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COLUMBIA CITY â€” With the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) releasing its annual deer harvest report, one local conservation expert compared Whitley County numbers to state statistics.
Though the 129,018 deers bagged was down from the previous year, it was still the fourth best season the state has seen. In 2010, numbers neared 5,000 more deer, however, the 134,004 harvested deer was the stateâ€™s all-time record.
According to the DNR, this shows the state is close to a normal number. "It becomes somewhat predictable that the harvest would fall in line close to where it has the past couple of years, said Chat Stewart, deer management biology for the DNR Divison of Fish and Wildlife. â€śIt appears in some areas the deer population is in fact down, but those areas arenâ€™t many. Overall, the deer herd is thriving in our state.â€ť
In Whitley county, that may not be the case. Lt. Gary E. Whitaker, Whitley County DNR conversation officer, said that â€śthough nothing is official, the public perception is that the numbers are down. People arenâ€™t seeing them.â€ť
And Whitaker is right. Each year after harvest, the information for all specific counties is gathered, collected and studied by DNR biologists. For 2011, the numbers in Whitley County were down, but not to the extent one might think.
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