Methods for Managing Conflicts with White-tailed Deer in Your Community
Deer fertility control is an innovative and advancing field with demonstrated applicability to suburban and urban deer populations. Options range from immunocontraception (using a vaccine that induces an immune response to block reproduction) to surgical sterilization (which involves surgically removing reproductive organs or interrupting the fertilization pathway). Most of these tools are still in experimental phases, and thus are not available for general use at this time. However, researchers are refining and field-testing deer fertility control methods, while policy managers pursue federal and state registration to allow for future management applications.
The first step for a community considering the use of fertility control to manage deer population numbers is to closely evaluate whether it is justified based on the characteristics and severity of deer conflicts. It is important to determine whether fertility control will really address your community’s particular concerns.
To begin this process, we recommend first reading and sharing “Solving Problems with Deer – A Template Conflict Management and Coexistence Plan for White-Tailed Deer” with your community leaders. This plan has been prepared by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for use by communities (including, but not limited to, cities, villages, towns, counties, homeowners associations, etc.). The information in the plan has been gathered from scientific and peer-reviewed articles, from experts in the field of human-deer conflict resolution, and from successful deer conflict management models across the U.S.
Before considering fertility control, community leaders can and should promote ways to resolve conflicts with deer effectively and humanely, on both an individual and community level. The goal of this deer conflict management plan is twofold:
1) to provide a framework for evaluating community issues with white-tailed deer and
2) to recommend step-by-step actions that address conflicts with deer through a comprehensive, practical, effective, science-based, humane, long-term and community-supported plan.
r community has developed a deer conflict management and coexistence plan, if your community seeks to include a fertility control component, the next step would be to contact a fertility control researcher or service provider to further discuss your community’s goals, problems, and possible solutions and learn about what options might be practical and logistically feasible. At this time, most fertility control programs for deer are multi-year research-based projects and require significant scientific justification and oversight in order to be carried out in the field.
For more information about fertility control options or to further discuss the process of conducting an immunocontraception pilot project, please contact the HSUS via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional resources may also be found through The Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control: wildlifefertilitycontrol.org, or through the Science and Conservation Center: www.sccpzp.org.