Whitetail Deer Overpopulation

• Why have deer populations soared? Deer populations soared because of several reasons. When the deer species nearly became extinct during the early 1900s due to hunting, the government stepped in and implemented strict laws that prohibit hunting deers. Because of this, their population rebounded. Also, does (female deers) breed early and stop late, and they commonly have twins, triplets and even quadruplets. Couple their rapid reproduction with the lack of natural predators (wolves, mountain lions, etc) and hunters, it was very easy for the deer population to explode.

• What specific effects has the population growth had on humans? With the deer population explosion, there was an increase in automobile accidents involving deers. It even reached an all-time high of 2,063 accidents in 1992 in Cook, DuPage, and Lake counties. Another effect is the destruction of hedges and gardens (“edge” environment) brought about by the deer grazing. Apparently, these animals, come back for more of the same plant if they like it until the area is browsed over. Such that, the area is left bare.

Also, in some conservation efforts, deers have proven to be a nuisance, and at times, the reason why some efforts to propagate rare plants fail.

• What strategies are currently being utilized to address the issue? Right now, to solve the deer overpopulation problem, some government agencies are thinking of bringing back deer hunting season. However, this has been met with protests from pro-deer groups. Some agencies are doing culling programs, with the culled deer meat donated to charities. Others are planning to inject contraceptive to does, the premise of which is that if reproduction is controlled, deer population will soon level off.