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KC's Corner

2015 Deer Statistics Released

Tue, August 30, 2016

Preliminary deer-vehicle accident (DVA) data was released last week.  IDNR had been “waiting on current DVA data” before making any management decisions.  However, don’t expect any changes beyond the bare minimum of taking a few counties out of the LWS.

So, what does the new data show?

The statewide DVA rate (which has been proven to correspond to the deer population) dropped again from 2014 to 2015.  The statewide herd reduction rate has now climbed to 23.5% from its peak, compared to the IDNR target of a 14% reduction.

The 2.1% decrease is a stark contrast to the 6.5% increase in the deer harvest last year.  This tells us what most of us already knew… that the higher harvest last year wasn’t an indicator of an increasing herd.  It was a combination of excellent hunting weather, season timing, and probably hunter attitudes.

Looking closer at the county-specific numbers, it’s a mixed bag.  Some initial thoughts on the data (most of which exclude CWD counties).

• 34 non-CWD counties have been below their DVA/population goal for at least 4 consecutive years.
• 8 non-CWD counties have now lost at least half of their deer herd since peak DVA years.
• 14 non-CWD counties have been reduced by 40-50% from their peak levels.
• 7 CWD counties have lowered their deer herd more than 50% since peak levels.
• Only 14 total non-CWD counties remain more than 10% OVER their DVA/population goal.
• 13 of the remaining 24 counties in the LWS are less than 10% above goal.  7 of those counties are below goal, but haven’t met the “2 year consecutive” minimum to be considered for removal.

IDNR finally made the landmark decision to remove Pike County from the herd-reducing LWS.  Pike was under its deer population goal for the 6th consecutive year, when most counties are removed after their 2nd straight year below target.  Another decrease in their 2015 population data shows that the herd is 54% lower than the peak, while their harvest totals in 2015 were 44% lower than their peak.  Last year’s total deer harvest in Pike County was the lowest since 1994.

Is Adams County the next Pike, in terms of declining deer herd?

Following the EHD outbreak in 2012, Adams has been on a freefall.  The DVA rate in Adams alone has dropped 43% since 2011.  The DVA rate is at a historic low, even though the harvest was up slightly in 2015.

More analysis to come, but these are the highlights.

Illinois Whitetail Alliance (IWA) has posted the complete history of all 102 IL counties on its Facebook page.  Included for each county is a graph showing the DVA history back to 1994, along with harvest data for the same time period.  It also shows where each county currently sits in relation to the IDNR established goal.

Note: In light of the comments below (it appears that we may have different sets of data from IDOT), I’m going to post the disclaimer from IDOT that was provided to me.

DISCLAIMER: The motor vehicle crash data referenced herein was provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation. The author is responsible for any data analyses and conclusions drawn.

In other words… the data I used came directly from IDOT.  The graphs and any other analysis came from me. I’ve used this same source of data every year since I’ve been tracking DVA’s independently, and we’ve always been spot on with the totals.  I’m making every effort I can to make sure what I received was accurate.  I can’t think of a reason why the same data provided to IDNR would show additional accidents.  I’ll update the readers as I know more.

Comments

IT’S A SHAME. WHAT THE ILLINOIS DEER HUNTERS AND THE OLD DNR DID TO GET THE HERDS OF TO THE 1990’S LEVELS AND TO SEE IT NOW. BETWEEN GREEDY HUNTERS WITH THE MOTTO IF IT’S BROWN IT’S DOWN AND A NEW DNR THAT’S CLUE LESS. NOW ADD IN EXTRA SEASONS, EHD AND THE CWD PROGARM THE DEER HERDS WILL CONTINUE TO DECLINE. THE HUNTERS NEW MOTTO SHOULD BE ...LET THE DOES WALK SO THE HERD WILL GROW.

Posted by deer1 on August 31

Kevin - What is your total raw accidents used?  We used 15,469 (as of July 26)and that resulted in an increased DVA rate over 2014. Today, after reading your post, I requested an update to DVAs and found they had been changed to 15,649.  The miles traveled will remain unchanged at 105,369,163,823.  We are showing increasing statewide DVA rates for 2015.  Tom

Posted by DozRdeer2 on August 31

Tom, the raw data given to me by IDOT shows 15,074 DVA’s.  I received this data on 8/26/16 with the understanding that is was provisional data.  Miles driven agrees with my data.  Would be interesting to know why we have 2 versions of the data?

Posted by Kevin C on August 31

15,469 or 15,074? Either way it is about 3.87 DVA’s per county, and not enough to make a difference from a statistical standpoint.

Posted by The Colonel on August 31

2 versions ?????
I see 3 versions here ?????
15,074 that was given to Kevin by IDOT on 8/26/16
15,469 that IDNR “used” as of July 26
15,649 that IDNR is now claiming “Changed” to this higher number today /31/16
What is going on here ??????

Posted by Lynn on August 31

per IDNR’s own web site =
https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/wildlife/Documents/DVASummary.pdf

Hidded under “Conservation”
Deer Management (Wildlife Diversity)
NOTE….not in the hunting or deerhunting links or pages, like logic would suggest.
*** 15,354 DVA statewide in 2014 ***** LAST YEARS DVA#
15,328 DVA in 2013
15,488 DVA in 2012
...
Oh ya, since the subject of total DVA’s was brought up….
I 2004 there were 25,847 DVA statewide
.....
Point blank, the IL deerherd is well below the DVA’s that IDNR set & agreed to about 7 years ago !!!!
Our IDNR keeps talking about meaningful changes to IL deer management but nothing happens YEAR after YEAR.
” 8 non-CWD counties have now lost at least half of their deer herd since peak DVA years.”
Say that out loud people…...
It is pathetic isn’t people !!!

Posted by Lynn on August 31

Yes LYNN it is pathetic.  Give or take it’s 15,000 DVA over the past 4 years atleast.  In 2004 25,000 is still a low number with the size of the herd at that time.  In 2007 EHD took out more deer then what the total deer harvested that season.  Since then we’ve had it 3 more times.  Still no LOGICAL management practices have been implemented for deer hunting.  The DNR management is still idle collecting a paycheck for whatever reasons.  Tom it’s hard to see you even make a post and ask some 2nd grade level question to this topic.  All that the DVA rates show us is what kind of money the insurance companies are going to have to come up with to offset permit numbers.  Sure you want to make it look like they are going up in 2015 someone needs a bonus!  Until politics are out of the DNR and hunting in general we as hunters of this state are left with what we have.  Kevin and LYNN thanks for the info facts are facts some of us see whats been happening while some keep living under the cloud of smoke at the DNR!

Posted by muzzyman on September 01

Thanks Lynn, never would have found that.  Kevin, just wondering on the statewide totals, if you took out counties that have very limited hunting, ie. Cook and Dupage ( not sure if any others ), would the statewide percentages change much?

Posted by BIGPOND on September 02

All this and yet some of us still have neighbors who think we have too many does. 

I have some trail cameras that I never take out of the woods.  They run year round without moving positions.  This year has been scary.  The lack of deer on camera is staggering when compared to just a couple years ago. 

I blame our corrupted DNR…but I also blame greedy, thoughtless hunters.

Posted by Treehugger on September 14

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