This year's firearm deer season is over and the state Department of Natural Resources is stating the number of deer taken in the U.P. this year is down.
There are several theories floating about as to why the kill was off. Some say it was the nice weather and deer did not have to come out to feed piles to eat. Other say the last several winters have been harsh and thus the number of deer are down. However, there may be another reason.
As we have reported throughout the year, there appears to be more and more sightings of predators throughout the U.P. These predators include wolves, coyotes, and even a cougar. All these animals do need to eat and deer is a good menu choice for them.
Could it be the deer are being attacked from more than just the hunters? No one will say for sure, but it does make one wonder and does it show there is a population spurt in these predatory animals?
We ask the DNR to keep tabs on this situation because this area cannot afford to lose one of its biggest tourist attractions and that is hunters coming from downstate and elsewhere and pumping money into our local economy. Deer hunting has been very profitable and to see this go away would not be a good thing.
It also may mean there may have to be other harvests of these predatory animals. If those populations get too big, it not only will signal a problem for the deer heard, but for humans as well. Lack of food will bring these animals closer to civilization.
In any case, the main hunting season is over and we congratulate those who did get a buck, but for those who did not, hopefully better luck next year.