North Carolina Deer:  An estimated population of 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 

NCWRC sets hunting, fishing regulations for 2017-18 February 20, 2017 North Carolina, North Carolina Sportsman
... Hunters will begin reporting their big game harvest either by phone or Internet, starting with deer season this fall. This change completes the conversion of big game harvest reporting from paper to an electronic registration system ...

Plane collides with deer in Charlotte February 15, 2017 North Carolina, CBS News
... PSA Airlines flight 5320, a subsidiary of American Airlines, attempted to take off from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport when the collision with the deer happened ...

NC Wildlife Commission hears input on proposed changes January 17, 2017 North Carolina, WLOS
... One proposal would extend the archery season for hunting deer from mid-December until Jan. 1 ...

Become a citizen scientist with Candid Critter Program December 29, 2016 North Carolina, WECT-TV6
... "You don't need to be a scientist to run a camera," Kay explained. "We can now work with citizens to have them run the camera traps, and they get the fun of seeing these pictures and learning about animals."  And best of all it's free and easy.  Just check out the kit from your local library, after taking a quick online course...

Wildlife Commission to conduct nine public hearings December 26, 2016 North Carolina, Montgomery Herald
 ... eliminate the use of paper Big Game Harvest Record sheets (H7). Hunters would report their big game harvest either by phone or Internet.  If passed, this proposal would complete the conversion of big game harvest reporting from paper to an electronic registration system, which began with turkey harvest reporting in 2003... The comment period ... February 1, 2017...

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." ...

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 to about one million.  The 2014 deer hunt fell by 18.3 percent while the buck-to-doe ratio increased from 46.0 percent to 47.8 percent.  Contributing to the hunt decline 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. With the 2015 deer density at less than 15 per square mile from Buncombe County west,  deer would benefit from more wildlife habitat in the Pisgah and Nantahala forests.  The previous record deer harvest was in 2008-09 at 176,297. Does were 42.7 percent of the 2012 harvest. 
    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.  The deer population was about 10,000 around the year 1900.   In 1935 there were no deer east of Asheville or west of Moore County.  Restocking began in 1938 and deer recoved also 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.  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
- Emammal, using cameras, citizen scientists help collect data about deer and other wildlife in North Carolina.  Deer/coyote interactions are an important part of the analysis.

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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