Deer Forest Study October 7, 2013 Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

Deer Forest Study October 7, 2013 Pennsylvania, PGC News
... the Pennsylvania Game Commission for decades has studied the relationship between deer and the forests in which they live, and has used those and other findings in its deer-management decisions.  The Game Commission, in partnership with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania State University, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, recently launched a new study into the impacts deer have on forest regeneration, and the current methods used to evaluate those impacts.
     The Deer-Forest Study also will assess hunter activities and experiences.
In the field, forest regeneration data, deer impacts, deer populations and forest-management practices will be monitored. In addition, hunters will be surveyed to gather information on their activities while hunting the study areas.  “A primary concern and consideration for the Game Commission is that the data we use accurately reflect the effects of deer on forests,” said Christopher Rosenberry, who supervises the Game Commission’s deer and elk section. “Deer are not the only factor affecting forest regeneration, but our assessment of deer impacts on forests is the most important habitat measure used in deer-management recommendations.”  Rosenberry said evaluating the role of deer in forest regeneration, as measured by the deer-impact assessment, and making responsible adjustments, will benefit hunters in a number of ways.
     The study will provide new insight into the effect of deer on forest regeneration. Given their browsing in the forest understory, deer often are an easy target when it comes to lagging forest regeneration. But they’re not the only factor. And Rosenberry said the study will help to ensure that misplaced blame doesn’t fall on deer in cases where deer aren’t the cause of slowed regeneration.
A better understanding of deer impacts in real-world conditions in Pennsylvania also will help ensure that any recommendations to reduce deer populations due to forest impacts are truly necessary.
“Recommendations to reduce deer populations are not taken lightly,” Rosenberry said. “And this study is designed to strengthen the data upon which future recommendations are based.”
     Study areas are located within Bald Eagle, Rothrock and Susquehannock state forests on properties enrolled in the state’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).  areas are marked with signs in parking lots and along roads.  Hunters must register when hunting these study areas. Hunters can register by visiting the white-tailed deer page at the Game Commission’s website, then clicking on the “Deer-Forest Study” link in the “Research and Surveys” category.

... deer often are an easy target when it comes to lagging forest regeneration. But they're not the only factor. And Rosenberry said the study will help to ensure that misplaced blame doesn't fall on deer in cases where deer aren't the cause of slowed regeneration... "Understanding hunter effort, hunter success rates, deer harvests and hunter opinions and observations is a critical part of the study," ...

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