Fact Sheets - Managing Damage by White-tailed Deer
By the turn of the 20th century in Pennsylvania and throughout much of its range, the white-tailed deer was nearly driven to extinction primarily by unregulated market hunting and habitat loss. The reestablishment of white-tailed deer populations has been regarded as one of the greatest successes in the history of wildlife conservation. Deer are a key component of the ecosystem, and are valued by humans as an important big game animal hunted for recreation and a favorite of wildlife watchers. However, many local environments present an ideal combination of ample food resources, few natural predators, and sanctuary from hunting in close proximity to human development, which enables deer populations to grow overabundant.
Deer-human conflicts occur when overabundant deer threaten human health and safety, property, livelihood, and natural resources. Controversy often arises at the community level when lethal management is proposed to reduce deer densities and associated damage. The Pennsylvania Game Commission is the state agency responsible for management of white-tailed deer as a game species, and sets all harvest guidelines for deer. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services may provide expertise in
facilitating all phases of the management process to reduce deer-human conflicts.
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