Thoughts on DNR and deer issues


From: Bob Marg



The first thing I want to mention is that farmer’s DO NOT get paid for crop damage due to wildlife (deer). Crop damage from deer statewide is more than $8 million per year, and has been for more than 15 years. There is no insurance that farmers can buy to cover wildlife crop damage.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreads fast and very easily with over population of deer because deer move more, and farther, with over population. This is why sharp shooters need to come in to thin the deer herds.

In 2005, the DNR set goals for deer numbers per square mile according to habitat damage, using a winter count. The maximum count for Southeast Minnesota was set at 15 deer per square mile, (with a range of 13-15), with the exception of area 344, where that area was set at 18 deer per square mile. After 2014, the DNR changed the matrix (formula) that it used to figure out how many deer per square mile there are. By the DNR changing this matrix in the areas that I know what the count was in 2014, it dropped it by 17 percent. The count in February 2014 was 41 deer per square mile. With the new matrix it dropped it to 34 deer per square mile. At about the same time the DNR formed a “stacked” committee. This committee was made up of about two thirds of avid hunters. The committee wanted nothing but more deer, with no consideration for deer crop damage, vehicle collisions due to deer, and damage to natural resources. A forester told me that in some areas of Southeast Minnesota the oak trees are stunted by more than 20 years because of the large number of deer browsing on young oak trees. I have had a deer manager tell me personally that everything from too many deer, to crop damage, and almost anything else, is the farmers’ fault.

Would you, as a landowner, allow any hunter on your land to hunt who states that “damn rich farmers” want everything? On my farm I have had fence wires cut by deer hunters so they could drag their deer out; I’ve had a pasture gate left open twice, which one time caused my cattle to get out and it took four hours for me to get them back in; I’ve had to pick up trash that was left by deer hunters that was left by a DNR parking lot that borders my land, and also had to pick up trash left by deer stands on my land; I had two old cars that I was selling parts off that deer hunters shot holes in, destroying parts from one car that someone was going to buy; I’ve had deer hunters that wounded a big buck, asked permission to trail it, did not find it, but told me where they had last seen it — I didn’t have to follow a blood trail, all I had to do was follow the beer can trail instead.

The DNR had told me that I should allow more hunters in to take care of the deer damage to my crops. In 2015 I allowed 33 more deer hunters on my land, besides my regular 11 hunters, during the various seasons that include the youth hunt, bow and arrow, muzzle loader, and the two gun seasons. That year my normal 11 hunters harvested seven deer — three does, three adult bucks, and one male fawn. I told all the hunters that they had to shoot a doe if it came by first but that they could shoot a buck if a buck came by first. The 33 extra hunters told me they had numerous does walk by them, some as close as 15 feet, but they never fired a shot at them, but they did manage to get two 10-point bucks. After this I did not allow them back on my property as they did not adhere by my rules.

Most hunters are very respectful, but I think most people should be able to understand now after reading this, why some farmers will not allow more hunters on their property due to the smart attitude some hunters have in regards to farmers, and having no respect for the farmers’ property.


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