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The Wildlife Resources Division appreciates your willingness to provide comments to us and values your opinions. We respectfully request that your comment submission address issues surrounding urban deer and/or the Urban Deer Plan. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated and assists WRD in managing this blog.

Managing Georgia’s Urban Deer

December 2, 2009

Georgia is blessed with a healthy white-tailed deer population that provides diverse recreational opportunities and generates significant economic vitality.  However, Georgia’s white-tailed deer herd can present a variety of management challenges as we strive to maintain a sustainable deer population within appropriate biological, ecological, and sociological limits.  Properly managing this important resource is critical.

Hunting is the primary tool for managing white-tailed deer and has been used safely and successfully in Georgia for more than four decades.  In fact, regulated deer hunting has successfully reduced the statewide deer population from 1.4 million deer in the 1990s to close to 1 million today.  This reduction has achieved the objective of decreasing and stabilizing the deer population across much of the state as identified in the Georgia Deer Management Plan 2005-2014.  Additionally, this success is consistent with the Department’s goal of maintaining a deer population that is sustainable, statewide and regionally, and within habitat and social tolerances.  Sustainability requires that deer numbers be maintained in balance with habitat capacity and social tolerances.  Despite this statewide success, the urban interface presents unique challenges to effectively manage deer through regulated hunting.  As such, a plan focused on specifically on strategies to manage deer in urban areas and the urban interface was developed.

This plan incorporates extensive public input and was developed by an 18-member stakeholder committee representing common interests in managing white-tailed deer in urban settings.  The plan focuses on encouraging the use of regulated hunting as the primary method for addressing the conflicts associated with deer in urban areas, identifies barriers that are believed to impede deer management in urban settings, and recommends strategies to perforate these barriers.  In fact, the use of regulated hunting is recommended as the primary method for managing deer and human-deer conflicts in such areas and it is WRD’s intent to encourage and support the use of regulated hunting as the primary tool for managing urban deer populations.  However, it is important to recognize that site-specific circumstances may preclude hunting as a viable management tool in some areas.  Thus, an integrated approach to urban deer management is essential and strategies are recommended to address these unique circumstances.

The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) strongly encourages you to take the time to read the Georgia Urban Deer Plan so that you may gain a better understanding of what is and what is not included in the plan.  For your convenience, this plan may be viewed and read by clicking on the link, “Georgia’s Urban Deer Plan” under the “links” section to the right of the screen. The Georgia Urban Deer Plan blog provides factual information that addresses specific questions that have been brought to our attention.  Additionally, this blog provides the public an opportunity to submit comments and questions on Georgia’s Urban Deer Plan.