Deer Management Is National Effort - Not Just PA - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Deer Management Is National Effort - Not Just PA

More of an educational article, this is from the Northeast Deer Technical Committee published in 2008.

Still some interesting info. Not a long read.

<a href="" target="_blank">Early deer management efforts featured protection from unregulated exploitation. Today, efforts
are directed toward the maintenance of deer populations at levels intended to: (1) ensure present
and future well being of the species and its habitat, as well as with other plant and animal
communities; (2) provide a sustained availability of deer for licensed hunters, wildlife
photographers and wildlife viewers and (3) allow for compatibility between deer populations
and human land-use practices.

Deer populations have the potential for rapid growth. This is an evolved response to high
mortality often related to predation. Under normal circumstances, does two years old or older
produce twins annually, while yearling does typically produce single fawns. On excellent range,
adult does can produce triplets, yearlings can produce twins and fawns can be bred and give birth
during their first year of life. In the absence of predation or hunting, this kind of reproduction can
result in a deer herd doubling its size in one year. This fact was illustrated on the 1,146 acre
George Reserve in southern Michigan where biologists at the University of Michigan have been
studying the deer population since 1928. The deer herd grew from six deer in 1928 to 162 deer
by 1933 (27).
More recently, the George Reserve herd grew from 10 deer in 1975 to 212 deer in

Consequences of Deer Overpopulation
As previously indicated, deer populations have the ability to grow beyond BCC. When BCC is
exceeded, competition for limited food resources results in overbrowsing (7,8). Severe
overbrowsing alters plant species composition, distribution, and abundance, and reduces
understory structural diversity (due to the inability of seedlings to grow beyond the reach of
deer). These changes have a negative impact on other wildlife species, which also depend on
healthy vegetative systems for food and cover. In time, overbrowsing results in reduced habitat
quality and a long-term reduction in BCC. Coincident with overbrowsing is the decline in herd
health. This decline is manifest in decreased body weights, lowered reproductive rates, lowered
winter survival, increased parasitism, and increased disease prevalence (14). In the absence of a
marked herd reduction, neither herd health nor habitat quality will improve, as each constrains
the other. Such circumstances enhance the likelihood of mortalities due to disease and starvation.

Regulated hunting has proven to be an effective deer population management tool (16, 27). In
addition, it has been shown to be the most efficient and least expensive technique for removing
deer (38), and maintaining deer at desired levels. Wildlife management agencies recognize deer
hunting as the most effective, practical and flexible method available for regional deer
population management, and therefore rely on it as their primary management tool.
Through the
use of regulated hunting, biologists strive to maintain deer populations at desirable levels or to
adjust them in accordance with local biological and /or social needs. They do this by
manipulating the size and sex composition of the harvest through hunter bag limits and the
issuance of antlerless permits, season type, season timing, season length, number of permits
issued, and land-access policies.</a>

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