Deer Thrive in Edge Habitat: The graphics at right and below 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
From Deer wars: science, tradition, and the battle over managing whitetails in Pennsylvania:
"At the beginning of the [19th] centruy Pennsylvania's forests had been young and brush, sprouting from the hilssides that had been clear-cut only a decade or so earlier They offered lots of browse and could support one deer on every eight to ten acres Two decades later, it took twenty-five acres of forest to suport a single deer, Latham said, because the state's forests had entered the "pole timber" stage, when trees are too small to produce large amounts of mast but too larger to provide browse. "