According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual fishing license report, there were more than 14 million hunting licenses for various types of game animals and birds in 2013. In Louisiana alone there were 345,000+ licenses sold to residents and another 42,000 to non-residents. Of those, more than 200,000 of those were big game licenses for deer hunting with guns, muzzleloaders and archery. The price tag on licenses and permits in Louisiana hit $9.5 million in 2013. Those numbers may or may not be totally accurate, but they do bear the fact that deer hunting is hugely popular.
At one time not too many decades ago, it was only a fraction of that. In fact, if it weren’t for deer stocking programs in the 1960’s and 1970’s, there probably wouldn’t have been any real deer hunting by the 1980’s. But that’s ancient history. Today there are deer in almost every block of woods in the state that has some sort of food supply, or at least numerous flower beds available like mine for deer to browse on.
The increased deer herd has also led to hunters making it easier on themselves to hunt deer — fancy deer stands, super accurate rifles and scopes, accurate ammunition, bows that practically draw and shoot by themselves and accessories like trail cameras that most couldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago. I think that ease and predictability in equipment is what has kept deer hunting a popular and growing sport. And part of that ease was the popularity of the deer corn feeder.
Which led me to the question, “Did deer corn save deer hunting“?
Now, if there wasn’t anything else to talk about or debate over coffee at the corner drug store or Wally-World bench this week, here’s you an interesting topic to chew on. And just in time for deer season, no less!
There is actually a national debate about whether it’s right, good, or proper to use corn or other attractants to assist deer hunters. Some states allow and encourage it. Others make it illegal. Around here, it isn’t a very loud debate because about 90% of the deer hunters would say “yes” to using it and don’t care to hear from the other 10%. There are some biological reasons why too much corn might not be good for deer. It has to do with them digesting it, depending on it and even being too concentrated which can spread disease. There’s even a new argument against corn that has do do with attracting wild hogs and helping them thrive.
But what I’m thinking is that maybe deer corn did save deer hunting. Okay, not save the deer, but maybe the popularity of the sport itself.
Why? When deer numbers were lower, it was hard to get younger hunters interested in sitting in the cold all day long with little hope of seeing more than a few squirrels, coons and maybe one or two deer. Frankly, it was hard to get border-line deer hunters to want to do that no matter how old they were. I can remember the day when people got excited if they just saw deer tracks! With no younger hunters coming to the sport and it being tough to even see a deer, soon there would be no sport. Dog hunting was more popular then and the best chance to see a deer for many was if the dogs chased one out across a road or opening.
Today if you put out feed, you’ll see deer.
With the advent of more deer feeders and deer corn, numbers of deer hunters are up. There’s no way to know, but I imagine a majority of young deer hunters take their first deer while hunting over or around deer corn. And I see nothing wrong with that. Why? We’ve actually got too many deer in many areas. Deer corn draws in does and, even though a lot of old timers don’t like to think about shooting does, it’s good for management of the herds. Deer feeders also generally give you a better idea of what time the deer will show up, which means you can hunt a few hours instead of a few days to see a deer. Another convenience for deer hunters.
In fairness, I do have to say this (which is counter to my argument): professional deer management programs are without a doubt the key to more deer today. But more deer doesn’t mean more hunting. That’s why I bring up the deer corn question. It makes it easier to take advantage of more deer.
And, back to that subject, look what it’s done for the economy. Quick, name a store in north Louisiana that DOESN’T sell deer corn this time of year? I mean you can get it everywhere but the donut shop or the beauty parlor. And that doesn’t even count deer feeders, deer supplements and all the other attractants out there today. And it sure has helped area corn farmers find out they have a lot more good friends and relatives. Say nice Mr. Farmer, you got any extra corn old buddy old pal old friend….????
So, what do you think?