Why do we need to manage deer?
Deer are a native species and a hallmark component of our northeastern forests. However, over the last 100 years, populations of white-tailed deer in Western New York have risen to unsustainable levels. This dramatic rise if the population is mainly due to a lack of predators and the fragmentation of our forests.
First, deer evolved with two primary predators in our region, the wolf and the cougar. Humans have driven both of these species to extinction throughout the entirety of the Eastern US. This means that deer have little to no natural predators. Second, deer are known as an “edge species” meaning they thrive in forested landscapes that are broken up by open fields. By breaking up continuous forests, humans have created a perfect habitat for deer.
An average deer consumes approximately 7-pounds of vegetation per day. When there are too many deer, it puts the diversity of our forests at risk. When there are fewer native plants- that means there are fewer native wildlife. The whole ecosystem is disrupted.