Ask Outdoors Girl

December 27, 2009|By CANDUS THOMSON

K. Dale Anderson of Randallstown writes: I enjoyed reading your Nov. 27 article, "No shortage of deer for firearms season," but was left with a question. How are the figures derived regarding the deer kill and population? As an aside, I know that back in the '70s, when I hunted deer with my son, it was necessary to "check in" any deer kill.

Outdoors Girl went to the source of all things Cervidae in Maryland, Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler, who replies: To estimate deer population size, DNR obtains sex and age data from approximately 4,500 deer each year that are brought to meat processors. The sex and age data are used in a model to estimate population size.

The state successfully used those check stations you mentioned until the 2005 season, when the annual 90,000-plus deer harvest began taxing the system. At that point, a switch was made to mandatory telephone and Internet check-in. Hunters who take a deer or turkey now can call a toll-free number and reach an automated voice system or visit the DNR Web site and answer the same questions about their harvest that they answered at check stations previously (date, species, sex, number of antler points, location of kill, etc.). After entering the information, they are issued a confirmation number that they write on their license to show they complied with the regulation.

Telephone and Internet check-in systems are widely used in many states and have proved to be as accurate as check stations, with reduced cost and added convenience for the hunter. The data are available in a more timely manner for analysis as well.

- Candus Thomson

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