21 State Parks Host Hunts To Reduce Deer Populations

State officials say large deer populations can damage forest ecosystems by eating too many plants that other animals use for food.

deer

Photo: Cindy Cornett Seigel (flickr)

A deer in Eagle Creek Park. State parks have been hosting deer hunts for 20 years in an attempt to control the population.

Brown County, Spring Mill, and McCormick’s Creek state parks are three of 21 parks hosting hunts this year in an attempt to cut down on the deer populations there.

Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs Chief of Natural Resources, Mike Mycroft, says the state has been conducting deer hunts in various parks for the past 20 years, so many of the deer populations have been cut down to a manageable level.

“I think we’ve had a tremendous success with the reduction hunt since they first started in 1993 and we have to contribute a lot of that success in helping us have our ecosystems recover largely to hunters that participated and volunteered their time and skills to help us manage the issue of over browsing by deer,” he says.

Brown County State Park Interpretive Naturalist Jim Eagleman says it is important to keep having the hunts so the deer do not become too populous and damage forests’ ecosystems by eating too much of the herbal layer – a component of the forest which includes wildflowers, grasses, ferns, young plants and trees. A diminished herbal layer causes a loss of food and shelter for other animals, pollination, saplings, and seedlings.

“By having hunts in all our state parks now we’re keeping deer within levels of what their food supply can support and we’re not seeing near the damage on the herbal layer, starting actually the late 70s into the 80s,” Eagleman says.

There will be two rounds of the reduction. The first will begin Nov. 18 and the second on Dec. 2.

State parks hosting hunts in 2013 include:

Brown County
Chain O’Lakes
Charlestown
Clifty Falls
Fort Harrison
Harmonie
Indiana Dunes
Lincoln
McCormick’s Creek
Ouabache
Pokagon
Potato Creek
Prophetstown
Shades
Shakamak
Spring Mill
Summit Lake
Tippecanoe
Turkey Run
Versailles
Whitewater Memorial

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