Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 2000


In New Jersey, annual losses from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) depredation to agricultural crops have been estimated as high as $10 million. Additional problems caused by the state's overabundance of deer include increasing vehicle/deer collisions, possible human health concerns regarding increasing incidences of Lyme disease, and a loss of flora and fauna diversity. In an effort to reduce deer numbers and minimize damage, both non-lethal and lethal management practices have been used with limited success. Hunter access to private lands remains the biggest impediment to effective deer management in New Jersey. I propose an incentive-based program to increase lease and fee hunting on private lands in New Jersey. Among the benefits of such a program are an increase in landowner income, safe and controlled areas for hunters, and greater reduction of the deer population and resulting damage while improving overall wildlife management. I also discuss other types of wildlife-related lease and fee recreation and areas of needed research to effectively implement a private lands program.