Proceedings of the Thirteenth Wildlife Damage Management Conference
Evaluations of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population management in suburban landscapes has included debate over lethal control (e.g., sharp-shooting and hunting). These management techniques are often stymied by political impediments, safety concerns, and public attitudes. We are implementing the novel use of surgical sterilization in combination with hunting to mitigate deer-related impacts on Cornell University lands near Ithaca, New York. The project lands are composed of 2 zones: a suburban core campus area (446 ha) and adjacent outlying areas that contain agricultural fields and natural areas where deer hunting is permitted (582 ha). Surgical sterilization will be the primary technique used to reduce deer abundance and associated impacts in the core campus zone. Population reduction in the hunting zone will focus on increased harvest of female deer. During 2007 to 2009, project staff sterilized 58 female deer; 39 adult does were marked with radio transmitters to monitor movement and survival. Ten additional control deer have been captured and radio-collared for a comparison of fawning rates and survival. Hunters harvested 69 deer in the first hunting season (Fall 2008). In spring 2009, infrared-triggered cameras (IRCs) were used to estimate deer abundance in the sterilization zone, which resulted in a density of 21 deer/km2 (56 deer per square mile). In the hunting zone, deer populations will be monitored using a deer sighting log and by data collected at a mandatory deer check station. In both zones, ongoing deer browse and deer-vehicle accident (OVA) studies will ascertain changes in deer impacts throughout the study. Our goal is to determine if deer fertility control integrated with a controlled hunting program on adjacent lands can maximize the efficiency of both techniques. If this integrated management program is successful, it may have additional applications in other communities in New York State and the Northeast.
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Boulanger, J. R., Curtis, P. D., & Ashdown, M. L. (2009). Integrating lethal and nonlethal approaches for management of suburban deer. In Boulanger, J. (Ed.), The Thirteenth Wildlife Damage Management Conference (60-67). Saratoga Springs, NY: Thirteenth WDM Conference.