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Deer Populations In Urban Communities

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Nick Warson

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11/17/05

This morning is different then most. I wake up like I usually do and get my stuff ready for my morning hunt. I leave my house and drive a different way then I usually do. I drive towards the town of Coralville instead to my usual hunting getaway. I turn into a sub-division that my aunt and uncle live in. I pull up to there house get my bow and start walking to my tree stand, but instead of walking through acres of timber to get there I walk on a paved road. I get to my tree stand which is set up along the edge of a small wood lot and a new sub-division that is being put in. As I am sitting in my tree stand the timber starts to come alive, but that isn't the only thing. I here the sounds of cars honking, people talking, and the sound of semis on interstate 80. As I am sitting in my stand I start to see deer. They come from every direction. I see deer of all sizes, bucks, does, and fawns. A doe comes within range and I let my arrow fly. She runs about 20 yards and I go retrieve her. Why am I hunting in this area you may ask? On that day alone I counted 47 different deer and the one I took is all part of a plan to decrease the population of deer in these suburban communities. I am about to discuss the issue of over population of deer in suburban communities. Over population of deer has been an uprising problem in the past five years and can cause a lot of problems in suburban communities. Although there has been and increase in the population of deer it must be managed properly.

Some people believe that the overpopulation of deer must be left alone. The people who believe this think that the population will regulate on its own. It is believed that a natural predator or other causes will help to regulate the deer populations. The opposing side thinks that the deer are just too beautiful to do anything about. There is more to the deer then just there beauty. The population of deer in urban communities will not regulate on its own. The only way to regulate the population of deer is to consider the well being of humans. Humans must step in and be the deer's only predator in suburban communities.

Deer over population in suburban communities can cause many problems. Deer cause many types of property damage. The can ruin yards and expensive landscaped areas in just a few hours. Deer seem to move to the landscaped areas and nice lawns because they are well kept and all the different plants carry many nutrients from fertilizers. Deer also use these areas because all there natural vegetation is scarce because of the huge population. "A study in Pennsylvania found that when deer density exceeded 20 deer per square mile, the number of plant and animal species present declined" (Glidden 1). Not only does the lack of natural vegetation hurt the deer, it hurts other small animals that use this vegetation as cover. Another problem that people encounter with dense deer numbers is deer/car collisions. Deer car collisions can be a very scary and sometimes fatal experience. "Over the last three years we've seen about a 10 percent increase each year in deer collision losses in the state" (Johnson 1). The 10 percent increase is due to the explosion of the deer populations. People are also really susceptible to deer/car collisions because of the time of day people are most likely to drive. Deer are more active at dawn and dusk; this is when most people are going to and from work. Also a concern is that deer can cause many health risks due to diseases they carry. Deer may be beautiful, but they are not particularly clean. One disease that deer carry is Lyme disease, which causes many health issues. People who think there is not a problem just do not take the time to look at all the problems the deer are really causing. Deer may be beautiful creatures but can be very destructive and dirty.

Another important issue is that both human and deer populations are growing. Because the human population is growing we are developing land that was once timber and building a tremendous amount of new houses. This causes the deer to move to these suburban communities. They have it great because all there natural predators are to weary of the humans, unlike deer. There are also nice lawns, newly planted trees, and many other things the deer can munch on. With deer in the area people can tend to become attracted to them. This causes a problem because people start to feed them. This makes the deer even more used to humans and can cause serious problems. If the deer see the easy meal they will come in huge numbers. If you quit feeding, or there isn't enough food for them they will just destruct the rest of your yard and landscaping. In general there will be a lot of crowding. Others like the fact that the deer are there and feed them because they look hungry. Well they look hungry because there is not enough food to go around for all of them. This is why the deer often move into people's yards to eat.

There are many ways to control deer populations but only some of them are affective. There are non-lethal and lethal methods. Non-lethal methods consist of doing things like Habitat alterations. This means to remove all things that help to feed the deer and give them cover. For this to work well all vegetation must be removed. To get this method to work would cost a lot of money and would not just harm the deer. You would be destroying a lot of natural habitat. Another method would be to capture deer and

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