The study will examine the impacts deer have on forest regeneration, and the current methods used to evaluate those impacts. Deer impact on forest regeneration is one of the most important habitat measure used in making deer management recommendations. This study will allow DCNR foresters and Game Commission biologists to better understand deer impacts on regeneration and separate it from other factors influencing forest regeneration success.
Researchers will be investigating deer numbers, impacts on vegetation, and impacts of deer on forest regeneration and plant species composition in both Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and non-DMAP areas. DMAP allows landowners to harvest additional antlerless deer from their properties in addition to any doe licenses allocated to the corresponding wildlife management unit by the Commission. Field data will be collected on forest regeneration, deer impacts, deer populations, and forest-management practices.
Hunters will also be involved in the Deer-Forest Study. The study will assess hunter activities and experiences through hunter surveys and gathering information on their activities while hunting the study areas. Hunters are asked to register when hunting these study areas. Hunters can view maps and register by visiting the White-tailed Deer page at the Game Commission’s website then clicking on the “Deer-Forest Study” link in the “Research and Surveys” or by clicking here. Study areas will be clearly marked with signs in parking lots and along roads.
To summarize, a better understanding of deer impacts in real-world conditions in Pennsylvania will help ensure that recommendations made to reduce deer populations due to forest impacts are truly necessary.
To read the PA Game Commission's full news release click here: Hunters Crucial To Deer-Forest Study, October 7, 2013, Travis Lau.