Many landowners face challenges caused by abundant deer. This animal evolved under heavy predation by wolves, bears, mountain lions, and Native American hunters. Their survival strategy, in addition to being well camouflaged and fleet, is to have many babies. A healthy doe normally bears one fawn when she is just one year old and twins or triplets in subsequent years. Wild predators have been extirpated but deer continue to reproduce at a rapid rate. When they are too numerous, over browsing of crops, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers devastates ecosystems. Deer numbers need to be kept in balance with their habitat to protect natural beauty and devastation.
Modern hunting is an effective substitute for predators. Deer hunting is popular but many hunters, or potential hunters, lack a place to hunt. Many landowners suffer deer damage but don’t hunt.
Successful match making between hunters and landowners can work toward their mutual benefit. However, the relationship is most successful when hunters are managed by the landowners with expectations clearly articulated BEFORE permission is granted to access property.
Most hunters are ethical but they sometimes stretch understandings, especially verbal ones. For example, if a landowner gives permission for one person to hunt, he/she sometimes assumes that gives them license to invite their relatives or friends to hunt the property. And, they may assume that this is perpetual permission and that they can hunt any species at any legal time without additional permission. Also, to control deer populations it is essential to harvest does, yet many hunters seek only big bucks. Landowners using hunting as a management tool may need to insist that does be taken.
Attached is a sheet of expectations that a landowner might present to anyone wishing to hunt. It articulates expectations and clarifies the relationship between landowner and hunter.