Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 1, Number 1, Pages 53–59, Spring 2007. Published and copyright by the Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


Exurban development (non-metropolitan, residential development) poses unique challenges for wildlife managers through increases in human–wildlife interactions. However, little is known about hunting activity and human attitudes toward white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in exurban areas. In 2004, we surveyed exurbanites near Carbondale, Illinois, regarding their experiences with and attitudes toward deer, whose population in the study area was at or above cultural carrying capacity. Deer–vehicle collisions (DVC) were common and a concern for most respondents (84%). However, DVCs were less influential than plant damage in determining landowner tolerance of deer. Only 19% of respondents allowed hunting on their property, and this reluctance resulted in substantial amounts of habitat acting as a de facto refuge for deer. Due to the closure of land to hunting, traditional deer management alone is not likely to control deer populations in exurban areas without significant outreach and education programs aimed at both increasing hunter recruitment and retention and encouraging more landowners to allow hunting.