Want to reduce crime? Consider extending deer hunting season. That's an apt takeaway from a paper recently produced by Ball State University economist Paul Niekamp, who found that arrests for violent crime don't go up and may decrease in some rural areas during firearm deer hunting seasons. On the other hand, firearm violations increase by 28%, according to Niekamp's study, but that's, perhaps, to be expected when there's a fivefold increase in the number of folks toting shotguns and rifles. Arrests for drugs and alcohol offenses, including driving under the influence, go down during hunting season, particularly among males younger than 21, according to Niekamp, who correlated deer hunting seasons with crime rates in 21 states and focuses on men because most hunters are men. The explanation is, perhaps, not surprising: Hunters are too busy hunting to cause trouble. "Various sources of deer hunter data suggest that hunters spend upwards of six hours per day in the field, with additional time spent processing harvested deer," Niekamp writes. "Males may be too preoccupied to use their guns (for) nefarious purposes. Additionally, hunting may decrease social interaction (due to hunting in the woods) which may decrease potential violent conflict." Then again, Niekamp allows, folks who shoot deer might become too accustomed to death. "Deer typically run after being shot and thrash on the ground with significant bleeding," he writes. "It is possible that desensitization to killing could transcend deer, reducing the mental costs of committing violent crimes against humans."
And, in case you're wondering, deer hunting season, with guns, starts Nov. 22.