Georgia Launches New Deer Management Plan Blog
Georgia is fortunate to have a healthy white-tailed deer population that provides diverse recreational opportunities and generates significant economic vitality. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division recognizes that properly managing this resource, and keeping the public informed about such actions, is critical.
Enter the development of the Urban Deer Management Plan, which was in response to an action item in a previous guiding document: The Georgia Deer Management Plan 2005-2014. DNR pooled the expertise of stakeholders in an 18-member Urban Deer Advisory Committee. This group was tasked with developing an Urban Deer Plan for the Department to use as a guiding document. The Committee did just that.
"The Urban Deer Plan resulted from a collaborative partnership that sought to identify barriers for addressing these challenges and developing recommendations for DNR consideration to facilitate the management of deer in urban and suburban areas," says John Bowers, Assistant Chief of the Division's Game Management Section.
The Plan recommends that regulated hunting be used as the primary method to manage deer in urban/suburban areas. This is not surprising as recent surveys indicate that Georgians overwhelmingly support the use of regulated hunting to manage deer populations. Additionally, regulated hunting is cost efficient and effective whereas other alternatives are expensive and ineffective. Nevertheless, the Plan acknowledged the need for integrated approaches and included recommendations for alternatives to hunting (e.g., habitat modification, exclusion, et al.). Options such as predator reintroduction, contraception, and others are not recommended, as they are neither feasible nor suitable for Georgia.
Several barriers, which may interfere with effective management of deer in urban areas, also are identified in the Plan. These include hunter access to undeveloped, wooded areas and greenspace; local ordinances; public perceptions; and landowner liability concerns. The Plan provides several recommendations to facilitate management of deer in urban and suburban areas that will require cooperation among state and local governments, citizens, and private organizations.
Where can you read and see more? At the new Urban Deer Management Plan blog available at www.georgiaurbandeerplan.com . At this site, you can view the plan in its entirety, provide comments and review responses to frequently asked questions.
For more information about Wildlife Resources Division, visit www.georgiawildlife.com .