People hunt deer for food, as a hobby, for antler trophies, for their hide, for population control, and to protect commercial crops and forestry.
Deer hunting is very popular in North America where it is mainly done for sport, but some native Americans continue to hunt deer to create products like clothing as well. Farmers are most likely to hunt deer to minimize their potential impact on crops.
Why do People Hunt Deer?
1. For their Meat
Deer meat is called venison. It’s not as commonly eaten as other meats like beef, but it’s still common in North America and Europe.
Venison is usually a byproduct of sport hunting or population control and not the main priority of hunters.
2. For their Hide
Another deer products that is loved by humans is deer hide. Deer hide, when treated well, is very good for making leather and leather products. Early humans also used the hide as clothing to protect them from the elements.
3. For Sport
Hunting is also done by humans as a sport. People hunt deer because the have a passion doing so and it is a hobby to them. Hunters also hunt and kill deer for various trophies such as their antlers.
4. For Trophies and Ornaments
Deer antlers make very good ornaments and house decorations. While some people may shoot a deer for its antlers, most people find antlers lying around on the ground. A stag will shed its antlers yearly.
5. For Population Control
If there are too many deer in an area, they may cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. They may also cause too much damage to crops or too much of a threat to drivers. There are therefore instances where wildlife services and farmers have them culled.
Is it Illegal to Hunt Deer?
Deer hunting is regulated by state governments and rules against the practice are different in every state.
Deer hunting is only legal in specified seasons called hunting seasons. During these times people are allowed to hunt wild deer in public land. The length of the seasons and the time it begins and ends varies according to the population and health of deer herds.
Hunting season might also be divided according to what kind of weapon one is allowed to use while hunting.
During specified weapons period the hunter is only required to use the specified weapons and any infringement of the rules might lead to heavy penalties such as fines or loss of hunting privileges.
Restrictions go as far as specifying which deer is allowed to be hunted. Some states like Kentucky define periods when one is only allowed to hunt antlered or antlerless deer.
Is Deer Hunting Beneficial?
It all depends on the number of deer available in the given area at one period of time.
Occasionally, deer hunting might be beneficial to humans and the ecosystem as a whole. At time deer populations might soar due to lack of natural predators and would need to be regulated.
Overpopulation of deer could lead to the straining of resources in the environment because very little food is available to feed all the animals. Deer also end up dying because of starvation.
Excessive hunting might however be bad for the environment. It might lead to extinction of a certain deer species from an area as it was about to be the case with elk in the USA before authorities intervened.
Deer are also food for other animals in the ecosystem. Excessive hunting leads to a decline in food availability for animals like wolves and cougars.
How do People Hunt Deer?
There are various techniques used in hunting. They include still hunting and stand hunting.
1. Stand Hunting
Stand hunting involves choosing one place where you stand and wait for a deer to show itself. One should choose a good spot to be able to have a wide field of view.
Experts prefer tree-stands because they are higher and offer a larger field of view. One should also pick a spot where wind will not carry your scent to potential deer hiding spots.
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2. Still Hunting
Still hunting is also referred to as stalking. Here one follows the animal at a distance and remains completely still to wait for the right opportunity to kill the animal.
When still hunting, a hunter is closer to the deer and can easily be detected. It is advisable for the hunter’s movements to be as quiet as possible because deer have an excellent sense of hearing.
It is also advisable to hunt cross-wind. This is to ensure that the wind does not carry your scent towards the deer. Deer also have excellent scent receptors that are almost 1000 times better than a human. This means that even the slightest whiff of your scent is sure to alert the animal.
Different types of weapons are used for deer hunting also. Bows and rifles are common to use while hunting deer.
There are specialised hunting rifles dedicated specifically for hunting. They are easy and comfortable to carry and can fire over long distances with pin point accuracy. They also come equipped with a scope to enable the hunter to aim over long distances.
Deer are hunted for a variety of reasons. Today, the top reason is for sport. However, farmers and governments may hunt them for population control, and native Americans may hunt them for their hide.
Some people do hunt them for their meat also, but this is more rare.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.