Aggressive Deer Dissuasion: Effective Solutions
Solutions for isolated deer populations
As human development continues to challenge wild habitat
there are increasing occurrences of deer populations that become isolated in
small parks or other public lands while residential and commercial
development surrounds them They become, effectively, captive populations.
Deprived of normal range, the ability to move away from over-browsed areas
and into more fertile, open areas, such populations may critically exceed
the support of their habitat.
Very often, such deer become tame and dependent on human
handouts to supplement browse. They become so accustomed to human contact
that their reintroduction into an area where hunting occurs would be akin to
hunting household pets. Capture and release projects have a troubled history
of animal injuries, trauma, expense and are often ineffective.
Immunocontraception products have potential when used as a
part of a comprehensive plan. (Field testing of immunocontraception on
white-tailed deet (Odocoileus virginianus) on Fire Island National Seashore,
New York, USA; R.E. Naugle, et al). Depending on local circumstances,
elements of such a plan may include road safety improvements (as described
above), strategic feeding (to sustain a population in transition while
encouraging a broader range) and safe egress corridors (to encourage trapped
populations to leave parks and return to wild lands). Ideally, as
contraception reduces herd size, planned, well-disbursed and varied feeding
stations sustain and disburse the deer, while safe egress corridors (along
creek beds, for example) allow the deer to return to more wild areas. Such
safe egress corridors should be accompanied by a hunting moratorium to
assure successful movement of the deer and allow the population to
transition from tame to wild.
Such plans can be developed and implemented locally by
coalitions including local governments, academic institutions and
non-governmental organizations engaged in wildlife issues. It is important
for communities to begin to recognize the ever-growing animal protection
community and include it as stakeholders in the discussion, on committees
and in the decisions..
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Wildlife Watch, Inc.