- In areas of overpopulation, deer cause an over browsing affect called a "browse line". In areas with a browse line, most plant species below the browse line are stripped bare damaging the habitat for many species. These browse lines can be from four to six feet high.
- Deer establish a territory and will not leave it.
- Deer are known to starve rather than leave their domain.
- Just 2 deer without predation can produce a herd of up to 35 deer in just 7 years.
- Deer can live up to 11 years in the wild.
- Under optimal conditions without regulating factors like predators or hunting, deer populations can double in size annually.
- Two of the considerations used when establishing a deer management plan are Biological Carrying Capacity (BCC) and Cultural Carrying Capacity (CCC).
Deer Damage and Problems
A recent survey of U.S. farm leaders revealed that as many as 56% believed they had suffered crop damage by wildlife and the Whitetail deer was named as the primary culprit.
Pennsylvania farmers suffer crop damage of an estimated $30 million annually, Wisconsin estimates it's farmers are hit for $37 million annually.
- Back in 1995, conservative estimates place deer-car collisions in the us at over 500,000 annually. Vehicle damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
- The annual damage in New Jersey alone is estimated to exceed $10 million dollars. These accidents resulted in thousands of injuries and over 100 deaths.
- Suburban home owners spend thousands of dollars on replacing landscaping plants defoliated or damaged by deer.
- In 1995, Lyme disease was considered to be the fastest growing infectious disease next to AIDS. Some scientists see a strong link between high deer densities and Lyme disease.
- In Pennsylvania, a state that tracks deer-vehicle collisions, there are over 40,000 deer-vehicle collisions annually.
- Even more important is the cost in human life. During the 1985-1994 period, 12 fatalities were reported as a result of deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia.
Deer Management Options
Fencing and Repellents
Fencing is expensive
Repellants require frequent applications
- Repellants are less effective on high density deer populations
Trap and Transfer
- Labor intensive and expensive costs can average $261-$567 per deer
- Mortality rates after relocation can exceed 75%
- Relocated deer may spread disease to new populations
- They are experimental
- They don't affect the current population size
- Have potential impacts on the gene pool
- Costly and impractical ($150-$500 per deer)
- Have problems with dosage control and ingestion of anti-fertility agents by non-targeted animals and humans.
According to a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the cost of administering contraceptives exceeds $500 per deer treated. This study assumed:
- No deer left or entered the herd being treated.
- The contraceptive was administered with a single shot and was 100% effective.
- The efficiency of autumn darting was similar to winter sharpshooting over bait with a high-power rifle.
- All deer were infertile with a single treatment. (Not possible with contraceptives available today).
- No deer were accidentally darted twice.
- It was possible to distinguish between male and female fawns before darting.
- Since it is doubtful that any of these assumptions would hold true, the actual cost would far exceed the estimate of $500 per deer treated.
- Offers a low profile method of managing deer herd numbers.
- Effective in small areas close to houses, farms and roads.
- SWMNV Member hunters are certified by the National Bowhunter Education Foundation.
- Hunting is performed from a safe elevated position, shooting downward at an average range of 20 yards.
- Although Virginia Law strongly supports the property owner, SWMNV insurance provides liability coverage for each member hunter as well as the host property owner.
- Today's compound bows and razor sharp broadheads in the hands of experienced archers are capable of harvesting deer quickly, cleanly, and humanely.
The most in-depth study ever conducted of wounding caused by bowhunting was performed by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Camp Ripley over a 4 year period. It concluded:
- Almost 87% were eventually recovered
- Slightly over 13% of the deer shot by Bowhunters were unaccounted for.
- The fate of that 13% is unknown. Possibilities range from flesh wound recoveries to death.