A Survey of Urban Deer Policies in 4 Southeastern States

In the 20th Century, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations in the United States increased dramatically. In many states, management objectives for deer have changed from conserve and increase to control and decrease. Diversity among stakeholder's objectives for deer populations has made management difficult. Many states in the northeastern and midwestern United States began struggling with urban deer management in the 1980s, whereas southeastern states have only recently encountered this challenge. We reviewed written policies from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia to compare urban deer management programs among these states. Our review was conducted via requests for written policies, telephone interviews, and website searches. There was substantial variation among these states in their policies regarding urban deer. Georgia and Virginia have developed management plans specifically designed to deal with urban deer. South Carolina has established state-approved guidelines that require special urban deer management permits. North Carolina does not have an official policy or program specifically for urban deer management. Wildlife agencies will need to tailor their programs to reflect the values and needs of various communities, while understanding that no single option will satisfy everyone. Above all, we recommend that all southeastern fish and wildlife agencies develop a state-approved urban deer management policy.

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