Good Question: What If There Was No Deer Hunting?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This weekend, hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans will head out to the woods for the opening of gun deer season.

For most of Minnesota’s 475,000 deer hunters, it is as much about tradition as it is about the buck.

Minnesota has about 1 million white-tailed deer and, over the next five days, hunters will kill about 150,000 of them. Last year, they took out a total of 207,000.

Hunting is something that many are very passionate about, either for or against. But what would happen if we didn’t hunt?

“If we would stop hunting, the deer pop will not grow infinitely and take over the world. But their populations will grow and it will cause significant impact to people,” said Steve Merchant, who manages the deer population program at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

There would also be quite a few more car-deer collisions. Last year, there were 3,144 such crashes, with 300 injuries and 6 human fatalities.

Another potential problem with leaving the deer population along is that there would likely be overgrazing. As more deer fight over the same food, farmland, gardens and forests would all see serious damage.

“It’s a biological system. It would take care of itself,” said Merchant, but “you’d have lots of deer that would die of starvation and disease.”

That could make us sick, as well. Deer are major carriers of the tick that causes Lyme disease.

Finally, there’s the economic impact. No hunting could cost more than $458 million a year to Minnesota businesses, like Jim’s Sporting Goods in Maplewood.

Minnesota doesn’t have the biggest deer hunt in the country. The title goes to Wisconsin. They harvest an average of 450,000 deer every hunting season.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • minnesota

    What a stupid question. Use your head.

  • Where Would We Be Without Deer Hunting? « CBS Minnesota

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  • Willow

    Why is it all the “good questions” I have seen aren’t really that good? If these are reader submitted, did the reader graduate from high school? And has the reader never heard of Google?

  • Pam

    I don’t mind if people want to continue deer hunting, as long as we provide the deer with guns as well.

    • bobby

      @pam- Last year, our group actually tried that. We left a couple of rifles out in the woods along a deer path. You know what happened? Nothing! Because they are deer, and they haven’t evolved to the point of being able to use firearms. :)

      what a dumb comment, Pam.

  • jan

    I object to the word “harvesting” being used as a euphemism for killing.

    • bobby

      I object to your ignorance.

    • Julie

      A deer murdered my cousin when it crossed into vehicle traffic. Three others were hurt. Harvest them all.

  • Common Sense up North

    Duh Pam

    If you had your way…
    Next year the deer will be driving 4WD’s with people laying in the back.
    Deer drinking a beer at human camp.
    Deer having their coats dyed orange!

    Jan, we aren’t just killing deer we are harvesting them for food, just like harvesting a garden.
    If we didn’t kill them first we would have trouble keeping them in freezer wrap.
    Some waste the meat, but some people grow a garden and then too lazy to “harvest” it in the fall and it goes to waste.
    What is the difference.

  • Chuck

    @WCCO: Why the reference to that many deer killed in the next 5 days?
    The season runs for up to 2 or 3 weeks, depending on your zone and license.
    Therefore, the comparison to Wisc is erroneous, so please provide us all the facts, otherwise it is still just a (dumb) question.

  • Julie

    What about liquor sales? Huge amounts lost to liquor stores. Murder rate of women killing husbands will also increase. When the husband is gone, the wife will play. Double dip in liquor sales with no women wine parties. on and on and on Deer hunting makes the world go round.

  • Chris

    What in the hell will men eat during ice fishing trips?

  • Cheers

    Deer hunters wives are so easy during hunting season, it’s awesome, I bet I have a little one running around, that dear old husband is raising, now that’s awesome.

    • Bring on the wives

      HaHa, my thoughts exactly.

  • jan

    WCCO, I guess you didn’t like my comment so refused to print it. Some day I’m going to find out why you do this, you should have rules posted about what comments are objectionable to you so I don’t have to waste my time expressing my opinion. I don’t like killing deer called harvesting deer, just to make it sound pretty instead of a painful, bloody act resulting in death.

  • bobby

    Ian- are you referring to the post you made at 9:52 am in which you said you object to calling it harvesting?

    pay attention.

  • Roy Johnson

    If there is no deer hunting the deer will starve. It would create an over population, Besides the problems in traffic, crop destruction, spread of pestilence, etc., MOST OF THE DEER WOULD DIE! If 12 deer are in an area which has browse for only 10, ALL 12 WILL PROBABLY DIE!



  • Hunter up North

    To Jan~ If the deer is “harvested” correctly, there is no pain to the deer. Deer feeds families. Thinning the herd keeps them healthy and disease free. No Chronic Waste Disease or other things that kill deer. I think you should look up the information on how many deer vs car accidents there are a year. People aren’t driving into ditches or fields to hit these deer. They are running out in front of us.
    Read up Jan so you don’t look so ignorant to the facts and reasons for deer hunting.

  • Murph

    With another GOP threatened government shut down coming up,my guess is the GOP would probably favor canceling the hunt.That would leave many who hunt for subsistence in a bind and make even slave wages ,aka [The Plan] look a little better.For more info.. look up REX 84,subsistence living and martial law,as those three things may be in the future of many of us 98 percenters!The GOP laid the groundwork and only the President stands in it’s way!Dissolve Congress NOW! before it’s too late!

    • Murph

      Also why is,nt a small celestial map included when you buy your license.Wouldn’t it save the state lots of money being spend on lost hunter searches? Since it won’t happen here is all it takes.If you face the brightest star in the are facing east at sundown ,your right shoulder is facing south,left north and back west! Since they aren’t smart enough to take advice,right it down! Get back safe,warm and healthy.Small space blanket for your pocket recommended too.Non lethal gunshots and broken bones can fixed later,hypothermia is the other killer and the blanket will counter that surprisingly well! If you hear a helicopter or plane nearby get out from under it or they won’t see your thermal image in the dark!

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