Deer Thrive in Edge Habitat:  The graphic at right shows how a forest develops over time after an event such as a fire of clear cutting.  The resulting bare field can support few deer, but as forbs beging to grow, the deer forage supply increases and deer fertility increases in response - more twins and triplets are born, more female fawns.  As the forest progresses to shrubs, forage supply begins to decline and deer fertility begins to decline as well - fewer twins or triplets, some does may reabsorb the fetus.  As tree density increases to thick hardwood, the available food supply is greatly reduce as is the deer population density.  Predators are not required to achieve this evolution. 

Suburbs are managed to maintain perpetual edge habitat, so the natural deer density can be over 100 deer per square mile.  Predators will reduce the food supply and deer density somewhat, in part, because the deer need to keep on the move and avoid unsafe areas.  Careful use of dogs can recreate this effect in the suburbs.   Edge Habitat
 [Based on presentation to the International Urban Wildlife Conference in 2015]

Deer habitat


The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Oct., 1969), pp. 881-887
... Productivity of low-diet yearlings and prime-age animals amounted to 0.62 and 1.36 fawns per doe, respectively, compared to rates of 1.63 and 1.80 for high-diet deer.  Males comprised 70 percent of the births from physically mature mothers on low diet when bred, whereas males constituted 46.7 percent of the offspring conceived by does on high diet...




Dr. William Porter explains the population density progress [graph above] in the context of controlling chronic wasting disease using a deer cull. March 8, 2016