Jed D. from West Virginia writes to ask about the impact of the bad economy in the United States on wildlife management. “The economy is bad and from all appearances will continue to be bad for several more years if not longer. We hear about cutbacks all the time. And we hear about various states functioning on the brink of bankruptcy. What impacts are we seeing with our state fish and wildlife agencies, and how will this affect deer management from the state perspective?”
Jed — were you a business or economics major in college? Good questions. I looked at the Quality Deer Management Association Deer Report for 2010 and found some numbers. They had data for some states comparing the wildlife agency budget in 2008 to that of 2009.
If we look at the Midwestern and Eastern states (where most of our whitetails are found), only Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Maryland showed increases in their wildlife budget from 2008 to 2009. Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont all showed decreases in their budgets.
It’s hard to know how much these cuts will hurt deer management, and it will vary from one state to another, but there is no question that staff layoffs, and program cutbacks will impact what your state agency does. It’s definitely not good.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for more than 31 years.