CPR for Urban deer management objectives: Clarity, practicality, and relevance

Authors

  • Brent A. Rudolph,

    Corresponding author
    1. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Rose Lake Wildlife Research Center, 8562 E Stoll Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
    • Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Rose Lake Wildlife Research Center, 8562 E Stoll Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA.
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  • Dwayne R. Etter,

    1. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Rose Lake Wildlife Research Center, 8562 E Stoll Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA
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  • Sara M. Schaefer

    1. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 621N 10th Street, Plainwell Operations Service Center, Plainwell, MI 49080, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Nielsen

Abstract

Effective management of formerly scarce and now abundant game species has been identified as a considerable challenge facing the North American model of wildlife conservation. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) management efforts in developed landscapes are often contentious and face numerous obstacles to implement. We drew upon our experiences conducting, overseeing, and assessing deer management in urban–suburban–exurban settings, and summarized a variety of literature to identify both biological and social complexities encountered. We concluded that many challenges may be addressed by developing clear fundamental and enabling program objectives, related to practical limitations, and measured through metrics relevant to fundamental desires of stakeholders. Although managers often seek to implement programs to address fundamental objectives related to condition of deer populations or impacts on plant communities, the greatest public concerns often relate to threats to public safety (e.g., risk of being involved in a deer–vehicle collision or contracting Lyme disease) and property (e.g., costs from deer–vehicle collisions or damaged landscaping). Establishing practical expectations requires considering the biological complexities of deer management regarding the potential of 1) density-dependent reproductive responses, 2) time lags between population response to management and changes in condition indices and vegetation response, and 3) nonlinear relationships between deer densities and several key fundamental objectives. Relevance to public expectations for some objectives requires developing appropriate metrics of success and potentially pursuing an alternative to the typical enabling objective of reducing the deer population. Paying attention to CPR—clarity, practicality, and relevance of management programs—can resuscitate the public's trust in managers' abilities to effectively manage public trust resources. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.

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