The urban deer ‘problem’

It’s spread to Wyoming, where the Game and Fish Department suggests hunting — sharpshooters in some cases — as a means of dealing with overly abundant ungulates (the white-tailed deer).

One could argue over what happened to allow deer herds to grow so much (as they have in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other Eastern states, greatly diminishing biodiversity, particularly flora, in the process).

But hunting remains the best and most sensible control method. You can read the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s current deer management plan here. And for an independent, conservation-oriented view of the whole shebang, you know what to do.

7 responses to “The urban deer ‘problem’

  1. The article didn’t specify the species, but it wouldn’t it actually be mule der in Wyoming? (Not that there’s a huge difference in population ecology, I guess.)

  2. I just checked Wy. Game & Fish’s Web site. Both whitetails and mules are hunted in the state. Mules are a lot more interesting, from a natural history standpoint. Besides being bigger than their cousins, they have different feeding habits. More like elk, I believe. Grazing, rather than browsing. But then it’s been 40 some years since I carried a hind quarter of a mule deer off a sagebrush-covered hillside in southeastern Idaho.

  3. There are a lot of whitetails in Wyoming. However, not in the country in or next to Yellowstone Park

  4. Pingback: The urban deer ‘problem’ « Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News

  5. Thanks Ralph. I wonder if this is an agriculture, or crop damage, issue, or more of an urban garden situation in which deer are munching on ornamentals? The newspaper’s story doesn’t pinpoint what kind of damage has occurred. In eastern Pennsylvania, where I’ m sitting, a deer-damaged forest stands out in the growing season — a horizontal browse line indicative of the highest point at which a browsing whitetail can nibble. After leaf fall, such forests have an open park-like appearance, the understory having been knocked down by browsing whitetails.

  6. Sharpshooters?? ACK!

  7. Janie, many townships and boroughs in Pennsylvania have found that hiring sharpshooters (or archers, if safety concerns warrant) is the most effective and humane way of dealing with local deer herds that have, in many cases, eaten themselves out of their own habitat while damaging crops and gardens. It’s a tough issue, for sure. But there are several issues, among them the spread of ticks, which makes herd control imperative. Across the state, but most especially in the still relatively wild region of northcentral Pennsylvania, deer have severely impacted hardwood forests; their browsing knocking down saplings as quickly as they can sprout. This overbrowsing, in turn, has impacted the nesting productivity of forest-interior songbirds, like the wood thrush, while also impacting native plant diversity. The best thing the Pennsylvania Game Commission can do at this point is to continue forward with its herd-reduction management strategy and not get caught up by the cries of a small but vocal group of “sportsmen” who believe the Game Commission’s sole objective should be to grow more deer.

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