Deer population control methods include:
- Leaving them alone and doing nothing
- Applying birth control programs
- Relocating individuals away from crowded areas
- Harvesting excess adult deer to maintain an acceptable population level
Doing nothing to control the deer population is not a viable plan. With good conditions, the deer population can rapidly increase beyond the carrying capability of the land. Alternate cycles of starvation often follow.
Deer birth control is not practical. Because deer are wild animals, the application of any birth control program is problematic except on small islands.
Relocation of excess deer has resulted in a high mortality rate in relocated animals. Also, there are no areas left where more deer are wanted.
Harvesting adult deer is the only realistic method of deer population control. Hunts must be designed to remove the mature does, or hunting is not an effective deer population control method. Using professional hunters and the bait-and-shoot technique is a very useful technique that is safe, even in heavily populated areas.
Deer management options are hotly debated by conservationists, hunters, animal-rights activists, deer watchers, farmers, and gardeners. Because of the large amount of damage that excess deer do to agriculture and horticulture, in addition to the property damage and loss of life from automobile-deer collisions, humans have an unavoidable responsibility to exercise appropriate deer management options to control the deer population to be an appropriate size.
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