Effect of Hunting on Deer Reproduction
and Urban Deer Management
"Light to moderate hunting does not reduce the deer population. Over time in an otherwise stable environment, deer produce more fawns in response to an urban hunt since the food supply Is Increased for the remaining deer. Effects of Urban Hunting Are Short-Term at Best." -READ MORE HERE
Belief: "Culling deer reduces herd size"
Reality: KILLING DEER IS COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. KILLING DEER PRODUCES MORE DEER, NOT LESS
Definition of Compensatory Rebound Effect
Less deer, after hunting, plus the same abundant food source, equals better overall health, increasing fertility of female deer and causing them to conceive earlier and give birth to twins and triplets. The population rebounds right back up to the original number and eventually higher.
Hunting to control populations is a manufactured myth, used to justify hunting. Deer can out-reproduce any extermination plan.
Proof of CRE:
Since 1974 managers of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey, have been holding a "management hunt" to control the refuges white-tailed deer population. Total harvests have risen consistently since 1974 and the 1995 harvest was almost exactly TWICE the 1974 harvest.
(US Fish and Wildlife Service, unpublished data)
The biological reality is that left alone animal species regulate themselves. A deer population will naturally reach homeostasis, a condition in which food supply and weather conditions and nature keep the herd at the same stable population level, or within stable parameters or fluctuation. If the environment cannot support x number of deer a doe will reabsorb an embryo or give birth to a buck.
Despite the countless deer kills that have taken place in parks and neighborhoods the cry still goes up: "There are too many deer! We've got to do something about the deer!"
-Thomas Eveland, Ph.D
Yet government wildlife managers have understood for a century or more that killing a significant portion of a deer population helps ensure more deer will be present for hunting in the near future. Rather than solve the problems, deer kills have become a big problem.
THE EXPERTS SPEAK
The Olean (New York) Times-Herald quoted (NYS regional manager Terry Moore as stating that "in order to increase the success rates of big game hunters, we will attempt to increase the number of deer until we experience high incidences of deer-car-collisions, depredation of agricultural crops becomes intolerable and/or the effects on deer habitat begin to result in deterioration." (quoted in The American Hunting Myth by Ron Baker)
From the Department of Environmental Conservation in NY "The Conservationist" "Ideally ...if the desired number of deer are taken each year...a maximum fawn crop will be produced each summer."
"A quick surge in deer population can occur if hunting is implemented where it hasn't been before. In any event, if hunting is started, it'll have to continue." Former trapper --Thomas Eveland P.D, "Why Killing Deer Makes Poor Park Management" public presentation, Philadelphia PA, June 15, 1998.
"Game management is the art of making land produce sustained crops of wild game for recreational use"
Game Management, Aldo Leopold
The frequetly heard justification of managers that they manage deer for the "carrying capacity" of the range was a bit of self-delusion, often dressed up by the euphemism "scientific management."
White-tailed Deer Ecology and Management, Wildlife Management Institute
The goal of a deer management program is arbitrary, not scientific, which may be upsetting news to some wildlife biologists and other resource managers as well as citizens. Science does not make the decision. People do. Protectionist groups have recognized intuitively that decisions by biologists and managers may have been biased toward hunter interests, as the overall goal of maintaining sustainable harvests has been pursued.
Wayne Evans, PhD, assistant director of the State of New Mexico Department of Fish and Game said, “No one will ever be so rash to claim that if there is no hunting, the population will grow to infinity or sink to extinction. In fact, hunting maximizes fawn production. . . . More animals are produced for the gun."