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					Deer Management on
 Bald Head Island
  By Andrew, Alex, Jennifer, Greg, and Sara
Management Options

         • Lethal

         • Non- lethal
           -Fertility control agents
           -Other options (relocation,
           habitat modification,
           supplemental feeding,
       Understanding Deer

• Average life expectancy 5 years

• sexually mature at 6 months old

• gestation period of 7 months

• each dear could produce 15-20 fawns in a lifetime

• unmanaged the dear population will increase

• Bald head island is about 12,000 acres

• 2000 is land habitable by dear

• Homes encroach on at least 500 acres of this land

• 1500 acres actually habitable by deer

• ONLY 186 acres of protected maritime forest on the
            Deer Nutrition
• 7 lbs of vegetation per day

• 2,555 lbs per year

• An average acre of a whitetail habitat produces 200
  lbs of deer feed per year

• 100 lbs per acre can be eaten without causing
  significant damage

• BUT deer can forage up to 150 lbs per acre

• If deer eat 100 lbs of deer browse per acre they
  would require 26 acres of land per dear per year
                No Action

• Currently 100 deer inhabit BHI

• These deer need 2,600 acres of land to be sustained
  with optimal conditions

• Given BHI has about 1500 acres of land habitable by
  deer we estimate that a sustainable population of
  deer for Bald Head Island would be 60-80 deer.

How GonaConTM Works
• Is a restricted use pesticide
• gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) controls the
  release of pituitary gonadotropins (LH and FSH) which
  regulate sperm production in males and ovulation in
• vaccine stimulates the release of GnRH-specific antibody
  into the blood stream
• GnRH is unable to stimulate LH and FSH so animals
  remain in non-reproductive state

Strengths of GonaConTM                 Weaknesses of
•   highly effective contraceptive      GonaConTM
•   single-dose                        •   need to capture and release each
•   lasts up to 5 years w/o booster
    vaccination                        •   expensive

•   all sexual behavior is decreased   •   new, experimental product

•   works on both does and bucks       •   not commercially available

•   no significant side effects        •   cannot rapidly reduce
                                           overabundant deer populations
•   reversibility of effects               to healthy level
Implementation Process
         •   Once community has decided to proceed
             with the study…

         •   Moves from FDA (after experimental drug
             guidelines are met) to EPA

         •   Get EPA registration granted (January

         •   After the study, the drug will be used
             registered by the state and approved for use
             by sate fish and game or natural resource

         •   all users must be certified pesticide

         •   only USDA-WS or state wildlife
             management agency personnel working
             under their authority can use it
                   Case Studies
Fire Island Study
• Barrier Island with
  closed population of
  deer just like Bald

• Administering the
  Drug for 17 years
  since 1995. Used PZP
  not GonaCon

• Decreased Population
  by 50% in some areas
                      More Studies
         NIST Study                          USDA Study
• Published in 2009Fenced in         •   43 female white-tailed deer were
                                         studied (28 were treated; 15 were
  closed population                      untreated)
• Between 1997-2000 the number       •   88% of treated deer were not
  of births was cut approximately        pregnant the first year, 47% of
                                         deer were not pregnant the second
  72 percent from 76 to 21.              year
• Since 2000, the birth rates have   •   no adverse health effects were
  continued to stay low.                 detected

                                     •   GonaCon is a safe and effective
                                         means of inducing temporary
                                         infertility in deer
    Dr. Brian Underwood- Interview
1) Is PZP still being administered to the deer?
- We are now in the 17th year of application of the PZP vaccine to deer on Fire Island. We are
suspending treatment this year to complete a comprehensive fertility control program view.
2) If so, How has the population been effected since; has it stabilized at a low population? Has it
decreased Significantly?
- In one area, we have witnessed about a 50% reduction in the abundance of deer over a 10
year period. In other areas, the effect has been not nearly as dramatic.
3) If it has stopped being given to the deer what has happened to the deer population?
- There is every indication that if we stop (which we are for at least 1 year) that there will be a
latent fertility control effect as many deer will still have elevated PZP-antibody titers in their
bloodstream. In fact, we're counting on it
4) Looking at your graph on the impact that deer have on the understory- did you feel that was a
significant impact the deer were having.
- There is no doubt that deer are having an impact on the island's vegetation. The question is
what I refer to as the "so what?" question. We're attempting to understand how herbivory stacks
up to other forms of vegetation disturbance on a typical barrier island.
       • $382,500 for the 5 year
Cost             study

          TOTAL BUDGET





• After the first five
  year study, if the
  program is
  approved, the
  next five years
  would be at least
  $200,000 cheaper
  due to the fact
  that researchers
  and associated
  costs will no
  longer be needed

• Still being researched
• Steps of agreement and
  approval by local and
  federal government
• Bald Head’s unique
• Are the potential long-
  term benefits worth the
  short term cost/risk?
• The cull has consisted of 100-150 deer per year in the past,
  and will likely continue at that rate.

• Population will be 150-200 within a year if no action is taken

                                            • Carrying capacity
                                               of the island is
                                            somewhere between
                                              88 and 186 deer
                                            (’98-’99 report, Ray
                                                 and Bolen)
               • Census will be taken yearly to
                 determine population and
                 movements of deer will be
Culling-cost     tracked by GPS collar
               • Cost to Cull will be $250,000
                 over next 5 years.
               • Total of $130,000 less than
               •    People have complained in
                   the past about spotlights being
                   shined into their houses
               • 3 reports were filed of houses
                 being shot.
                   Culling- Facts
• It is likely to be more expensive in the long term.
• If we pursue culling, we will not learn any more about the herd
• Deer are culled by shot to the head with .22 caliber rifle
• People on the Island are concerned about their personal safety
  when people are doing the culling.
• The contractor's quality and speed can be inconsistent year to
• The operation is unsightly for the residents of the island
• This will achieve the conservancy's ultimate goal of maintaining
  the herd at a level that will keep the maritime forest intact.
       Summary as of now

Something must be done to control the deer.

At this time immunocontraception (in the long run) is
  theoretically more cost effective and less traumatic to
  the deer populations than culling. Furthermore it
  will incur positive scientific progress that could
  enable the discovery of a final better solution.
  Culling is however a proven method with an obvious
  efficacy of 100%
       Other Potential Options
  -Encouraged deer migration through use of
      predator excrement and salt licks.
•Extremely inexpensive                Cons
                            •Inevitable island
•No deer trauma
                            movement could render
                            this method ineffective
•Would not interfere with

•More natural
                                          Works Cited
•   Newman, M.E. (2009, January). Deer immunocontraception at nist. Retrieved from

•   Regulatory issues. (n.d.). Retrieved from

•   Wildlife damage management. (2007, October 9). Retrieved from





• Wildlife damage management.

• Eisemann, J. (2006)



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