Date of this Version
The Pennsylvania Game Commission authorized an extension of the 1990-1991 anterless white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) season to reduce deer abundance on farms having excessive crop damage. A mail survey of the 574 participating landowners was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the program. After 2 mailings 93% (n = 531) responded, and 444 returns had completed information for numbers of hunters, hectares, and harvested deer. Based on landowner responses, an estimated 2,674 deer were harvested by 35,181 hunters on 58,525 ha. An average of 4.6 deer were harvested/km2 of huntable land, which compared to a statewide estimate of f2.3 deer harvested/km2 during the 1990 4-day regular anterless-deer season. Twenty-four percent (n = 107) of respondents reported zero deer harvested. Twenty-five percent of respondents (n = 110) were satisfied with the program. Landowners who were dissatisfied (n = 331, 75%) could provide up to 5 reasons for dissatisfaction. Four hundred sixty-nine responses were provided. Three-hundred-forty-seven responses (74%) indicated too few deer were killed, while 23% (n = 106) indicated that the program was inconvenient. Satisfaction related to number and density of deer harvested, hectares of huntable land, perception of hunter density, and suggested improvements. Many respondents (n = 204, 46%)indicated they would participate again, in spite of the high degree of dissatisfaction. Number and density of deer harvested, density of hunters, perception of hunter density, satisfaction, and reason for dissatisfaction, were related to willingness to participate again. Landowner suggestions for improvements (5 allowed per respondent, n = 364 recieved) centered on harvesting more deer by involving more land (n = 201, 55%) and moving the timing of the season (n = 119, 33%). Seventy-two percent (n = 320) of responses (5 allowed per respondent, n = 625 recieved) indicated neighboring posted land was the primary reason for too many deer on their property. This remains the greatest challenge in providing relief from high deer densities.