White-tailed deer populations are excellent for wildlife viewing and for hunting. Their populations have changed a lot throughout time. Deer were very common and then nearly went extinct by the early 1900s. Deer are very adaptable to human disturbance and have since recovered in numbers. The addition of urban spaces broke up the once continuous woodlands. Deer thrive in the edges of these woodlands.
Deer populations will grow as long as food is available. When populations are large, deer will search for food elsewhere. They may wind up eating food in your garden or a farmer’s crops – a buffet! When there are lots of deer, disease is also easily transmitted. And, the chance of you hitting a deer with your car also increases.
Therefore, the Heartland Network monitors changes in deer populations over time. Monitoring allows us to determine trends. Annual changes could indicate illegal hunting or disease. Whereas long term changes can help parks determine if management is needed to control the population size. Population sizes may need controlled if vegetation or vehicular damage is occurring frequently because of deer.