This response was provided by Darryl Coates, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, District Wildlife Biologist.
You have posed a very difficult and complex query, a question that is not easily answered without additional information about your property and the culmination of habitat in the surrounding landscape. A few questions you need to ask yourself: 1.) Is my land being hunted on a regular basis? The State provides at least three, possibly four, different hunting opportunities -- Archery, Shotgun, Muzzleloader and Late Winter (October to Mid-January) and landowners or tenants are eligible for free hunting permits (see www.dnr.state.il.us for details on free landowner deer permits). If there is no hunting, your land is a nature preserve -- a wildlife refuge, if you will. 2.)What should my harvest ratio (doe to buck harvest ratio) be? I recommend six does to every one buck harvested. If population densities are high - like you have indicated - try a harvest ratio ten does to one buck. Remember the saying: "Harvest a doe so the herd won’t grow." Also, this situation did not happen over night. -- It will not go away quick either. Expect change gradually over five to seven years with heavy doe harvests. Shoot for, no pun intended ( "OK" maybe a little) a harvest of 20 deer /100 acres of land owned. If you own 200 acres, then, harvest 40 deer each year. Look at your land and surrounding landscape. How much is non-agricultural (deer shelter-winter cover, escape cover, bedding areas, birthing areas, water) vs. agricultural (food plot)? - Bottom line - 3.)Where are the deer coming from and where are they going to and why? Deer cover one to five miles in their home range. Understand, deer use trails. Moreover, they follow the path of least resistance, except when running for harm. A standard fence can lead deer to or away from an area. But this will only work if you understand where the deer are going (the "why") and how they prefer to get there. Work with nature -- not against it. Note: Nature always wins. Clear a path or cut a trail - Deer will use them - guaranteed. Talk with an experienced deer sportsman, he (or she) may help to unravel this information -- all for one low price: the privilege to hunt.
To reconfirm, the State allows IDNR Biologists to issue Deer Removal Permits when depredation of agricultural commodities reach an economic threshold. From the information provided, your Biologist in St.Clair County has followed state protocol. Ask him if he could add a family member or a personal friend to be specified as a shooter on your permit. Then, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. It is not our intention as biologists to mock cooperators. It is our intent to provide Integrated Pest Management, economic pest control, and protect the environment. Fencing can be an effective deterrent provided that it is economically feasible. Last question: 4.) Are my neighbors harvesting deer? No! They are nature preserves... This is a good place for that fence.