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Deer Herd Management

Deer-Herd-ManagementWhite-tailed deer are an important part of Macon County’s natural areas. Like many native species they are beautiful and have a place in the ecosystem. But in many of our high quality conservation areas their numbers are so high that habitats are becoming unbalanced.

Deer are large plant eaters and consume a great number of plants. As a result, their high numbers are reducing native plant and animal populations, including endangered species. Additionally, human activity eliminated natural predators of deer, such as mountain lions and wolves in the early days of the county’s settlement. There is little hope of returning those predators. In their absence, deer populations are able to grow unchecked.

To maintain a healthy balance between the deer population and other species, the Conservation District initiated a limited archery hunting program. Over harvesting is avoided by monitoring deer habitat and numbers.

Can’t we let nature take its course?  The unfortunate reality is we may never be able to “let nature take its course.” The high reproductive capability of deer (each doe can have two fawns), lack of natural predators, and limited suitable habitat mean deer numbers can become unmanageable to a point of jeopardizing themselves and the communities they inhabit.

The Conservation District’s archery deer hunting program generally starts the end of October and runs through December. For more information about the Deer Herd Archery Program contact us at 217-423-7708.

2019 Deer Herd Management Program

Applications are now available for the 2019 Archery Deer Herd Management Program at the Macon County Conservation District. This is a limited bow hunting program to assist with management of the deer herd. For complete information on this program, download the 2019 Hunter Facts & Rules.

Download an application from the links below or pick up a copy at Rock Springs Nature Center (Monday to Wednesday 8am – 5pm, Thursday 8am – 8pm, Friday 8am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, and Sunday 1pm – 5pm). Completed applications must be returned by Friday, September 6, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted. A lottery drawing of all applicants will be held at Rock Springs Nature Center on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 3pm to determine program participants. Hunters need not be present to be included in the drawing.

New for 2019 – The Conservation District will provide limited access to special hunting blinds designated for hunters with disabilities. Please indicate on your application if special accommodations are needed. For details, contact Ethan Snively at [email protected] or 217-542-7351.

Areas included in the lottery drawing are Rock Springs, Sand Creek, Friends Creek, and Fort Daniel Conservation Areas. The program runs from October 18 through December 12, 2019, except for November 22-24 and December 5-8. Permits will be available for purchase after the lottery drawing. Each hunter is limited to four permits per year.

Permit Fees
Macon County residents: $20 for the first permit
Out of county residents: $50 for the first permit
Out of state residents: $90 for the first permit
Fees for second, third, and fourth permits are $20 regardless of residency.

New for 2019 – A District issued permit must be purchased prior to the weekly stand-by drawings, but will not need to be shown to enter the drawing. Permits will not be sold after 12:45pm on Wednesdays and will resume after the drawing to prevent conflicts. If you cannot attend a drawing, a “stand in” can come in your place. This person can enter only two additional people into the drawing besides themselves.

Documents for Download

2019 Hunter Facts & Rules
Deer Herd Archery Application

Fort Daniel Hunt Map
Friends Creek Hunt Map
Rock Springs Hunt Map
Sand Creek Hunt Map

2019 Harvest Totals

For more information call Natural Resources Supervisor, Ethan Snively at 217-542-7351.