Since the Clifton Deer Program began in December 2015, the deer population in the study area has declined by 39% (from ~99 deer/sq. mi. to ~60 deer/sq. mi). That’s an average annual population decline of about 6.9%. We’ve been able to lower the population non-lethally by sterilizing a very high percentage (greater than 95%) of the adult females in the herd, thereby dramatically reducing additions to the herd through fawning. Assuming immigration remains low – something we are watching carefully – we expect the population to continue to decline as the herd ages.
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To learn how we measure population decline, click here.
The Program so far is demonstrating that limiting fertility can work to reduce and manage deer populations in urban settings with porous boundaries.
In addition to being effective in lowering the deer population, we’ve also succeeded in making the approach cost-effective so that it can be sustained over time. By investing in the training of skilled local volunteers (most notably our local capture specialist) and the purchase of capital equipment (primarily surgical and darting equipment), and through the generosity of UCAN Non-Profit Spay & Neuter Pet Care Clinic in granting us use of their surgical suite, we’ve been able to assume local, volunteer leadership of field operations, substantially cutting our annual operating expenses.
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*To make the information provided as practically useful as possible, this chart is presented on a “field year” basis (April 1-March 31) rather than a fiscal year (January 1-December 31) basis. Additionally, capital equipment expenses are listed in the field year incurred, without reference to accounting rules relating to depreciation.