one of the SCI Audits and the mandate of deer removal. If so, take a serious look at it. Then look at the actual practices and harvest numbers.
DMAP is a very small percentage of harvest total. Even alone and by itself. The actual harvest numbers are small compared to the number of tags issued. Seriously, we are talking single digit success rates. Low single digits at that.
Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.