Development of management plans for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) requires that states examine how multiple biological and regulatory factors (i.e., season timing, hunting access, bag limits) influence populations. In the southeastern United States, harvest restrictions often exceed state regulations on private lands. Thus, better information regarding harvest management on private lands is needed by wildlife agencies when developing management plans. We received responses from 1,184 white-tailed deer hunting camps registered in the Arkansas Deer Camp Program (DCP) to evaluate management practices used on private lands in Arkansas. We found that 60% of respondents used harvest restrictions in excess of state regulations. Most differences in harvest restrictions were attributed to involvement in Quality Deer Management (QDM) programs. Harvest restrictions also differed by property ownership class and deer management unit (DMU). Hunting camps were more likely to be under QDM when working with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) biologists. Camps under QDM were more likely to use restrictions limiting harvest of adult males. Aggregate effects of localized management (e.g., age- and sex-specific harvest) may influence population structure over broad geographic scales. Therefore, comprehensive management planning and evaluation of white-tailed deer harvest regulations must consider the multitude of harvest practices implemented by private land managers. We recommend that state wildlife management agencies conduct population studies to determine impacts of localized harvest restrictions on population dynamics occurring at broader geographic areas.
Deer Camp Program
quality deer management