Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences

 

Date of this Version

February 1991

Abstract

The Pennsylvania white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)herd has increased dramatically in the last several years despite greatly increased harvests. The high statewide deer density (11+ deer/kmz) causes serious losses to agricultural production, forest regeneration, and diversity of forest flora and fauna. High deer numbers are associated with an exceptional number of vehicle-deer accidents, and is implicated in the rapid increase in the incidence of Lyme disease in humans. Countless efforts to reduce deer densities locally and statewide (extended antlerless harvest seasons and special farm hunts) are not solving the damage problem. Other solutions should be considered, such as increasing the bag limit of antlerless deer, increasing hunting willingness to harvest more deer through hunter education programs, resolving land access problems, and developing m appropriate deer management units. Deer managers must be aware of the limitations of conventional harvest strategy to resolving deer damage problems, and of the need for improvisation to meet management needs.