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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 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. Read more about why and how we manage deer herds.

The Conservation District’s archery deer hunting program generally starts mid-October and runs until mid-December. For more information, contact us at 217-423-7708.

2020 Deer Herd Management Program

The 2020 Archery Deer Herd Management Program at the Macon County Conservation District is a limited bow hunting program to assist with management of the deer herd. For complete information on this program, download the 2020 Hunter Facts & Rules.

Download an application from the link below or pick up a copy at Rock Springs Nature Center. Completed applications must be returned by Friday, September 4, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to email in their completed applications to [email protected]. A lottery drawing of all applicants will be held at Rock Springs Nature Center on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 3pm to determine program participants. Hunters need not be present to be included in the drawing.

The Conservation District will provide limited access to special hunting blinds designated for hunters with disabilities. These blinds are located at Rock Springs Conservation Area and Friends Creek Conservation Area. Please indicate on your application if special accommodations are needed. For details, contact Ethan Snively at [email protected] or 217-853-3465.

New for 2020 – Hunters will be allowed to harvest coyotes and 1 bearded turkey while participating in the Deer Herd Management Program. Turkeys can be harvested at Fort Daniel, Sand Creek, and Rock Springs. Friends Creek will not be open to turkey hunting in 2020.

Areas included in the lottery drawing are Rock Springs, Sand Creek, Friends Creek, and Fort Daniel Conservation Areas. The program runs from October 16 through December 10, 2020, except for November 20-22 and December 3-6. Permits will be available for purchase after the lottery drawing. Each hunter is limited to four permits per year.

New for 2020 Deer permits are available for purchase online. This applies to most deer permits. Here’s how this works:

  1. Out of state hunters must purchase their first permit through the business office: 3939 Nearing Lane, Decatur, IL, Monday through Friday, between 8am and 4:30pm.  After that, out of state hunters may purchase their second, third, and fourth permits online.
  2. Differently abled hunters (disabled hunters) must purchase their permits through Ethan Snively at 217-853-3465.
  3. All other hunters may purchase all of their permits online. Permits and stand tags will then be mailed to you. You must allow 5 business days to receive your permit.
  4. When you go to purchase a permit online, you must have a household login account. If you do not already have a household account with our online registration system: create an account, and we will approve it (usually within 24 hours). Then you may login, and purchase your permits. If you need assistance, call 217-423-7708, Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm.
  5. Permits can be sold in person at Rock Springs Nature Center on a case-by-case basis.

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Permit Fees

Macon County residents: $30 for the first permit
Out of county residents: $60 for the first permit
Out of state residents: $110 for the first permit
Fees for second, third, and fourth permits are $30 regardless of residency.

Documents for Download

2020 Hunter Facts & Rules
2020 Harvest Totals

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

For more information call Natural Resources Supervisor, Ethan Snively at 217-853-3465.