Georgia Whitetail Deer Population on Decade-Long Decline, Hunters Discouraged

Some say the deer population in Georgia has declined rapidly in the past decade, creating what hunters are calling "a deer deficit." The fact that hunters are seeing fewer deer each year is discouraging and is resulting in fewer and fewer hunters heading into the field. This, in turn, makes it harder for hunting clubs to retain enough members to cover their land leases.

From this story in The Augusta Chronical:
_A decade ago, Ron Wright couldn't imagine a weekend of deer hunting without seeing a single deer. Today, such disappointments are commonplace in an environment some hunters contend has created a deer deficit.
_
_"I've never been more discouraged than I have in the last five years," he told Georgia Wildlife Resources Division officials during a public meeting held in McDuffie County this week to discuss potential changes in hunting regulations.

As president of a hunting club in Taliaferro County for 30 years, Wright said his members see fewer and fewer deer, making it harder to retain enough members to cover land leases. Potential causes, he said, could include overhunting made possible by Georgia's liberal, 12-deer bag limit, the impact of coyotes and -- quite possibly -- illegal baiting on neighboring properties.

He joined others to ask officials to consider a shorter hunting season or fewer "either sex" days when hunters can kill antlerless deer. "If things don't change, we may have to give up our lease," he said._

Any thoughts? Is it the 12-deer bag limit, coyotes, illegal baiting, or is there no clear-cut cause? Have hunting clubs in your area experienced anything similar?