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Value of a Deer...

Old 01-28-2006, 01:43 PM
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This article was posted on another site and I thought members here might enjoy it...JC


By Keith "Catfish" Sutton
Special to ESPNOutdoors.com

What is the value of a deer?

I thought about that recently when I ran across a news story about Texas deer breeders Don Wilson and Gene Gonzales. In August 2004, these fellows paid $450,000 for a deer that goes by the name Dream Buck.

That's correct, almost a half-million smackaroos for a deer.

What makes this white-tailed deer so dreamy are his antlers, which scored an astounding 301 3/8 points when this buck was 4 years old.

Like a champion racehorse or a pedigreed bull, Dream Buck will be selectively bred in hopes he will pass along the genes for his huge horns. And his owners should have no problem recouping their investment by selling the deer's semen to other breeders.

Apparently there are lots of folks out there (tens of thousands, according to one estimate) who are breeding deer in hopes of producing a buck with antlers bigger than anyone has ever seen.

Of course, deer like Dream Buck are as rare as 5-pound crappie. The price paid for this animal is believed to be a record and in no way reflects the value of a run-of-the-mill deer being pursued by an average hunter like you or me.

Which leaves me still begging the question: What is the value of a deer?

In centuries past, when deer hides and venison were common items of trade in all inhabited portions of North America, those doing the trading knew quite well the value of a deer or part thereof.

In 1718, for example, every frontiersman knew that one tanned deerskin could be traded in almost any city in the Southeast for one pound of black powder, 40 bullets or 20 flints. A rifle could be obtained for 25 deerskins, a pistol for 12, an ax for four, a coat for 12 to 20 and a blanket for six.

Using the word "buck" as a synonym for "dollar" may have originated from the practice of trading buckskins for other goods. Each skin originally was referred to as a buckskin, which later was shortened to buck, as in, "A pound of black powder will cost you one buck."

Rarely was a buckskin worth a dollar, however. During the 19th century, American prices ranged from 20 cents per pound to 75 cents per hide. Most hides were used for making clothing, including leggings, hats, gloves, breeches, aprons, waistcoasts, doublets, belts and shoes.

Deerskin also was used in window panes in lieu of glass and as rugs, wall covers, snowshoe netting, upholstery fabric, bellows, harnessing, saddles, handbags, bookbinding and for most leather products requiring a soft, durable hide.

Venison, which was regularly eaten in homes throughout the country, also served as an important medium of exchange. Prices ranged from a halfpenny per pound in 1831 to a high of about 30 cents per pound in the late 1870s.

By the turn of the century, however, as citizens became less dependent on wild-animal foods, venison prices had fallen to about 8 to 15 cents per pound.

Today, you'd probably get some funny looks if you threw 25 tanned deer hides up on the counter at your local gun shop and asked for a rifle in return. And if you try selling the extra venison that's crowding your freezer, you'll be a law violator of the first degree.

Nevertheless, we still find reasons to ask now and then, "What is the dollar value of a deer?" Fortunately for us, there are people who have figured out exactly that dollar value.

For example, when studying economic losses resulting from deer-vs.-vehicle crashes, economists can't compute the bottom-line losses without first knowing the estimated value of each deer thus killed.

Wild deer no longer are sold in this country. But in times past, deer hides and venison were valuable trade commodities.

So, someone in this group did all kinds of arithmetic and came up with the figure of $1,250. That is, one deer is worth, economically speaking, approximately $1,250.

Other researchers disagree. They say the dollar value of a deer is twice this amount, even if the total is based on hunting expenditures alone. (Apparently, ciphering figures such as these can be done by including all sorts of numbers from all sorts of variables that we really don't want to get into.)

Therefore, depending on who you want to believe, one deer — the regular old run-of-the-mill type and not big-antlered, farm-raised breeding stock like the Texas Dream Buck — has a dollar value somewhere between $1,250 and $2,500.

That's a big spread; so this season, I figured I would do some of my own economic research in hopes of pinpointing a more exact figure. I decided to do this while deer hunting with my sons Matt and Zach.

My first computations were based on reasonable expenses incurred by the three of us while pursuing whitetails on a two-day hunt in November. Those expenses were:

-Three national wildlife refuge hunting permits: $60
-Motel room for two nights: $100
-Meals for two days: $115.70
-Travel expenses: $93.15 (mileage from home to hunting area at IRS mileage rate of 40.5 cents per mile)
-Ammunition: $1.30 (for the one and only one round fired this trip)

This amounts to a total of $370.15.

Our hunting trip produced one doe deer, which was killed by Matt. This deer weighed 91 pounds on the hoof. It therefore cost us $4.06 a pound.

Had Zach and I each killed a deer (neither of us saw one that was legal), the cost per pound would have been considerably lower. Had the three of us traveled to Alberta, Canada, to hunt, the cost per pound would have risen exponentially.

What value can one place on a youngster's first deer?

Can these cost-per-pound figures help you calculate the value of a deer?

Of course not.

I present them here just to show you how foolish it really is (even for a highly educated guy like me!) to try and come up with an accurate figure that shows the true economic value of a deer.

In the end, however, a deer's economic value is pretty meaningless to most of us anyway. Dollars and cents have nothing to do with the reasons we value deer and other wildlife so highly.

I've decided to think of it like that MasterCard commercial:

All expenses-paid trip to your favorite deer-hunting area: $370.15

Getting to spend some time in the deer woods with family and friends: Priceless!

There are some things your bucks just can't buy.
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:40 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

I will take two
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:49 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

No problem Cardeer....

.....Take two...and call me in the morning....
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

what he said
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Old 01-28-2006, 04:42 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

I think the value of a deer is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:29 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

it's all about the experiences and hard work...and if you're one of the lucky one's, you'll be paid with a trophy!
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Old 01-29-2006, 02:14 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

Personally I dont think you can put a price tag on a trophy. It all about the experience. Itshould be on tv on a PRICELESS commerical!
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Old 01-29-2006, 02:26 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

JCB that was very interesting thank you for sharing ...

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Old 01-29-2006, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

Good post! I enjoyed it.
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:19 PM
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Default RE: Value of a Deer...

wow...i didnt realize how much they are worth
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