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Human perceptions before and after a 50% reduction in an urban deer herd's densityAuthor(s): David W. Henderson; Robert J. Warren; David H. Newman; J. Michael Bowker; Jennifer S. Cromwell; Jeffrey J. Jackson
Source: Wildlife Society Bulletin Volume 28, Number 4, Winter 2000
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionOverabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in urban and suburban areas can be controversial because of potential damage to landscape vegetation, deer-vehicle collisions, and fear over transmission of tick-borne diseases. Herd reduction is often proposed to solve these problems; however, the ability of human residents to accurately perceive a herd reduction has not been demonstrated. We used mail surveys to study effects of a 50% localized deer herd reduction on the perceptions of residents in 2 areas (one control, one treated) on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, over 2 time periods (before vs. after herd reduction). Residents in the treated area perceived a decrease (P<0.00l) in the relative abundance of deer using their yards after the herd reduction; residents in the control area (where no deer were removed) did not. Residents in the treated area reported seeing about 50% fewer deer after the herd reduction (P<0.00l); residents in the control area saw about the same number of deer. Nonpermanent residents did not perceive the herd reduction that was noticed by permanent residents. Residents in both the control and treated areas wanted to see fewer deer in their yard in the future. Residents did not report a decrease in the money required to replace plants damaged by deer during our one-year study. Our results indicate that costs to implement deer-herd reduction programs in urban and suburban areas may be justified based on the benefits perceived by the residents.
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CitationHenderson, David W.; Warren, Robert J.; Newman, David H.; Bowker, J. Michael; Cromwell, Jennifer S.; Jackson, Jeffrey J. 2000. Human perceptions before and after a 50% reduction in an urban deer herd''s density. Wildlife Society Bulletin Volume 28, Number 4, Winter 2000
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