Earn $5 a Doe in Illinois

With whitetail populations booming in many areas, game agencies have used various methods to encourage a robust harvest of does. In my region, antlerless tags are usually abundant and relatively inexpensive. Across the river in Wisconsin, the DNR had for years used an Earn-A-Buck rule that required a hunter to kill and register a doe before receiving a "buck sticker" that allowed him to tag an antlered animal.

These two examples--which illustrate the alternatives of "encouragement" vs. "requirement"--each have their fans, and one can debate which approach is the most effective. But the Jasper County (IL) Farm Bureau is trying a different approach to encourage bowhunters to shoot more does this fall; financial reward.

That's right. If you're a bowhunter who's killed and registered an antlerless deer in Jasper County, you simply visit a "Farm Bureau check-in site" with the deer and you'll receive a $5 bonus for every doe you check in. At the end of the early archery season (November 19), the hunter who's registered the most does will receive a $50 check and a plaque. Hunters who don't want to keep the does they shoot may donate them to the Food for Hunger Program.

I suppose you could call this financial incentive a "bounty" and to my knowledge it's never been tried before on whitetail deer. Please correct me if I'm wrong, and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the merits of paying hunters to kill deer.