"LI E) R.AFLY
i.A I UKAL HISTORY
STATE OF ILLINOIS
William G. Stratton, Governor
DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION
Vera M. Binks, Director
WHITE -TAILED DEER
Lysle R. Pietsch
Biological Notes No. 34
Printed by Authority of the Slate of Illinois
NATURAL HISTORY SURVEY DIVISION
Harlow B. Mills, Chief
Fig. 1. -- White-tailed deei on the Rock Rivet range southwest of Rockford. This picture was taken
on an aerial census of deer in February, 1947.
WHITE-TAILED DEER POPULATIONS IN ILLINOIS*
Lysle R. Pletschf
In recent years, the public has become more
and mote aware of increasing numbers of white-
tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Boddaert), in
Illinois, figs. 1, 2, and 3. The appearance of this
deer in areas previously unoccupied within the
memory of persons now living has been attended
with keen interest and usually with enthusiasm.
Once a herd of deer has become established, how-
ever, and it has been found responsible for losses
to crops and browse plants, the landowners con-
cerned have often expressed disapproval and have
requested assistance with its management.
In response to complaints of landowners in
critical areas, the Illinois Department of Conser-
vation in 1942 initiated a program of trapping and
redistributing nuisance deer. The action precip-
itated questions as to (1) the effectiveness of the
program in reducing destruction of field crops and
woody plants, (2) the suitability of habitat in which
releases of deer might be made, and (3) the sub-
sequent success of releases. The Department was
concerned with the problem of determining whether
this increasing game species should be hunted.
Some sportsmen, the bow-and-arrow enthusiasts in
particular, expressed the belief that deer numbers
had reached sudi proportions in some areas of
Illinois that a limited amount of deer hunting could
and should be permitted.
The need for answers to the above questions
resulted in the creation of a research project for
deer. This project, undertaken by the Illinois
Natural History Survey in the fall of 1946, was
continued until April 1, 1947, when the Illinois
Natural History Survey and the Illinois Department
of Conservation entered into a co-operative agree-
ment concerning deer research and set up Illinois
Federal Aid Project No. 33-R under terms of the
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. The
second project was terminated on June 30, 1951.
The data presented in this paper were, with a few
minor exceptions, collected during the life of the
The research involved in the deer projects and
reported upon here was done under the direction
of Dr. Harlow B. Mills, Mr. Willet N. Wandell, and
Dr. Thomas G. Scott, all of the Illinois Natural
History Survey. Dr. Scott and Mr. James S. Ayars,
Illinois Natural History Survey, contributed impor-
tantly to the preparation of this manuscript for
publication. Director Glen D. Palmer, Mr. Louis
Martin, and Mr. Joe B. Davidson of the Illinois
Department of Conservation gave encouraging
interest that was highly valued. Mr. Clayton C.
Swears, Mr. Edward A. Fitzgerald, Mr. William
Cloe, and Mr. William D. Carter, as employees of
the Illinois Department of Conservation, contributed
much useful data.
The photographs were made by several staff
members of the Department of Conservation and
the Natural History Survey: Mr. Wandell and Mr.
William E. Qark of the Survey, the author, and
Thanks are due for helpful assistance by
conservation officers in all parts of the state,
especially for that of Mr. Paul Beebe of Ogle
County; also for the friendly co-operation of
farmers in the Rock River range, particularly that
of Mr. Thomas E. Colloton and Mr. William I.
When white settlers arrived in Illinois early
in the eighteenth century, deer were common here,
but probably not numerous. At that time the native
vegetation consisted largely of extensive areas of
two basic types of plant communities, the prairie
and the hardwood forest. These, within them-
selves, probably did not support an abundance of
deer. It was where the prairies and forests merged,
comprising the "edge," and in the forest openings
that deer were found in large numbers.
A statement on the habits of Illinois deer by
i/ This paper is based upon findings of Illinois Federal Aid Project No. 33-R, the Illinois Depart-
ment of Conservation, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Illinois Natural History Survey,
Z' Employed by the Illinois Department of Conservation under terms of the Federal Aid in Wildlife
Restoration Act and assigned to the Illinois Natural History Survey for administrative and technical
A. H. Bogaidus, a hunter and tiavelei who lived
in Menard County, Illinois, in 1857, and who,
recorded his impressions in the book, Field, Cover
and Trap Shooting, published in 1874, is quoted
by Leopold (1931:194): "It is often supposed that
it (the deer) likes best to range in the vast forests,
but I believe that to be a mistake. Deer are most
fond of country in which there are belts of timber-
land and brush interspersed with prairies and
Fig. 2. — Fawn, about 1 week old, on the Rock
Faunistic records of early Illinois were often
colorful but frequently they lacked preciseness.
Nevertheless, they reflected something of the
general trend of deer populations. Apparently
deer numbers in Illinois did not change materially
until after the settlement of the state had pro-
gressed somewhat. In 1821, John Woods (1822:
193), who had bought land in Edwards County 2
years before, observed that "Deer are not very
numerous. I suppose, I have seen about 100, but
never more than five or six together."
Some increase in the deer population seemed
to be evident in the late 1830's. Jones (1838:
212) wrote, "Deer are more abundant than at the
first settlement of the country. They increase, to
a certain extent, with the population. The reason
for this appears to be, that they find protection
in the neighborhood of man from the beasts of prey
that assail them in the wilderness."
Wood (1910:516) evidently believed that the
peak of Illinois deer abundance was reached in
the middle, of the nineteenth century. He stated.
in reference to the "part of the country" of which
he wrote (east-central Illinois), "As the wolves
were killed or driven off, the deer became nore
plentiful, reaching their greatest abundance be-
tween 1845 and 1855." The importance of pre-
dation as a limiting factor appears to have been
overestimated by Wood, while the favorable effect
of an increase in suitable habitat was overlooked.
Present-day research on deer requirements has
revealed that deer populations may be expected
to increase whenever additional browse becomes
available, as was the case in connection with
many of the early lumbering and clearing oper-
It may be well to compare the time and cause
of the population build-up among Illinois deer
with the time and cause of build-ups of deer in
Iov\a, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Madson (1953:101)
pointed to an increase of deer in many areas of
lov^a in the early 1850's. At that time "heavily
timbered tracts were being cleared, and deer
habitat was improving." Sv^^ift (1946:8) cited "a
Wisconsin newspaper item of 1853" which "stated
that farmers along the Wisconsin-Illinois border,
during a winter of deep snow, killed many deer
with clubs to save their hay from being eaten by
these starving animals." He noted that southern
Wisconsin at the time of its settlement had a tre-
mendous amount of forest "edge" and that there-
fore "conditions were highly ideal for deer." From
Donald McLeod's History of Wiskonsan, written in
1846, Swift (1946:12) quoted this sentence: "But
what seems very remarkable is that ever since the
departure of the red man to the west of the Missis-
sippi, the deer seem to have increased threefold."
Barnes (1945:5) presented figures and dates that
indicated Indiana saw its greatest deer population
before* 1878, probably about the middle of the
nineteenth century. Like Swift (1946:17) and
Madson (1953:101), he associated an increase in
deer numbers with clearing or pioneer farming
operations. "The small pioneer farm created more
'edge,' which temporarily increased the number of
deer," Barnes wrote.
Available information, then, seems to indicate
that deer populations of Illinois, Iowa, Indiana,
and southern Wisconsin reached their peaks at
about the same time, approximately the middle of
the nineteenth century, and for the same reason,
increases in habitat favorable to deer.
Initially the settlers and resident Indians
killed deer for their own use. Subsequently, kill-
ing and selling of deer became a common practice.
Woods (1822:194), who arrived in Edwards County,
Illinois, late in 1819, wrote, "I bought several
[deer] in the winter, the greater part without their
skins, at one dollar each, but one or two higher;
one weighed more than 100 lb. weight. They
generally weigh from 60 lb. to 100 lb. A good skin
is worth fifty cents: their horns, though large, are
of no value here." Of life in Pike County, Illinois,
in 1831, Rebecca Burlend (1848:22) reported,,
"Mr. Oakes .... came to invite my husband to
buy some venison, which he had killed with his
rifle just before." Mrs, Burlend's husband bought
"a quantity of nice venison at a halfpenny per
pound." Jones (1838:213) described what appeared
to be a sopiewhat wasteful exploitation: "Immense
numbers of deer are killed every year by the
hunters, who take them for the hams and skins
alone, throwing away the rest of the carcase.
Venison hams and hides are important articles of
export. Fresh hams usually sell at from seventy-
five cents to one dollar and fifty cents a pair, and
when properly cured, are a delicious article of
In the early part of the nineteenth century,
use of the deer resource had not progressed to the
point where many herds were being greatly de-
pleted; in fact, many herds were showing popu-
lation increases. Some time prior to 1853, a
tapering off of peak numbers must have been
evident in the northern and northeastern parts of
the state. In that year, the state legislature
passed a law which prohibited the killing of deer
between January 1 and July 20 in the following
counties: Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winpebago,
Ogle, De Kalb, Kane, Du Page, Cook, Will, Ken-
dall, La Salle, Grundy, Stephenson, and Sangamon
It seems reasonable to believe that increas-
ingly restrictive laws governing the hunting of
deer reflected continued reduction in their numbers.
In 1855 a closed season between January 15 and
August 1 became effective throughout the state,
except for designated counties, most of them in
the lower parts of the Illinois and Embarrass river
valleys and the southern one-fourth of the state
(Purple 1856:391-2). This trend in law making
suggests a noticeable falling off of the northern
and central Illinois herds. Yet Bogardus was
quoted by Leopold (1931:194) as stating that deer
were "exceedingly plentiful" when, in 1857, he
first arrived in Illinois (Menard County, one of the
counties not included in the 1855 legislation).
The major reduction of the deer population
which had been built up during the early days of
settlement took place probably between 1850 and
1870. The human population in Illinois increased
from 55,211 in 1820 to 1,300,251 in 1855 (Gerhard
1857:218). During the next 15 years, the popu-
lation increased to 2,539,891. The tremendous
increases in human population greatly accelerated
the clearing of the wilderness that remained (Cole
1919:1). While openings created in the forests by
the early pioneers provided the means for deer
population growth, the industriousness of settlers
and farmers of a later period increased the tempo
of the clearing process to the point where suitable
deer food and shelter were greatly curtailed. The
destruction of deer habitat, together with the
killing of deer for food and sport, and possibly for
protection of crops, resulted eventually in a great-
ly reduced deer population.
During the middle of the nineteenth century,
the deer herds in Iowa, southern Wisconsin, and
Indiana were also undergoing reductions in num-
bers. In Iowa, deer were taken in large numbers
by the settlers, and many were slaughtered shortly
after the severe blizzard of 1856; with more in-
tensive land use they were greatly reduced in
numbers (Scott 1937:83). In southern Wisconsin,
heavy hunting and "the tremendous human impact
on the land" were thought by Swift (1946:16) to
have been primary reasons for the decline in deer
numbers there. In Indiana, the decrease in deer
numbers was found by Barnes (1945: 5) to have been
the result of clearing the land for a predominantly
In 1873, the Illinois legislature by statute
prohibited the killing of deer anywhere in the
state between January 1 and August 15 (Hurd
1874:547). This statute seems to indicate that
the southern as well as the northern herds had
been greatly reduced in numbers by about 1870.
By 1901, the deer population must have reached
a very low level, for the legislature provided com-
plete protection throughout the state for 5 years
(Hurd 1901:963) and it has continued to give
complete protection since that time.
Although it has not been established that
deer were entirely extirpated from all sections
of Illinois, it seems probable that "the last deer
seen" progressed, by counties, from north to south.
Leopold (1931:191, map) recorded no wild deer
for the northern half of Illinois after 1874. His
survey indicated that the last northern Illinois
deer seen was in Ford County. It is possible,
however, that deer existed in Illinois in the vi-
cinity of the Kankakee River at a still later date.
Barnes (1945:5) wrote, "Even as late as 1878,
sixty- five of these animals [deer] were bagged in
a single day in the Kankakee region," in Indiana,
and added that "Deei made their last stand [in
Indiana] in the marshy expanse of the Kankakee
and in the cypress swamps of Knox county. The
last wild deer was seen near Red Cloud in Knox
county in 1893."
Because the deer that lived in Knox County
and along the Kankakee River in Indiana did not
disappear until some time between 1878 and 1893,
it is conceivable that, during that period, some of
these animals wandered into Illinois and lived
here for short periods of time.
For Champaign County, in east-central Illi-
nois, Wood (1910:516) reported that a deer "was
seen near Homer as late as 1880."
In southern Illinois, remnants of the original
herds held on much longer. Cory (1912:62) told
of a letter dated April 7, 1910, in which C. J.
Boyd of Anna had written, "There are a few Deer
in the hills in this county [Union] and in Alexander
County." Supporting this information is a state-
ment by Aldo Leopold, in an unpublished report of
May 1, 1929, to the Game Restoration Committee,
Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers'
Institute, that Ed. C. Karraker of Jonesboro said
"that wild deer of native stock did not disappear
from Union County until about 1910." No data
postdating these records of wild deer of native
stock in southern Illinois have been uncovered;
therefore, it is believed that the original Illinois
white- tailed deer herds probably were exterminated
Repopulation of Deer
The white-tailed deer may have returned to
the wild in northern Illinois through occasional
escapes from a herd maintained near Polo by the
late Judge John D. Campbell. It is not known
when or where Judge Campbell obtained these
deer. It seems reasonable to conclude that the
Judge was maintaining a herd as early as the
1860's. Miss Anna Parmalee, a resident of Polo,
who was 96 when interviewed on March 21, 1952,
recalled "seeing Judge Campbell's deer when I
was a little girl." Attorney Harry Typer of Polo
revealed, in an interview on the same day, that he,
as a boy of 14, took care of Judge Campbell's
herd of deer in 1882. Miss Parmalee and another
elderly Polo resident, E. M. Clinton, claimed
that deer occasionally escaped from the Judge's
pen. Typer, however, did not believe that escapes
occurred, and observed that "The deer were kept
by the old Judge until his death in 1910, at which
time the herd, then numbering 20 to 25 animals.
was turned loose on the Scott McMillan farm,"
located about 5 miles northeast of Polo in Ogle
County. These deer were thought to have sur-
vived and increased their numbers in the wild.
Another herd, fig. 3, which may have con-
tributed to the repopulation of parts of northern
Illinois with deer was kept by the late George J
Stevens of Kishwaukee, Illinois. Harry Stevens, "
a son, interviewed on March 18, 1952, reported
that "In the summer of 1896 or 1897, Mr. W. A.
Rothwell bought a doe fawn from a hotel keeper
in Eland, Wisconsin. Mr. Rothwell gave this
animal to my father and he kept it in a pen on his
farm 1 mile west of Kishwaukee. It was given the
name Fanny. In the fall of 1898, my father secured
a buck from Judge Campbell of Polo. This buck,
Sam, and Fanny were successful in raising a
number of fawns in the ensuing years. Occasion-
ally one of the penned animals escaped; the entire
herd, 10 or 12 at the time, was lost in the spring
of about 1903, when a tornado felled trees on the
pen, letting the deer out." These observations
were substantiated by Lester R. Rothwell, a
brother-in-law of the late George Stevens in a
letter dated March 28, 1952. In referring to the
herd following its escape from the Stevens pen,
he stated, "The first year they stayed in F. C.
Johnson's orchard; then went to the woods along
Rock River; later along the Kishwaukee." j
From all accounts it seems apparent that
these two released herds contributed to the re-
population of parts of northern Illinois with wild
deer early in the twentieth century. Also, it is
conceivable that an occasional deer may have
wandered into Illinois from Wisconsin at that
A release worthy of record, because of its
location, was made at the Savanna Ordinance
Depot in Carroll County, northern Illinois, at
some time in the middle 1930's. Sergeant Albert
Bingham (retired) stated, in an interview on May
22, 1952, that in about 1936 he had released there
a buck and a doe obtained from the Mount Vernon
Game Farm. Later he released a doe obtained
from the Springfield Game Farm in 1937 and a
buck obtained from the same place in 1938. Ser-
geant Bingham indicated that fawns were pro-
duced by these deer. His releases are thought to
have been successful, as, during the census of
1950-51, a population of about 100 deer was
estimated for Carroll County.
The circumstances and dates of the return of
wild deer to southern Illinois are not clear. Ben-
nitt & Nagel (1937:80) reported an estimated
Fig. 3. — Reproduction of photograph, now faded, taken of doe, Fanny, and buck, Sam, probably in
the late 1890's. These deer and their offspring, two of which are shown here, were owned by the late
George Stevens of Kishwaukee. They are believed to have provided the nucleus for a herd that contrib-
uted to the repopulation of the Rock River deer range in northern Illinois.
population of 15 and 17 wild deer, respectively,
in 1925 and 1926 in Ste. Genevieve County,
Missouri, across the Mississippi River from
Randolph County, Illinois. A legal kill of 18 deer
was reported for Ste. Genevieve County by hunters
during four open seasons, 1933-1936, There was no
open season in the period 1925-1930 (Bennitt &
Nagel 1937:79). Some of these Missouri deer,
possibly stimulated by hunting pressure, may have
made their way across the river into such Illinois
counties as Union, Jackson, and Randolph. The
late Ernest L. Mills, in an unpublished report
written in 1935 while he was with the Civilian
Conservation Corps in southern Illinois, recorded
that a friend of one of the men he interviewed had
seen a deer in Union County about 1932; in the
opinion of the observer, the deer had come in from
The deliberate release of deer in southern
Illinois was begun by the Illinois Department of
Conservation in the 1930's. So far as is known,
the first release in southern Illinois was that
made on the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge in
1933 and reported by Leopold, Sowls, & Spencer
(1947:166). One buck and three does were re-
leased on this occasion.
The next recorded southern Illinois release
was made by the United States Forest Service in
the Shawnee National Forest. In this instance,
five deer, two bucks and three does, were turned
out near Belle Smith Springs in Pope County in
December, 1935. These animals were sent from
Augusta, Michigan, by H. D. Ruhl of the Michigan
Department of Conservation. In addition, records
reveal, four deer, sex unknown, were obtained in
March, 1936, from the Mount Vernon Game Farm
„L ... ■ ... I"'
Fig. 4. — Setting box-type tiap used to catch deei on
the Rock River range in northern Illinois.
Fig. 5. — Transfer box into which
captured deer is driven from trap.
Fig. 6. — Weighing deer in transfer box.
Fig. 7. -- Tagging deer in transfer box.
Fig. 8. — Doe breaking for freedom after having been trucked in transfer case from Rock River range
and released in new environment.
and released in the Union County State Forest
In a letter dated April 21, 1953, Conrad W.
Carlson, then acting supervisor of the Shawnee
National Forest, wrote, "As to the success of
the early plantings, it appears that deer were
observed on rare occasions beginning in 1936.
The animals were listed as rare in our annual
reports from 1936-41."
No other releases are known to have been
made until the winter of 1942-43, when the re-
moval, by live trapping, of deer from the island of
the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge to various
southern and central Illinois counties was initi-
ated. Therefore, it appears that the early develop-
ment of the present southern Illinois herds came
about principally from the three releases described
above, and possibly in addition from an ingress
of wild deer from Missouri.
The program of live trapping and redis-
tributing deer, undertaken by the Department of
Conservation during the winter of 1942-43, has
contributed greatly to the present wide distribu-
Table 1. - Summary of deer trapping on the is-
land of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge, Alexander
County, Illinois, 1942-1953. (Weight in pounds.)
* Estimated number.
tion of deer in Illinois, figs. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. From
the fall of 1942 to the spring of 1953, approx-
imately 439 deer were trapped on the island of
the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge and about 433
were redistributed to various Illinois counties,
table 1. From the fall of 1946 to the spring of
1953, 158 deer were trapped on the Rock River
range and 153 were relocated, principally in
southern Illinois, table 2. In addition, in the
winter of 1952, 11 deer were removed from the
Springfield Game Farm and released in three cen-
tral Illinois counties. Thus, about 600 Illinois
deer have been introduced into new surroundings
Records of the Illinois Department of Conser-
vation on the redistribution of deer prior to 1947
have been lost. C. E. Laughery,who was in charge
of deer trapping at the Horseshoe Lake Game
Refuge from the fall of 1942 to the spring of 1944,
reported that releases were made in many counties
of the state in that period. Complete records, most
of them summarized in tables 3 and 4, were main-
tained from the fall of 1947 to the spring of 1953.
During that time, 347 deer from all sources were
released in 18 counties, fig. 9.
In addition to animals represented by the
redistribution records listed in tables 3 and 4, two
deer that were obtained along the Rock River near
Byron were released in Cook County in the spring
of 1950. As fawns, these animals had been injured
by farming operations, nursed to health by farmers,
and subsequently turned over to the Department of
Conservation for disposition. Also, 11 deer,
trapped on the Springfield Game Farm in February
and March of 1952, were released in four counties
as follows: 2 in Cook, 3 in Clark, 3 in Piatt, and
3 in Sangamon.
There probably has been some recent migra -
tion into Illinois from adjacent states. Although
verified observations are lacking, this influx may
have taken place from Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri,
. - Summary of deer
trapping on the Rock River
range in Ogle and
Illinois, 1946-1953. (Weight in pounds.)
Table 3. - Number of deer trapped on the Rock River range in Ogle and Winnebago counties,
Illinois, and relocated by counties, 1947-1951.
Table 4. - Number of deer trapped on the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge, Alexander
County, Illinois, and relocated by counties, 1947-1953.
That the Illinois area occupied by deer has
been greatly expanded in recent years is denoted
by the increasing numbers of counties in which the
animals have been found. Reports of conservation
officers for 1947 indicate that in that year deer
were to be found in 45 of the 102 counties of the
state. Reports from the same source show that by
1949 deer were present in 62 counties, by 1950,
in 68 counties. Data obtained following the last
conservation officer report, that of 1950, indicate
that deer were present in at least 74 counties early
in 1953, fig. 10. To a large group of counties in
east-central Illinois, deer have not returned. This
group is in the intensively farmed black prairie
region, and very little habitat which might be
considered suitable for deer exists in this area.
Although deer are widely distributed in
Illinois, the reader should not assume that all the
acceptable deer ranges in the state are fully
occupied, fig. 11. In northern Illinois, only some
portions of the Rock River range, fig. 12, which
is located along the Rock and Kishwaukee rivers
and their tributaries in De Kalb, Lee, Ogle, and
Winnebago counties, are Carrying a capacity pop-
ulation of deer. While most suitable ranges in the
state contain some deer, the populations of many
of these ranges can increase severalfold before
carrying capacities are reached.
For example, much of the land not suitable
for cultivation along some of the larger rivers in
Illinois appears capable of supporting much larger
deer herds than are now present there. Of major
importance are such areas as the Mississippi
River bluffs in Joe Daviess, Carroll, and Whiteside
counties, the riverbreak country along the Illinois
River in Bureau, Putnam, and Marshall counties,
and the Kaskaskia River bottoms in Fayette,
Clinton, and Washington counties.
By far the most promising deer range in Illinois
is to be found in and adjacent to the Shawnee
National Forest in southern Illinois, fig. 12. Nine
counties are represented in the Shawnee's
1,500,000 acres of forest and potential forest land.
Much of this land is primarily suitable only for
growing trees, because the fertility of the soil is
low and the slopes are steep. The deer herds
Fig. 9. — Number of deer (represented by Fig. 10. — Illinois counties in which one or
numerals) released in counties of Illinois by the more deer were reported to be present in early
Department of Conservation, 1947-1953. 1953 (represented by hatching).
ROCK RIVER RANGE
COUNTIES IN PRINCIPAL l--»
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS RANGE
Fig. 11. — Number of deer (represented by
numerals) in Illinois counties, winter of 1950-51.
(Most of data from conservation officers.)
Fig. 12. — Principal Illinois deer ranges and
areas of concentration (Severson and Funderburg
estates and Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge).
should be favored by the sustained yield policies
of forest management in effect there.
Studies made in 1949 and 1950 in eight
counties in the Shawnee National Forest and one
adjacent county show that deer were present on
only about 203,000 of the 439,087-acre area exam-
ined, table 5. Resident landowners provided con-
siderable information in drawing the line between
occupied and unoccupied ranges. In addition,
foresters, conservation officers, and interested
sportsmen contributed helpful sight records.
From data given in table 5 can be calculated
the proportion of each of several cover types
occupied by deer: 43.5 per cent of the upland hard-
woods, 49.8 per cent of the bottomland mixed hard-
woods, and 87.8 per cent of the pin oak flats. As
the early deer releases were made indiscriminately
in these three cover types, it is thought that the
greater use of the pin oak flats showed that deer
preferred this type. The upland hardwoods, which
comprised the largest land area by far, appeared
to be least desirable. It is believed that most of
the unoccupied area is capable of supporting deer
herds. Some of the deer removed from areas in
which the animals were too numerous or destructive
were released in parts of this unoccupied area
during the winters of 1951-52 and 1952-53.
An effort to assemble population data on the
various deer herds of Illinois was begun in the
spring of 1947. Reports received from conser-
vation officers at that time indicated that deer
were showing a general increase and appearing in
counties not occupied by them in the recent past.
Deer population estimates were made for the
winters of 1949-50 and 1950-51. These were
based on data obtained from three sources: (1)
conservation officers, (2) aerial censuses of the
Rock River range, and (3) deer drives on the
island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge. The
data indicated state-wide populations of about
2,550 in 1949-50 and more than 3,075 in 1950-51.
The distribution of the 1950-51 deer populations
by counties is shown in fig. 11. Location of the
principal deer ranges is shown in fig. 12.
Reports from conservation officers indicate
the nature of the population trend during the 1949-
1951 period, table 6. The number of counties for
which increased deer populations were reported
in both 1949-50 and 1950-51 was far greater than
the number for which reduced populations were
reported. In addition, deer were reported present
in six more counties in the winter of 1950-51 than
in the previous winter.
Population on the Rock River Range. —The
earliest information on the deer population that
occupied the Rock River range, fig. 12, following
the escapes and releases mentioned previously,
was obtained from Dr. David H. Thompson of the
Forest Preserve District of Cook County on
August 20, 1953. Dr. Thompson reported that,
while he was conducting a full-time study of the
Rock River from Sterling to the mouth of the
Kishwaukee River in 1925 and 1926 for the Illinois
Natural History Survey, he learned from the local
people much about the number of deer in the area.
After noting this type of information for 2 years,
he estimated a population of about 200 deer for
Ogle and Winnebago counties between Dixon and
Deer on the Rock River range were censused
from the air in February of 1947, 1949, and 1950,
and in December of 1950. Swears (1948:12) de-
scribed the initial survey, which was conducted in
Ogle and Winnebago counties by Willet N. Wandell
of the Illinois Natural History Survey and William
L. Preno of the Illinois Department of Conserva-
tion. Aerial photographs were taken by Wandell
on this survey, fig. 1 and back cover.
Estimates based on a complete aerial survey
of brushy and wooded areas in which deer normally
ranged proved to be of greater accuracy than
estimates obtained by sampling the area along
predetermined flight strips. Figures derived from
the strip census were found unreliable because
this type of census did not eliminate the bias
introduced by the extremely uneven distribution
of deer on the Rock River range in winter.
In an unpublished report, Wandell stated that
the area censused during the first survey, in
February, 1947, comprised 8,110 acres of wood-
land in close proximity to the Rock River in Ogle
and Winnebago counties. Observations revealed
a total of 655 deer in the censused area. Wandell
estimated that three of every four deer in the
censused area were seen and recorded and cal-
culated the population for the censused area as
872. He estimated that 67 per cent of the deer
range in these two counties had been surveyed,
and he apparently assumed that the deer density
in the uncensused area was equal to that in the
censused area. Using the data then available,
he calculated that the deer population of Ogle
and Winnebago counties was 1,295. The writer
believes that this initial estimate of the popu-
lation was too high, for subsequent surveys
Table 5. - Estimated acreages of woodland occupied and unoccupied by deer in nine southern Illinois
Bottomland Mixed Hardwoods
Pin Oak Flats
*The cover type classifications used in this table are modifications of classifications used in a
forestry publication (Anonymous 1950). The new classifications were adopted after consultation with
personnel of the University of Illinois Department of Forestry.
Bottomland mixed hardwoods. — Chief species: cottonwood, sycamore, ash, sweetgum, soft maple,
elm, willow, hackberry, box elder, honey locust, water locust, pecan; white, cherry bark, and water oaks.
Sites: varies from well-drained alluvial lands to well-drained primary and secondary bottomland.
Pin oak flats. -- Chief species: pin oak, soft maple, elm, hickories, and sweetgum. Frequently stands
are nearly pure pin oak. Sites: poorly drained level lands.
Upland hardwoods. — Chief species: red, white, and black oaks, hickories, maples, yellow poplar,
beech, ash, blackgum, and sweetgum. Sites: hilly regions, coves, upland claypan areas, and stream margins.
Table 6. - Deer population and distribution
trends in Illinois, as reported by conservation
officers in counties of the state, 1949-1951.
showed that the deer density in the outlying areas
was much lower than that found in the vicinity of
the Rock River.
The pattern of subsequent censuses was es-
sentially the same as that of the first, but, as the
area covered was much more extensive, the results
are not thought suitable for comparison. The
subsequent surveys included range in De Kalb
and Lee counties as well as in Ogle and Winne-
In each of the censuses made in February,
1949 and 1950, and December, 1950, the airplane
was flown in overlapping circles, 200 to 350 feet
above individual woodlots, until it was felt that
all the deer below had been seen and recorded,
table 7. These surveys were not undertaken until
t''- snow depth exceeded 3 inches, because old
deer beds in snow of less depth could not be read-
ily distinguished from deer actually bedded down.
Both two-place and four-place Piper Cub air-
planes were used in these surveys. The slower-
flying two-place plane permitted more intensive
scanning of the ground; thus, this type of plane
was thought more suitable than the faster four-
An observer performed the censusing duties;
the pilot aided in locating deer, as opportunities
The flying time required to complete each of
these surveys varied between 12 and 18 hours,
depending on the amount of range flown. As may
be seen in table 7, the range surveyed varied
between 63 and 83 square miles, but virtually all
the deer counted in the three surveys were seen
in the 63 square miles flown in February, 1949,
and December, 1950.
Figures in the last column in table 7 were
arrived at by assuming that only 66 per cent of the
deer in the region were seen from the air. This
correction factor was derived, during the February,
1950, census, by comparing counts made from the
air with counts made from manpower drives in four
widely scattered woodlots. Sixty deer were tallied
from the air, whereas 91 were counted in the drives.
The accuracy of the figures obtained from these
small samples was questioned; however, since no
other data were available from which to derive a
Table 7. - Data from aerial surveys of deer on the Rock River range, principally in Ogle and
Winnebago counties, Illinois, 1949 and 1950.
correction factor for the Rock River range, the
calculated correction factor, 66 per cent, was used.
It is interesting to note that the estimated
numbers in the herds varied by only eight in the
2 years when visibility was rated "good." In
February of 1950, when the visibility was consid-
ered only "fair," the estimated number was about
150 short of the estimated number in the other
years. The low count was thought to have reflect-
ed a shortcoming of the aerial census, rather than
an actual reduction in population, for the writer,
while conducting field studies, did not observe a
population decline between the fall of 1948 and
the spring of 1951. Nor did landowners and con-
servation officers in this area who were inter-
viewed believe that the deer population had
changed materially during this period.
Population on the Horseshoe Lake Game
Refuge The earliest information available
concerning the deer population on the island of
the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge, fig. 12, is
that supplied by Leopold, Sowls, & Spencer (1947:
166), who stated that the population had in-
creased frcfm an original planting of 1 buck and 3
does in 1933 to a total of 250 deer by 1944. The
herd was reported to have been reduced by trap-
ping until about 150 were present at the outset of
the winter of 1947-48 (Swears 1948:15).
More information on the status of the herd on
the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge
was brought to light in 1950. A drive on April 22
of that year revealed 168 deer. The next census,
December 9, 1950, produced a count of 195 deer.
Nineteen animals had been removed during the
fall of 1950 by live trapping; thus, the total popu-
lation in early fall, 1950, is estimated to have
been 214. This represented a 27.4 per cent in-
crease over the spring population.
The area per deer on the island in the spring
of 1950 was approximately 7.1 acres; by early fall
the area per deer had been reduced to approx-
imately 5.6 acres. These figures represent popu-
lation densities considered high for deer range of
average quality. The gravity of the population
problem on the island became especially apparent
when it was realized that about 750 of the ap-
proximately 1,200 acres there were being used to
grow field crops, which in themselves were not
desirable deer foods.
The effects of a deer population on its range
were discussed by O'Roke & Hamerstrom (1948)
in their paper on the George Reserve deer herd.
This southern Michigan herd had its beginning in
March, 1928, when four does and two bucks were
released in the enclosure on the reserve. Ap-
proximately 1,200 acres in size, the reserve con-
sisted of about 46 per cent grassland, 43 per cent
woody vegetation, and 11 per cent marsh and bog.
"In the fall of 1933 it became apparent that
the deer had increased phenomenally and that
vegetation was being drastically overused," wrote
O'Roke & Hamerstrom (1948:79). The first deer
drive and count on the area indicated that a deer
population of about 160 inhabited the area in the
early part of the winter of 1933-34. The area per
deer for this population was approximately 7.5
In the winters beginning with 1933-34 and
ending with 1940-41, the early winter herds fluc-
tuated between 112 and 210 d^ter. O'Roke &
Hamerstrom (1948:85) related that "There has
been a noticeable improvement in the under-story
since the herd was cut back to an average of about
55 [per section] in the winter of 1941-42." The
area per deer for this population was about 11.6
Writing in 1947, O'Roke & Hamerstrom (1948:
86) stated that "there has been some recovery
during the last four or five years, .... but the
invasion of brush and trees into the old fields is
still almost at a standstill." The deer density
had declined until, early in the winter of 1946-47,
the area per deer was about 16.2 acres.
Sex and Age Ratios
Data on the sex ratios of deer on the Rock
River range were obtained from three sources:
(1) live trapping, (2) fatality counts, and (3) field
observations, table 8. In 4 years of trapping, 78
Table 8. - Sex ratios of deer trapped, found dead, or observed in the field on the Rock River range,
principally in Ogle and Viinnebago counties, Illinois, 1947-1951.
Buck: Doe Ratio
Source of Data
Table 9. - Sex ratios of deer trapped on the is-
land of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge,
Alexander Countv, Illinois, 1946 through spring
Table 10. - Data on sex and age classifications
of 244 deer seen on the Rock Rivet range, princi-
pally in Ogle and Winnebago counties, Illinois,
1950. The doe to fawn ratio was 1:0.916.
Per Cent of
bucks and 80 does were caught; of the fatalities
of all kinds recorded in this area, 98 were among
bucks and 99 were among does; and, of deer
observed in the field, 152 were bucks and 146
The computed sex ratio for the 328 bucks
and 325 does listed above is 1 buck to 0.991 doe.
C. \V. Severinghaus of the New York State Conser-
vation Department, in a letter dated September
21, 1951, indicated that the buck-to-doe ratio of
11,065 fawns, less than 9 months of age, killed
by non-selective agents in New York was 1:0.960.
Sex ratio data for the deer trapped on the
island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge were
meager and they were inconsistent from year to
year; nevertheless, it is thought that they are
worthy of record, table 9. In the fitst 2 yeais for
which lecords are available, bucks outnumbered
does, but in the last three winters the number of
does caught was considerably greater than the
number of bucks taken. Perhaps the excessively
high deer populations in the more recent years
resulted in pressures which caused more bucks
than does to leave the island. Observations on
the Rock River range, table 8, do not indicate
that the trapping technique, as used there, was
selective for does.
Deer fatalities, from the fall of 1948 to the
spring of 1951, provided some data on the sex
ratios of deer in widely scattered sections of
southern Illinois. Of 35 deer that died from a
variety of causes, but most of them as a result of
highway accidents, 20 were bucks and 15 were
does, a 1:0.75 ratio. The losses occurred in 10
southern Illinois counties, chiefly in and near the
Shawnee National Forest. It is realized this is a
small sample for so large an area, and record is
made of it here largely for addition to such future
data as may be collected.
Data on the age ratios of deer were obtained
in the Rock Rivet tange ftom field obsetvations
in the summer and fall of 1950; 244 deer were
seen clearly enough to be classified as to sex
and age, table 10. The relative length of muzzle
was used to distinguish fawns from older deer.
Of the adult and yearling deer, 85 were bucks
and 83 were does; the buck-to-doe ratio was
1:0.976. The doe-to-fawn ratio was 1:0.916.
The aerial census in Decembet, 1950, indi-
cated a deet population on the Rock Rivet tange
of 994; thus, the 244 identified deet made up a
sample of 24.5 pet cent of the estimated total
population. It was felt that this sample gave an
accutate index of the doe-to-fawn tatio and sug-
gested good productivity in this area for 1950.
Seasonal movements of the deer on the Rock
River range were evident in spring and fall of
Table 11. - Recovery data, 1948-1951, from 335 tagged deer released in Illinois since about 1947.
All recoveries were from releases made in southern Illinois.
Cause of Death
the years of this study. During April, in 1950 and
1951, a moderate shifting outward was noted in
those herds that wintered in close proximity to
the Rock River. Small groups or single deer
appeared in wooded creek bottoms and in large
upland woodlots as much as 6 or 7 miles from the
river, in places where none had been present in
winter. The animals remained in these outlying
habitats throughout the remainder of the spring
and summer. In late fall, the spring movement
was reversed when the adult deer and their off-
spring moved back to winter ranges along the
river. This population build-up along the river
in fall resulted in herds ranging in size up to more
than 100 individuals. Herds of 15 to 35 were
Some information on the movements of deer
following their release on unfamiliar range was
obtained. Of 335 tagged deer which have been
released over the state since about 1947, recovery
data have been obtained on only 10, table 11. All
of these recoveries were from releases made in
southern Illinois counties. Three of these 10 deer
had been shot.
It will be noted that the straight line distance
from the release site to the point where the tag
was recovered varied from 1.5 to 98 miles; the
average was 20.5 miles. The buck that migrated
98 miles had been released almost a year before
the date of tag recovery. Length of time from
release of deer to recovery of tag seemed to have
little bearing on the distance traveled by the deer.
Four tagged deer recovered more than a year after
their releases averaged only 10.5 miles; the max-
imum for these deer was 28 miles and the minimum
Table 12. - Fatality records for deer in Illinois, 1948-1951.
Rock River Range,
January, 1948-May, 1951
of Rock River Range,
September, 1948-March, 1951
Fig. 13. — Remains of a deer that showed Fig. 14. — Two bucks on the Rock River range
signs of having succumbed to a pack of domestic that died after having locked horns in a fight that
dogs on the Rock River range. took place during the breeding season.
Recent censuses on the Rock River range
have pointed to a stable resident deer population
there. Productivity has been shown to be good;
no confirmed report of emigration beyond the limits
of the range has been brought to light. The rel-
atively stable population on this range has largely
been a consequence of a mortality that balanced
Many data on deer mortality were furnished
by conservation officers, in particular, Officer
Paul Beebe of Forreston, who provided most of
the records for the Rock River range. Other in-
formation was obtained through direct observation
in the field and from resident farmers.
Of the known causes of mortality among deer
in Illinois, highway accidents were the ones that
most frequently came to attention, table 12. Ap-
proximately half of the fatalities recorded were
attributed to motor vehicles. Deaths recorded as
resulting from poaching were 15 tim.es as many
on the Rock River range as elsewhere in the state.
On this range, high population densities were
present over a larger area than elsewhere, and
the deer were more readily accessible to poachers.
Poaching was undoubtedly a much more frequent
mortality cause than was indicated by the records.
Poachers usually took precautions to conceal
evidence of their activities; therefore, such losses
frequently went unnoticed. Losses resulting from
attacks by dogs, fig. 13, were also thought to
have been higher than indicated by the figures,
because old evidence of dog kills was not readily
identified, and cause of death was listed as un-
known, when any doubt existed. A very small
loss occurred from antler locking when bucks
fought during the breeding season, fig. 14.
Condition of Herds
During the period of this investigation, the
condition of the deer throughout Illinois appeared
excellent, except for those animals inhabiting the
most heavily populated area on the Rock River
range and the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game
The degree to which food plants have been
browsed may be used as an indicator of the state
of balance existing between deer and their food
supply. If the deei population does not exceed
its food supply, such marked evidence of close
feeding as a browse line, at the greatest height
to which the deer reach when standing on all
fours, will not be easily discerned on the more
desirable food plants.
On the Rock Rivet range, only one small
area, consisting of the Harry Severson and the
Hugh Funderburg estates, fig. 12, exhibited from
the beginning of this study a marked browse line,
fig. 15, indicative of restricted food resources.
These adjoining estates, encompassing about 4
square miles of forest and agricultural range, are
located about 7 miles southwest of Rockford.
Although domestic livestock has not been pas-
tured in the woods or brushland on the area since
about 1941, palatable trees and shrubs within
reach of deer have suffered severely from over-
browsing, figs. 16 and 17. This area has, for
many years, supported the highest deer concentra-
tion in northern Illinois.
Nearly 18 years ago, the late Aide Leopold
noted the high level of the deer population in the
Rockford area. In an unpublished report dated
October 15, 1936, he wrote as follows to Harry D.
Colman, then owner of the land now known as the
Funderburg estate: "There are already plenty of
deer for pleasure purposes: 1 saw 15 and 25 per
i:^ ..,.Mn«««ili<i'.'l^i*l»«i ^j»l,iiyii:ij:.
Fig. 15. -- Browse line on deciduous
trees in an area heavily populated by deer of
the Rock River range.
day with no effort to keep quiet." He noted that
"Mr. Severson saw forty deer at onetime two years
Although Leopold considered the deer popu-
lation very high, he saw no evidence of over-
browsing of winter food plants. He warned, how-
ever, that a further increase in the numbers of
deer would endanger both the range and the herd.
He based this belief partly on the assumption that
there was no opportunity for geographic spread.
Following an inspection about a year later,
Leopold wrote to Colman in an unpublished report
dated September 21, 1937, that he experienced
"the distinct impression that browsing is heavier
Fig. 16. — Severe deer damage to white
pine on the Rock River range.
Fig. 17. - Another example of severe deer damage
to white pine on the Rock River range.
than a yeai ago," and he advised that "The Rock-
ford range shows all the preliminary symptoms of
Developments taking place since Leopold's
surveys reveal that he underestimated the pos-
sibilities of the deer for expansion into unoccu-
pied parts of the Rock River range. Nonetheless,
his foresight concerning deterioration of the range
near Rockford proved correct.
Cheatum (1949:19, 22) demonstrated a cor-
relation between weight loss in deer and fat
reduction in the marrow of the femur of the an-
imals; he observed that a serious stage of mal-
nutrition was indicated when less than 25 per
cent by fresh weight of the femur marrow was
composed of fat. He stated that som.e deer have
been found dead with 20 to 25 per cent fat in their
femur marrow, and he suggested that death usually
results when the marrow fat is depleted below 15
or 20 per cent.
In an effort to evaluate the extent of mal-
nutrition among deer on the Severson and Funder-
burg estates, the author collected marrow from the
fem.ur bones of six deer found dead in February
and ^lay of 1950, table 13. The results of fat
analyses by the Department of Veterinary Pathol-
ogy and Hygiene at the University of Illinois
showed that the percentage of fat by weight in
specimens 1, 2, and 6 was below the minimum
survival level as indicated by Cheatum (1949:22)
for most deer. The value found for specimen 6 is
considered questionable because warm weather
imm.ediately prior to discovery of the carcass may
have caused a loss of fat through the porous femur
bone. These specimens were taken from animals
that, judged by Cheatum 's criteria, were in an
advanced stage of malnutrition at the time of
death; specimen 4 was taken from a deer in a
serious stage of malnutrition at the time of death.
Table 13. - Fat analyses of marrow from the
femurs of deer found dead on the Rock River range,
Ogle and Winnebago counties, Illinois, winter and
Per Cent of
The proportion of fat remaining in specimens 3 and
5 indicated that they were taken from deer that
died from causes other than malnutrition.
Deer in good physical condition undergo
pelage changes at rather uniform times of the year.
In West Virginia, the change from the winter to
the summer coats normally begins in early March
and continues into May (De Garmo et aL 1950:63).
The change to the reddish summer coat is retarded
in unhealthy deer. It is thought that the normal
pelage changes on deer in Illinois occur at ap-
proximately the same times as on deei in West
Virginia, as weather conditions and latitudes of
the two states are comparable. On the Severson
and Funderburg estates, many deer still had
partial winter coats as late as June 7 in 1950.
Complete winter pelage was seen on a doe on
June 15 and on a buck on June 19 of the same
The only other Illinois herd known to have
been in excess of the carrying capacity of its
environment, while this study was in progress,
was that on the island of the Horseshoe Lake
Game Refuge. A browse line was extremely
obvious on the island, and the reproduction of
acceptable woody plants was greatly retarded.
Sassafras, Sassafras albidum . and several species
of dogwoods, Cornus spp., were eliminated so far
as availibility to the deer was concerned. The
sassafras trees that remained were large and
their branches were far out of reach of the deer.
In other parts of Alexander County, dogwoods and
sassafras appeared to be the woody plants most
sought after by deer. Trumpetcreeper, Campsis
radicans , which furnished some food for deer on
the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge,
was browsed less extensively.
In the spring of 1950, eight dead deer were
found on the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game
Refuge. Marrow from the femur bones was col-
lected from two of the animals; advanced decom-
position had destroyed the marrow in the other
six. Judged by the tooth developm.ent and wear
criteria of Severinghaus (1949), one of the deer
from which marrow was collected had reached old
age, which presumably contributed to its death.
Analyses of the collected samples revealed 29.6
^er cent fat by weight for the old animal and 14.2
per cent for the other. Malnutrition was indicated
as contributing to the death of the younger animal.
On June 22, 1950, a large number of deer on
the island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge
weie observed to be in winter pelage, which, at
such a late date, is recognized as an indication
of poor physical condition.
Latham (1950:22) found that the average body
weight of Pennsylvania deer "has been retrogres-
sing steadily for the past 20 or 30 years." This
process occurred as the quantity of available deer
food declined and its quality deteriorated.
The inaccuracies and shortcomings inherent
in an attempt to judge the relative size of deer in
the field are admitted. Nevertheless, with respect
to the size of deer seen, it seems worthy of noting
the opinion registered by the persons who were
involved in the April 22, 1950, deer drive on the
island of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge.
These persons, 19 college students and 2 supervi-
sors, William D. Carter, the project's assistant at
the time, and Dr. Willard D. Klimstra, Southern
Illinois University zoologist, had an excellent
opportunity to observe the 168 deer that passed
through the driving line, because no two adjacent
drivers were ever more than 50 yards apart and
the cover was relatively open. The observation
that a considerable number of "very small deer"
had passed through the driving line was unan-
imous at the conclusion of the drive.
The increasing numbers of white-tailed deer
in Illinois have brought about problems requiring
management in areas where deer are unwanted or
are in excess of the carrying capacity of the land.
In an attempt to relieve an impending food
shortage on the Severson and Funderburg estates,
the late Paul B. Riis, in 1940, planned an extensive
planting program under the direction of the late
Aldo Leopold. About 9,000 conifers, 37,500
hardwoods, 10,090 shrubs, and 284 pounds of tree
and shrub seeds were to be planted. Just how
completely these plans were carried out is not
known; however, William I. Boetcher, who farmed,
and still farms, parts of both estates, attested
that a considerable amount of planting was done
and that the plants survived "several years." He
contended that excessive deer browsing was
chiefly responsible for the failure of the planting;
however, he indicated that some of the plants
were plowed up.
Live trapping, attempted as a means of
relieving overpopulation, reduced the deer popu-
lation by about 439 head in 11 years on the island
of the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge and by 158
head in 5 years on the Rock River range. Con-
tinued high deer populations on both areas pro-
vided evidence that the trapping program did not
constitute a satisfactory solution. It had the
disadvantage of being costly. However, it tended
to satisfy landowners that some effort was being
made to resolve their deer problems.
The use of deer repellents offers a possible
means of reducing the amount of damage done by
deer to field and garden crops. Many different
kinds of deer repellents have been tried by a
number of workers in recent years with varying
degrees of success. Two well-known brands were
given summer and winter tests on the Severson
and Funderburg estates.
In the summer of 1949, three applications of
Good-rite z.i.p. were applied to a one-tenth acre
plot of field corn, and three applications of Di-
amond "L" Brand Deer-Repellent were applied to
a similar plot. One application was made when
the corn was 2 feet high, one when it was 4 feet
high, and one when it was in the milk. Deer were
repelled from the com sprayed with the repellents,
but only until new growth appeared.
Because it was noted that deer damaged corn
in the outside rows first, and then proceeded to
the inside of each field, a new experiment was
set up in the summer of 1950. When the corn was
about 3 feet high, the four outside rows of a
30-acre cornfield were sprayed with Good-rite z.i.p.
Damage ceased along these rows, but it was
evident on the corn deeper in the field.
These experiments indicate that, to give a
plot of growing corn adequate protection from deer,
more than three applications of the repellent must
be made, the applications must be made throughout
the growing season, and they must be applied to
all of the plants. A large amount of spray com-
pound must be used, special equipment must be
used to apply it, and considerable labor must be
involved. Therefore, it is thought that the appli-
cation of repellents such as those tested is an
impractical way of reducing deer damage to grow-
Another experiment carried on in February,
1950, showed how little effect these repellents
had in preventing deer use of a preferred winter
food. Eight piles of slash of basswood, Tilia
americana, were set out in a deer concentration
area in Winnebago County on February 23. Three
piles were sprayed with Good-rite z.i.p., three
with Diamond "L" Brand Deer-Repellent, and two
were left as controls. On examination of the
piles 5 days latei, all exhibited severe browsing this area. A rifle season would be dangerous to
by deer. the human population.
The future holds several knotty problems in In the southern part of the state it seems
managing the deer herds in Illinois. Should deer likely that an increasing number of nuisance
be harvested on the Rock River range? It has been problems will arise as a result of the increasing
seen that this herd has stabilized, and that exces- deer numbers there. It would seem that, after the
sive damage to crops and trees has occurred on population reaches a certain point, a wise use
parts of the range. A bow and arrow, or possibly policy for the area would involve some kind of
a shotgun, season on deer might be considered for deer cropping system.
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Barnes, William B.
1945. The white-tailed deer in Indiana. Outdoor Ind. 12(2):4-5, 16.
Bennitt, Rudolf, and Werner 0. Nagel
1937. A survey of the resident game and furbearers of Missouri. Mo. Univ. Studies 12(2): 1-215.
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and impartial account of the various difficulties and ultimate success of an English family
who emigrated from Barwick-in-Elmet, near Leeds, in the year 1831. 62 pp. G. Berger, London.
Cheatum, E. L.
1949. Bone marrow as an index of malnutrition in deer. N. Y. State Conservationist 3(5): 19-22.
Cole, Arthur Charles
1919. The era of the Civil War, 1848-1870. Centennial History of Illinois, 3. Illinois Centennial
Commission, Springfield. 499 pp.
Cory, Charles B.
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De Garmo, W, R., Chester Banasiak, K. J. Chiavetta, and L. W. Ward
[1950.] Final Report, Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration. W. Va. F, A. Project 8- R, State- Wide
Wildlife Survey. Phase B— A white-tailed deer study. Conservation Commission of West
Virginia, [Charleston]. 183pp.
1857. Illinois as it is; its history, geography, statistics, constitution, laws, government, finances,
climate, soil, plants, animals, state of health, prairies, agriculture, cattle-breeding, orcharding,
cultivation of the grape, timber-growing, market-prices, lands and land-prices, geology, mining,
commerce, banks, railroads, public institutions, newspapers, etc., etc. Keen and Lee,
Chicago, 111., and Charles Desilver, Philadelphia. 451 pp.
Hurd, Harvey B.
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field. 1,233 pp.
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Jones, A. D.
1838. Illinois and the West. Weeks, Jordan and Company, Boston, and W. Marshall and Company.
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