August 09, 2011
The Modern Deer Hunter’s Contradiction
By Dave Hurteau
To help take your mind of the spelunking stock market, I give you another problem to ponder: If you gave each of today’s hardcore whitetail hunters $1 million and said, “So what are you going to do with that?” a great many--far more than ever before--would say, “I’m going to buy or lease a bunch of ground and manage it for big deer.” Right? This is unequivocally the hottest trend in our sport and has been for a while. It is not all bad.
However, implied in the popular notion of “managing for big deer” and often explicitly advised by the growing army of "professional deer managers" is reduced hunting pressure. In other words, we won’t be letting the neighbors on.
Meanwhile, if you ask the same people if they want a deer hunting future marked by dwindling access and fewer participants, most--who are not merely aware but proud that ownership of and access to game by the common folk lies at the heart of our model--would say, “Nope. Not really.”
So, that’s a problem. And a fairly well-known one, I admit. But if we say we want one thing and yet many of us would admittedly do the opposite given the chance, then what’s the solution? Any ideas?