Florida Deer: An estimated 542,000 deer in 2019, down from about 650,000 deer in 2017. Hunting data indicates a significant decline in 2018. An estimated population of 700,000 in 2014 and exceeding 700,000 in 2006. The deer hunt peaked in 2008-09, a significant population decline since then. An estimated 45,000 to 50,000 deer in 1951. Herd analysis at right.
FWC launches new initiatives to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease August 10, 2022 Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
... One way the FWC is working to protect Florida deer populations is through its new, “About Chronic Wasting Disease” video. While CWD is a complex topic, this educational video provides information in an easy-to-understand format and covers what causes CWD, how it’s transmitted, why it’s one of the most serious wildlife diseases, and how the FWC and its partners are working to prevent the disease from spreading into Florida...
... Deer, raccoons, possums, and fox once flocked the area of the Everglades National Park in south Florida. Nowadays, you’re lucky if you spot one ...
Trucker jailed after enticing fawns into cab, transporting over state lines August 2, 2022 Florida, CDLLife
... arrested at his home in Naples, Florida on July 22nd after receiving a call reporting an individual in possession of two live white tail deer... explained to officers that he had gotten the deer at a rest stop in Ohio ...
Two men arrested in kidnapping of Key deer July 24, 2022 Florida, Key West Citizen
... An injured Key deer was inside the vehicle on top of a cooler, lawn chairs and other miscellaneous objects... said they struck the Key deer on U.S. 1 north of the Seven-Mile Bridge and initially thought it was dead...
Florida’s Biggest Python Ever Caught With Deer Hooves in Stomach June 22, 2022 Field & Stream
... Researchers who examined the Florida snake during a necropsy in April found 122 eggs inside the python ... Scientists also found hoof cores in the python’s digestive tract, indicating that its last meal was an adult whitetail deer...
Mark‐resight methodology for estimating key deer abundance assisted by citizen scientists - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2022
... Our mark-resight estimate (n = 748) was nearly 300 deer lower than the traditional distance estimate likely because of distance sampling's sensitivity to increased deer visibility along survey routes. Compared to historic data, our mark-resight population estimate indicated increased deer abundance compared to post-Hurricane Irma estimates (n = 573), but slightly below post-screwworm outbreak estimates (n = 860)..,
Balancing carnivore conservation and sustainable hunting of a key prey species: A case study on the Florida panther and white‐tailed deer - Journal of Applied Ecology, 2022
... Predation was the primary cause of death (110 of 134 mortalities), and 87% of predation events were attributed to panthers, a much greater rate than reported by studies conducted before the panther genetic restoration effort initiated in 1995. One deer was legally harvested, and two were likely killed by poachers. Increasing water depth decreased female survival but had little impact on male
survival, and drowning was never a cause of mortality...
Construction of new wildlife underpass underway on I-4 May 30, 2022 Florida, WFTV
... “They’re putting this 61-foot-wide underpass that goes under i-4 and reconnecting habitat that has been fragmented for 50 years,” ... for bears, deer, panthers and many other animals ...
New wildlife underpass to help preserve Florida's biological diversity May 5, 2022 Axios
... you'll soon be less likely to hit a bear or a deer on I-4 with your car... "I-4 is a big barrier to wildlife ... The deer on this side of I-4 haven't seen the deer on that side of I-4 in decades." ...
Comments from the state indicate an approximately steady population through 2018 with lower populations in thee Big Bend region, south Florida, and Zone A. Reports of a 94 percent reduction in the white-tailed deer in the Everglades due to Burmese pythons in 2018. In 2016 emergency pumping in the Everglades to prevent deer from drowning or starving.
In 2015 Florida biologist instituted antler point restrictions in an effort to increase the deer population over the next five years. Good rainfall that year benefited deer.
(2014 Population estimated by UofFL Extension)
A research paper published in 2006 reports the "population estimates exceed 700,000 deer statewide." The deer harvest peaked in 2008-09 at almost 180,000 up from about 60,000 in 1998-99. Some antlerless deer restrictions for areas A1, A2, and A3 for 2015 were designed to grow the herd.
Approximately 137,000 deer hunters in the state taking about 20 percent of the herd each year. The deer harvest fell by 45 percent from 2010 to 2017. A study of deer populations in 2009 including deer from the northwest and southwest regions shows a balanced buck to doe ratio of close to 50:50 with fawning rates of 41% singles, 57% twins, 2% triplets.
Deer were numerous in the Florida Panhandle based on reports from the late 1600's, but commercial hunting for deer hides reduced the herd to about 20,000 by the 1700s. In 1828 the first hunting regulations were enacted to protect the herd, a ban on fire hunting west of the Suwanee River. Development in Florida opened up much of the state beginning in the late 1800's. Over hunting and a deer removal campaign to eradicate the cattle-fever tick in the 1930s and 40s decimated the population, back to the historic low population of about 20,000. The legislature authorized participation in the Federal Aid to Wildlife program in 1941, beginning an era of deer conservation. By 1951, the deer herd had grown to around 45,000 to 50,000. By 1985, the annual deer harvest rose to over 100,000 for the first time, marking the beginning of the modern era of deer management. See FWC. The deer population was estimated at 750,000 in 1990.
Three subspecies of deer in Florida: coastal whitetail in the Panhandle, Florida whitetail throughout the peninsula, and a small population of protected Key deer in Big Pine Key.
Key Deer migrated from the mainland during the last Ice Age when sea levels were lower. Only 25 to 50 Key deer were left by 1950 after hunting. Less than 50 in 1967 when the were listed under the Endangered Species Act. About 250 in the early 1980s, estimated at about 600 in 2011 through 2014 after 30 years of protection. Population estimates rose to 900 to 1,000, but a screw worm out beak in 2016 and hurricane Irma in 2018 brought the population down with estimates in 2019 of about 1,000 and in 2020 of 573 to 800. Less than 1,000 in 2021. A 2022 research paper put the total at 748. In 2019 there were discussions of removing key deer from the endangered species list, although their future is uncertain given sea rise. More history and Florida deer information from the 2008 management plan.
Population Estimates: 33,000 in 1940, 300,000 in 1969.
Florida Panther population estimated in February, 2017, of 120 to 230 adult and subadults. The population in 2016 estimated at 100 to 180, 15 nearly 180 in 2015, at 2014 estimate from 120 to 180, up from 30 in 1995, the start of a restoration program. Around the year 1900, nearly 1300 panthers.
Bear population in 2016 estimated at 4,350 adults, up from 300 to 500 in the 1970's.
Report poaching: Wildlife Alert Line at 1-888-404-FWCC
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