The Deer Group
The Deer Group is a bold new program of the private sector to develop a productive wild white-tailed deer resource with net benefits to citizens within the county and region. It seeks to participate in the financial success of Rural System. The program is unique, broad in scale, open to all citizens, and is resource based. It seeks a variety of human benefits from all aspects of the deer resource throughout the year while at the same time reducing costs and losses. The program recognizes that there are positive and negative elements to all resources and it seeks to prevent conflicts and minimize overall costs associated with the deer resource. It works with the regional herd as well as others in the state (in Virginia, over 220,000 animals are now were taken in the hunting season). See the national hunting survey. The program is legal and independent of the state agency. It does not attempt to replace or duplicate the staff, work, or resources of any public agency. The Deer Group can heighten, encourage, add to, and expand a typical state agency's program with the deer resource, one not limited by history, policy, staff, and budgets.
The Deer Group staff seeks personal and corporate involvement in a financial-gains enterprise by investments of time, energy, ideas, and financial support. The work ahead is monumental. It is naive to think that any more than a penny ante game will emerge from minor contributions and memberships. Tax deductions and beneficial arrangements within the enterprise are readily available to advertisers, contributors of money, and people wishing to rent long-term or bequeath land and property to lasting, exciting, modern, innovative research, education, and development for the deer resource. Not an organization for charity, The Deer Group has major action strategies seeking a stable budgetary status for the good of the deer and the people. One component is a citizen's organization.
The program simultaneously involves:
- Information and education
- Action opportunities and contests
- Land management
- Membership benefits
- Research and development
- Achievement of diverse resource objectives
- Damage management
all of which are done while increasing employment and improving the economic conditions of the region.
Each of these eight elements is discussed separately and as if The Deer Group already exists. Its parts exist in some form and can be grasped for use almost immediately. No inventions are needed. It is not "blue sky" but a practical program that is badly needed. It must be done all together, as a system. Piecemeal work of the past has created the present conditions which The Deer Group addresses. Each of the eight action elements of the system will be discussed. They are all, by design, highly related.
- Information and Education
- Books - Sales of quality deer literature at discount rates with modest profit to the enterprise.
- Booklists - A series of prepared texts on all aspects of the deer and deer resource. Sales for modest profit to
The Deer Group (hereinafter also called the system or enterprise).
- Computer Programs - Personal computer programs for all that are interested in working with and learning about the resource and entering data to get locally relevant information.
- Seminars - Two-day seminars on all aspects of deer biology, foods, monitoring of population density, habitat productivity, and suitability, management, laws, hunting, conservation, and damage control.
- Satellite Seminars - Occasional seminars (T\/) by satellite or the World Wide Web.
- Television - Sales of quality TV materials at discount rates with modest profits to the enterprise. New television - programs about deer and conditions.
- Hunting Seminars - One-day seminars on hunting techniques including safety and marksmanship.
- Computer Information - County- and region-specific personalized information on deer hunting, etc., from the enterprise computers.
- GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) information and sales
- Consultants - A team of consultants working privately.
- Recipe Books - Ways to improve meat use, reduce losses, and encourage high quality use of the available resource.
- Hunters for the Hungry - Encouragement of an existing program to share meat with welfare groups.
- Value-Added Strategies - Means to make better use of meat, bones, carcass, hides; taxidermy, etc.
- Membership - Including encouragement of hunting for women and special groups.
- Action Opportunities and Contests
- State and Regional Deer Rifle Accuracy Contest - An annual contest with modest income to the system.
- State and Regional Deer Archery Contest - A special annual contest with unique classes of hunts and hunters.
- Gamma Fawn - a multi-level, computer game for school biology, FFA, 4-H, and other youth groups, leading to statewide annual competition (like an international chess competition).
- Gamma Deer - Equivalent to the above, adults may compete in this difficult, realistic game of regional deer management. The "play" is against "nature," poachers, crippling loss, those who set the season, and management action success. It is an expansive modern computer "game" - very serious business, eventually with big prize money.
- Projects - Planned group projects such as deer drives for density estimates, cripple-deer surveys, enclosure construction, removals, meat processing, forage surveys, and road track counts.
- Woodcraft Contest - Regional annual tests of field skills related to all aspects of deer resource use.
- Banquets and Socials
- Special Gun Safety Programs - Backing up and adding to the present efforts of the agency.
- Guides - A for-profit guide organization for referral service, promotion, control, and high quality service.
- Land Management
- Fire Force - (developed with The Safety and Security Group and The Forest Group) Sponsorship of a hot-shot fire crew, both for fire fighting and for conducting prescribed burns under controlled condition for improved deer range.
- Forage Survey Crew - Sophisticated, directed sampling provides local information about deer herd conditions.
- Damage Surveys - Computer-aided analyses of potential crop, car, and forest damage. The surveys and analysis programs are created by and sponsored by the enterprise.
- Field Trips - Habitat visits to key areas.
- The Premiere Deer Food Patch - A computer-designed food mix for planting area-specific food patches for deer.
- Forest Deer - An advisory analysis system to estimate the long-term effects of any timber cut on deer.
- Stoneworms- Trail building into deer and related areas for profit.
- Land Management - A comprehensive forest and farm management program with emphasis on deer - both for increasing production or reducing losses.
- Membership Benefits
- Clothing and Equipment - New products and discount sales (see Ruffs)
- Ammunition - Discount sales and advisory service.
- Cooperatively with The Tours Group- Group hunts, out-of-state deer-range tours with modest enterprise profits
- Membership Emblems - 4 levels of membership based on hunting and deer knowledge, habitat knowledge, field manners, skill, and project work.
- Performance-based Fee Structure - Rewards for advancing in membership "level" by work on projects or participation in all aspects of The Deer Group Program.
- Area Signs - Symbolized ownership (like a "Tree Farm" sign) of an evaluated area showing a set of qualities for deer.
- Hunting Advisory - Computer-produced probability of an individual in a season harvesting a deer, given a set of inputs (payment required but access to the system is limited to members).
- Annual Meeting - Full range of conventional business, educational, political, social benefits, and entertainment.
- Research Report - Reports produced on request (fee required) by a science staff.
- Communications - Means for individuals to be heard, statewide, so their ideas can be used and problems solved.
- Research and Development
This is a long-term program building on a massive body of research on the deer. It is carefully tailored to the region but is generalized for use on other ownerships. It avoids conflicts with agency efforts, develops its own predictive models (within the Software Group), and advances the concept of a total deer resource, not just a game animal. It has a fully developed plan for needed (not "nice-to-know") studies that have potential for direct, immediate use once answers are found. It must be conducted consistently and long-term or it should not be started. A comprehensive research system is created leading to practical answers to questions that can lead to action in the field, courts, or hearing room. A list of priority studies is available.
- Achieving Diverse Resource Objectives
The Deer Group is, by its nature, history, sponsorship, and leadership, strongly related to deer hunting. It is strongly resource oriented, that is, seeking maximum human benefits of all kinds, at low costs, from the animal and everything related to it, no matter how remotely. It includes reducing losses as well as increasing benefits. There is a net-value concept working throughout the entire system. A long list of objectives (e.g., Maximizing citizen awareness of the deer resource, Maximizing citizen observations of deer) of the system is available.
- Damage Management
Reports of damage from deer seem to be increasing. There are many causes, and these need to be studied during the time that the apparent change is occurring so that the process can be understood. The Deer Group includes damage studies but also includes:
- Consultants - Experts (on retainer) provide site-specific advice
- Evaluation - A computer analysis allows damage "claims" to be evaluated
- Fencing - Modern deer-deflecting and electric fencing is made available in select areas
- Policy - A viable permit-for-removal policy is encouraged
- Balance - Payment of claims against deer loss is discouraged where deer might be legally removed by hunting
- Damage Assessment - Assessment (for a fee) of financial loss for the courts and others
- Integrated Damage Management - Not control of deer but reduction of their measured damage is the objective. Many techniques exist and in their permutations represent over 100,000 options for reducing real monetary losses. Selecting the optimum integrated mix of techniques to use at lowest cost is a high-order computer use. The Deer Group encourages such use.
- Removals - In some areas, in the final analysis, deer must be removed and that cannot be done safely, timely, or reasonable by conventional hunting. The Deer Group with The Pest Force provides experts able to remove deer effectively in such unusual situations. In some areas, traps may be used; in other areas effective shooting using archery is required.
The program sponsors and encourages the following that emphasize and promote the esthetics of the resource:
- Painting and art displays
- Photograph contests
- Sculpture and related art
- Songs and Music
- Artists' models (tame deer)
- Fair and other public gathering displays emphasizing the beauty of the deer and its habitat
- Well-designed field clothing
- TV and movies
- Trail rides into deer country
The Deer Group is a unique resource system that raises the concept of a sports group to a new level. It has the potential of creating jobs, of sustaining research and development as done in progressive industries, and of demonstrating a real reason for conservation of wildlife - positive net gains monetary and otherwise, from a resource. The Deer Group does not display a policy of "multiple use." It is not unnecessarily broad in scope or direction. It is self-consciously deer-resource oriented (benefits are the emphasis; not necessarily more deer) and merely seeks to achieve a fair hearing and place for deer resource and its users at various discussion centers and will cooperate with everyone interested in deer in the well-being of any ecosystem.
See The Trevey's section on Deer.
A sample Invitation.