The white-tailed deer is one of the most popular and recognizable species of wildlife in the eastern half of the United States. They are a significant recreational resource among hunters and those who just like to watch and enjoy wildlife. White-tailed deer are also an important economic resource to many rural land owners who lease hunting rights on their property and businesses that profit from traveling hunters.
Whitetail, as they are commonly referred to, are also an increasingly common animal in and around many urban and suburban communities, often in overabundance. An overabundant deer herd can be described as one that exceeded the capacity of the native plant community. Overabundant deer herds can result in concerns for the deer, for the native plant communities, for urban landscapes and also the health, safety, and economic well-being of local communities.
Neighborhoods across the U.S. are beginning to confront these issues which have been a concern of communities in the northeastern states for several decades. As overabundant white-tailed deer reduce the health of native plant communities, other wildlife species become less common. Having too many deer causes health problems within the herd such as starvation, increased numbers of parasites, and more disease.
Overabundant deer herds cause concerns such as:
— Automobile accidents from deer collisions or drivers trying to avoid deer.
— Severe damage to landscaping.
— Buck deer that are unafraid of people can be dangerous during the breeding season (rut).
— Increased numbers of disease causing agents such as ticks carrying Lyme’s disease.
— Deer feeding resulting in more reproduction and further aggravation of all overabundant deer conerns.
Solutions for controlling deer numbers:
Within urban and suburban areas, controlling whitetail deer numbers can difficult. To control any population, one must either reduce the current population or curtail reproduction. This can be difficult to accomplish because of conflicts within communities. For every person that sees too many deer as a problem, there is someone that does not want to trap, remove, harvest, or otherwise “impact” the animal.