State Sen. John O. Jones (R-Mt. Vernon) has proposed
a double earn-a-buck bill for Illinois in SB3316.
I'm not opposed to earn-a-buck as a management tool, and there are areas in Illinois where I think this unpopular method might be needed.
But other than that, this bill doesn't make much sense on many levels.
My suspicious side made me wonder if the IDNR was floating a trail balloon, but that was shot down completely by forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton.
He took time out from CWD culling yesterday for this response:
No, it didn't come from us. And it's not just "earn a buck" - it's "double earn a buck", since hunters would be required to harvest 2 antlerless deer prior to harvesting a buck.
Implementing programs like that can be very effective for population reduction in seriously overpopulated areas, although they tend to be so unpopular with hunters that in many cases they are viewed as a last resort. In any event, they are designed for a single purpose - to drastically reduce populations. And they will continue to do so as long as they are in place. When populations reach goal, the regulations must be removed, else populations continue to decline to even lower levels. There is no mechanism to allow this in the proposed bill, so it would seem that the intent of the bill is to keep driving the deer population ever lower... In counties with limited habitat and already low deer population levels, the dramatic effects of this approach will be seen quickly.
I was surprised to see such legislation, because after the creation of the Deer Population Task Force in 2008 by the Illinois General Assembly (House Joint Resolution 65), deer goals were recommended and adopted, and on a statewide basis we have pretty much reached goal (although some individual counties remain above or below goal). Our current approach of using county permit quotas (both either-sex and antlerless-only) for gun seasons, and the availability of additional seasons to supplement harvest where necessary, has served us well. This approach allows us to increase harvest or decrease harvest as necessary in all the state's individual units. This gives us much more flexibility and versatility in addressing the needs of a myriad of different situations found throughout the state's different counties.