Thursday, 01 November 2007 16:00

Nevada Youth Deer Hunting Tags -The Key to the next Generation of Nevada Hunters

Written by James “Mike” Laughlin
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"We have got to get more kids involved in hunting." This is a saying that you have heard many times in recent years. Recent data from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that hunter numbers in the United States declined 10 % between 1996 and 2006. This statistic points out a need for us to act now to stem this decline of young hunters.

Jace Thompson hunter, Patxi and Peio Laughlin in back
Okay, how do we do this? NDOW has all but given up on Mule Deer and has put their energy and dollar resources into other big game species reintroduction and management. How many Nevada kids will ever draw an elk, antelope, sheep or goat tag? Deer hunting and the availability of deer to hunt is of paramount importance for Nevada's youth if we are going to have game to hunt that you have a good chance to draw a tag for and to keep their interest in hunting and stop the decline of young hunters in our state.

There needs to be some aggressive action by NDOW to halt the decline of Mule Deer in this state. Predator control programs to increase mule deer numbers is one way we could start helping to bring back our deer. A study, published in The Journal of Wildlife Management- 2007, states, "Removing coyotes for livestock protection may increase densities of mule deer in the same area." What this suggests is “what is good for livestock is also good for deer numbers."

Casey Dack's first deer
The big deer years in Nevada were years during which there were aggressive coyote and lion population-reduction programs. These control programs, implemented by the Animal Damage Control division of the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, were in place primarily to protect domestic sheep.  Domestic sheep at that time acted as a buffer species for game animals.  That means that domestic sheep were the primary food source of predators.  When the domestic range-sheep industry disappeared from Nevada ranges, the amount of predator control efforts decreased, therefore, predators looked for other animals as a food source and Mule Deer numbers began to decline. This fact is hard for NDOW to accept, but today’s deer numbers tell the real story.

Kim Algerio, first deer
The current 2007 NDOW Predator Management Plan is filled with surveys, studies, etc. The bottom line is that predators need to be killed. Not all the scientific studies in the world will replace the needed reduction of numbers of predatory animals that are preying upon Nevada deer.  The recovery of Nevada’s deer herds should be a principle focus of the predator management plan for 2007 and the future if we re going to have a huntable deer population to encourage Nevada youth hunting. 

There was an old saying in the Animal Damage Control Program that I supervised years ago during the active years of predator control for livestock that said, “You are either a counter or a killer." and we damn sure were not counters.

James “Mike” Laughlin    
(Retired) Supervisory Wildlife Biologist
U.S Department of Agriculture & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Bachelor Science Degree – Wildlife Biology – Arizona State University; Tempe, Arizona 31 years working in nine Western states, Mexico, Provinces of Canada
Cell# 775-318-0337
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last modified on Sunday, 10 February 2008 05:03
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