Deer-culling program is a help to the Lowcountry, Island Packet, Feb 5, 2016Car-deer crashes rose to more than 60 per year in both Hilton Head Plantation and in Sea Pines by 2001. Sea Pines decided to take action and conducted studies for about six years on various ways to control the population. The studies and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources concluded that the most humane method would be sharpshooters taking out deer with sound-suppressed rifles at night. Fifteen years since that case, car-deer collisions have dropped drastically in Sea Pines and in Hilton Head Plantation. Herds are healthy and acting more like wild deer.
State wildlife officials, community managers and biologists consider the program a success, saying it has significantly reduced the number of deer-car collisions and complaints from residents about damaged landscaping. It has also ensured healthy deer herds that continue to reproduce, they say, and it has kept the deer mostly wild and wary of humans.
Cities preparing for urban deer hunts, Charleston Daily Mail, Aug 6, 2014Charleston’s hunt is for bow and arrow hunting only, although a bill in Charleston City Council would allow Class Y crossbow permit holders to use crossbows.
WHITE-TAILED DEER ON KIAWAH, Wildlife on Kiawah Island, 2014?Beginning in 2002, the Town of Kiawah, in partnership with the University of Georgia, conducted a Fawn Mortality Study. The goals of the fawn mortality study were to determine the recruitment ratio (the percentage of fawns which survive to adulthood) in the population, and to determine the primary factors of fawn mortality, specifically the role of bobcats. This 4-year study ended in 2005 and determined that bobcat predation is the major factor influencing fawn mortality (bobcats killed 55% of 129 deer fawns collared during the study), and that bobcats along with other mortality factors are able to maintain the deer population at current levels.
After the dust settles, deer-culling doing job, IslandPacket.com, Dec 28, 2013A “Save The Sea Pines Deer” campaign involved academic studies and a long legal skirmish that resulted in a state court ruling in favor of deer-population control by private communities. Quietly, roughly seven local private communities have been culling deer herds over the years in an effort to prevent vehicle wrecks, protect landscaping and guard against tick-borne illnesses.
By one important measure, it appears to be working. In 2000, there were about 60 deer-car crashes in Sea Pines. As of mid-December, there were nine this year. Last year, there were only six.
Another positive sign is that the number of deer-culling permits issued by the state has declined. At its peak, 20 communities statewide participated; eight permits were issued this year. Early on, Sea Pines had permission to cull 300 deer in a season; last year, it removed 40. A total of 200 deer are permitted to be shot this season in Sea Pines, Belfair, Colleton River, Hilton Head Plantation, Indigo Run, Leamington and Palmetto Bluff.
Deer-culling programs deemed successful in Beaufort County communities, The State, Dec 15, 2013The plantations obtain permits from DNR to kill a certain number each year, based on surveys of their deer populations and car accidents involving deer. Culling begins in the fall and must end March 1. The hunting season for sportsmen ends Jan. 1. The communities pay to have the deer meat processed, and it is then donated to area food banks. The number of deer-culling permits issued has declined since the program began in the 1990s, as more communities have entered a “maintenance mode,” said Charles Ruth, state deer project supervisor.
"The native plants are tramped down, the bushes are gnawed, and my three-year-old grandson can't play in the back yard because of the deer droppings. If humans entered our property and exacted such a toll we would have legal recourse We're watching the curb appeal and property value decline at a time when our taxes are rising. We are without defense."
M. Holland, Ann Arbor resident