Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pennsylvania Residents Support Deer Hunting

By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Keystone State residents have a great affinity for white-tailed deer, enjoy having them nearby and support regulated hunting as the best method to control them.

Released last week, a public opinion and attitude survey commissioned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and conducted by Virginia-based Responsive Management found positive attitudes toward deer and deer-related recreation. The study said 77 percent of Pennsylvanians like having deer around, and a large majority, 85 percent, support the legal regulated hunting of deer.

The telephone survey reached some 9,200 adult residents with at least 400 interviews in each of the state's 22 wildlife management units, and included hunters and non-hunters. Coren Jagnow of the Game Commission's Research and Education Division said the results will be used to help the agency fulfill its mission to manage wildlife populations for all Pennsylvania residents.

"This study was important because it didn't just look at hunters but at the residents of the commonwealth as a whole, and it let us know what they think," he said, in a written statement. "... We are encouraged by a lot of the results, such as high levels of support for deer hunting and satisfaction with the size of the deer herd."

Queried about the agency's three primary deer management goals:
• 91 percent agree with managing for healthy and sustainable deer populations.
• 89 percent agree with managing the deer for a healthy and sustainable forest habitat.
• 84 percent agree with managing for safe, acceptable levels of deer-human conflicts.

While 85 percent support legal regulated hunting as a population control method, 46 percent support fertility/birth control (current technology would require each individual doe in unfenced populations to be inoculated every year). Use of sharpshooters is supported by 39 percent; 24 percent support trapping and killing excess deer.

Deer watching is a pastime enjoyed by more than half the state's residents. The survey found 56 percent spent time viewing or watching deer around home, 22 percent took a trip to view deer, and 8 percent intentionally fed deer.

Among those who enjoy having deer around, 28 percent said they worry about the problems that deer may cause. Slightly more than half of all respondents, 54 percent, said the deer population in their area is just right. Twenty-five percent identified themselves as hunters. Find the full report at

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