Posted: Jul. 23, 2014 8:28 am Updated: Sep. 3, 2014 12:07 pm
Like so many other hunters, Kevin Chapman sees the Illinois Department of Natural Resources making progress toward a viable deer population management plan.
He also knows there are many more steps to take.
So Chapman and the Illinois Whitetail Alliance plan to keep the DNR on task.
Tuesday, the DNR announced changes to the deer hunting regulations for the 2014-15 season, closing the late-winter antlerless-only season for an additional 20 counties and reducing the firearms permit quotas in counties statewide.
The DNR also provided hunters with the statistics that prompted these decisions, releasing the deer-vehicle accident rates broken down by county since 1989 and showing the county-by-county permit quotas and illustrating how they've changed.
"I applaud their efforts in getting information out to the public that had not been previously released," said Chapman, president of the IWA. "The level of transparency, thus far, is unlike anything we've seen with the deer management program in the past."
It's the only way this program is going to succeed.
Managing a healthy, sustainable deer population requires hunters and politicians to work hand-in-hand. Putting all the information on the table and opening it for discussion generates ideas, which the IWA has plenty.
In fact, on the IWA website (www.ilwhitetailalliance.com
), there is a list of suggested changes to the deer hunting regulations. First and foremost, the IWA has created a four-step plan for reducing the pressure on the overall deer harvest. That plan includes:
º Eliminating the late-winter antlerless-only season entirely;
º Moving all future antlerless-only seasons before the November rut. Such a season should take place between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, with a preference toward a two-day weekend in mid-September prior to the opening of archery season;
º Implement a one-buck, one-doe limit in counties that have not been part of the late-winter season;
º And eliminate all over-the-counter permit sales after Nov. 1, including leftover gun permits.
The IWA offers some rationale for each of its proposed changes and is adamant about pushing the DNR to make the right moves. Tuesday was a step in the right direction. In fact, the IWA said so in a post on its Facebook page.
The IWA also made it clear the journey is far from over.
"We'll continue to work with IDNR to accomplish long-term goals of the deer management program," Chapman said. "IWA will continue to be a voice for Illinois deer hunters. ... We're all in it for the long haul, and there's still work to be done."
INFORMATION To learn more about the Illinois Whitetail Alliance or to join the organization for free, visit the IWA website at www.ilwhitetailalliance.com