Date of this Version
Suburban deer populations have been increasing in the eastern U.S., resulting in deer-human conflicts that can not always be resolved by a traditional management approach., Professionals responsible for management of deer damage (herd control and extension education) need information on the extent and nature of deer damage in suburban situations. Attitudes of suburban residential property owners about wildlife in general and deer in particular must be identified so that control measures that are socially acceptable as well as biologically feasible can be formulated o People's tolerance of deer damage and their propensity for undertaking on-site preventive measures need to be analyzed. Residents of Islip (Long Island), New York who live in the vicinity of the Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge were surveyed in spring 1985 to determine their experiences with Refuge deer. Damage to ornamental plants totaled $28,000 for the preceding year, but people generally enjoyed having deer in their neighborhood, and tolerated considerable damage. They were more concerned with the potential for transmission of Lyrae disease by deer. Residents were generally in agreement with the concept of managing wildlife as a renewable resource, but they generally opposed sport or meat hunting, which might present a potential barrier to herd control. Most residents did not want a herd reduction, but this situation could change if the deer population were to increase substantially or if deer are found to be a key link in transmission of Lyme disease to humans. Implications of these findings are discussed relative to deer herd control and extension education, which might serve as complementary components of a program directed at alleviating deer damage.