John Garland with his 10-point buck on the first Saturday of Polk County 2011 deer season. (photo submitted by Toby Jenkins)

Archived Story

Polk County deer season

Published 10:26am Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another deer season has come and gone here in good ole Polk county. Some nice bucks were killed again this year. Seems like every year there are more and more bigger racked deer showing up.
This is a far cry from the “deer depression” I grew up hunting. Most of my hunting buddies give me a hard time about not letting a legal deer walk. I guess I spent too many days in my youth hunting when deer were scarce, and just mentioning you had seen deer at the local store would gather a handful of interested listeners. Now 8 good pointers barely get a second glance.
I don’t think the success of the deer population happened by chance. The vast majority of hunters now at least feed deer, most plant food plots and put out salt and minerals year round.
Hunters also have started “managing” deer herds. By letting smaller non matured bucks walk, the number of better racked deer increases every year. Most experts also say that getting the right buck to doe ratio is a good way to get more and bigger bucks, this usually means the does need to be thinned out. I have to admit I’m not sold on this no matter what the experts say.
The loss of public land and the increase of housing communities has helped the deer population tremendously. Deer have become somewhat “domesticated,” and living in and around housing developments is of no concern to them, and actually offers them added security.
I will say though, I regret to see the loss of thousands of acres of public hunting land to large developers and private organizations. The several hundred acre tract of paper company land that I and many others grew up hunting, riding and exploring on, is now only able to be used by a select few. If you are one of the select its great, if not, oh well, maybe next time.
I really don’t see a remedy to the loss of public lands here in our county, I just hope other counties in our area can preserve some public land for the use of sportsman and women. Its tough on folks who can’t afford to join a hunting club, or may not know anyone well enough to get permission to hunt private lands.
That being said, the quality of deer in our county should continue to improve, largely in part to the efforts of hunters. The poor actions of a small select few, give hunters a bad rep to a lot of folks. But the majority of hunters care for the resources they use, and actually try to improve it.
Here is an unofficial total of the deer harvested in Polk County this year, not counting those checked in at check in stations in the area:
Total deer – 838. Including 416 antlered deer, 54 button bucks and 368 does.
There were also eight black bears reported.

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