North Carolina Deer Population:  An estimated one million deer in early 2016.  Lower populations in the east.  An estimated 1,165,000 deer in early 2015.  About one million deer in 2014.  Deer population estimated at 1.2 to 1.35 million in 2013 through 2011.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical North Carolina deer harvest data and news archive.

North Carolina Deer News 

Charlotte, Deer stands in south Charlotte? November 9, 2016 North Carolina, WCNC.com
... Families are on high alert after reports of deer stands in a south Charlotte greenway ... it's against the law to hunt deer within city limits...

Elk Depredation Rules Announced October 26, 2016 North Caroliina, Thetribunepapers
... North Carolina statute allows landholders to take wildlife at any time with firearms without a permit or license while it is in the act of destroying their property.  The adopted amendment will require a landowner who takes a depredating elk without a Commission-issued depredation permit to report that take to the Commission within 24 hours of the kill...

NC 'citizen scientists' sought for wildlife camera survey October 25, 2016 North Carolina, News & Observer
... North Carolinians will soon be able to check out motion-activated cameras from their local libraries to discover what wildlife lives around them... aims to place camera traps at 20,000 to 30,000 sites ...  scientists are particularly interested in studying the distribution patterns of deer across the state, particularly in relation to the number of coyotes...

NC researchers ask for help in camera trap survey October 18, 2016 North Carolina, BlueRidgeNow.com
... recruiting schools and residents to participate in "North Carolina's Candid Critters," the largest camera trap survey ever, with a goal of 20,000 to 30,000 active sites ... Participants may borrow a camera trap ... help scientists learn more about deer reproduction ...
... They are planting deer decoys in open fields at night in areas where residents have reported night hunting...

North Carolina Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game & Fish
... hunters reported harvesting 162,558 deer during the 2015-16 hunting season. That is 5.8 percent higher than the lackluster harvest of 153,629 during the 2014-15 hunting season, but 3.9 percent below the 10-year average ... declines on the coast could be attributable to antlerless deer harvest, changes in habitat quality and predation...

Wildlife a Problem at Burlington Alamance Regional Airport October 5, 2016 North Carolina, TWC News
... The aircraft tried to fly to get above the deer. It did hit the deer which caused a fuel leak in the airplane. The airplane immediately landed with no incident ... A $2 million, two-year project is underway to put up a fence around the airport...

... while government officials set aside ranges for the wolves in the middle of North Carolina, wild animals don’t often abide by lines drawn on a map. The wolves soon began crossing onto nearby private property, harrasing livestock and scaring away deer, which angered landowners and hunters alike ...

Study sniffs out effects of dogs, humans on wildlife October 4, 2016 North Carolina, Phys
... "The bottom line of our work is that we have a ton of dogs using our parks, but most stay on-trail and don't harass wildlife much," says co-author Roland Kays, wildlife biologist with North Carolina State University ... Using camera traps, the project documented over 23,000 cases of dogs using natural areas, but 99 percent of dogs stuck to the trail and 97 percent were with their owners...

Portions of Duke Forest close for deer hunting October 1, 2016 North Carolina, News & Observer
... Duke University has been participating in the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Deer Management Assistance Program for nine years ... They eat seedlings and saplings ... it will take a while to understand the larger impact on the deer population and future growth of the forest...

Disturbing trend of illegal deer carcass dumping in Davidson County September 21, 2016  North Carolina, myfox8.com
..."The hind quarters and the antlers were cut off," James said. "It is an eyesore."  James says the eyesore not only looks and smells bad but has attracted other insects and animals...  Six deer carcasses were dumped near Highway 49 and Highway 8... 

Elk once roamed the southern Appalachian mountains and elsewhere in the eastern United States. They were eliminated from the region by over-hunting and loss of habitat. The last elk in North Carolina was believed to have been killed in the late 1700s. In Tennessee, the last elk was killed in the mid-1800s. By 1900, the population of elk in North America dropped to the point that hunting groups and other conservation organizations became concerned the species was headed for extinction. - September 17, 2016


Deer Harvest Report Shows 5.8% Increase Over Previous Season August 31, 2016 North Carolina, NCWildlife.org
 ...coastal region harvest decreased from the previous season in all districts ... The piedmont region harvest increased in all districts ... where high levels of hemorrhagic disease activity contributed to depressed harvest during the 2014-2015 season.  The mountain region saw an increase in harvest ...

Public Hearing on Sept. 8 Will Address Proposed Elk Depredation Rule Changes August 31, 2016 North Carolina, Commission News    
     The Wildlife Commission is holding a public hearing on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., to take comments on proposed changes to elk management regulations. The hearing will be held in the auditorium of Haywood Community College, located at 185 Freedlander Drive in Clyde. If passed, the proposed changes will require landowners who do not have a depredation permit issued by the Wildlife Commission and who kill a depredating elk to report that kill to the Commission within 24 hours of the kill. Additionally a landowner who has an elk-depredation permit and takes a depredating elk must report it on the form provided with the permit. More ...

Clemmons, Latest growing pain merits study, but it's no biggie August 17, 2016 North Carolina, Winston-Salem Journal
... council has asked staff to contact wildlife experts to gauge the deer population in the village. That’s reasonable. There’s no big problem now... “Some people have deer basically living in their backyard, and some don’t ever see a deer. I’m not sure how we determine the magnitude of the problem.” ...

Coyotes and deer fawn depredation August 15, 2016 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... habitat improvement would help. With good habitat and thick cover, more fawns would survive. Also, if we improve the (buck/doe) balance in the breeding season, does would drop fawns at the same time. Predators can take only so many (fawns) at a time. We’d flood the market, so to speak ...

Buck deer with velvet antlers: Haywood Knolls, Hendersonville, NC - August 15, 2016


Clemmons Council wants closer look at deer population August 10, 2016 North Carolina, Winston-Salem Journal
... don’t know if there is a deer problem in the village, but they want to find out.  At their meeting Monday, they asked the staff to contact wildlife experts to gauge the deer situation in Clemmons....
    Clemmons Residents Concerned About Deer Presence August 10, 2016 North Carolina, WFMYNews2.com
... "My hosta plant really was the beautiful centerpiece of the yard. I was just mad," ... he had to install a gate to keep ... deer coming into his yard...

Managing wildlife crucial in hunt areas August 4, 2016 North Carolina, The Wilson Times
... we once believed in order to manage a deer population properly, that does should not be harvested. The resulting circumstances left the state with an overabundance of does, few quality bucks, and a huge population increase. Why? Because, one buck can mate with many females...

Farm bill benefits agriculture, governor July 30, 2016 North Carolina, The News & Observer
... Sets up a voluntary assessment on deer farmers that the state would collect and remit quarterly to the N.C. Deer and Elk Farmers Association. The money would be used to promote the fledgling industry, in which deer are raised for their antlers and meat...

Statewide deer hunting survey underway July 12, 2016 North Carolina, Public Radio East
... The current study expounds on another conducted in 2006 with 10,000 hunters.  Officials hope to reach over 220,000 this time ...  distribution of white tailed deer was highest in Craven County, with 30 to 44 deer per square mile... year-and-a-half old bucks account for more than 30 percent of the antlered-buck harvest... would like to see that number less than 20 percent...

Deer-food tax on hunters ousted at N. C. legislature July 2, 2016 North Carolina, northcarolinasportsman.com
... an amendment to the 2016 Farm Bill, SB 770, that would have levied an excise tax on any supplemental deer foods and minerals purchased not only by owners of deer farms but by deer hunters, with proceeds going to the N.C. Deer and Elk Farmers Association ...


...The most-hunted species in the study -- white-tailed deer, raccoons, eastern grey squirrels and fox squirrels, which are common throughout the region -- were detected less often at sites where hunting was allowed. Coyotes, in contrast, frequented hunting areas more often than nonhunting sites, and they did not steer clear of hiking areas...

... Three deer at the WNC Nature Center may end up in the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." ...

'Friend of Conservation' award is given to Chatham family June 1, 2016 North Carolina, Wilkes Journal Patriot
...  “In 1935, there was not a deer east of Asheville or west of Moore County. Deer were purchased and liberated on Roundabout. Today, all the deer that are in northwestern North Carolina are descendents of the ones stocked in 1938,” .. .Lewis Petree became superintendent of the farming and game operations in 1947 ...

... HB 1125 would prohibit hunting or the attempt to hunt wildlife with a firearm or other deadly weapon, either from on or across a public road...

Time running out on 'Buckzilla' reward May 24, 2016 North Carolina, The Cherokee Scout
...  The investigation into a magnificent 14-point buck killed in December near the golf course still has not led to an arrest, and that may mean a reward gathered by a citizen will go to waste...
Bald Head Island completes third season of non-lethal deer herd control May 11, 2016  North Carolina, State Port Pilot 
... ended its third season after capturing and inoculating 36 does, exceeding expectations ... the only community using the immunocontraceptive GonaCon on a wild deer population, making it a test case for non-lethal control... For more information about the deer management project and a week-by-week breakdown of this past season, visit www.bhic.org/deer...

Will fewer deer be the new norm? May 2, 2016 North Carolina, Wilkes Journal Patriot
... The total annual harvest in Wilkes was typically well above 4,000 deer before hemorrhagic disease ... in 2012...  in 2015 when hunters reported taking a total of 3,402 ... More data is needed before N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists can determine if deer harvests in Wilkes are stabilizing at a new lower level or are trending downward ...

The closing chapter of a disturbing story May 1, 2016 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... a guilty plea ... to one count of taking a deer during a closed season ... the buck scored more than 208 points ... admitted that the antlers were sheds purchased from a deer farm ... He attached them to the skull of a small buck he killed ...

Deer harvest increases 33 percent in WNC April 29, 2016 North Carolina, Asheville Citizen-Times
... Hunters taking advantage of the now-legal, but long tabooed Sunday hunting - on private land - was one of the reasons behind an increase in the deer harvest across North Carolina last year.  The 2015-16 season harvest was up 5.8 percent ...

Deer harvest of 2015-16 shows improvement over previous year April 25, 2016 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... North Carolina hunters tagged 162,558 whitetails during the 2015-16 season, a 5.8-percent increase over the previous season ... better than in 2014-15, when hemorrhagic disease and a huge acorn crop dropped the harvest by a stunning 18.3 percent... ... Read the full report ...

Deer food on the cheap April 8, 2016 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... Deer need foods rich in protein. Most native spring and summer foods are low in protein content ... The best, economical options for a warm-season planting are mixtures of legumes and grains such as oats, buckwheat, cow peas and red clover. The mixture of legumes and grains will work with each other by providing necessary nitrogen and competition to help prevent weedy invaders...

The politics of deer farming in North Carolina—lessons learned RD Brown - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2016
... Prior to 2015, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were allowed to be raised and sold in-state and out-of-state, but not hunted behind high fences in North Carolina, USA ... Despite the appointment of a WRC task force to study the potential impact of such rules on the proliferation of CWD and substantial public and legislative opposition to such changes, the legislature approved the changes in the last hours of its 2015 session. In addition, regulatory authority over deer farms was transferred from the WRC to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services...

A better deer season for hunters March 9, 2016 North Carolina, News & Observer
... Shaw estimated the deer herd in North Carolina is close to 1 million. He said a three-year study is underway to determine what improvements, if any, might be needed... Among the biological objectives of the study are a balanced sex ratio before peak rut, limiting ...

All about NC's common fauna March 1, 2016 North Carolina, Asheville Homepages Citizen Times Social Media
... As crepuscular mammals, white-tailed deer feed mainly around the hours of dusk and dawn. Their herbivorous diet changes seasonally and consists of fruit, nuts, leaves, buds, twigs and even mushrooms that are poisonous to humans. Their specialized teeth assist in grinding and chewing of tough vegetation...

... Murphy made several predictions ... greater interest in hunting from the “locavore” movement, more advanced technology in the hands of average hunters, and – unfortunately – greater influence of politics over science in deer management...

Antlerless-only reg poised to be scrapped February 22, 2016 New York, Outdoor News 
... DEC officials have indicated they are looking at scrapping the much-criticized regulation after early statistics indicated it didn’t lead to the antlerless deer harvest whitetail managers were hoping for... Designed to trim deer numbers in those units, DEC officials have now confirmed that a “tentative conclusion” has shown the “reported harvest of female deer did not substantially differ ...

Deer population in ENC may be due to development February 17, 2016 North Carolina, WNCT
... Increased development may be having a visible impact on the appearance of deer in residential areas ... N.C. Wildlife Commission Biologist Chris Kent ... suggest that deer have nowhere else to go ... spraying “deer repellant”, planting items that deer do not like to eat, or putting up fencing to keep the animals out...

Coyotes make themselves at home in WNC November 17, 2016 North Carolina, Smoky Mountain News
... If you want a scapegoat to blame for fewer deer and turkey sightings over the years, [Wildlife Commission’s district biologist Justin McVey] said, coyotes probably aren’t the best one... “We have so much national forest out here that is in a mature state, that doesn’t really bode well for deer. If we could get more early successional habitat in our state, our deer population would benefit greatly.” ...

Problems arise when landowners take hunting dog matters into their own hands February 14, 2016 North Carolina, pilotonline.com 
... growing problems between hunters who use dogs to chase deer and landowners who don’t want to be bothered by the dogs or the hunters... Landowners that don’t want dogs on their land claim the animals trespass, especially when dogs are intentionally let go on posted “No Trespassing” property...


Prescribed burns benefit wildlife habitats February 10, 2016 North Carolina, The Jefferson Post 
... the North Carolina Wildlife Commission will schedule numerous prescribed burns from the mountains to the coastline ... These fire-dependent habitats will receive restoration and maintenance burns, particularly in areas that need open groundcover for quail, deer and turkeys...

Owner apologizes for bringing roadkill to NC Chinese restaurant January 21, 2016 North Carolina, FOX 8 
... A woman took a picture of Chen’s vehicle behind the restaurant after seeing people in the car place a dead deer from the side of the road in the trunk. The woman said she recognized the car from it delivering food to her home ...

North Carolina Proposes Opening Elk Hunt January 19, 2016 First For Wildlife ... In 2001, an experimental herd of 25 elk was reintroduced to the state of North Carolina...  another 27 elk were reintroduced to the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2002...  today the state has a rough estimate of around 140-160 elk.

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...

WNC weighs in on proposed elk hunt January 13, 2016 North Carolina, Asheville Citizen-Times
 ... “When we feel like the population of elk reaches the point where it can withstand hunting pressure, we can issue permits for bull tags ... rough estimate is that 140-160 elk live inside and outside [Smoky Mountains] ... the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are trying to find a more accurate way of counting elk and managing the herd ... 

NC WRC New Turn-In-Poachers Program January 12, 2016 North Carolina, The Tribune Papers 
... a new program that could reward members of the public who report suspicious activity or provide knowledge related to wildlife poaching violations that results in a conviction...  Anyone who thinks we don’t have a poaching problem is sadly mistaken...

NCWRC holding 9 public meetings to discuss changes to fish and game laws January 7, 2016 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... One of the proposed changes is regarding the sale of raw, untanned deer hides from legally harvested deer, or those killed by automobiles... processed hides are currently legal to sell ...

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.” ...

26 deer found dead in Pinetops; 5 charged December 6, 2015 North Carolina, WRAL 
... Sixteen heads, mostly of bucks, were found in the yard. Ten additional deer were found in various fields across the county.  One of the deer, shot and left for dead, was found wandering in a field...

Emerald Isle deer hunt set December 31, 2015 North Carolina, carolinacoastonline.com
... The goal, according to Mr. Rush, is to take 30 to 50 deer this year, the same as last year ...  he envisions it being necessary for the foreseeable future...

Rain, warm weather take toll on deer season December 31, 2015 North Carolina, Fayetteville Observer 
... Across the Cape Fear region, hunters say the number of deer spotted and harvested is down... With temperatures in November and December ranging as much as 30 degrees warmer than average and plenty of rain, there hasn't been much of a need or desire to travel. When the deer do move, it's usually at night ...

Star man uses dachshund to find injured deer for hunters December 19, 2015 North Carolina, Asheboro Courier Tribune
... “Most of the deer that are lost and died could have been recovered with the use of an experienced dog,” he said. “Tracking with dogs has only been allowed in North Carolina for the past four years...

North Carolina Ag Dept Embraces Deer Farmers December 15, 2015 North American Deer Farmer's Association
... Deer farmers and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) held their first face-to-face meeting last week, and the positive and friendly environment promises new opportunities for industry growth in the Tar Heel State... discussion about rules and regulations ...

Target stream corridors in logged areas for great deer December 15, 2015 North Carolina Sportsman
... Immediately after a forest is clear-cut, deer and other wildlife will gravitate to the forested stream margins for safe passage and to stay hidden from exposure to potential dangers...

... they’re proportionally tagging more does and fewer bucks each season, according to a survey of 22,500 hunters by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  In theory, the harvest trends should lead to a more-balanced, healthier herd with more big bucks ... Biologists point to 20 percent as a goal for the number of bucks that should be killed before the peak of the breeding season ...

... Biologists point to 20 percent as a goal for the number of bucks that should be killed before the peak of the breeding season. The survey indicated that North Carolina hunters are killing well above that level, which may be negatively affecting the herd...

NC WRC Releases Deer Study Results December 9, 2015 North Carolina, The Tribune Papers
... let’s look at the dismal deer density figures... from Buncombe County west the deer population is less than 15 per square mile ... That’s pretty bad for 100 counties in the state...  the WRC must be more forceful with the U.S. Forest Service to do more wildlife habitat management work on the Pisgah and Nantahala forests...

Woman finds multiple dead deer in one spot in Kinston woods Decmeber 7, 2015 North Carolina, WNCT 
...  A woman in Lenoir County wants answers after she found over 15 dead deer piled on top of each other in woods near her home... it could be legal if the hunter is dumping them on their own property...

Find loggers and you'll find deer ... December 1, 2015 North Carolina Sportsman
... North Carolina is known as the birthplace of sustainable forestry practices, aka, the Cradle of Forestry in America, and those practices offer a wide range of effects, from fresh clear- cuts to mature forests, and every stage of the game offers deer different opportunities to live...

Marine Shoots Hunting Dogs in North Carolina November 24, 2015 Field and Stream
...  arrested Corporal Jeremy Edge after he allegedly shot and killed two walker hounds, belonging to Matthew Eaton, and then attempted to bury the dogs' radio tracking collars...  Edge claimed that shooting dogs that are chasing deer is legal in his home state of Tennessee—which is not true...

Tensions flare between still hunters and hound-assisted trackers November 23, 2015 North Carolina, The Daily News
... Local hunters said that rift widened after the recent deaths of two Walker hounds — their bullet-pierced bodies were left on the forest floor in Jones County woods about a month into gun season for whitetail deer in Eastern North Carolina...


N.C.'s newest predator makes itself at home in Alamance County November 20, 2015 North Carolina, Times-News
... A study of coyotes in areas near Fort Bragg showed that the canines hunt and live in an average 33-square-miles annually. They’ll travel hundreds of miles to find new territory. The study, released earlier this year by NCSU professors, also showed that coyotes are major predators of deer. Half of all fawns born in that area were killed by coyotes....

Eastern coyote adapts easily to our area November 15, 2015 North Carolina, News & Observer
... For thousands of years, North Carolina was wolf pack country... Wolves were introduced into Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in 1987, but they have not spread much... Deer typically make up one- to two-thirds of the diet of eastern coyotes... the eastern coyote ... has a dash of wolf and domestic dog genes ...

Habitat loss affects much November 8, 2015 North Carolina Sportsman
... population growth is directly affecting the available wildlife habitat ...  Deer have fewer places to live ... Hunters can try to select genetic traits and supplement the deer’s diet ... In the Carolinas, the liberal deer harvest has a negative effect on the quality of the herd overall...

Poacher's big lie will never go away November 1, 2015 North Carolina Sportsman
... Davis ... apparently bought a huge set of non-typical shed antlers from a deer farm in Pennsylvania... killed a small buck with a rifle... sawed off that buck’s tiny 3-point rack and replaced it with his out-of-state antlers ...

Cedar Point skips deer hunt October 29, 2015 North Carolina, carolinacoastonline.com
...  “The board just wants to make sure that when they do this, it’s done right. We don’t have a big problem with deer. Although we’ve been told we will have one if we don’t do something eventually, there’s no emergency.” ...

Citizen scientists use hidden cameras to track urban wildlife October 22, 2015 South Carolina, News & Observer
... Until recently, information about the movements and habits of urban wildlife has been scarce due to a lack of widespread monitoring data. That data is becoming available with the help of more than 400 volunteers who have participated in the program in North Carolina and five other Southeastern states.  “We generally ask people to set up the camera in their backyards or a nearby woods ...

2015 Trophy Deer Forecast: North Carolina October 21, 2015 North Carolina, Game & Fish
... The deer harvest suffered a severe decline during the 2014-15 hunting season ... The Commission has resisted such efforts to restrict antlered buck harvest ... The total harvest decreased 18.3 percent from 188,130 to 153,629. The buck-to-doe harvest ratio increased from 46.0 percent to 47.8 percent...

North Carolina data: An estimated 1,165,000 deer in early 2015, about a million estimated in early 2016.  Lower populations in the east.  Deer population estimated at 1.2 to 1.35 million in 2013 through 2011 (estimate from North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission).  An EHD outbreak in 2014 reduced deer populations in some areas by as much as 30 percent in 2014 to about one million.  The 2014 deer harvest fell by 18.3 percent. Also contributing was a near record acorns crop so deer did not need to wander far to find food.  Another significant outbreak of EHD in 2012, but populations bounced back into 2013 resulting in a record harvest of 188,130 .  The EHD outbreak was worst in the southeast and midwest of the state.  Some areas lost up to 70 percent of the deer. The previous record deer harvest was in 2008-09 at 176,297. Does were 42.7 percent of the 2012 harvest. Record keeping began in 1976.  The deer population was about 10,000 around the year 1900 recovering through conservation efforts to 150,000 by 1950, and reaching about 1.1 million in the year 2000.
     The Cherokee Indians are attempting to restock their tribal lands in the Qualla Boundary of western North Carolina. Between 1699 and 1715 southeastern tribes were shipping about 54,000 deer skins annually as part of the deer skin trade. The deer were nearly extinct by 1750.  Predation by bears and coyotes and the reduction of edge habitat in the Qualla Boundary have prevented the deer from recovering as they have in some other parts of the Southeast.
    Elk:  Estimated population of 140-160 in 2015.  In 2001, 25 elk were introduced with another 27 in 2002.
    Red Wolf: The world's only population of red wolves reside in North Carolina.  Thought to have a population of 75 to 100 in early 2015, the new estimate: 50 to 75. 

Other useful links:
- North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

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North Carolina DENR News


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Deer Management in North Carolina [PDF slide show] January, 2012
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Division of Wildlife Management. Evin Stanford.






Baby deer being fed potato slices by Keith Zeiss of Angela's Deer Rescue, Rehab & Release nonprofit in Yancy County, Burnsville, NC, Blue Ridge Mountains. November, 2012