Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


October 20, 2013

Bill Hilts' Weekly Outdoors Column

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — No animal has more of an effect on hunters, hunting and the local economy than the white-tailed deer. This is big game in every sense of the word in the Empire State and the numbers bear that out. 

In the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, New York State ranked third for resident hunters at nearly 740,000 individuals generating over $2.1 billion in expenditures. Add in a ninth place ranking for nonresident hunters (84,000), spending $115 million, and you can see that this spells big business in this state. 

Add in one more fact: Over 752,000 of those hunters are deer hunters.

Nothing can dominate a conversation around hunting circles like deer can. No topic can cause sportsmen to be as passionate — and opinionated — as the topic of deer. At the top of the list (outside of the favorite “big deer” deer stories that make the rounds every fall) are heart-felt discussions on Quality Deer Management (QDM) and Antler Restrictions (AR) — conversations that seem to be increasing every year. 

This deer-influenced attitude among the hunting fraternity isn’t confined to just New York. If you really want to see how deer is affecting and impacting America’s world of hunting and beyond, you need to check out Al Cambronne’s new book, “Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness.” 

It aims at the subject of deer and deer hunting and finds the mark as he proves that deer populations are a huge consideration when it comes to sporting goods stores and other deer-related companies, body shop owners, gardeners, hunters and wildlife watchers. 

With more than 30 million deer in the United States, they have become the most important focus in the outdoor world when it comes to economics, attitudes and dedication afield. They have changed real estate values in some areas, such as Northern Wisconsin where Buffalo County is legendary in the world of the big buck. 

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