University of Illinois Extension

Your Role in Deer Management

An immature white-tailed deer still has a spotted coat. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

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Illinois’ white-tailed deer are a public resource residing on private lands. White-tailed deer are owned by the people of Illinois collectively and are managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Landowners do not own the deer on their land. However, it is private landowners who hold the keys to deer population management. The statewide deer management goal is to provide compatible use of this valuable resource while reducing deer-vehicle accidents and other negative aspects of deer on the landscape (such as damage to agricultural crops, ornamentals, orchards, and native plant life in natural areas) by controlling deer through an emphasis on doe harvest during all available deer hunting seasons.

The two keys to successfully managing deer populations in Illinois are 1) hunter access to private and public land and 2) adequate harvest of does.

There are many reasons why these two keys are not utilized to their full potential to manage white-tailed deer in Illinois. The following discussion outlines some of them, and provides landowners with tools to more effectively manage deer on their property.

Your Role in Deer Management Topics