Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Open Blog Thursday

March 26, 2009 at 06:09 AM

People say to me in the spring, “Jeff, why are you always so grouchy on Thursdays.” Fishing reports will do that to a man. Help.

FROM Tim Totten of Chillicothe:

The other day a co-worker, and fellow deer hunter, commented to me that the deer herd in the State of Illinois was down. As I questioned their logic, the statement was made - the numbers of harvestable big bucks are down. Your “Vanishing Monsters?” article on March 8 would appear to support the idea of the deer herd getting smaller. In all fairness, your article did not specifically say that, however for those not reading closely could interpret the deer herd is down, as measured by the number of trophy bucks. These are far from one-in-the-same.

From my perspective, the herd is not down. It actually grows every year, except in the northern counties where CWD is present and in some southern counties that have seen blue tongue in the past few years. We need to keep in mind that CWD, blue tongue, and other diseases are Mother Nature’s way of controlling the deer herd because hunters are not doing so. Many hunters and non-hunters don’t realize how inhumane Mother Nature can be as compared to a responsible, ethical hunter.

Hunting shows on TV and videos, print media, including your column, and availability of outfitters have created the phenomenon of most deer hunters only being out for a trophy buck. When only trophy bucks are harvested, then we reduce the desired gene pool and allow the less desirable bucks to breed more does. Trophy hunters are becoming a victim of their own decisions, and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I like to see pictures of big bucks in your column and watch the deer hunting shows/videos as well. We as hunters need to keep things in perspective.

The landowners my group hunts on expect us to control the deer herd to reduce crop damage. To the point, a few years ago we lost over 600 acres of prime deer hunting land after one in our group had their picture with a harvested trophy buck appeared in your column. This is not your fault, nor did you know this would happen. To this day, this land is not hunted and we no longer are able to obtain permission.

This past season, my trail camera captured a picture of a trophy buck. On opening morning we informed all in our hunting group this buck was to be left alone as herd management and bolster the local gene pool. I had two opportunities during the bow season to harvest him, and let him walk. Unfortunately, one in our group did not honor our request and took great pride in their accomplishment. At the end of the season, they were informed their invitation has expired.

So what do we do about the problem? I’d recommend Illinois DNR implement a harvest tax on trophy bucks. Any buck delivered to a state taxidermist measuring over 150 inches is assessed $5.00 per inch tax for those hunting without the aid of an outfitter. This tax would be collected by the taxidermist upon delivery. Additionally, outfitters would be required to be trained on how to measure antlers as part of their license. Outfitters would collect the $5.00 per inch tax from their customers and be required to keep records of such, available for audit by the DNR. Failure to keep accurate records would result in the suspension of their license for 5 years. A portion of the harvest tax funds would go for the enforcement of this policy. The remainder would be used in conjunction with and under the guidelines of the Pittman-Robertson federal funds.

It’s unfortunate that many deer hunters move quickly to and not leave being a trophy hunter. We as sport hunters in Illinois have a responsibility to society and the entire wildlife population to control the deer herd, to retain our privilege to hunt. Including harvesting does, those are real source of the growing deer herd in this state.

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I don’t have a problem with the increase in license fees that are supposed to take place in the next few years, but a tax to harvest a mature buck seems absolutely rediculous.  Each year it gets harder to find private land to hunt on.  Four years ago, me and three of my hunting partners were forced to lease a tract of land since everything else was quickly being gobbled up by outfitters.  This already puts a strain on our budgets, and a tax for taking a mature buck would put some of us over the edge.  The cost to have a deer mounted is already around $400, so a 150 inch deer would then cost a hunter $1,150 if a tax were implemented.  Our group does our part in harvesting does, but if given the opportunity on a mature buck, we definitely don’t pass it up.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 08:52 AM

Thats about the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why dont they put a .5 cent tax on every piece of toilet paper ya use to. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 09:23 AM

Wow, I don’t like that idea at all. I’m not ridiculing the individual for making a suggestion just merrily explaining why it’s a bad idea. First of all, as a taxidermist, the extra fee is a nightmare as we would have to record and file that info for years. That cost would have to be passed on to the hunter. We already charge a premium price for a premium mount, so the extra money would create a problem. Second, and most important, that’s not the way you manage a quality deer herd. remember, if you kill a mature buck, his genes have already been passed on! Believe me, he didn’t stay celibate for his 3.5 (or greater) years. This was the whole purpose of the B&C club, which was founded by Teddy Roosevelt. Shoot the older animals and let the younger ones live. The older animals do plenty of breeding! Nobody says “don’t shoot the does”, except maybe the outfitters, so continue to manage by shooting older bucks and does.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 03/26 at 11:25 AM

WHAT, did I read that right, you want to penalize someone for shooting a trophy buck?  Huh?  How in the world could that even be kept track of.  I know you mentioned making the outfitters and taxidermist record that, but that is just going to cause a lot of problems.  First thing that is going to happen is a lot of Taxidermist going out of business because someones that is draining their savings to have a mount done isn’t going to be able to pay the extra fine.  Another thing is it is going to cause a lot more hunters to lie about what they shot.  Suddenly you will see a ton of deer not getting turned into the records programs because its really going to cost them.  You know most outfitters won’t worry about turning that stuff into the state, a lot of them will probably just pocket the money.  I am sorry, but this state has a hard enough time keeping track of whats going on now.  How are they going to handle keeping track of every buck being shot and collecting a fine for someone who just happened to shoot the buck of a lifetime.  I say just go to a one buck a year deal and make doe tags very cheap.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 01:03 PM

penalizing hunters on the size buck they shoot is not the answer. seems every thing now days is about the size of the animal. the deer herd is not down. finding places to hunt with out paying a fortune is. this state has missed the boat on buying land for the general public to enjoy. i now spend my time and money hunting and fishing in the surrounding states missouri,tennesse. trust me for what some of the so-called out fitters get your money ahead.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 05:44 PM

Is this guy serious? This is by far the most stupid idea I have ever heard.  Get real….  You obviously aren’t a native of Chillicothe.  Last time I checked, a majority of the people up their still had intelligence.  $5 dollars a inch over 150. Hey, might as well go back to the “Kings Tax”.  Sounds to me like maybe the land owner had other issues and just wanted you guys gone, maybe you didn’t harvest enough does. You can speak for yourself, I have hunted the area around Chillicothe for 20 years and know for a FACT that myself and landowners around me harvest more does than bucks every year. I don’t feel like I owe society jack crap when it comes to deer hunting we do our part.  We manage our property because we want to do the right thing not because of society issues.  I do know one thing, if a mature deer comes by me and by the way I don’t care about how many inches he is, he’s gonna get an arrow through him and I will continue to harvest does.  You talk about bolstering your gene pool, read up on deer genetics or maybe ask a deer breeder.  A buck is just 50% of the equation. I would rather see a 2 1/2 year old 6X6 breed a great doe than have a “monster 8 breed” a piss poor doe. Its not like Sampson’s Ridge in the “real world” where you can breed for superior genetics.  It very rarely happens. I will make one suggestion to you now.  When your watchin your videos or your tv shows try watching shows like “Get into the Game” or maybe QDMA instead of “Dream Season” and Jackie Bushman.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/26 at 10:38 PM

Tell Tim that China is due east, and Russia is due west and to start walking. It is no wonder we have such ludicrous taxes with such idiotic people such as him in this country.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/27 at 02:59 PM

Tim, I hope you take criticism well cuase you just opened yourself up for a ton of it.
I’d try to find something good you wrote and comment on, but it seems someone that can come up with an idea like the 150 inch tax is so far removed that it it isn’t worth my time to look. The other possibility is you get a kick out of stirring the pot and getting people’s B/P up. I just hope one of the states crazy representative doesn’t hear about this and write up a bill.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 08:26 AM

Tim have you absolutely lost your mind? No wait maybe you ARE a crooked politician looking for another way to rape the outdoorsman of some more of our money so it can get wasted somewhere in the gazillion of crooked funds out there.

I just cannot believe one of our own Illinois hunters would come up woth something like this. The world is flipping out!
Unreal is all I can say.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 09:14 AM
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