October 30, 2013
What to Do About Deer
Killing is not the answer to conflicts with deer
Wildlife habitat is increasingly engulfed by suburban sprawl, and the white-tailed deer has not only adapted but thrives in our altered landscapes. Short-cropped lawns and tasty flowers in suburban backyards provide exactly the kind of food that deer prefer.
People often assume there are "too many deer" when they experience a conflict, yet the reality is that deer problems may be totally unrelated to their numbers. For instance, even if there is only one deer in a community, she will still find her way to any and all tulip gardens, because deer love tulips.
Deer conflicts are not necessarily a function of their numbers, but rather a result of the backyard deer buffets we've unknowingly created for them.
A comprehensive plan
All too often, the response to deer in places they are not wanted is to take lethal action to remove them. Killing deer as a "solution" to conflicts with them is, at best, a short-term, inhumane, and ineffective approach. The most promising way forward for most homeowners is a combination of techniques to modify landscapes so that deer will be less attracted to them. For communities with deer conflicts, the best approach is to institute a comprehensive plan addressing each of the root causes of conflict.
- Deer in the garden
- How to avoid vehicular collisions with deer
- The truth about deer and Lyme disease
- Are deer responsible for biodiversity loss and forest growth failures?
- Why killing programs don't solve deer conflicts
- Controlling deer populations humanely
Our free guide, "Living with Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities: A Guide for Local Leaders," gives elected officials and other decision-makers the tools to implement long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to community wildlife conflicts.