Our goal is to manage the preserves for overall health of the ecosystem. Giving preference to one species would be irresponsible. Deer are a valuable part of a balanced ecosystem, along with all other native plants and animals, but their populations must be monitored. Learn more »
Overabundant white-tailed deer populations can eliminate understory vegetation, directly impacting the plant community. Reduced understory also decreases cover that serves as nesting locations for ground-nesting birds, cover for woodland frogs and salamanders, and sheltered resting sites for other wildlife species.
Ultimately, deer can reduce vegetation so much that they no longer have adequate food to sustain their own population. When this occurs many deer die from starvation.
Overabundant deer populations also increase the risk for disease transmission (e.g. Chronic Wasting Disease), parasite transmission (e.g. deer ticks which can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease), and deer-vehicle accidents.
At the preserves where deer are currently managed, research shows the overall health of the deer herds and plant communities have improved. Areas that were once almost devoid of vegetation now flourish with a diversity of flowering plants in the forest understory.