Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

November 1995


During the last 20 years several states have seen dramatic changes in the size of their white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations and also more frequent debates about how the deer resource should be managed. One central area of conflict between stakeholders involved in deer management is the issue of the lethal control of depredating deer, and how and when programs involving lethal control should be implemented. In the last decade, both Michigan farmers and deer hunters have organized special interest groups to express their dissatisfaction with deer population numbers, deer-caused crop losses, and/or the state's crop depredation control program. In April - June 1995, we surveyed agricultural producers (n= 596) and deer hunters (n= 792) in 7 Michigan counties about their attitudes and behaviors regarding deer and deer management. We identified several factors that appear to influence farmer and deer hunter attitudes about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' use of Block and Shooting Permits in their management approach to deer-crop depredation. Perceptions of program administration are an important factor impacting on both farmer and deer hunter approval of Shooting and Block Permits. Deer hunter approval of Shooting and Block Permits also appears to be influenced by the perceived fairness of the permit system and the proximity of the hunter's place of residence to the area in which they hunt.