The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

"Oh Deer!" 2007 Environmental Forum

Points of View with Thoughtful Questions - Foresters

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Steel-Toe Boots Rappahannock High School

                                                                                                                              11/1/2007

                                                                                                                            6:45:00 AM

Deer population in many areas is in excess of the 16 deer per square mile that is considered

the maximum amount of deer population that allows for normal forest regeneration.  Deer are

browsers and as such eat young seedlings of desirable tree species before they are allowed to

mature into the canopy and emergent layers.  Deer populations need to be managed to be at low

enough levels to allow for normal forest regeneration and diversity of wildlife and plant

habitats.  At the present time deer eat most of the seedlings while leaving ferns which in turn

block sunlight from other seedlings trying to take off on the forest floor.  The current level of

deer are hindering the new growth of sugar maple, white ash, yellow poplar, hemlock, pin

cherry, oak, and aspen.  However, much new growth is occurring with species including black

cherry, beech, striped maple, pricky ash, and ailanthus.  The coveted tree species like, hickory,

oak, and sugar maple are being eliminated by the deerís feeding habits and slowly our forests

are losing these valuable hardwood trees.The most popular way to manage deer population has

been through hunting.  New forms of controlling the deer population which have emerged

include fencing, plastic tubing, and repellent sprays; however, these forms of management are

very expensive and are not feasible to be applied to low to middle value forest stands.  Deer

populations have been effectively excluded from mature and young forests with fencing but

the cost of fencing being about $2.00 per linear foot does not allow this to be an economical

solution.  It seems that we must continue to rely on hunting to help us manage the deer

population.Hunting as it has been practiced has not effectively managed the deer population

and as a result changes need to be made.  Some of the changes that could help limit the deer

population include issuing more doe tags, open more land to hunting, expand education

surrounding deer impact on forests, and allow more deer to be killed.  Some places that the

extra meat could go are places like the organization Hunters Sharing the Harvest, which gives

venison to needy families, if the hunters could not consume it themselves.  While many of these

 changes sound radical they are necessary for the deer population to be controlled and our

forests to be sustainablely managed.

http://www.cacaponinstitute.org/Deer%20Slide%20Show/Forest%20Understory%20slide%2

0show.html http://michigansaf.org/Business/PosStates/Deer.htm

http://www.maes.msu.edu/uptic/library/Regeneration%20in%20a%20heavily%20browsed%2

0northern%20hardwood%20stand%20%85.pdf

http://www.deerandforests.org/home/impact/how-can-deer-change-the-forest/

http://www.deerandforests.org/resources/1-Whitetails%20are%20changing.pdf

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Green Eaters Rappahannock High School

                                                                                                                              11/1/2007

                                                                                                                           12:08:00 PM

Forests are abundant with a diversity of animals and plants.  With the seasonal changes and

wildlife growth occurring in forests, extinction of anything in that habitat shouldnít occur. 

But the population of deer affect the turn out of the population of the other species, especially

 the plants.  The vast extinction of trees like oak trees is becoming a problem for the

surrounding wildlife.Deer remove 10 to 30 percent of the acorns of a good crop, killing off

oak trees.  Getting rid of these plants affects many species of birds and insects.  Feeding deer

can also cause problems for wildlife because it carries diseases. Their browsing on low

growing plants and shrubs prevents the plants from growing which eventually kills them.  Deer

usually prefer areas, which have woodlands to hide and open land to browse in.        Hunting

really, to me, truly helps balance the deer population. With hunting looking toward the sporting

appeal rather than the slaughter appeal itís harmless. Another way that has been leveling the

playing field for deer is car accidents. Most of the time when you see deer lying dead on the

side of the road it is from the result of a car accident instead of hunting.  Scientists have

tried to come up with deer repellent also to get the deer away from the forest but there hasnít

been too much talk about it.   In conclusion, deer have created a lot of problems in forests. 

The only way to solve this problem is to get most of the deer out of the forests so that the

wildlife wonít suffer and possibly become extinct. If it gets any worse and it is not we will

result in extending hunting seasons and hire sharp shooters to decrease the deer population,

focusing more on female deer. 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/03/0314_050314_ginseng_2.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6835501/http://www.deerandforests.com/home/impact/in-

what-ways-can-deer-affect-wildflowers?searchterm=deer+effect+on+plant

http://www.beloitdailynews.com/articles/2007/08/11/news/news04.txt

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3 Foresters Rappahannock High School

                                                                                                                              11/2/2007

                                                                                                                            9:08:00 AM

From an ecological point of view, the over abundance of deer can be harmful or even

devastating. In some forests, White-tailed deer can completely wipe out certain species of

plant that they prefer, such as sugar maple, white ash, hemlock, pin cherry, oak, yellow poplar,

and aspen. According to Outreach.edu ďResearch has shown that as much as 85 percent of

forest regeneration failures throughout Pennsylvania are due to over-browsing by white-tailed

deer.Ē That is just an example of white-tailed deerís negative impact on our nationís forests.

Itís proven that only 2 deer can produce a herd of up to 35 in only 7 years, so there is a serious

 need of deer population management. One of the most effective ways to regulate the white-

tail deer population (mainly white-tailed deer) is hunting. Also, limiting access to gardens will

lower the number of white-tailed deer in the area, because, according to www.swmnv.com, deer

will rather starve than leave their domain.

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Amsey's Fantastic Foresters  Clear Spring

                                                                                                                              11/2/2007

                                                                                                                            11:13:00 AM

As foresters, we believe that a healthy balance of wildlife and natural resources must be

maintained in order to obtain a healthy forest. Currently in Maryland, the current population of

 deer is estimated at more than 250,000. This exceeds the available carrying capacity for the

state of Maryland.        When ever the deer population exceeds the natural carrying capacity, it

leads to poor health and weakened physical condition of the animals. In addition, as deer

populations increase, over consumption of native plants, shrubs, and trees occurs. This means

that other wildlife species are not able to acquire the food needed to thrive and survive.

Forest regeneration bears the brunt of the whitetail deerís gluttonous appetite as seedlings and

shoots are frequently consumed before they can grow to a size that can endure occasional

browsing. Over-consumption also hinders and distorts forests that are trying to recover from

fire or logging. In order to solve the problem of the forest depletion, we plan to do the

following: feed year around and extend the hunting season. By feeding the deer year round,

this will draw them away from the regular vegetation that would have been damaged. There will

be numerous feeding stations throughout the state, so that there will not be a large

concentration of deer in one area. As a result of extending the hunting season, there will be

less deer leading to a healthier population. We plan to open the season longer with an additional

 2 days. This arrangement in the end will help to preserve the forests in Maryland.

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We Speak For the Trees North Harford High School

                                                                                                                              11/5/2007

                                                                                                                            7:26:00 AM

The over-population of the deer has greatly impacted the forest over the years in a negative

way.  One solution to this problem is the reintroduction of predators to the forest such as

wolves.  According to a study conducted in Yellowstone National Park the absence of wolves in

the park greatly affected the elk population and the increase of the elk population affected

the growth of trees in the forest.  After the reintroduction of the wolves into the park, the

forest recovered and became healthy again.  The area that was most affected by the

overpopulation issue was the understory of the forest since that is the most accessible food

source for the deer.  The wolves would decrease the deer population and in turn the decreasing

deer population would allow for the forest to recover from excessive overgrazing.  This will

result in an overall healthier forest. 

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  From:   Amsey's Fantastic Foresters - Forester - CSHS                          Ask

                                                                                          11/12/2007             1:05:00 PM

     We were curious as to how you plan to introduce the wolves and how you think this

     will improve the overall health of the habitat? Yes, this process will improve the

     forest but the remaining factors of the environmnet will be greatly devestated. With

      the primary consumer population down, the forest will become nothing but

     vegetation and overgrowth. There is the possiblity that the wolves will kill out the

     native species to the area, which could be lost forever. There is also the concern of

     the local resisdents. Most people are not to going to approve the introduction of

     wolves into their area. Wolves are native to the Yellowstone area, but not to

     anywhere around here.

 

 

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