In 1989, there were 12,152 deer-vehicle accidents in the USA in which four people died and over 450 people were injured (7). What humans do not realize is the damage deer are causing to their environment, the human population, and themselves. Until a decision is reached regarding deer population control, the present state of overpopulation will continue to affect humans and the environment alike.
Environmentalists call this problem the Urban Deer Dilemma. This exists when the number of deer exceeds the ability of the environment to support the deer (2). During the 1600s, when Jamestown’s first settlers arrived, there were between 24 and 31 million white-tailed deer in North America (4). As settlers pioneered farther west, the deer population steadily decreased until a dramatic drop in the 19th century. By the end of the century, less than half-a-million deer were left. In some parts of the United States, there were none. In 1886, the US Supreme Court forced hunters to get licenses and follow certain restrictions. Conservationists urged hunters kill bucks instead of does. Because of these precautions, by the 1940s, 30 states in the United States had deer herds large enough to starve themselves (4).
Populations of the white-tailed deer have increased in great numbers. These will increase if the death rate is low and the food supply is high. A single doe can reproduce every year until they die (7). Because of this, the average herd can double in size every two to three years (3). Deer are also adaptable to the changing ecosystem around them. The growing suburbs provide open lawns, the summer gardens, varieties of shrubs, and patches of forest cover. The population cannot be controlled naturally because natural predato...
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... risky, yet have the same affect on stabilizing the herd. For the suburban hunting problems, scare devices, repellents, and fencing may help keep deer away from backyards.
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