Under a compromise reached earlier this week between the city and the state Division of Natural Resources, hunters who take part in Charleston’s annual urban deer hunt will be allowed to kill up to seven whitetails. The previous limit had been two.
The more liberal limit certainly should encourage hunters to take more deer. But it won’t have nearly as great an effect as the doe-buck ratio prescribed by the limit.
Previous city hunts were “hunter’s choice;” bowhunters were allowed to take males or females. Most hunters, dazzled by the opportunity to bag naive, city-dwelling trophy bucks, sat patiently in their tree stands and let does and smaller bucks pass by unharmed.
Under the new regulations, five of the seven-deer limit must be females. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction.
As a DNR biologist once explained to me: “When a hunter kills a buck, he kills one deer — the buck. When a hunter kills a doe, he kills the equivalent of three deer — the doe and the two fawns she would have borne the following spring.”
DNR officials have long said the best way to control a deer population is by killing females. It’s good to see Charleston’s city administrators finally aiming that direction.