Question: Why is Binghamton University planning to
conduct a deer cull?
overpopulation in the University’s Nature Preserve over the past
40 years has
had a devastating effect on forest regeneration. Wildflowers and forest
understory shrubs have disappeared, and the resulting reduction of food
habitat has adversely affected all other animals in the forest
and ground-nesting birds, for example, have stopped reproducing in our
Because the deer have no natural predators in the Nature Preserve, and
hunting is not allowed, the deer population is currently five times
research shows it should be. The goal is NOT to eliminate deer
to reduce the population to a level at which the forest can begin to
We want deer to remain an integral component of a healthy, ecologically
balanced environment in our natural areas.
Question: Would deer
translocation, birth control and hunting be viable
alternatives to culling?
Answer: We have researched each of
these options thoroughly:
of translocated deer are low (due to capture, transport and new
stress). Translocation involves a much higher cost and effort for
the same mortality outcome. In addition, this method is effectively
in New York state because of spreading diseases. And most other areas
state are already at or above capacity.
Birth Control: Birth
has been in the experimental stages for decades and has shown no
effectiveness in managing wild, free-ranging deer populations. The
chemicals involved are prohibitively expensive, even for partial
reduction, and they are not approved by the FDA. Fertility control is
in isolated, confined and island populations OR when combined with
methods. It would not reduce our deer population enough or in time to
Hunting Season: Safety is the number one reason
against this option. Because
it would be hard to control hunter expertise and hunter access, it
difficult to ensure the safety of students and visitors. Further, it is
unlikely that the deer population would be reduced sufficiently during
Question: Is culling safe?
Answer: Yes. Culling will be done
and in locations at more than the legal distance from campus and
residences. Access to culling sites will be carefully controlled and
will be conducted during times of least visitation to our natural areas
when the fewest students are on campus. In addition, low-caliber
Question: What happens to
Answer: The meat is donated to
Question: How many will be
Answer: We know there are 60-70 deer
per square mile on campus. In order to even begin the forest recovery
deer need to be reduced to 8-10 per square mile.
Question: Won’t the
deer population increase again?
Answer: Yes. The population is, and
will continue to be, monitored. Deer behavior and lack of good-quality
sources will slow down their rate of population increase. We also
the behavior of incoming deer will slow down the damage done to the
Culling gives the forest time to begin recovery; we will re-evaluate
options when necessary.
qualifications do we have for recommending management of deer?
Answer: Those who have made the
initial recommendation are all biologists who take care of the natural
and the Nature Preserve on campus. Both on-campus and external research
the effects of deer on forest ecosystems as well as research on
options support the decision. Our steward of natural areas on campus,
also a wildlife biologist, and other on-campus scientists have
deer population and observed their effect for more than 10 years and