Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Here we go again...

Central Wisconsin deer hunters frustrated by the state's management of the whitetail deer population in recent years say they are eager to see how a Texas expert nicknamed "Dr. Deer" plans to improve the state's deer herd.

The Department of Administration hired James Kroll this week as the state's new "deer czar." Kroll was given a $125,000 contract to conduct an independent, objective and scientifically based review of Wisconsin's deer management practices.

Just as we have seen with the deer population audit, the Deer 2000 exercise, and other efforts, we have another round of Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football. Like Lucy promising to not pull the football away this time, a vocal group of deer hunters are going to accept the findings of James Kroll. Then the recommendations come out. Then the whole exercise is forgotten two years later, and the same vocal hunters raise the same issues being raised now.

The Wisconsin deer management "problem" is in a class of problems called "wicked problems." These kinds of problems are poorly (or too narrowly) defined, have no solution, and attempts to solve the problem create new problems. I am going to stop here, otherwise this post would get very, very long...

Source: Wausau Daily Herald

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MAINE NEWS: Island Community Considers Deer Hunt

Voters on Islesboro are voting on whether to allow hunting on the island, mainly out of concern over Lyme disease.

Health care providers at the island's health center say that over the last eight years the island, which has a year-round population of about 600, has seen 69 cases of Lyme disease — enough to quality the outbreak as an epidemic.

There are an estimated 500 deer occupying the terrestrial 14.3 square miles of the island (35 deer per square mile).

Source: Bangor Daily News

UPDATE 26 August 2011: Last Wednesday, voters approved a measure to kill about 400 of the about 500 deer on the island.

Source: Bangor Daily News

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

OREGON NEWS: Possible Link Between Deer and E coli Outbreak

A recent outbreak of E. coli infecting 13 people has been traced back to a strawberry farm, and from there, possibly to deer.

State health officials hope to learn this week whether deer are the source of an E. coli outbreak in northwestern Oregon linked to fresh strawberries.

Dr. Paul Cieslak of the Oregon Public Health Division said Tuesday that samples of soil and deer droppings collected from fields at the Jacquith Strawberry Farm in Newberg, 25 miles southwest of Portland, are being analyzed and results should be available in a few days.

He says it has been known since 1997 that deer can carry the bacteria, but investigators don't know why it has never shown up in strawberries before.


Monday, July 18, 2011

NORTH CAROLINA NEWS:White-tailed Deer Harvests Still Near Record Highs

It looks like the deer population is starting to get ahead of wildlife managers in North Carolina:
Evin Stanford has been saying that year-over-year increases in the deer harvest would be ending as the deer population stabilizes. But if he is to be believed, that stabilization has not yet occurred. The North Carolina deer biologist recently finished compiling statistics from the 2010-11 deer season and the results show the second-highest harvest on record.

Hunters still took an astounding 175,157 deer last season, an increase of 3.5 percent over the 2009-10 harvest. The all-time record is from 2008-09, when hunters took 176,297 deer. Prior to that, North Carolina hunters had set four record harvests in a row.

North Carolina deer harvests for the past 10 years:

2001-02 132,235
2002-03 118,174
2003-04 134,507
2004-05 140,311
2005-06 144,315
2006-07 154,273
2007-08 171,986
2008-09 176,297
2009-10 169,273
2010-11 175,157

Source: Star News Online


Demands from members of the international group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (best known as PETA) called Mayor Brian Taylor to halt the plan for culling urban deer herds in Grand Forks.

The mayor is receiving hundreds of emails a day from all over the country, requesting that the city look into humane deer control methods. Of course, this was not a knee-jerk decision by the city.
Grand Forks’ urban deer herd has been monitored for over six years by the deer committee and their results indicate that the herd is growing at a much higher rate than would be normal for deer in their normal habitat. The city passed a no-feeding bylaw earlier in the year in an attempt to educate citizens about the dangers of supporting wildlife. The committee also released an educational pamphlet in the spring, again, to assist local residents in understanding their role in the survival of the herds.

Source: Boundary Sentinel

Friday, June 24, 2011

WYOMING NEWS: Cody Residents Split on Urban Deer Problem

The results of Cody's urban deer survey were unveiled Wednesday night in a poorly attended but sharply divided public meeting.

At the Cody Auditorium with about a dozen people in attendance, City Parks Director Rick Manchester presented the findings of the survey, which was mailed to utility customers earlier this year.

The city sent out more than 5,000 surveys and 1,546 were returned.

Manchester said 56 percent of those who returned their survey said they were concerned about the city's population of urban deer, while 44 percent said they had no concerns.

Yet when asked if they'd like to see the city adopt an action plan to reduce the deer herd, 50 percent of the respondents said yes while 50 percent said no.

The even split in the survey set the tone of disagreement for much of the meeting, leaving committee members to decide what the results mean.

You would get a nearly identical response anywhere in the country with a high urban deer population.

Read more: Billings Gazette

Friday, May 27, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA OPINION: Unified Sportsman Case Ends, Deer Wars Continue

An opinion piece from Bob Frye:

The Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program has survived a challenge.

But don't expect to see peace in this fight.

This past week, Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Barry Feudale dismissed the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania's lawsuit against the commission, which alleged that the commission had acted fraudulently and abused its discretion in reducing deer populations.

The judge ruled that the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program was not based on bad science, fraud, or bad faith. While the legal issue at hand has been resolved, the losing side is not satisfied. They are now entering the ninth decade of opposition to Pennsylvania's deer management.

Pennsylvania's "deer wars" — which date to the 1930s and have earned the state a national reputation as the worst example of how deer hunters and deer managers can argue like bitter divorcees — have lasted for generations, through audits, reviews, lawsuits, changes in staff and changes in board members.

Read more: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Ruling on Unified Sportsman of Pennsylvania Case

I am not sure how this slipped past me, but here is an update on the Unified Sportsman of Pennsylvania case from last February (h/t to Stan):

A Commonwealth Court ruling handed down Feb. 8 dismissed the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania’s legal challenge to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s deer management program.

Another so-called “Deer Wars” battle is over, with the USP losing again.

“This court ruling is a strong statement that the Game Commission’s deer management program is being conducted in a sound and scientific manner,” PGC executive director Carl Roe said. “In essence, Commonwealth Court’s latest ruling dismissed the challenge because it lacked merit.

“Our hope is that this second ruling will cease the unnecessary expenditure of sportsmen’s dollars and tax dollars fighting frivolous and baseless lawsuits.”

Read more: Centre Daily Times

NEW BRUNSWICK NEWS: Deer Feeding Bans Might Not Aid In Lyme Fight

Municipal bylaws banning people from feeding deer may not help prevent the spread of Lyme disease, according to a public health official.

Saint John council voted on Tuesday to refer the idea of a bylaw banning people from feeding deer to the city's legal department for advice.

Coun. Bill Farren said the deer cause a wide range of problems, such as carrying ticks infected with Lyme disease. But the proposal to ban the public from feeding deer is receiving mixed reviews.

Dr. Scott Giffin, a provincial medical officer of health in Saint John, said he isn't convinced the proposed bylaw would help prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

"I think the evidence for culling deer herds as a way to control ticks is weak at best and there may be many other reasons for culling deer herds that fall ahead of Lyme disease, that's for sure," he said.

The relationship between deer densities and Lyme is not simple, in part because so many other animals also serve as both hosts for deer ticks and reservoirs of Lyme Disease.

The full story is here: CBC

Friday, May 13, 2011

MICHIGAN NEWS: Baiting Rules Changing

Michigan wildlife policymakers tentatively agreed Thursday to remove a ban on baiting and feeding whitetail deer in most of the Lower Peninsula that was designed to prevent outbreaks of deadly diseases.

The state Natural Resources Commission scheduled a final vote for June 9 on its plan, which would allow hunters to spread up to 2 gallons of feed at each hunting site in the
Lower Peninsula except for a section of northeastern Michigan where bovine tuberculosis remains a problem. The existing 2-gallon limit in the Upper Peninsula would continue.
The plan also would allow people to feed deer for recreational viewing everywhere except the bovine TB zone.

Deer baiting has been banned in the lower peninsula since 2008.

Source: Times Union

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MAINE NEWS: Fewer Antlerless Permits to be Available

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Chandler Woodcock is proposing to cut the number of such permits in the state's 29 wildlife management areas from 48,825 to 26,390, a drop of 46 percent. The antlerless permits are also known as "any-deer" or "doe" permits.

Antlerless permits are issued when the goal is to reduce deer numbers, and withdrawn when the goal is to increase deer numbers.
In the past five years, the deer harvest has dropped sharply, from 29,918 in 2006 to 20,063 in 2010, officials say. For 2011, the department is recommending that only bucks be harvested in 17 of the state's 29 wildlife districts.


DELAWARE NEWS: Harvest in 2010 Third Highest

The state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the third highest deer harvest of all time for the 2010-11 hunting season.

Deer season runs Sept. 1 through Jan. 31.

A total of 14,183 deer were harvested, a 14.4 percent increase over last year's season.

The record harvest is 14,401 deer, so the record was missed by just 218 deer.

For those keeping track, 2009 had a lower than expected harvest, due largely to poor weather. The 14.4% jump is a bit misleading.

Source: Delmarvanow

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Valley Forge Cull Underway

The long-contested cull is underway, and it has yielded a lot of deer.

In the first season of the hotly controversial four-year culling program, federal sharpshooters have reduced the deer population at Valley Forge National Historical Park by about half, killing 600, park officials announced Monday.

Since November, the operation had yielded more than nine tons of meat for food banks across the state - including 3,000 pounds in Chester County.

The park is 2300 acres, or about 5.5 square miles. So my calculator tells me over 100 deer were removed per square mile!

Park officials had estimated that 1,277 deer were living on the revered Revolutionary War site before the culling began in November. The ultimate goal is to reduce the herd to well under 200.

There is still a way to go.

Friday, March 04, 2011

MAINE NEWS: Deer Harveest Up

The initial tally was 11 percent above last year's harvest, but still 4 percent lower than state biologists had expected.

Maine hunters harvested 11 percent more deer last season than they did the previous year. That's according to Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Department officials say the initial tally for 2010 was 20,063 deer. State biologist Lee Kantar says the mild winter was a factor

Source: MPBN

Thursday, March 03, 2011

VIRGINIA NEWS: State Deer Harvest Down 15%

The preliminary numbers are in, and the total deer kill numbers for Virginia dropped significantly last hunting season--15 percent below the 259,147 reported killed in 2009 and 3 percent lower than the annual average for the last decade.

Hunters reported 219,797 deer last year, of which 95,543 were antlered bucks, 19,191 were button bucks, and 105,063 were does.


KENTUCKY NEWS: Mayor Disbands Deer Study Committee

I think this story ends with "and they lived happily ever after."

To some they may be cute to look at or feed, but for the city of Prospect, the growing population of deer is a serious problem.

After the mayor disbanded a committee to study the issue, many were left wondering what happens next.

"The mayor has decided that maybe its best to disband the committee, sit back, let everybody calm down and revisit it a little bit later on,” Prospect city councilman Alan Simon said. "I can see the issues on both sides, but I think we have to be doing it in a sensible manner and not have everyone hollering and carrying on."

Source: WLKY

OHIO NEWS: Deer Harvest in 2010-11 Not Record-Setting

A total of 239,260 deer were killed during Ohio’s 2010-11 hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. This season’s total was below the record 2009-10 total of 261,260.

Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the season were: Coshocton 8,837, Tuscarawas-8,164, Licking- 7,819, Muskingum 7,130, Guernsey-6,990, Harrison 6,965, Knox-6,335, Carroll 5,721, Holmes-5,635 and Ashtabula-5,333. The other two lake-area counties were: Fairfield - 3,022 and Perry - 3,874.

Source: Buckeye Lake Beacon

Friday, February 25, 2011

SCOTLAND NEWS: Wild Muntjac Not Welcome

There are no wild populations of muntjac deer in Scotland, and a recent order (Muntjac Keeping-Scotland Order 2011) was decreed to keep it that way. Any muntjac in the wild is to be killed on sight.

According to Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead:

"They're widespread in south and central England but have a patchy distribution between the Humber and the Scottish borders. They are destructive animals, or invasive species to use the more modern term. They can have significant negative impacts in the wild, both to biodiversity and economic interest."

They can damage orchards, cereal crops, coppice woods and bluebells, he said, and have been known to add to accident risks on roads.

Source: The Press Association

Friday, February 18, 2011

INDIANA NEWS: Another Record Deer Harvest

Indiana hunters established a record for the third straight year by reporting an overall harvest of 134,004 deer taken during the 2010 seasons, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Reports submitted from 461 check stations across Indiana topped the 2009 total by 1,252 deer, a 1 percent increase, and bettered the 2008 total by more than 4,200 deer.

"We're seeing a healthy number of deer throughout much of the state, and that is translating into success by our hunters during the hunting season" DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart said.

Source: Courier Press

Thursday, February 03, 2011

MICHIGAN NEWS: Who Are the Predators of Deer?

Wolf, bear, coyote or bobcat.

If you had to name the carnivore that kills the most white-tailed deer in the Upper Midwest, which would you pick?

If you are thinking smaller rather than larger, you're on the right track.

The answer is coyote, at least according to preliminary data from a study in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The sample sizes were rather small, and I am somewhat skeptical of how robust or generalizable these findings are. As for the data:
In all, 57 adult deer and 44 fawns have been captured and fitted with tracking devices.

The data are from Jan. 1, 2009 through Aug. 31, 2010. Though preliminary, they are showing some very interesting results.

Coyotes in the study area were responsible for 13 fawn mortalities, followed by bobcat (9), unknown predator (5), abandonment (4), unknown agent (3), black bear (2), vehicle collision (2), wolf (2) and bald eagle (1).

Among adult and yearling female deer, coyote killed 6, followed by wolf (3), black bear (2), drowning (2), birthing complications (1), vehicle collision (1) and unknown predator (1).

Source: MJOnline

Friday, January 21, 2011

MINNESOTA NEWS: Deer Harvest Up 7% Over 2009

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says thanks to ideal hunting weather during opening weekend of the firearms season, hunters harvested a total of 207,000 deer during the 2010 season. That's the 13th largest harvest on record.


MINNESOTA NEWS: CWD Detected in Wild Deer

Posted without comment.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources may have found the state's first wild deer infected with chronic wasting disease.

The deer was among 524 tested for the disease in the Pine Island area. DNR officials say preliminary screening by the University of Minnesota strongly indicates a positive case, but the agency is waiting for confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

Source: WQOW

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BRITISH COLUMBIA NEWS: Deer Populations Altering Gulf Islands

Booming deer populations on some Gulf Islands are driving away songbirds and leaving the area susceptible to invasion by foreign species, says a recent study.

Following hunting bans on many small islands in the 1970s, deer populations grew. People began feeding deer, which compounded the problem. Now residents of at least one island are looking at sterilization as a control measure, but are getting little support from the provincial government.

I'll post my own synopsis of this study--it is quite good.

Source: Nanaimo Daily News

I've included a picture from the study that shows vegetation on low, medium, and high deer density islands.

Monday, January 17, 2011

OHIO NEWS: Cleveland Area Municipalities Struggle With Deer

The News-Herald provides a nice overview of how Cleveland area municipalities have been struggling with record deer numbers.

Come springtime, Carole Clement will break out the coyote urine.

She will begin her annual ritual of using it to soak cotton strips that she places atop sticks erected around her gardens.

"It's kind of a universally known deer repellent," the Mentor resident said.

She lives near Veterans Park, where a recent deer count indicated a large overpopulation.

Clement, an active member of several conservation groups, addressed City Council last year about the deer threat to vegetation.

"In 50 years it's going to be ‘Veterans Meadow' because they've eaten all the seedlings and the young saplings," she said.

Deer in Lake, Coyahoga, and Geauga Counties face minimal hunting pressure and now reside in ever-increasing "no hunting zones" subdivided residential housing developments. Recently several parks and municipalities have ended sharpshooting due to budget constraints.

Several organizations are looking at developing a regional deer management strategy, with the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership taking a lead role.

Source: News-Herald

Thursday, January 13, 2011

INDIANA NEWS: Nearly 1700 Deer Killed in State Parks

Hunters statewide harvested 1,689 deer at 16 state parks, up from the 1,334 deer taken in parks in 2009, according the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters took 236 deer at the 5988 acre Versailles State Park and 102 deer at the 1710 acre Whitewater Memorial State Park. Indiana Parks opened to hunting in 1992.

Source: Palladium-Item

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: Legislative Audit Recommends Changes to Deer Managemment

A legislative audit says the Division of Natural Resources needs to develop a better way to control damage done by West Virginia's deer population.

The audit says the agency needs to do the following:

1. improve the way it collects and measures damage to crops and forests

2. use deer-vehicle accident information to determine how hunting is affecting the statewide population.

3. launch studies and set performance standards for controlling the statewide population

Source: WSAZ

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: A Quick Survey of the Deer Wars

Where things stand:

In 2008, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee of the state assembly was directed to study the Pennsylvania Game Commission's deer management program.

In 2009, they hired the Wildlife Management Institute as a consultant to perform the review.

In 2010, the Wildlife Management Institute completed their report. Click to view The Deer Management Program of the Pennsylvania Game Commission: a comprehensive review and evaluation.

Some of the legislators were not happy with aspects of the report. Some of these legislators admitted not knowing enough and wanting to learn more, but others made a series of tragically stupid comments and asserted fallacies as truths while berating biologists. A transcript is here.

And the third lawsuit by Unified Sportsman of Pennsylvania may be resolved later this year.
The Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania and the Game Commission may finally be headed toward a resolution of their long-running feud over deer management.

A source close to the case revealed that the discovery phase of the lawsuit the group filed in 2007 in Commonwealth Court against the agency has finally been completed.

And both sides - the Unified Sportsmen represented by attorney Charles Haws, of Barley Snyder LLC in Reading, and the commission, represented by the state Office of the Attorney General - have agreed to a Nov. 29 deadline for filing motions in the case.

A court date of 10 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2011, has been set in the event that the lawsuit is not decided before.

Official details about the lawsuit were hard to come by, but it was clear by this issue's deadline that efforts have been made to settle the case out of court. Although, a call to Haws' office went unreturned, and the Game Commission would release no information.


Special thanks to a PA source.

WEST VIRGINIA NEWS: Record Harvest in Charleston

In it's fifth year, Charleston's urban deer hunt set a new record.

City Manager David Molgaard says 60 deer were killed during the several month-long season that ended Dec. 31. Forty-two animals were does.

The number of deer killed grew from 2009 even though less permits were issued in 2010. There were 184 permits issued in 2009 and only 124 in 2010.

Source: WSAZ

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Union County to Reduce Deer Population

Union County has allowed 8 hunters to reduce the deer population in the Ash Brook reservation by 60 animals.
The hunt targets the white-tailed deer population, which county officials say is over-browsing forests in the park, damaging the landscaping of private homes in the area, spreading Lyme disease and leading to some car accidents.

The county estimates there are 140 to 150 deer on the 1.75-square-mile reservation, a number they would like to reduce to 35 but anticipate falling short because there aren’t enough hunters and the season is too short.


RESEARCH NEWS: New Virus Found in Deer Hunters

A smallpox-like disease (but less virulent) has been identified in hunters that field-dressed deer with open wounds on their hands.
Two similar skin infections in hunters who field dressed white-tailed deer led to the identification of a new parapoxvirus, which can mimic other infections and lead to diagnostic delays, according to researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In both cases, the hunters, one from Virginia and one from Connecticut, cut their fingers in November 2008 while field dressing deer that appeared healthy at the time of death, according to the researchers, who reported their findings in the Dec 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (abstract here).

Patients with parapoxvirus infections typically have a single lesion, developing over 4 to 8 weeks, that progresses through four stages—papule, vesicle, shallow annular ulcer, and scab—that heals with little or no scarring.

Infections can recur, and smallpox vaccination doesn't block parapoxvirus infection. The group noted that human infections are likely underreported, because many patients may not seek medical care because of the usually self-limited nature of the disease.

The clinical course was similar for both patients. About 7 weeks after the field dressing injury the hunters sought medical care for a nodule at the wound site that didn't heal. In the case of the Virginia patient, doctors removed and biopsied the lesion, but it recurred about a month later. The Connecticut hunter was treated with antibiotics, and his doctors biopsied the lesion. In both instances, specimens were sent to the CDC for evaluation.

Source: CIDRAP