Deer Monitoring at Pea Ridge National Military Park

Visitors enjoy viewing the many deer that roam the park. They are one of the larger and more charismatic creatures encountered. It is hard to imagine that deer were almost extinct in the early 1900s from over hunting. Deer are very adaptable to human disturbance, however, and have since recovered in numbers. As deer numbers continue to rise at the park, so too does the threat of disease, damage to the park’s landscape, and collisions with deer on nearby highways.
Graph of deer number at Pea Ridge.
The adjusted count of deer for years 2005 through 2018 at Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas. Left axis shows adjusted count of deer numbers (individuals / km2, + 95% CI).



Adjusted Count of Deer in the Visible Survey Area, Low (Gray) to High (Dark Blue).
Pea Ridge deer habitat maps through 2018
Range in the adjusted count of deer color-coded from relatively low to high over 14 years of monitoring. Visible area surveyed during annual counts is the extent of the colored area. Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas.

NPS scientists monitor deer at the park using nighttime spotlight surveys. The surveys result in an adjusted count of deer used to track changes in the deer population. Looking at the trend in the adjusted count of deer, you will notice a sharp decline in the population between 2005 and 2007. This coincides with an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease. Another significant decline occurred in 2016 from an unknown cause. The 2013 adjusted count of deer was the largest observed over the 14 years of monitoring. Although variable, you can see a significant overall increase in adjusted counts since monitoring began in 2005.

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Data in this report were collected and analyzed using methods based on established, peer-reviewed protocols and were analyzed and interpreted within the guidelines of the protocols.