Burgeoning white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in suburban landscapes continue to impact communities and challenge natural resource managers. Increased deer-related damage to vegetation, ecosystems, and automobiles can exceed the tolerance of local stakeholders. We provide an overview of the potential efficacy of using surgical sterilization to help manage populations and conflicts associated with locally overabundant white-tailed deer populations. We review theoretical and fi eld studies pertaining to deer sterilization, and provide research priorities to help guide future sterilization efforts. Recent fi eld studies suggest that sterilization of female deer remains expensive, at approximately $1,000 per surgery. Sterilization may provide an alternative management technique for reducing suburban deer herds in communities willing to endure the costs of a long-term effort and where lethal deer removal is unacceptable or impractical. Surgical sterilization is scale-limited based on the ability to capture and sterilize 80% or more of the female deer in a population and maintain that proportion of the population treated over time. Overall success will be greatest for closed or insular deer herds where the effects of immigration can be minimized.
Originally published in Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 6 : Iss. 2 , Article 9.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Jason R. Boulanger, Paul D. Curtis, Evan G. Cooch, et al.. "Sterilization as an alternative deer control technique: a review" (2012). Biology Faculty Publications. 29.