Fayetteville Deer Management Update
Council determined that professional deer management would be more effective than local deer hunters have been
In response to the recommendations of the Westchester County Citizen’s Task Force on White-tailed Deer and Forest Regeneration, and recognizing the success of regional municipalities with managing deer density, Westchester County will re-open sections of Muscoot Farm and Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Somers, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River and Mountain Lakes Park in North Salem and Hilltop Hanover in Yorktown Heights for bow hunting deer beginning in October, 2015.
Many deer management strategies are available for addressing overpopulation. After researching the effectiveness and cost of many alternatives, however, we have determined that lethal management strategies are ultimately the best choice. Sterilization, contraception, and translocation have all been shown to be ineffective and not appropriate for this Township. Fortunately, 86.6% of the Town supports hunting as a form of management and 74.3% believes the deer population needs to be decreased.
Deer 2016, Village of Lloyd Harbor, NY
Lloyd Harbor Village covers 9.2 square miles and in area and has a population of approximately 3,400.
The dramatic increase in the white-tailed deer population within the Town of Southold has resulted in widespread landscape damage and crop losses, as well as an increase in Lyme disease and deer/car collisions. Southold Town’s Deer Management Program is the most efficient and effective means currently available for reducing Southold’s deer population.
White-tailed deer movement and browsing activities may result in losses to airports, private property, agricultural resources, natural resources, and human health and safety. Crop damage, tick borne diseases, excessive browsing of ornamental plantings, changes in natural ecosystems and vegetation, and deer-vehicle collisions are frequently prime factors taken into consideration.
New Yorkers greatly appreciate white-tailed deer. People enjoy them in many ways. However, deer often cause problems for farmers, homeowners and foresters and can cause road hazards. If not properly managed, deer numbers can increase dramatically. This increases problems for people and impairs the condition of the deer. It also damages the habitat of deer and other wildlife. The Department of Environmental Conservation tries to manage deer numbers. The goal is to balance deer with their habitat, human land uses and recreational interests. Ecological concerns and the needs of landowners, hunters, and other interest groups must be considered.
Deer Overabundance, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, 2016?
There is also a growing awareness that deer are altering forests across the state, perhaps permanently. Just as livestock can overgraze a range and reduce it to a barren wasteland, deer can over-browse a forest. Because mature canopy trees aren’t affected, deer impacts on a forest may not be immediately obvious, but they are profound and long-lasting. Browsing by deer at high densities reduces diversity in the forest understory enables invasive species to out-compete natives, and prevents seedlings of many species from growing into the next generation of trees, ultimately leading to fewer mature trees in a more open plant community with a different and less diverse species composition…
The purpose of New York’s Deer Management Plan is two-fold. The first is to outline the components of New York’s deer management program in a single document. Public review, comment and acceptance are critical components to effective deer management in the public interest. The second purpose of this plan is to provide strategic direction for deer management in New York over the next five years. Using a five-year timeframe allows for periodic evaluation by deer managers and the public and for subsequent improvement on a relatively frequent basis.
Supplemental feeding is often proposed as a means to improve the condition of deer or to take pressure off other food resources. Regulations established in 2002 due to concerns about Chronic Wasting Disease completely prohibit the feeding of wild deer in New York. The following information is presented simply to describe the potential effects of feeding.
Since deer capture and tagging were completed in December 2012, there have been 43 recorded deaths for marked deer through 1 April, 2015. This total does not include the 48 deer removed by White Buffalo, Inc., via the NYSDEC Deer Damage Permit. Sixteen of those 43 deer (37.2%) died as a result of deer vehicle collisions. Fifteen of the 43 deer (34.9%) were legally killed by hunters on Cornell University lands. Seven deer (16.3%) died from other causes. One deer (2.3%) died shortly after release in 2012, and this animal was presumed to have succumbed from complications associated with either capture or surgery. It was not possible to determine the cause of death for four deer (9.3%) because their carcasses were too decomposed when found
Based on decades of growing deer impacts on local biodiversity, agricultural damage, and deer-vehicle collisions, in 2007 Cornell implemented an increasingly aggressive suburban deer research and management program on University lands in the Town of Ithaca, New York. They also coordinated a bowhunting program in the nearby Village of Lansing (VOL). Their experiences and recommendations will benefit other communities challenged with deer-related impacts.
DEC has established a special Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) in a 60,000 acre area in and around the city of Ithaca. It will allow hunters with a valid NYS hunting license who register with the DMFA program to take two antlerless deer per day during the bow hunting, regular, and late muzzle-loader seasons. In addition, a special hunting season running from the second Saturday in January through January 31 allows
hunters with a valid DMFA permit to take two antlerless deer per day in the DMFA with any lawful hunting implement.
After a public meeting this spring, the Village Board has recommended the use of New York Department of Environmental Conservation approved Deer Depredation Permits (DDP’s) also known as nuisance permits to reduce deer numbers. This approach was recommended by the village board on July 14, 2014 and is not considered regular hunting. The preferred method is using proficient bow hunters at baited locations with activities in the evening and using supplemental lights (until 11PM).
The members of the Task Force believe that humane, non-lethal deer management methods– such as surgical sterilization – should be utilized whenever possible, although most agree that lethal means may need to be considered in the short term.
It is clear that deer are overabundant in the Village of Cayuga Heights based on homeowner complaints, vehicle collisions, and plant damage. Most tagged deer from the Village were killed either in vehicle collisions, or by archery hunters on Cornell lands. As long as this mortality level continues to exceed immigration and births, the deer population in Cayuga Heights will decline. It will be extremely important to capture and sterilize any new or untagged female deer to maintain sterilization rates of 95% or higher over time. Population reduction may be very slow, and it may take several years to reach goal population densities (approximately 15-20 deer per square mile).
Plan, Population Control, History
Teatown Lake Reservation will initiate a deer management program in 2014. The goal of this program will be to reduce Teatown’s deer herd to a size that protects the ecological integrity and health of our 875-acre preserve. The overarching goal of this program is to restore balance to the forests of Teatown and manage our preserve in a manner that protects entire ecosystems (all plants and animals) and not just specific species.
Cornell Plantations relies on the assistance of dedicated volunteers, stewards, and other conservation partners to preserve, maintain, and restore natural communities and locally rare plant habitat within the Finger Lakes region.
Deer are both the perpetrators and victims of this phenomena. Like almost any species that overpopulate, deer are depleting thier own food sources while they also devastate the habitat and food sources on which other species depend. The herd will grow until sufficient competition for scarce resources causes the death rate to increase. Other species (e.g., birds) are already suffering from eco-system shifts caused by the deer that deprive them of shelter, nesting, and feeding.
Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, Poughkeepsie, NYCentral to Vassar’s stated mission for its ecological preserve is a commitment to “protect and preserve the ecological diversity of the land.” Our research confirms that there is a considerable overpopulation of deer at the farm and preserve, and that without actively managing this population the future of the forest there is threatened.
The suppression of flowering plants removes vital resources needed by native wildlife. Without pink lady’s slipper native insects lose pollen and nectar sources. Fewer native fruits, like lowbush blueberry, will no longer be available to songbirds and small mammals (Rawinski 2013). Further, the elimination of ground plants is thought to contribute to erosion and sediment runoff into local marine estuaries.
Q. If we lower the population density of deer on the VFEP won’t more deer move in from other areas?
A. Female deer have a small home range of less than 1 square mile. Male deer have a slightly larger territory. Some yearling bucks may move onto the land from adjacent areas in search of new territories.
The purpose of this committee shall be:
(A) Advise the Township Committee (hereinafter referred to as the”TC”) on all matters related to deer management within the township.
(B) Perform the duties described in Resolution 040042 adopted by the TC on January 2, 2004.
(C) Perform other duties related to deer management as directed by the TC.
The Morris County Park Commission is currently responsible for the stewardship of over 18,000 acres of land. It recognizes that a controlled hunting program is the most efficient and effective way available to minimize the severe threats posed to the biodiversity of native flora and fauna by overabundant white-tailed deer populations. The MCPC’s controlled hunts are specifically used as a population management tool and do not represent recreational hunting opportunities.
The 2013 population survey indicated an early spring population of 91 deer per square mile. While there is not necessarily a one-to-one relationship between reductions in the deer population and reductions in impacts, we suggest a herd reduction of 25% by 2016 (to 68 per square mile) and a 75% reduction by 2022 (23per square mile). However, success
of this plan should be measured by reductions in impacts, not upon deer population
Deer Management Advisory Committee members are appointed by the mayor for terms lasting three years or less. There are seven regular members, two alternate members, one township administrative officer, and one township committee liaison. The committee is required to have at least one hunter, one farmer, and one master gardener as members.
“We have been very successful in reducing the deer population in our reservations to a manageable level, which has enabled us to transition our program from aggressively removing deer and scaling it back to where our goal is to maintain the population. While we have made tremendous progress, it is important to continue this maintenance mode to preserve the forest habitat and maintain our reservations as viable resources for recreation and open space,” the Executive pointed out. “Since we started in 2008, we have removed 922 deer from our reservations, started a program to accelerate the re-growth of our forests and introduced a pilot program to reduce traffic accidents involving deer. The over abundance of deer affects all of our communities, and our program provides a comprehensive approach to address the problem,” he said.
White-tailed deer have reached problematic numbers in numerous suburban communities in New Jersey. Increased deer-vehicle collisions, damage to ornamental plantings and gardens, damage to agricultural crops and destruction of the natural forest ecosystem are some of the problems associated with high deer populations.
Actual Report, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 2000 —Community Based Deer Management Manual for Municipalities
Habitat changes caused by overbrowsing are also detrimental to native birds, small mammals, and invertebrates. Many birds nest in native vegetation on or close to the forest floor, while others rely on the constant supply of insects within the leaf litter and in vegetation to feed themselves and their young. The absence of nuts and berries in overbrowsed forests also leads to a decrease in food supply for small mammals and migratory birds, making it difficult for them to survive at critical times during the year.
The overpopulation of White-tailed Deer is a major conservation concern. An overabundance of deer can interrupt the natural regeneration of trees and other plants, negatively affecting the structure and composition of many habitats. In order to preserve the health of forest ecosystems, the Park Commission employs deer management programs at Baldpate Mountain and Mercer Meadows.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW) has designated 61 management zones in the state, based in part on land use, geography, habitat type, and biological factors. Deer within each zone are treated as an individual population, with each zone having different management objectives.
Chemical fertility control includes contraceptives, which are given to female deer to disrupt reproductive behaviors, or contragestational drugs which cause spontaneous abortion in pregnant deer. Only specially trained wildlife professionals with a permit are able to administer this treatment. However, reductions in population size may not be noticeable for 5-10 years as deer die off. This strategy is labor-intensive and costly, and because individuals consistently move into and out of a population, treating a threshold level of individuals is not guaranteed. In addition, there is currently no available contraceptive with a 100% efficacy rate; therefore, deer populations will continue to increase under this strategy.
The goal is to reduce the high level of deer browsing pressure such that we see a significant increase in the amount and diversity of native understory vegetation. This will require sustained management over several years before we may be able to discern a significant response in the vegetation. A secondary goal is to reduce the damage to landscape plantings on Livingston Campus, as well as neighboring properties. A shorter term goal is to reduce deer-vehicle collisions on Livingston Campus, at a minimum, by 25% on an annual basis.
In the beginning of this process there was one question that needed to be answered. Do we have a problem with an overpopulation of deer? When we considered overpopulation we need looked at the Biological Carrying Capacity (the number of deer a given parcel can support in good physical condition over an extended period of time) and the Cultural Carrying Capacity (the maximum number of deer that can co-exist compatibly with the local human population). Certainly the latter can be much lower. Based on the types and number of complaints we focused our attention on the cultural carrying capacity. To address whether we had exceeded this, we started by looking at the complaints and concerns received and the statistics maintained within the police department.
In response to increasing negative interactions (perceived or real) between the whitetaileddeer population and residents of Millburn Township, New Jersey, a lethal deer management program within the Township has been implemented since 2001.
This booklet was designed to provide communities and residents concerned about overabundant deer populations with facts about deer and deer management in urban and suburban areas.
Deer populations in residential areas are associated with high rates of deer-vehicle accidents, increased risk of contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and damage to natural plant communities and landscape plantings. Many communities have struggled with the difficult task of selecting a publicly-acceptable management strategy to safely and effectively reduce overabundant deer populations.
2013-14 Deer Hunt — Ridgefield residents voted to permit the Town’s Deer Management Implementation Committee to conduct controlled deer hunts on municipal open space properties as part of the effort to address the health, safety and environmental problems associated with our current over-population of white-tailed deer.
CHARGE 3. Complete a review of data developed by neighboring towns in their effort to reduce or eradicate tick-borne diseases. Would any of the procedures be applicable to Newtown’s problem?
– The TBDAC reviewed and summarized nine local municipal reports (Brookfield, Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston and Wilton) and three regional reports (Bernards Township, NJ; Lower Makefield Township, PA;and Nantucket, MA). Similarities in their findings and conclusions included correlations between high deer densities and TBD, significant ecological impacts to forest and landscapes by deer, and significant and underreported deer-vehicle crashes (DVCs).
– Deer reduction was a major recommendation in all but one (Weston) municipal reports reviewed by the TBDAC. Deer density target goal in most municipalities is ten deer per square mile (d/mi2) derived from Stafford’s estimate that reduction of TBD through reduction of deer density can be achieved at this density.
– Additional municipal report recommendations included improved educational efforts, emphasizing personal protection and landscape modification techniques and building community exclosures to demonstrate the role that overabundant deer play in our environment.
foster an informed and collaborative approach to reducing the region’s over abundant deer population back to 10-12 deer per sq mile from current destructive and injurious levels in excess of 60 deer per sq mile and thereby reducing the herd’s impact on ecological integrity, public health, road safety, quality of life and our stretched local economies.
At higher deer densities, the middle canopy layer disappears over time and songbirds lose their habitat. When the deer density reaches 64 deer per square mile, even adaptable species like robins and phoebes are forced out (deCalesta 1994 and McShea 1997). In autumn, deer switch to a diet heavy in acorns, bringing them into direct competition with many other mammals and birds, from turkeys to squirrels. In one study, deer consumed nearly three quarters of all the fallen acorns in Pennsylvania red oak stands, largely monopolizing the mast crop (Steiner 1995).
Under legislative mandate, the DCR is required to implement a management plan where deer overpopulation is negatively impacting forests, water resources, or plant growth on department owned land. The Blue Hills Deer Management Program utilizes a controlled hunt as part of DCR’s efforts to manage the high deer densities within the state reservation.
Reducing deer populations has shown to reduce the risk of getting Lyme Disease. Lyme disease has been increasing and poses a significant health risk to the residents of Medfield and surrounding towns. Deer are a key part in the life cycle of deer ticks which carry Lyme disease. Multiple studies have shown a strong link between large deer populations and the incidents of Lyme disease. Conversely, when deer populations have been reduced, Lyme disease has been reduced.
Many studies have documented the disappearance of ground-nesting and ground-feeding birds (including whip-poor-wills and wood thrushes) and woodland plants (such as trillium and lady slipper) as a result of understory destruction caused by large deer herds.
The Town Council approved a plan Wednesday night to reduce the deer population on Block Island by hiring a professional sharpshooting company. Bait would be used to attract the deer to certain areas, where they would be shot.
DEM finds that recreational hunting must be augmented by non-recreational deer herd reduction via deer removal using alternative methods to protect the ecological health of plant communities on Block Island. The alternative method under consideration is scientifically controlled sharp shooting over bait deployed by an experienced contractor. This method has a proven track record for safety and success in other states.
We propose a two-stage strategy modeled from successful efforts in other off shore
communities in Maine and adopted by MDIFW, as well as successful suburban deer management efforts in states such as Connecticut. This consists of a short-term intensive effort to reduce deer numbers, followed by a long-term management strategy to maintain the population at those lower levels.
Hunting within the boundaries of North Coventry Township Open Space Property is a privilege granted by the North Coventry Township Board of Supervisors through the suspension of the North Coventry Township Ordinance 254-14 as it pertains to the “Hunting Activities”. North Coventry Township conducts these hunts in an effort to scientifically manage wildlife populations within the Township and in an effort to preserve a balanced ecosystem.
Regardless of the success of the two harvest phases, there are pockets of more densely developed areas where deer have not been addressed. We intentionally avoided working in these densely developed areas during both culling phases this year to minimize conflicts. We continue to receive correspondence from community members that are observing deer in their yards even after we are done with the project. The Commission will need to decide whether to emphasize more culling activities in very tightly developed areas or transition to sterilization in these areas of the community. In respect to surgical sterilization, it is not currently a deer management option that is allowed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Mt. Lebanon was recently denied approval for a deer sterilization research project.
White Buffalo Inc has concluded recruiting hunters. The archers, who will hunt up to 12 hours a week, were required to show experience through harvest verification and will need to have a Bow Hunter Education Certification before they can begin. White Buffalo Inc. needs more residents to donate their private properties for the program.
- According to the 2009-2018 Game Commission Whitetail Deer Management Plan deer management objectives are no longer defined by deer densities. Deer management is defined instead by measures of deer health, forest habitat health and deer-human health conflict. A deer population estimate is NOT a requirement for the issuance of a deer control permit (PGC)
- Recent field studies suggest that sterilization of female deer remains expensive. Sterilization may provide an alternative management technique for reducing suburban deer herds in communities willing to endure the costs of a long-term effort and where lethal deer removal is unacceptable or impractical. Surgical sterilization is scale-limited based on the ability to capture and sterilize a significant percentage of the female deer in a population and maintain that proportion of the population treated over time.
- Evaluation of PZP Deer Birth Control Program: In 2000 USC made application to conduct an experiment using PZP. Approval from the PGC, FDA and Humane Society was mandatory. PGC gave the township a qualified approval subject to approval from the FDA and HSUS but HSUS backed away after a determination that this option was impractical due to the free-ranging nature of the herd.
The Upper Dublin Township Board of Commissioners (BOC), Administration, and Police Department (UDPD) recognize deer over-population within Upper Dublin Township as a major problem and seek to control it in the most cost effective manner.
Valley Forge National Historical Park will conduct the fifth year of the lethal reduction phase of the White-tailed Deer Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (plan) beginning in November 2014 and extending through March 2015. The plan addresses the browsing of tree and shrub seedlings by an increasing deer population over the last two decades which prevented the ability of native forests to grow and mature and reduced habitat for a range of native wildlife species. Since the implementation of the plan, the forest at the park is continuing to recover from decades of over-browsing.
The operational control program to reduce deer densities was first implemented in 2005 and has been continued in the subsequent years. The objective of the program is to manage the deer population at or near 5-8 deer per square mile, as originally recommended by the Pennsylvania Game Commission(PGC). In addition, deer culling is conducted to decrease the amount of property damage, nuisance complaints, and deer-vehicle collisions throughout the TOWNSHIP, with special emphasis along the State Route 19 corridor.
To reduce the negative effects of overabundant deer on Refuge habitats, deer densities on JHNWR should be reduced to a point where acceptable levels of damage by deer are aligned with the desire of the public to appreciate deer in a natural state and in balance with their habitat. For urban habitats such as JHNWR, deer densities less than 10 deer per square mile are appropriate. Likewise, to reduce overbrowsing by deer in forested ecosystems, densities of less than 10 deer per square mile are recommended.
Desirable conditions resulting from such lowered deer densities would likely include:
1) a healthy deer population below biological and social carrying capacities, 2) a reduction in human health and safety risks (e.g., Lyme Disease), 3) reduced damage to native vegetation, 5)improved habitat conditions for other wildlife including songbirds, reptiles, and amphibians, and 6) possible recreational opportunities for sport-hunters to help maintain desired deer population levels.
Pennsylvania Game Commission, Deer and Elk Section, Bureau of Wildlife Management, Dec 2009
Page 43 of this report states:
Although fertility control agents can stop reproduction in individual animals, effect on populations is the most important measure for deer management. Population modeling comparing the relative efficiency of reproductive control and lethal control in wildlife populations has been conducted. Results show that fertility control agents would be most effective in managing smaller wildlife species (rats and cowbirds) with high reproductive rates and low survival rates. Conversely, to achieve population reductions in those species with a low reproductive rate and high survival rate lethal control is more efficient (Fagerstone et al 2006). Deer have a low reproductive rate, compared to smaller wildlife species, and a life span of 10-12 years. Fertility control alone would probably not be effective in reducing the population. Modeling has shown that maintaining deer populations at a desired level is possible with long-lasting contraceptives (lasting 4 years) but reducing populations would be difficult without some lethal control (Fagerstone et al 2006).
Here is some of what you will see in this plan:
- In a healthy population, female deer can breed as fawns (6-7 months of age) producing young at one year of age. Average pregnancy rate of doe fawns in developed areas is 40%.
- Removing deer from a healthy population will NOT increase reproductive rates of the remaining deer. Deer in Pennsylvania breed once a year. Average reproductive rate for adult does in developed areas in Pennsylvania is 1.8 fawns/adult doe with 15% producing 1 fawn, 79% producing twins, and 6% producing triplets.
For the sixth consecutive year, Swarthmore College plans to conduct a cull of the deer population in the College’s Crum Woods. This year’s cull will occur, weather permitting, on select dates between December and March.
In planning for this initiative the College has once again taken extensive measures to ensure the safety of all who use the woods. Highly trained sharpshooters, who are Pennsylvania Game Commission licensed professionals, will conduct the cull at pre-approved sites. The cull will take place during times when there is little traffic in the woods. In addition, the areas in which the cull will take place will be posted with no trespassing signs for the duration of the cull and all trails on the College’s property close to where the activity will take place will be marked off limits.
In conjunction with reduction of the deer population, GNA may be required to increase the area of fenced deer exclosures. Mature forests are sensitive to even low levels of deer browsing. Fencing 10 feet in height and secured to the ground is the only complete method for controlling deer browsing. With reduced browsing by deer, non-native exotics will proliferate. GNA should be prepared to bolster efforts to control these plants utilizing an adaptive approach, which may include methods not previously employed (e.g., controlled burns, herbicides, mechanical manipulation).