“We definitely took less deer than last year, which we expected would happen,” Ottawa County Natural Resources Coordinator Melanie Manion said. “We’re still pleased, because our main goal isn’t to take so many deer — our main goal is to introduce hunting pressure.”
The results of the 2013 hunt are as follows:
*Nineteen hunters participated in the hunt.
*During shotgun season, Nov. 17-18, hunters harvested six deer. During muzzleloader season, Dec. 8-9, hunters harvested two deer.
*The eight deer harvested this year compares to 13 taken during the inaugural hunt in 2012.
County officials expect the dune deer hunt to be a long-term program to help the park’s natural environment. Manion says deer are a critical part of the ecosystem, and they aren’t trying to totally eliminate them.
“Continually putting pressure out there will put it to a nice balance,” she explained. “Hopefully, people can see their deer, but also see some of the plants coming back.”
Because of the success of the 2012 hunt, few changes were made in 2013. That could change by the time this year's hunt rolls round.
“We’re absolutely going to make changes, (but) we haven’t decided what we’re going to do at this point,” Manion said.
One idea being floated about is not putting as many hunters out, or letting hunters “buddy” up to work in pairs.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.