Non-Lethal Deer Population Control for Urban and Suburban Environments
See below for the latest news updates

Suburban Deer Population Management:  Communities relying on lethal methods to manage deer create a public safety issue and provide only a short term solution, requiring a perpetual killing program - the cull.  Although degraded habitat is a major cause for the decline of the U.S. deer population, suburbs often provide excellent deer habitat.  Deer are edge dwellers, living at the interface of the meadow and the thick forest.  A lush suburban habitat can support more deer, the carrying capacity, than a forest.  Communities wanting fewer deer can reduce the carrying capacity (see figure above) using fences, deer resistant landscaping and repellents.  Careful use of dogs or other deterrents can replicate the effect of a predator in a natural environment, keeping deer on the move and restricting their access to food.   Examples of non-lethal approaches, news below for contraception, sterilization, and relocation.  A ban on feeding deer is often a first approach, sometimes a required approach.

Deer exterminators at work using tools of the trade: clover trap and bolt gun.

Deer respond to a cull with increased fertility, producing more twins and triplets, and more female fawns that will further increase the deer population -- the rebound effect in the figure above [research support] --compensatory reproduction, also observed in coyote populations Light to moderate hunting, as in many urban culls, does not change the long-run total deer population in an otherwise stable environment.  Also, other deer may migrate into the area, although suburban does have very small ranges and migration rates will depend on local factors.  A sterile doe will discourage new deer from entering her range.  

The result of a cull is a future, perpetual negative cash outlay for communities and lots of slaughtered deer.  For example, after 10 years of an annual urban cull, the environmental manager for Wilton, Connecticut, concludes "If we harvest 300 a year it could take us maybe seven [more] years... But of course that does not include baby deer."  Ellisville, Missouri, suspended its urban archery hunt after a child found an arrow in his yard and the Mayor concluded that the program wasn't working anyway.  More Examples of the Perpetual, Annual Deer Cull   Cost analysis of urban deer cull programs typically ignores the future cost of maintaining the program and also ignores the intrinsic value of the life of each deer, an icon of wildlife.   At left a video of the trap and kill method used by many deer exterminators such as at Cornell.

Deer culls using sharpshooters or bow hunters may not be feasible in suburban environments because of public safety concerns.  Bow hunting is becoming more popular, but even under the best conditions a significant number of deer are likely to be wounded [graphic examples] and not recovered by archers, 50 percent rates are reported in the literature.  Although many hunters will not participate in an urban cull, considering it an extermination rather than a hunt, cities often find others willing to pay a license fee to participate.  Professional sharpshooters improve public safety and kill efficiency, but costs run from about $300 to $1,000 per deer.

Confusing the public debate are the wide range of unsupported optimal deer density recommendations presented to the public as scientific management goals (deer density and forest regeneration) and the concept that deer culls can generally be used to reduce the risk of Lyme disease, contrary to most of the current research. This Guide to Urban Deer Management contains links to urban news by state giving some history of management efforts, recent efforts in non-lethal control appear below.  In all cases, decision makers should be aware that they are designing the future herd based on the management method.  Removing aggressive or problem deer will change the personality of the herd over time. This page is based on a presentation to the 2015 International Urban Wildlife Conference.
Deer Contraception

Products: Gonacon, Spayvac a PZP (porcine zona pellucid)  Cost per deer can be in the two hundred dollar range, but will vary depending local labor costs, number of deer and related issues.  Birth control needs to be reapplied after a few years, up to six years for Spayvac, but the time is being extended as the technology develops.  Success rates are often reported to be in the 90 to 95 percent range.  This approach generally has a lower risk of deer fatalities than sterilization.  An update from HSUS.  A private effort to experiment with contraception in British Columbia that you can support with donations.  The U.S. Humane Society provides this service, contact information and an example proposal.  The nonprofit Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, has many years experience working with horses, deer, and other animals.

News

Nevada partnership tries to shrink size of mustang herd April 25, 2016 Las Vegas Review-Journal
... Working with the Bureau of Land Management, the nonprofit group is using the contraceptive vaccine PZP with the help of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign to try to shrink the herd and eliminate nuisance complaints that could prompt more roundups...

Birth Control for Bambi April 15, 2016 New York, Undark Magazine
...  In a series of pilot projects in the 1990s and 2000s, Rutberg tested PZP at sites in South Carolina, New York, Maryland and Connecticut with promising results. On South Carolina’s Fripp Island, PZP cut deer density in half ... Hastings represented a new challenge — a truly “open system.” ... According to Rutberg, horny males don’t appear to be flooding into Hastings ...

Culling and contraception March 7, 2016 Science Line
... some zoos favor a different method of controlling animal populations: contraception. “Contraception is just as important as culling,” says the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s Williams-Mitchell... across its 349 member zoos in 44 European countries — with 150 large mammals euthanized and more than 4,800 animals (mostly mammals) receiving contraception in 2013... “American zoos have been using contraception much longer and more extensively than European zoos,” says Cheryl Asa ... based at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri...

Hastings, Year 3 of the Deer Immunocontraception Effort Underway March 1, 2016 New York, The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson
... We have inoculated 29 does over the last two years, and this year, most those should not have fawns (PZP is 80-90% effective)... There are feeding stations set up in several locations in the village, and cameras intended to monitor deer behavior... For more information on our effort, go here.

Oak Bay, Scientific approach could make us a leader on deer February 13, 2016 British Columbia, Times Colonist, Bryan Gates is president of the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society 
... our project calls for the inoculation of does with an immunocontraceptive. This part of the project is intended to manage deer in Oak Bay to a scientifically defined population objective by making does sterile and reducing the number of fawns born each spring, without creating vacant territory into which other deer will move. This approach has been tried with success in several jurisdictions, including locally at James Island and CFB Esquimalt...

... Today, PZP is used in more than 30 wild horse management areas, including the Pryor Range, and has helped reduce the need for inhumane and costly roundups and warehousing of horses. It’s also used on 17 African elephant reserves and on the bison of Catalina Island. In four states, it’s been used to manage urban deer...

Deer discussion delayed to March February 12, 2016 British Columbia, BC Local News
... The Provincial Urban Deer Operational Cost Share Program provides financial support to local governments this fiscal year within their jurisdiction.  Eligible projects could be operational activities or research trials. The province indicates research includes trials in translocation and immuno-contraception which is a major component of the UWSS proposal...

No-kill deer control program begins on Bald Head Island January 14, 2016 North Carolina, The State Port Pilot ·
... the Bald Head Island Conservancy is using a contraceptive drug to keep the deer population down, with the goal of eliminating lethal culling completely... To learn more about the program, visit www.bhic.org/deer...

Blue Hills, As I See It: Science tackles deer problem January 9, 2016, Massachusetts, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Dr. Allen Rutberg
... our research group darted the first free-roaming deer with contraceptives on Fire Island, New York, in 1993 ... According to Mr. Blazis' column, the 50 percent deer-population reduction we accomplished in five years at our study site at Fripp Island, South Carolina, took too long and didn’t get the job done.... We did get the job done, in a reasonable amount of time: Five years is also the time that the state Department of Conservation and Recreation targets to accomplish a 50 percent deer-population reduction at Blue Hills using a 3-5 day shotgun hunt...

Bald Head does to receive birth control injections January 6, 2016 North Carolina, StarNewsOnline
...  a portion of the island's does will receive a dose of Gonacon, a immunocontraception ... Dart guns   ... "Our ultimate goal is to leave 30 viable does that don’t have any anesthesia in them,” Dorsey said. “We don’t want to eradicate deer on the island, just have a healthy dose of them.” ...

Death of Contraception Pioneer, Jay Kirkpatrick, PhD December 22, 2015 Montana
... Jay's work presented an alternative to roundups, relocations, surgical sterilization and the culling of wild horses, bison, deer and elephants. His research is published in numerous journals. There's an excellent feature story about Jay and his work here...

Blue Hills, To Reduce Deer Population, Hunters Return To The Blue Hills Reservation December 6, 2015 Massachusetts, WBUR
...  “We’ve been able to show on some smaller sites, especially more isolated sites, that we can reduce deer populations by as much as 50 percent in five years, which is the best we’ve done so far,” ... says Allen Rutberg, the director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine ...

Hastings, New York Suburb Will Start Giving Deer Birth Control as an Alternative to Violence December 3, 2015 Clearly Veg
... working with Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy ... Dr. Rutberg ... is optimistic ... the town's population could see a drastic decrease within five years...

Staten Island, Group wants to 'save' Staten Island deer from slaughter December 1, 2015 New York, Staten Island Advance 
... NYCLASS launched a petition Tuesday calling on the city to give the borough's female deer birth control as a way of controlling the expanding white-tailed herd...

Seven Hills public meeting addresses the deer overpopulation problem November 17, 2015 Ohio, Cleveland Plain Dealer 
... The cities plan to put an issue on the March 15, 2016 ballot to approve a combination of bow hunting, sterilization and birth control to cull the deer population...

Contraceptive Could Reduce Taxpayer Costs For Wild Horses November 9, 2015 Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media
...  thanks to a contraceptive called PZP  Senior Scientist of the Science and Conservation Center Jay F. Kirkpatrick said, “They reached zero population growth in three years flat. They’re balancing foal production with mortality.” ... also used to control herds of elephants, deer, and bison...

Esquimalt, Pilot project to control deer births proposed in Esquimalt October 13, 2015 British Columbia, BC Local New
... Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society (UWSS) ... society president and retired biologist Bryan Gates proposed a pilot project that would trap female deer, then inject them with SpayVac — a contraceptive vaccine that’s proven effective in deer and can be used to control populations...

Hastings deer control project looks for long-term results October 9, 2015 New York, Journal News Media Group
... have tagged 30 or so does and injected them with a contraceptive vaccine that renders them infertile for at least two years... The program cost $13,724 in 2015, with much of that covering a one-time cost for field cameras ...

Deer control: Rye, Mamaroneck go back to drawing board October 9, 2015 New York, Journal News Media Group 
... Mamaroneck's mayor said he'll consider a non-lethal contraception program - if paid for through private fundraising... Local officials say they’re limited in options for their own programs because the village and city don’t own large swaths of land where hunting can take place...  members of Animal Defenders of Westchester ... opposes killing deer and favors a sterilization program...

Saddle River''s quandary: To hunt or not to hunt deer October 4, 2015 New Jersey, North Jersey 
...To the surprise of some attendees, the state biologists said the overseeing Fish and Game Council would allow a municipality to try a contraceptive approach only if it first allows hunting.  Several residents questioned the practicality of allowing hunting in a suburban neighborhood...

Dalton discusses deer management, noise September 23, 2015 Idaho, CDA Press
.... presentation with Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center at ZooMontana in Billings. He discussed the contraceptive vaccine porcine zona pellucida, known as PZP ...  the necessary two-and-a-half day classes to administer the vaccine via injection or dart is $200 per person. The doses are $24 each...  "There is no connection between urban deer management and recreational hunting," he said. ...

Saanich, Vaccine proposed to control Saanich’s deer population September 17, 2015 British Columbia, Saanich News 
...  The pilot project would use a Spay-Vac, an experimental immunocontraceptive vaccine, to introduce a foreign protein into female deer that prevents fertilization...  a single dose can be effective for up to five or six years... confident Spay-Vac would be much cheaper than trapping, sedating, transporting, spaying and releasing deer...

Lebanon to hear about sterilization to curb deer September 8, 2015 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... Kristen Tullo, newly installed Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society of the United States, is looking for a place to test an untried, experimental five-year deer sterilization program...  “What we want to study — what we want to learn — is what happens in an open system with the movement of animals. Can [that procedure] still reduce the population?” ...
    Mt. Lebanon turns to archers in controlling deer population September 9, 2015 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
.... “We have a very effective, humane and innovative project to address and stabilize the deer population through a nonlethal method,” said Kristen Tullo, state director for the Humane Society... DeNicola said that with sufficient funding, reaching the entire female deer population would be feasible and could reach Mt. Lebanon's goal in five years...

Deer plan could be on its way to Saanich August 18, 2015 British Columbia, Saanich News
... the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society hopes to launch its pilot project, Deer Plan Oak Bay, this fall...deer would be vaccinated in the Oak Bay area with semi-permanent contraceptives ... Saanich Coun. Vic Derman, a CRD director, was impressed during the July 22 CRD presentation... 

... the HSUS believes that deer in Ann Arbor are sufficiently approachable and accessible to warrant further consideration of non-lethal methods of population control," [Mayor] Taylor said ... In an eight-page report released on Wednesday, Boyles Griffin [Humane Society] ... she and her team were able to walk within 10-40 yards of the deer they observed ...

Oak Bay, Deer a shared responsibility July 31, 2015 British Columbia, Oak Bay News
... The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society was very happy to receive $5,000 in financial support from Oak Bay council  ... One main goal is to demonstrate a non-lethal alternative to lethal culls – immuno-contraception ... Tagging and tracking the deer in Oak Bay, along with vaccinating the does with the contraceptive SpayVac, is an important element of our program...

CRD directors vote to leave deer management to municipalities July 23, 2015 British Columbia, Times Colonist
... Capital Regional District directors agreed Wednesday the CRD should take only a limited role in deer management.  And some directors encouraged representatives of a citizens group looking to sterilize urban deer — rather than see them culled — to formally apply for CRD funding...

... Injecting PZP pellets into deer — either by hand or using a dart gun — renders deer temporarily infertile.  Boyles Griffin said a $25 dose lasts about one year, while a $230 dose can last about two or three years...  PZP has proven to be about 90 percent effective... about 258 deer at Fripp Island and saw a dramatic decrease in the fawn rate, decreasing the population by 50 percent in five years...

Oak Bay, Deer Contraception Program Interview, June 30, 2015 British Columbia, Ian Jessop, CFAS
   The interview starts 34 minutes into this hour long program, just set the cursor ahead on the sound track to hear this in-depth interview about the Contraception Program planned for Oak Bay.

Oak Bay deer-cull foes ready to foot contraceptive June 28, 2015 British Columbia, Times Colonist
... Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society ... has submitted its application for the provincial permit, and the federal application is underway, said society president Bryan Gates.  A spokesman for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said the group’s application has not been reviewed or processed. “Timelines can vary considerably ...

Oak Bay, Citizens group secures deer contraceptive vaccine June 26, 2015 British Columbia, Oak Bay News 
... The Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society has a commitment for 25 doses of SpayVac from Immunovaccine Inc., a Canadian vaccine development company in Nova Scotia. The doses are to be used in a project later this year to capture, immunize, tag and monitor up to 25 female deer...

Ann Arbor, Humane Society to assess potential for deer fertility control in Ann Arbor May 25, 2015 Michigan, MLive 
... the Humane Society of the United States is now being invited to travel to Ann Arbor to assess the feasibility for conducting a deer fertility control research project here... Robert McGee, founder of a group called Ann Arbor Residents for Non-Lethal Deer Management, made an offer at last week's council meeting to pay to bring in experts from the Humane Society ...

Oak Bay, Editorial: Sterilizing deer is worth trying April 21, 2015 British Columbia, Times Colonist
... Sterilizing seems an attractive solution — no deer killed, reproduction is curtailed. SpayVac has proven to be effective in preventing pregnancies for up to six years, and only one shot is necessary... The vaccine is experimental — it will have to be manufactured to order, after the proper permits are obtained from Health Canada and the province...
     (Reply to Editorial) Deer-sterilizing plan sounds like a win-win April 24, 2015 British Columbia, Times Colonist
... After some research about the contraceptive type proposed, statistics have proven that a doe will remain sterile for basically as long as she lives... This project will be privately funded, leaving Oak Bay taxpayers without the high cost, both financially and emotionally, of a brutal cull...

Oak Bay, Oak Bay deer need birth control, not death penalty group says April 14, 2015 British Columbia, CBC
...  a newly formed group called the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society is advocating a non-lethal approach to keeping down the deer population.  The society's goal is to capture 25 to 50 deer in Oak Bay and administer what is called an immunocontraceptive ... the group needs a federal certificate from Health Canada which Page says can be a lengthy process ...

Oak Bay, Mayor says deer cull only option available January 20, 2015 British Columbia, Oak Bay News 
... Saanich biologist Rick Page has worked with Mark Fraker, a biologist and president of SpayVac for Wildlife Inc. and TerraMar Environmental Research based in Sidney. SpayVac is considered experimental as it has not been widely used. However, Fraker has used it in the United States and locally, at CFB Esquimalt and Maple Ridge, with positive results, according to Page.  “This is an opportunity for Oak Bay to do an incredible pilot project that I think people would buy into and support,” Kilpatrick said ...

Oak Bay, Deer deserve kinder fate January 8, 2015 British Columbia, BC Local News
... Officials have been describing the proposed cull as “humane”, yet the procedure as shown in a brief video clip on CTV News, indicates that it is not.  We were told that the SpayVac contraceptive, a non-lethal alternative means of deer population reduction, would not be available in 2014.  Now that we have crossed the threshold into 2015, why not undertake a pilot project with SpayVac? It has been used on James Island on fallow deer and at the base in Esquimalt on native black tailed deer...


Sterilization

While spaying can be expensive, $1,000 per deer, because of high labor costs, local volunteers can bring costs down.  A $500 per deer cost can be achieved.  In many states, deer contraception is illegal.  Sterilization is typically 100 percent effective and only needs to be done once, but may result in the death or injury of some deer . This field surgery requires more supplies and equipment than contraception so easier access to deer such as through small roads becomes an issue.  Tubal ligation requires less intervention than spaying or ovariectomy, but may result in does going into heat and attracting bucks or a few does becoming pregnant.  
Follow the progress of Maryland's first deer sterilization program at Wildlife Rescue.  A recent case example from California.  A program just getting started in Clifton, Ohio

News

East Hampton, Deer Sterilization Denounced February 25, 2016 New York, East Hampton Star
... White Buffalo sterilized some 114 does in the winter of 2015 ... Last spring, several of the sterilized does died, some while attempting to birth stillborn fawns, others as a consequence of capture or surgery... A better solution, Ms. Petroski suggested, was to “get behind a less invasive contraception program, possibly in coordination with the town.” ...

Mt. Lebanon to use sharpshooters to cull deer January 13, 2016 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
...  commissioners approved the next stage ... by voting, 3-2 ... Humane Society wildlife biologist and senior director Stephanie Boyles-Griffin explained that a Pennsylvania nonprofit group, the Botstiber Foundation, remains interested in funding most of a surgical sterilization program. The Game Commission would have to approve the program ...

Clifton, Deer sterilization: When compassion, sport, need and science collide December 26, 2015 Ohio, Cincinnati
... The premise is sterilization only works because female deer tend to remain near a particular area... Of the 41 does sterilized, all but two awoke from the anesthesia. One showed signs of having a previous disease...  Necropsies were ordered on their bodies...The cost the first year of sterilization is roughly $1,000 per deer. though programs like one in Maryland have been able to reduce the cost by more than half over a four-year study by organizing and training volunteers...

... the 41 does sterilized during the first year of operations represent about 90 percent of the local adult doe population...  “So many communities around the nation want to know whether it is possible to manage their overabundant deer herds through non-lethal means alone. The research being done in Clifton will help to provide definitive answers.” ...

East Hampton, Allege East Hampton Village Deer Sterilization Was Illegal December 10, 2015 New York, East Hampton Star
... A complaint alleging that those engaged by East Hampton Village to sterilize deer were not licensed to practice veterinary medicine in New York State has been referred to the state attorney general’s office ... Mr. DeNicola ... said those who have performed the sterilizations did so under the supervision of a state-licensed veterinarian, Dr. Steven Timm ...

NIH’s Solution to Campus Overrun With Deer: Give Them Ovariectomies December 1, 2015 Maryland, The Washington Free Beacon 
...The National Institutes of Health ... is looking for a contractor to help the deer population problem on its 500-acre Bethesda headquarters, which currently has 30 to 40 deer running free ... the contractor will provide training of NIH veterinary staff in the performance of ovariectomies in deer ... [White Buffalo did the first round of ovariectomies and has also been chosen for the second round, update January 11, 2016]

Deer Sterilization Effort Stirs Ire in NY's Tony Hamptons November 22, 2015 New York, ABC News
... One backs an ongoing program to perform sterilization operations on deer them rather than kill them. And one is trying to shut it down, believing the surgeries are carried out in such a sloppy manner that they end up killing deer anyway...The village hired Connecticut nonprofit White Buffalo Inc. to conduct the sterilization program ...

...  “Vets will do the rapid ovariectomy. Then, once that’s done, they will give the deer antibiotics, a pain killer, and turn them loose when they are ready.”  The deer that undergo the procedure will be tagged and tracked by GPS...Each deer undergoing the procedure will cost between $600 and $1,000 ...

In an effort to reduce the deer population in urban areas of Cincinnati, park officials plan to implement a sterilization program in December.


Clifton deer population to be spayed. Yes, spayed November 13, 2015 Ohio, Cincinnati
... The neighborhood has raised $50,000 in private donations for the effort in Mount Storm, Rawson Woods and Edgewood Grove parks...  An expert from New England does the spaying...

Deer Sterilization to Continue November 12, 2015 New York, East Hampton Star
... The first phase, in which approximately 114 deer were sterilized, was not without incident  ... Results of necropsies performed on two deer that had been sterilized were “inconclusive as to the direct cause of death of the does,” according a statement Ms. Molinaro issued in September...
      Wildlife Advocates Sue East Hampton Village Over Deer Sterilization Effort November 10, 2015 New York, 27east.com
... "In January they sterilized does in unsanitary conditions," said Bill Crain, vice-president of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife ... In the spring at least a half-dozen female deer were found dead in the village, apparently suffering from infections and bleeding after giving birth to still-born babies ... as many as 19 of the deer, identified by white tags placed on their ears, may have died...

East Hampton, Deer Sterilization Effort Begins Again In East Hampton Village November 3, 2015 New York, 27east.com
... Last year White Buffalo tranquilized and surgically sterilized 114 does in East Hampton Village. This past spring, several of the sterilized deer—identifiable by the white plastic tags affixed to both ears—died after aborting babies.  Critics of the sterilization program pointed out that the work was done in December and January last year, after the deer had likely bred and the does were already impregnated...

Syracuse, Deer task force did its job; now act on its humane recommendationsNovember 1, 2015 New York, Syracuse Post-Standard 
... a number of things in the media which have contributed to misinformation ...  misinformation involves a figure of $5,000 per doe for surgical sterilization. That amount is way out of line of any actual cost estimates ... Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon would still have a push poll up on his website, containing not only the $5,000 per doe figure (which he was informed weeks ago was incorrect) but also a bias for lethal and against sterilization so obvious that it should be seen as a way to influence public opinion, not as a genuine survey for input from county residents...

Clifton, Deer sterilization effort in Cincy parks gets boost September 28, 2015 Ohio, Cincinnati 
... The grant from the Humane Society of the United States will allow CliftonDeer.org to pursue its nonlethal deer population control program in Mount Storm Park, Rawson Woods and Edgewood Grove parks...

Bethlehem gets deer control advice August 4, 2015 New York, Times Union 
... At Cornell ... they have been successful in controlling deer through sterilization and controlled hunting. Along the way there were some unexpected results, including the increase in bucks, which [Paul Curtis, an associate professor] said is part of the learning process...

Montgomery County looks at bowhunting to cull deer July 29, 2015 Maryland, Washington Post
... Since the county’s deer management program began 19 years ago, hunters have killed nearly 15,000 deer ... .“[Sterilization] tends to be one of the more expensive means of managing deer populations ... But I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future it’s the only option there is to consider.” [Bill Hamilton, principal natural resources specialist with the Montgomery County Parks Department.]

Cayuga Heights, How one NY village has declared war on deer July 26, 2015 New York, Syracuse Post-Standard 
... the village is using professional archers – in combination with ovariectomies -to reduce the deer population... the village spent more than $188,000 ... Those opposed to the village's efforts to sterilize and kill the deer formed their own group and started a web site, cayugadeer.org. They call for "safe, ethical and rational" efforts to reduce the deer such as hiring rangers who would assist residents on a case-by-case basis with non-lethal methods such as repellents and fences...

Cosmetic Surgery in Clifton July 21, 2015 Ohio
... a motivation for the urban deer sterilization program proposed in Clifton is that "Experts recommend a density between 15 – 20 deer per square mile, which can sustain a healthy deer herd and wildlife habitat." [cliftondeer.org].  Expert recommendations for ecologically acceptable suburban deer densities range from 5 to 100 deer per square mile. Examples  The state of Delaware targets 40 deer per square mile in deer habitat, a little higher than the current estimate for Clifton, and a recent U.S. Forest Service study put the optimal deer density at about 15 to 28 per square mile for a forest.  A suburb can support more deer than the typical forest.  While this project may provide answers to questions about the efficacy of deer sterilization in a relatively open environment, wrapping the project up in the flag of ecology is a disservice to legitimate ecological issues related to deer management.  This project is about the social carrying capacity, not the ecologic carrying capacity of the community. This report from the Michigan DNR  [PDF] discusses the difference between ecologic and social carrying capacity starting on page 7.

Nonlethal program to target burgeoning Clifton deer population July 18, 2015 Ohio, WCPO
... White Buffalo Inc., a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that conducts research programs focused on wildlife, will spearhead a weeklong effort to sterilize at least 40 female deer ...

Resolving Mt. Lebo's deer management July 13, 2015 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
 ... Taking deer-killing off the table is the only way to keep our family-oriented parks and backyards peaceful, enjoyable and nonviolent, as they were intended... Use sterilization as the primary management method, supplemented by other approaches (promoting deer-resistant plans, enforcing the speed limit, public education) ...

... Fairfax City, a 6.3-square-mile enclave within Fairfax County ...  Although its deer density (estimated at no more than 16 deer per square mile prior to the initiation of the project) is not nearly as high as other municipalities, citizen concerns about deer prompted the consideration of various lethal and nonlethal deer management alternatives ... 18 female deer, who were then spayed ...

... The procedure, which is reportedly less invasive than spaying of cats and dogs, permanently prevents pregnancy and estrus cycles in does... Feinberg sees fewer fawns and neighbor complaints about browsing significantly dropped. According to Feinberg, does that are not pregnant or lactating require less food. She also says there are very few new deer coming into the area because the sterilized does continue to maintain their home ranges...

Bloomington, Candidates dodge Griffy deer cull; Linnemeier proposes urban deer solution April 15, 2015 Indiana, The Bloomington Alternative
...Linnemeier proposes capturing and sterilizing neighborhood deer, a proposal he said the deer task force says most citizens support.  “From the very beginning it appeared to me that the best solution to the problem would be to dart the female deer with an anesthetic and then sterilize them while they were under,” ...

Villages, San Jose - Afternoon of Deer and Yearlings April 12, 2015 California, Examiner.com, Hasan Rahim
...Deer roam with some freedom in The Villages, a gated 4000-strong senior community in a 1200-acre land at the foothills of East San Jose ... The sterilization effort ... The trend is ominous: If 20-24 deer die every year and zero immigration continues, the deer population will be at about 60 in about 18 months. At this rate, the deer population will simply die out in a few years, a situation as undesirable as it is cruel...

... Based on camera surveys and field observations, we are confident that the team has captured and sterilized more than 90% of the female deer population in the City of Fairfax. 
    Fairfax Deer Sterilization Progress Report, Year 2 Summary Report February 2015, Virginia, White Buffalo
... we were able to train three local veterinarians, several veterinary technicians, and local support volunteers. This should prove even more valuable in Year 3 to facilitate repeating the capture and sterilization process with minimal professional staff.  
     In summary, the use of bait significantly increased our efficiency as it does on nearly all research or nontraditional deer management operations and will be vital to the future success of this research project. 

Fairfax deer sterilization project enters second year January 29, 2015 Virginia, Fairfax Times 
... the deer is shot with a tranquilizer dart and transported to a mobile surgical unit, where a veterinarian removes her ovaries. The surgery only takes about 12 minutes ... The deer receive a long-term pain killer and long-acting antibiotic ... fitted with ear tags and radio tracking collars ... “Killing deer in an area is not an effective wildlife management tool,” [Gina Lynch] added, because the population soon will be replaced through new births and migration from other areas...

Fairfax City’s ‘Deer Spay Project’ kicks off second year January 27, 2015 Virginia, ABC 7 News 
... Organizers say it is not only more humane than killing the animals, it is also more effective.  "It's called the vacuum effect. If you remove all of them, you're just gonna have neighboring guys come into the neighborhood," ...

Mt. Lebanon awaits formal letter nixing extended deer season January 21, 2015 Pennsylvania, Tribune-Review
... Public Works Director Tom Kelley said staff at the regional game commission office told him they had never extended the hunting season for a single municipality, and weren't going to start with Mt. Lebanon... Hunting on public property is one of the state's prerequisites for other deer-control methods such as trapping and surgical sterilization, both of which the municipality has applied to do ...

East Hampton deer sterilization spays 114 January 20, 2015 New York, Shelter Island Reporter 
... Wildlife biologist Anthony DeNicola, of Connecticut-based White Buffalo, a leading nonprofit in deer management, ran the program for 10 days and 114 does were spayed. “That’s about 60 percent of the females in the herd,” Mr. DeNicola said. “We’ll be back in February for another 20 percent.” ... The cost is about $1,000 per deer if done by professionals, or about $500 when done by trained volunteers ...

Town & Country Neighbors to Hold Candlelight Vigil for Dead Deer January 8, 2015 Missouri, Riverfront Times Blogs
...  neighbors and animal lovers alike are banding together to commemorate the fallen: the 100 deer that sharpshooters will cull this year to keep the population under control... "If that first year they had done sterilizations, they wouldn't have quit
e the problem they've got right now," says Al Gerber, who also used to be a town alderman ...

East Hampton Village To Begin Deer Sterilization Program January 1, 2015 New York, CBS New York 
... Last year, both the town and village of East Hampton and other municipalities opted out of a plan that called for trained sharpshooters to kill deer across eastern Long Island ... within a 10 to 20 minute surgery, veterinarians will remove their ovaries [ovariectomy] and they’ll be put back out into the local population.” ...
     Deer sterilization program in East Hampton set to begin Friday December 31, 2014 New York, Newsday
... White Buffalo Inc. intends to station a team of 10 biologists, veterinarians and other staff in the village for about three weeks in an experimental program aimed at reducing the deer population without resorting to gunfire...  about $1,000 per deer... the 5-square-mile East Hampton Village is larger and more populated with deer than any area the organization has worked...

At the NIH, white-tailed deer get sterilized in luxurious surgery rooms December 24, 2014 Maryland, Washington Post 
...  the research institute immediately understood the procedure’s potential ... surgical sterilization seems to be gaining popularity ... A recent experiment in sterilizing deer at Cornell University — using tubal ligation — backfired when the reduced birthrate was offset by randy males moving onto campus... Under the spaying technique in use at the NIH [ovariectomy], females don’t go into heat at all...

NIH Embarks on Deer Management Plan December 5, 2014 Maryland, NIH Record
... For many NIH [National Institute of Health] employees, the presence of white-tailed deer on the Bethesda campus is a welcome sight, offering a rural feel in our otherwise urban setting ... “After looking at all options ... Over the next 4 years, starting this month, trained doctoral deer population control experts, in coordination with NIH veterinary staff, will anesthetize and neuter adult females ...

Mt. Lebanon commissioners take steps toward deer management November 20, 2014 Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
... Among the measures is a proposal for deer sterilization that, if approved by the game commission, would be the first permit of its kind to be issued in the state...  

Update on Progress of Deer Sterilization Program at the Villages in San Jose, California November 19, 2014 
     In 2007, the Villages, a gated community with semi-permeable fencing, proposed thinning their deer herd by using archers.  Protests prevented the plan from going ahead.  After discussions, it was agreed that the company White Buffalo would tranquilize the does and perform ovariectomys.  The process began at the end of January, 2013, and was completed in early February.  Below is a recent update on the success of this project.  Based on a preliminary population estimate and two follow up estimates, there has been about a 20 percent reduction in the deer population in the first year with another reduction of about 20 percent in the second year based on an estimate done in November, 2014 -- about a 40 percent reduction in the population over less than two years.  The full report is available here or at the link above.


Relocation, Translocation

A common objection to relocation is that many deer perish as a result, since deer are flight animals and easily stressed by any constraint. A 2008 study in Texas where there had been significant experience with Trap, Transport, and Transplant concludes "reasonable survival rates can be achieved." (see research below).  Costs can be as low as $150 to 200 per deer. As the information below suggests, success varies widely depending on circumstances. Significant deer mortality may result from from the difficulty of adjusting to a new environment and the transportation stress, although wild deer are routinely transported for deer research.  As with a cull, if there is ample food the remaining deer will respond with increased fertility.  Also, the potential of spreading Chronic Wasting or other diseases should be considered: Geography of Chronic Wasting.  Relocating deer into a chronic wasting disease zone may improve genetic diversity and hasten the herds adaption to disease resistance.

News

The Deer that were Here April 22, 2016 British Columbia, BC Local News
... 29 collared deer from Kimberley and Cranbrook were released in the south country in February... there have been no deaths that could be called stress related ... There was a lot of question as to how they would do. Capture related deaths due to stress can show up a couple of weeks after an animal is handled...

...  Stags and hinds arrived with humans – but not from Scandinavia, nor from the British mainland.  And they can only have arrived by ship: transported by enterprising Neolithic colonists ... “long distance maritime travel by Neolithic people … from an unknown source.” ...

39 elk arrive from Kentucky March 25, 2016 Michigan, MDNR News
...  In year two of elk reintroduction efforts, 39 elk from Kentucky have reached their new home in Jackson County this week. The elk will be held in an acclimation pen in the Black River State Forest through a quarantine period to satisfy health testing requirements ....

Suklaphanta to shift some of its swamp deer March 25, 2016 Kathmandu Post
... the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, they plan to relocate 15 swamp deer to the BNP in the first phase.   “The plan is to translocate the deer to Bardiya within two months,” ...

... "There was one deer that was predated by a cougar fairly early on in the project," ... "For the most part, they've been doing fairly well ...
     Tracking translocated urban deer March 14, 2016 British Columbia, Cranbrook Daily Townsman
... The capture process has wrapped up for a regional urban deer translation project, as 60 mule deer have been relocated from four communities to winter range areas... Of those 60 deer that were translocated, 29 were fitted with radio collars ... 

Effort to reintroduce elk to Alabama in 1916 March 13, 2016 Tuscaloosa News
... elk were captured in Yellowstone by experts for $5.00 a head and transported in wagons and trains to Alabama... The first night the herd made a rush on the fence and ten of them broke out. This herd has been loose in our woods ever since. Three of the elk have died  ... I believe they died from eating mountain laurel or poison ivy ...

Partners Continue Mule Deer Restoration Effort in the Big Bend March 10, 2016 Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife
      In a continued effort to boost a struggling mule deer population in parts of the Big Bend region of far West Texas, 75 female mule deer were recently relocated from Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area ... Partners involved in this important project include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), ECLCC, Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University ...

Official Video from Texas Parks and Wildlife about the Relocaton Project


Game and Fish continues deer population management March 7, 2016 New Mexico, Silver City Sun-News
... In 2012, they managed to trap only six deer, but in 2013, that number shot up to 110,” Matthews said. “It is a lot of work, you need at least one person per deer.” The deer are hooded and their legs are tied so they can be safely transported during relocation. “So you wind up having to have 20-25 people there if you have 20-25 deer. It’s pretty labor intensive.” ...

Study begins to relocate wild buffalo and swamp deer to CNP March 7, 2016 Nepal, The Kathmandu Post
... Study and preparations have been begun to relocate the wild buffalo and swamp deer to the Chitwan National Park (CNP) ...

The situation with the translocation February 25, 2016 British Columbia, Cranbrook Daily Townsman
... "Over three days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, last week, 20 deer were removed from Kimberley, which is what the permit allowed," White said. "One deer died at capture. They think it regurgitated food and it got caught in the trachea...
     Kootenay Communities Given Funding to Relocate Deer February 22, 2016 British Columbia, kelownanow.com
... The province will provide $36,000 to three communities, Cranbrook, Kimberly, and Invemere, to support the translocation of deer ...

... Efforts continue to bolster the West Texas pronghorn population with 112 animals recently relocated and freed near Marfa. [not deer, but shows these relocation efforts can be successful] ...

Moose on the loose in Idaho Falls! February 13, 2016 East Idaho News 
... Animal control officers in Idaho Falls report a moose was captured and relocated in Ammon on Tuesday by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game...

East Kootenay deer translocation study about to begin February 12, 2016 British Columbia, BC Local News
...  Female deer (does) will be captured by tranquilizer darts or in non-collapsible Clover traps.  The mule deer will be transported to winter ranges in the East Kootenays where mule deer populations are in decline...

     Capture and translocation are important tools for managing and studying large ungulates. Although widely used, many established field practices cause fear and stress in subject animals that can hamper overall effectiveness and safety...  For extended tranquilization (during transport and overnight holding), adding a sustained-release haloperidol formulation provides calming effects for at least 24–48 h. In our assessment, appropriate and adaptive use of these tranquilizer combinations benefits captured animals without impeding management or research goals

Lakeway, Living with Deer, Relocation of Urban Deer February 5, 2016 Texas, City of Lakeway
...  the “acceptable” number of deer in Lakeway is a subjective matter... From 1999 to 2015, 3,643 deer were removed through trap and relocation or trap and process permits, including 794 relocated to ranches in Mexico in the 2000 –2001 season through an arrangement between TPWD and entities in Mexico...  Costs for trapping and relocation are affected by how far the deer must be moved, but can range from $150 - $200 per animal...

Public lands hears agency reports/deer release February 3, 2016 Utah, Emery County Progress
... As many as 25 deer-sized "clover traps" are baited to catch the deer .. with the help of DWR biologists, move trapped deer into horse trailers for their trip to the southeast side of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The areas where the deer are being released have enough forage to support the newcomers until plants in the areas green-up in the spring...deer are being radio-collared ...

Our deer will not be shot’ say Alexandra Park bosses after rumours circulate January 22, 2016 United Kingdom, London24
... they are being sent to two deer parks in Devon where they will be in a more rural environment. The park says that they had been considering moving the deer for a number of years...

Deer translocation study set to begin January 13, 2016 British Columbia, BC Local News
... this is a full on scientific project ... The less people around the better, to minimize stress ... “There are animals out there already collared — a control group,” Oakley said. “We want to know — if an animal is taken by a predator, are there control group animals being taken as well, or have the animals being transported lost their prey instinct?” ...

Mule deer translocation trial to begin this winter January 3, 2016 British Columbia, The Free Press
... This trial project, which has received widespread support, is a response to the desire of many to find a non-lethal option to reduce urban deer populations. While the hope is that translocation will prove to be a reliable management tool, the current project is designed to scientifically test if translocation of urban deer is humane and effective...

Animal Alliance looking forward to relocation trial December 28, 2015 British Columbia, Cranbrook Daily Townsman
... collars will allow for the relocated to be monitored. That will allow the whole thing to be evaluated... “If you look at the numbers, I think they’ve had four culls and really the number of mule deer they’ve counted has not gone down substantially,” she said. “It just doesn’t work.”...

Problem deer in East Kootenay will be moved, instead of killed December 24, 2015 British Columbia, CBC
... A team of experts will relocate up to 80 deer, and then track their movements with GPS to see if the plan works.  The plan was driven by backlash against killing the deer...

Urban deer translocation project to begin December 23, 2015 British Columbia, BC Local News 
... After extensive planning and discussions, a trial project to translocate urban mule deer from four communities ... Mule deer will be live-captured in Elkford, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Invermere, and transported to winter range areas in the East Kootenay where natural non-urban mule deer populations have been in decline for several years.  This trial project, which has received wide-spread support ...

Deer found hanging out in Wrigleyville December 8, 2015 Illinois, abc7chicago.com
...  Animal Care and Control came to tranquilize the animal ...  then released to a Cook County forest preserve...

F Goudarzi, MR Hemami, H Bashari, S Johnson - Ecosphere, 2015
... Sensitivity analysis of the BBN model suggests that the most important factors in translocation success are determined by the translocation management program (management scenario node) followed by habitat suitability, reintroduced group structure and site security...

... After becoming familiar with food distribution and shelter conditions, they dispersed further in order to avoid predation risk. In order to improve the survival rate of reintroduced deer, we suggest releasing the adult individuals of robust physique into the wild in future programmes, and more attention should be paid to the initial 9 days after releasing the species. Increasing the local experience of the captive-born animals and helping them become familiar with the new wild habitat will improve the survival rate in future reintroductions...

Some Dutch deer may be moved to Bulgaria rather than shot August 26, 2015 Netherlands, DutchNews.nl 
... Amsterdam city council executives two years ago voted in favour of plans to cull hundreds of fallow deer ... wildlife group Rewilding Europe is in touch with the people who run the Rhodopen national park in Bulgaria about moving some of the Dutch deer there. They are keen to repopulate the area with deer because it will be good for the biodiversity...

Logan city council holds decision on ordinance for trapping deer August 20, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal 
... “any city that lives within 30 miles of an animal that has been tested positive for wasting disease, the city cannot approve a trap and transport program,” ... 

Dalton Gardens, Downside to deer trapping in Dalton August 15, 2015 Idaho, CDA Press
...  the City Council is seriously considering continuing the "trial" trap and transfer program again this year... Last year's program trapped eight does and two bucks. One doe miscarried as a result of the process and "her blood loss, extreme exhaustion and stress made it evident to me (the trapper) her survival was unlikely." ...

     This information page contains a summary of current Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulations concerning permits to Trap, Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds as they pertain to mule deer...

Deer tranquilized, relocated from South Boston yard June 30, 2015 Massachusetts, The Boston Globe 
... the deer was “calm, relaxed, and lying down in a flower yard behind a picnic table ...  tranquilized the deer ... relocated to the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, where two officers monitored the scene ... tweeted video that deer was ok

Cody, Bullwinkle taken back to the wild June 16, 2015 Wyoming, Cody Enterprise 
... a juvenile yearling moose meandered into her yard... Game and Fish wardens soon arrived and decided the best way to deal with the bull was to tranquilize and relocate him ...

Bountiful deer program makes progress May 29, 2015 Utah, The Davis Clipper
... teams of DNR personnel and volunteers trapped more than 200 deer in Bountiful, releasing them in other areas around the state... The deer were trapped with drop nets,
which Howard said she likes because an entire family can be trapped and relocated together ... (click to enlarge image of relocated deer being released)

Columbian White-tail deer relocation complete May 15, 2015 Washington, Longview Daily News
... A total of 88 deer were relocated to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge... The typical mortality rate of transferring deer is 8 to 10 percent ... The relocation started because of concerns that a dike that protects the refuge would breach ...

Deer removed from Dalton Gardens April 22, 2015 Idaho, CDA Press
... The city of Dalton Gardens had 10 deer safely removed from the city in its first trapping and relocation season...  the deer were all released alive...

Logan considering urban deer trap-and-release program April 22, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal 
... North Logan kicked off its winter trap-and-release program this February after much public discussion. Thirty deer were captured over about four weeks ... One male, which had been transported to Hardware Ranch, returned and was re-captured...  the public is split on a trap-and-removal program, but if offered the option of a kill program, they tend to lean toward a trap-and-release option...

... The survival rate of the deer in 2013 was fairly low at only 50 percent ... still higher than expected. In the second year, another 10 percent of the translocated deer from 2013 died, raising the mortality rate to 60 percent for the entire 2013 herd.  The 98 deer that were moved in 2014 had about 76 percent survival in their first year however, proving that translocation could potentially be a viable option ...

Forest officials favour relocation of Nara depot deer April 12, 2015 India, Times of India
...  Experts who visited the spot say keeping so many deer confined there is sentencing them to death...They seem to agree that relocating the deer from the place is best option...

Elk from Kentucky have reached their new home near Black River Falls! March 27, 2015 Wisconsin, WDNR News
     Elk from Kentucky have reached their new home near Black River Falls, Wis. in the first year of elk reintroduction efforts in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and a number of other key partners.  In all, 26 elk were transported to Jackson County after completing a 45-day quarantine period in Kentucky as part of a five-year agreement between Wisconsin and Kentucky that will provide Wisconsin with up to 150 wild elk...

Mule Deer Relocated in West Texas to Help Boost Population March 26, 2015 Gilmer Mirror
... TPWD and their partners plan to translocate an additional 100 mule deer to the Black Gap WMA/ECLCC area in 2016, and will continue to monitor their movements, habitat utilization, survival, and causes of mortality through 2017... [see video below]

In a multi-year effort to boost mule deer populations in parts of Far West Texas, biologists are capturing and relocating female deer, or does, to help replenish herds after the drought of the 1990s. - March 24, 2015 Texas


...  Deer were removed from areas of high concentration, including urban areas and locations where deer were negatively impacting agriculture, in a dual effort to also prevent human-wildlife conflicts. These deer were translocated to suitable habitats ... 390 deer were captured and translocated ...  After we adapted capture, translocation, and release techniques during the second year, survival jumped as high as 80 percent rivaling survival of native deer in New Mexico," commented Stewart Liley, big game program manager with NMDGF...


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