5 Challenges for the Future of Deer Hunting

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Agree with This List?

Deer hunting faces a barrage of problems each year. And honestly, the list seems to grow and many of the same problems compound with each passing week and month. Needless to say, the future of deer hunting faces numerous challenges.

Luckily for hunters, we have great conservation organizations such as the Quality Deer Management Association, Whitetails Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and many more groups that are striving to conserve and protect wildlife. Not only that but we also have plenty of hunters willing to sacrifice for the greater good. And they’re all fighting against the following five challenges, and then some.

Urban Sprawl

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1 | Urban Sprawl

This is likely the biggest problem we’re facing. Habitat loss is no joke. We’re losing 6,000 to 6,500 acres of habitat per day. And they aren't making more land. Just think about how many deer, turkey and other wildlife that inhabits 6,000 acres. We’re losing that much wildlife. Lose the wildlife and hunter participation drops. It's simple math.

Bonus Read: Are Small Game Hunters Going Extinct?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Barry Tuck

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Recruitment and Access

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2 | Recruitment and Access

We’ve seen very large increases in some hunter categories, but we’re seeing declines in others. That said, after several years of decline, we did experience an increase in license sales in 2016. That’s something to celebrate. But we can’t get comfortable. We have to keep introducing people to hunting. The more we have among our ranks, the better our future looks.

Access is another issue. The days of door knocking are fading fast. Expensive leases, landowners unwilling to provide access, the list of problems goes on. We must find ways to overcome this.

Bonus Read: 5 Conservation Organizations That Help Deer Hunting

Photo credit: Shutterstock / K Steve Cope

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3 | Modernization

I’m not a technology hater. I make my living through digital media. However, modernization has taken its toll on younger generations. They aren’t getting outside like children used to. If we don’t get younger generations out of the house and into the outdoors, they’ll be far fewer hunters in the next few decades.

Bonus Read: 8 Reasons Why Your Kids Won't Be Hunters

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Wayne

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4 | Disease

Disease is another issue. Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and other diseases are threatening whitetails (and other cervids). We just recently learned that Texas joined the other states and provinces with CWD amongst the wild herds. The always-fatal disease continues to spread, even across state lines. EHD continues to be a problem, too.

Bonus Read: CWD: Poised For A Perilous Road

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Bruce MacQueen

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5 | Predation

Coyotes, bobcats, bears, wolves, cougars and other predators are on the march across the country. They aren’t stopping anytime soon, either. These five predators could cause (if current trends continue and predators aren't properly managed) fawn recruitment rates and deer populations both to plummet. Predators have to be managed, too.

Bonus Read: How Coyotes Killed Deer Hunting

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Jose F. Pittner

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