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Tyler J McCallion

April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

Perspectives on Deer
Management in New Jersey
Introduction
White-tailed deer have been a dynamic species throughout the New
Jersey landscape for many of years. From the foundation of the deer hunting
season back in 1722 helped with the structure of the management of the
deer population in New Jersey. Although there was slight organization of a
management for the deer in New Jersey, this did not help in the aspect of
their population stability by the year 1900. By this time, populations had
been depleted to almost extinction from human influences such as habitat
fragmentation of development and farming, habitat loss/degradation, and
mostly due to overhunting the species. With the help of the Division of Fish
and Wildlife organization, a halt to deer hunting was established in 1902 and
thus reintroduction efforts were performed to revitalize the deer population
back to stability. Fast forward 120 years and we now have an issue with
overpopulation of the deer species throughout New Jersey. I wanted to find
out what the public residents thought about the deer herds in New Jersey
and how they perceive hunting in the management efforts.

Methods
In an effort to understand the residents acceptance capacity of deer
populations within New Jersey, I had created a questionnaire to gain

Tyler J McCallion
April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

knowledge of how much the local citizens comprehend about the white-tailed
deer in our region. I first comprised a serious of issues that I could indulge in
to spark the local peoples interest. Then I had to compress those into a
single topic as to not overwhelm or confuse the respondent. The formation of
the questions had to be structured in accordance to the topic and the issues.
Going from general comprehension and education questions and then
increasing to a more specific and opinionative questions. For example, I had
focused of getting knowledge of the respondents outdoor activity and their
understanding of the deer species in New Jersey and its dynamics. Then
going more in-depth with questions about the respondents opinion on
hunting regulations and means of safe and effective management of deer
within their urban settings. After organizing and reviewing the questions for
any bias or vague questions, I had printed out multiple copies and went
around to various people in public settings asking if they would take a brief 9
question survey about deer in their area. Many people were accepting of this
survey and acquired much interest and education of the matter was
something they were interested in after they had finished this. I had also
comprised these same 9 survey questions into a google forms document
and allowed for public open access with help from both my professor, Dr.
Tredick, and a post onto a public online forum, concentrated into
topics/issues of New Jersey.

Tyler J McCallion
April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

Would you consider rezoning urban areas for the allowance of hunting to control deer populations?
Maybe- More Educatio n

No- Even with Strict Regulations

39%

48%
Yes- Strict Regulations

13%

Results
Figure 1: Results of Public Acceptance to Rezoning Urban Areas for Allowance
of Deer Management through Hunting- Almost half (48%) agree with this plan,
(39%) contemplate with uncertainty of matter but want to obtain more
education, and (13%) discourage the process all together even with strict
regulations enacted.

How do you perceive deer as a nuisance?

# of Respondents

20
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0

Figure 2: Results on Public Opinion of Deer as a Nuisance; about 85% of the residents viewed deer as a
nuisance while being proportionally divvied up amongst Ecological Degradation(~7%), Garden
Destruction(~4%), Vehicle Collision(~33%), and All of the Above(~41%) categories as their main
issues but also having less than 15% of the people did not perceive deer to be a nuisance

Tyler J McCallion
April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

What is your perception of the deer population in New Jersey?


Balanced

Too Few

Too Many

Balanced; 33%

Too Many; 60%


Too Few; 7%

Figure 3: Public Perspective of New Jersey's Deer Population Status; more than half of the respondents
(60%) stated the deer population is overwhelming in this state, while few described there to be a
balance or stability (33%) of the deer herds within the state and the remaining (7%) viewed the state
with too few deer.

Discussion
The results showed a trend that much of the information gathered
corresponded to public educated and uneducated of deer populations with
the dynamic of the acceptance capacity to close proximity urban hunting.
People who are generally uncertain about the deer species are more likely to
bias their answer of safety and hunting regulation perspectives. Although
this trend of misunderstanding was expressed, the magnitude of its
proportion is outweighed by the public with more understanding and

Tyler J McCallion
April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

acceptance to urbanized hunting as a successful management practice. The


majority of the public were knowledgeable of the deer population within New
Jersey and were more likely to have a higher acceptance capacity towards
expanding hunting zones and regulations. One emphasis that respondents
wanted more elaboration on was the education of the rezoning and hunting
regulation changes. Education and awareness are the key factors to
management of the deer population in New Jersey. With education, local
residents will be more likely to favor the actions if they know what the cause
and effect of these measure will be. Education is the major contributor to
raising the acceptance capacity for most situations. (Kilpatrick & Lima, 1999)
Results of archery hunting in urban environments have proven to be an
effective management technique for decreasing population sizes. The scale
of deer being a nuisance and the measure of what a nuisance is changes
from the perspective of the individual. About 33% of the respondents
acknowledged vehicle collisions being the highest nuisance from deer. 41%
of individuals responded with all of the nuisance categories being their main
focus as the issues from deer; this included vehicle collision, ecological
degradation, as well as garden destruction. Then a few people, ~15%, felt
that deer are not a nuisance to them. There are many in-depth questions
that need to be asked of the New Jersey residents as well as a larger sample
size. The issue of where people live could skew the results and also affect
their perspective. Both qualitative and quantitative studies need to be

Tyler J McCallion
April 13, 2016

Wildlife Management
Human Dimensions Survey

encompassed to gain more information and understanding to this dynamic


situation.

Bibliography

Kilpatrick, H. J., & Lima, K. K. (1999). Effects of Archery Hunting on


Movement and Activity of Female White-Tailed Deer in an Urban
Landscape. Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006), 27(2), 433440.

Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3783911


STEWART, C. c., KELLER, B., & WILLIAMSON, C. R. (2013). Keys to
managing a successful archery deer hunt in an urban community: a

case study. Human-Wildlife Interactions, 7(1), 132-139


Bilby, Joe (2014). New Jersey Deer Hunting History. Wall Patch Article,

URL: http://patch.com/new-jersey/wall/new-jersey-deer-hunting-history
History of New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife. NJDEP, URL:

http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/history.htm
The Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish, Game
and Wildlife. Governors Report on Deer Management in New Jersey.

URL/PDF: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/govdrrpt.pdf
Maslo, B., & Wehman, S. (2013). An Overview of White-tailed Deer
Status and Management in New Jersey. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural
Experiment Station, URL: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/pubs/fs1202/whitetailed-deer.asp