DEER NUMBERS DOWN, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY: Population remains steady

COLUMBIA CITY — 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 state’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. “It appears in some areas the deer population is in fact down, but those areas aren’t many. Overall, the deer herd is thriving in our state.”In Whitley county, that may not be the case. Lt. Gary E. Whitaker, Whitley County DNR conversation officer, said that “though nothing is official, the public perception is that the numbers are down. People aren’t seeing them.”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.___For a more in depth look at this story, see the March 31-April 1 Weekend Edition of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.