Ny DEC Deer Management


Well-Known Member
Ny deer population controls

Received this in an e-mail today from NYDEC.
"DEC Announces New Process for Gathering Public Input on Desired Deer Populations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that DEC and researchers at the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University are implementing a survey-based process for gathering information on citizens’ preferences on desired deer populations that will help DEC biologists set deer population objectives across the state.

DEC is responsible for managing New York's wild deer resource for the benefit of all citizens of the state, today and in the future,” DEC Commissioner Seggos said. “Understanding how citizens are benefiting from or being harmed by deer and what their values and priorities are with respect to deer management are important parts of fulfilling that responsibility. This survey is crucial to achieve our goals and we are urging all New Yorkers to share their thoughts on this survey.”

The survey is being phased in across the state and is currently being mailed to citizens in one third of the state. The rest of the state will be surveyed in 2019. The survey asks respondents about their deer-related interests and concerns, how they would like to see the deer population in their area change over the next several years, and how important deer management issues are to them. Survey results, in combination with data on deer impacts on forest regeneration, will be used to guide deer population management decisions. Because deer can have profound and long-lasting negative impacts on forest ecosystems and personal property, keeping these impacts at a sustainable level is a top priority for DEC deer managers.

" New York’s 92 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) have been grouped into 23 WMU areas for the purposes of collecting and analyzing data relevant for deer population management. These selected areas were defined based on similarities in ecological conditions and human and deer population characteristics. The priorities of people who reside in each area in combination with local forest conditions, will determine the desired direction of deer population change (up, down, or no change) for the subsequent five years. DEC will issue Deer Management Permit (DMP) quotas designed to achieve the desired change. The WMUs will be re-surveyed periodically and management directions will be adapted as necessary based on new data.

Previously, DEC used Citizen Task Forces to involve state residents in the process of determining appropriate deer population sizes. Each task force was composed of a small group of citizens chosen to represent a range of interests (farmers, hunters, landowners, motorists, etc.) concerned with deer population size in an individual WMU.

In 2015, DEC began collaborating with Cornell to design an improved method for gathering public input. A pilot project that combined a mail survey of the public with a group of citizens similar to a Citizen Task Force highlighted the difficulty of adequately representing the spectrum of public interests and values in a small group. Accordingly, DEC decided to adopt a survey-based process. More information is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7207.html. "

It reads to me like Forest Regeneration (that means successful new growth of timber value trees) will be given priority in determining deer population goals. It is generally accepted that for there to be sufficient forest regeneration here there needs to be at or less than 10 deer per sq. mile. I hope I'm misreading this.
Is anyone reading this differently?
I probably didn't read this as intently as you did, Chainsaw, but I didn't get to the same place. Not that I agree or disagree, but didn't you take a couple of leaps to get to the 10 dpsm? What I read was the announcement of a new method of surveying the general population to find out what the perceived 'correct' level of deer population should be. One might argue what the general population might know about that subject.

That deer density can have a profound impact on the nature of a forest's ecology is well documented, or, I think it is.

Here in Virginia for a period of years generally between 2000 and 2014 I think the populations got way out of hand - and that's a personal perception and opinion. As a hunter it was great! As a landowner and farmer, not so mush. As a vehicle driver, it was no fun.

I have only empathy for the people that need to establish population goals because they have many masters to serve.

It's a great subject and one I enjoy debating - if only with myself!
Yes Dan. I probably did leap a bit. I get to see a lot of different properties with varying levels of deer populations and only areas with the very lowest deer populations have successful regeneration. You're right; setting goals for other people especially who have a variety of stakes in the game is a tough job. And for the most part if anybody here can do it I have faith in Cornell's ability to conduct studies to gather a consensus. Still though I find it typical government thinking that though their last study had mostly hunters in it that they continued on with the study anyhow only to find that naturally mostly what they got were hunter viewpoints. But then isn't that all that mattered! People who care get to vote; people who vote have some influence on who gets elected, or which school budget passes etc. If the logging industry, the farming industry and others did not care enough to participate in the study then they should have lost their vote. Cornell stated that it was their process of finding participants that resulted in mostly hunter participation and very little from other stakeholders. I'm skeptical that was the case.

What I question is the sincerity of the government to try to meet the needs of the people in a particular area. For example even in the summary announcement shown in the first post they state;
"Survey results, in combination with data on deer impacts on forest regeneration, will be used to guide deer population management decisions"

In other words no matter what the survey says forest regen will trump or at least equal all of the survey results which are provided from the people of each area. Since we the people from the area likely own a major portion of the forests and the farms, isn't it logical that we decide what is important to us for our properties? I really don't care about my property ever generating sellable timber. A large healthy deer herd and a property providing maximum browse and cover are more important to me than the growing of timber. However by putting forest regen on a higher level or giving it even equal status as the wants of the area stakeholders as to be communicated from the survey is just plain the government knowing what is best for us. And we certainly have seen how that works out. Now if the survey results showed the majority of people wanted forest regen not adversely impacted over higher deer numbers then that would be a different story.

As you can see I am also skeptical when govt. people know what is best for me. Like I said in my first post; I really hope I'm wrong and have been wrong before though I can't remember it. I have also hunted in populations where forest regen was not adversely impacted; Am not sure I would want to shoot deer again if there were so few as that alive.One certainly can't say they aren't trying to gather data from stakeholders but whether they use it to determine population goals or not is suspect by me.

Note; I am not saying forest regen does not matter at all as even if one doesn't care to produce timber, it still matters. However it is simply one aspect of creating deer population goals and if it is given priority over all else then why spend time and money on a government sponsored survey?