Forecast good for upcoming deer season September 15, 2011 South Carolina

South Carolina Deer Population and Management News Archive

Forecast good for upcoming deer season September 15, 2011 South Carolina, DNR

     South Carolina’s deer population expanded rapidly in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and it peaked in the late 1990’s at about 1,000,000 animals. However, since 2002 the population has trended down with current figures being about 725,000 deer, a 25 percent decline from peak figures 10 years ago. The reduction can likely be attributable to a number of factors including habitat change. Although timber management activities stimulated significant growth in South Carolina’s deer population beginning in the 1970’s, considerable acreage is currently in even-aged pine stands that are greater than 10 years old, a situation that does not support deer densities at the same level as younger stands in which food and cover is more available. 
     Also, coyotes are a recent addition to the landscape and are another piece of the puzzle. DNR is currently involved in a major study with researchers at the Savannah River Site investigating the affects coyotes are having on the survival of deer fawns. Cumulative data throughout the study indicates approximately 70 percent total fawn mortality with coyotes being responsible for approximately 80 percent of these mortalities. If these findings even moderately represent a statewide situation, this “new mortality factor” is clearly involved in the reduction in deer numbers. This is especially true when combined with extremely liberal deer harvests that have been the norm in South Carolina....Find out more about the 2010 deer harvest and 2011 antler recordsat the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website



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