State officials, landowners meet on deer damage

    State officials emphasized to area landowners last week that reducing crop damage from deer will take a partnership between farmers, hunters and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
    More than three dozen landowners attended a meeting April 2 at the Wauneta Senior Center to hear department officials talk about so-called “depredation management” in southwest Nebraska.
    “Our main purpose is to be here, listen to you” and offer tools and recommendations to tamp down deer damage to crops, Wildlife Division Assistant Administrator Pat Molini told the crowd.
    “Most of us are here [because there are] too many dang deer,” he said.
    The state already has taken some moves in that direction, revamping its system of damage control permits that allow deer to be hunted specifically to reduce crop damage. He cautioned that the state doesn’t want to see deer wiped out entirely, but “it’s that balance we strive for.”
    Molini said there are four main sources of input Game and Parks looks at when assessing the problem: landowners, hunters, the general public and the biology of the animals. Included in that last area are factors like population trends and biological research.
    That research has found that deer in this area are getting older, but there is a locally high mule deer population. There has also been an increase in deer harvesting in the last few years, he said.

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