According to the department, the hunts are provided through the Division of Wildlife, Parks and Watercraft and the Natural Areas and Preserves to give eligible residents additional opportunities to embrace the hunting sport throughout the season. “Pre-COVID we offered them (controlled hunts) more independently, but with COVID we brought them together in our online system,” said Michael Ervin, Division of Wildlife public lands program administrator.
Controlled hunting registration open | News, Sports, Jobs Residents had a positive response on the unified system for registration last July for the controlled hunting registrations, according to Ervin.
“We typically work with the wildlife and park managers and come to a consensus on the number of permits to offer,” he said. According to statistics from the department’s latest deer harvest summary, hunters harvested 197,721 deer during the 2020-21 season, 9 percent more than the three-year average.
Popular wildlife that will be included in the controlled hunts include white-tail deer, waterfowl and mourning doves. Hunters will be randomly drawn from applications, according to the department. The number of residents who will be drawn is determined by the department and local wildlife administration and depends on the hunt, according to Ervin.
However, the majority of deer hunts focus less on quantity of kills due to the six-deer bag limit in place for the state. “The pandemic likely had a good bit to do with it, “ Mike Tonkovich, department deer program administrator, said.
Tonkovich also cited a higher deer population, greater number of license registrations and ideal weather conditions with snow, which makes wildlife more visible and trackable and forces hunters to remain active for the increase in rates. One percent or less of registered hunters harvested three or more deer during last season.
However, according to the department, license registrations have been on the decline within the last decade, and last year was likely an ‘artificial bump’ due to circumstances, Tonkovich said. One percent or less of registered hunters harvested three or more deer during last season.
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