An Inside Look at the White-Tailed Deer

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In the early 1900s, there were only 500,000 white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, in the United States (Insurance Institute for Highway and Safety, 2004). Since the settlers arrived, hunts for meat and hides have nearly caused the extinction of the white-tailed deer species. The beginning of the twentieth century marked a turning point in the human drive to save the deer. States began to limit hunting and preserve open space, which would have otherwise been used for agriculture. Today, white-tailed deer have exceeded their carrying capacity; a recorded 15 million deer populate the United States. Overpopulation of this species and its interactions with the environment have created a variety of problems, including excessive deer-automobile collisions (DVCs). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (2004) statistics show that around 1.5 million United States vehicles collide with deer every year, causing vehicle damage costs of over one billion dollars and nearly 14,000 injuries. State Farm announced that there are 200 DVC-related deaths yearly, which is likely to rise with a 7.7 percent increase in the number of DVCs in just one year, from 2011 to 2012 (Luedke, 2012). DVCs are the greatest concern related to deer around the country, especially in particular deer-abundant states. In Virginia, the number of DVCs has increased substantially, as overpopulation of deer leads to a higher probability of such incidences. Reportedly, Virginia has the seventh highest number of DVCs in the United States. In Fairfax County alone, the total number of DVCs affecting people ranges from 18,000 to 25,000 a year (Hosnett et. al, 2008). The increasing number of DVCs is resulting in extreme costs. The average insurance claim of DVC- ... ... middle of paper ... ...tion density relationships for white-tailed deer in illinois. Wildlife Society, 26, 252-258. Sedlmeier, P., & Gigerenzer, G. (1997). Institutions about sample size, the empirical law of large numbers. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 10, 33-51. State Parks. (n.d.). Mason neck national wildlife refuge. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from State Parks website: http://www.stateparks.com/mason_neck_fairfax.html U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (2011, September 11). Directions and contact info. Retrieved March 8, 2014, from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Mason_Neck/visit/directions.html Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. (2014). Virginia deer management program. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/deermanagementprogram.asp

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