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In PA., fewer hunters could mean more deer and more deer-related issues

  • Scott LaMar

 Scott LaMar/WITF

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Airdate: Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The average deer hunter in Pennsylvania is a white man who is at least 51 years old. There were almost a million deer hunters in the state during the late 1980’s. It’s projected there could half a million by 2040. Deer hunting is not attracting younger or more people.

The dwindling lack of interest in hunting is not the main issue, although it could be costly financially to some businesses where deer hunting has flourished in the past.

Deer hunting is the only way to control the size of Pennsylvania’s deer population.

Fewer hunters could mean more deer. That may be good for the remaining hunters, but it could be a environmental and safety issue for everyone.

More deer could lead to additional vehicle-deer collisions, crop and forest damage and Lyme Disease, since deer often carry the tick that causes Lyme.

As a result, alternatives to hunting may have to be considered — none of which are popular or would be totally effective.

On Tuesday’s Smart Talk, we hear from Duane Diefenbach, an Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State University about why there are fewer hunters and what happens if the deer herd isn’t managed.



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