In 1989, there were 12,152 deer-vehicle accidents in the USA in which four people died and over 450 people were injured (7). What humans do not realize is the damage deer are causing to their environment, the human population, and themselves. Until a decision is reached regarding deer population control, the present state of overpopulation will continue to affect humans and the environment alike.
Environmentalists call this problem the Urban Deer Dilemma. This exists when the number of deer exceeds the ability of the environment to support the deer (2). During the 1600s, when Jamestown’s first settlers arrived, there were between 24 and 31 million white-tailed deer in North America ...view middle of the document...
One of the most common ways deer are threatening humans is Lyme disease. Deer carry ticks which in turn carry Lyme disease. Early stages represent flu, but if left untreated, the results include arthritis and even death. The other common way is through deer-vehicle accidents. Over the past ten years, there have been over 100 motorist deaths and over 350,000 deer deaths (7). These deer were also healthy. In Ohio, 471 road-killed and 588 hunter-harvested deer from 44 counties were tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Tuberculosis (TB). Neither of these diseases was found in all samples (1).
Overpopulation majorly influences the growth and absence of plants and other wildlife. “The impacts of overpopulated deer on plants cascade through whole ecosystems” (6). Deer often feed on fruits, vegetables, flowers, buds, and twigs. Damage to fruit trees can kill it immediately or can reduce the usual crop amount in future years (3). Browsing is when deer, or other animals, continually eat shoots off saplings and trees before they grow. Any type of browsing, usually from deer, easily kills plants because they grow back slower. Those too are dwarfed, producing fewer seeds and flowers.
“Deer over browsing has dramatically reduced the plant diversity of eastern US forests” (6). Deer over browsing causes declines in abundance and diversity of forest creatures of all kinds. Plants that usually had minor niches in an ecosystem are now majorly covering forests because deer have deracinated their competitors. “When plant populations get hammered, the effect ricochets up the food chain” (4).
Perhaps the most important
Harvesting does is important to reducing deer numbers and the damage they cause. Does are more important because they are the ones to reproduce. Bucks may be...