Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Education and Learning

Active learning is critical at all stages of CBDMDeer and City - Photo © Graeme Purdy - iStock

If your community is just getting started, you’ll need to gather information on things such as local deer impacts on public health, safety, and damage to natural areas. Similarly, to select the management actions that are best for your community you’ll need to spend time learning about deer biology, management options and successful examples from other communities—like those featured in the CBDM Community Examples. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel!”

Consult a variety of materials

What kinds of educational materials should your community consult during the CBDM process? Deer-related information is available in many formats—printed reports and articles, websites and blogs, videos and radio broadcasts/podcasts are just a few of the resources available. You can get started by browsing our Resource Library.

Share and summarize

Even the best educational materials are only as good as your community’s learning process. Gear the educational content and format to your community’s needs at any given time. At a minimum, make all materials available in their entirety to establish transparent process and build trust. Most stakeholders will also appreciate thoughtful syntheses and summaries of information such as a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document, learning forums, or interactive discussion sessions.

Learn by doing

Finally, do not underestimate the importance of “learning by doing.” As you prepare to implement your program, think about how you will evaluate its success. Write it down. Purposeful learning about what works and what doesn’t will help your community adapt its CBDM program to meet the needs of deer, people, and natural areas over time.

Common Questions

There are many kinds of experts you might consult throughout your community’s CBDM process. Different experts have different kinds of expertise, including expertise implementing the types of management alternatives a community is considering, expertise on state wildlife management laws and policies, and expertise on process management and public involvement. Some wildlife experts may work for or have worked for a government agency or organization, have university credentials, or be a certified wildlife biologist. It may also be helpful to get a sense of what kinds of experiences the expert you are considering has had with respect to deer management. Your community may benefit from consulting more than one expert for different phases.

The best practices outlined on this site have provided you with some actions that can help create a context that fosters success (stakeholder involvement,  informative communication, education and learning). Also, keep in mind that "success" may be hard to define, and setting goals that you are able to monitor and evaluate is an important component for tracking progress. Decker et al (2004) also suggest the following components of a successful process:

  • A structured process for making community decisions that includes multiple, diverse perspectives
  • Shared understandings about desired goals and a desire for achieving generally acceptable solutions
  • An understanding that this will be an ongoing process. CBDM is not usually a one-off task and often requires a long time-horizon
  • A commitment to evaluation of the decision-making process and the subsequent management program is also critical so adjustments and modifications to a program can be made as needed

Browsing our library of cases may be helpful to you in finding communities that may be similar to your own, in order to get a sense of how those communities’ processes progressed. However, keep in mind that what worked in one community, no matter how similar it seems to your own, is not guaranteed to work in yours.


There's no right amount of information your community needs to know in order to move forward. As described in the best practices described on this site, it's important to understand the nature of the deer management problem in your community, and to bring in content experts as needed. Education and learning is an important part of the CBDM process. However, it is possible for a community to experience "paralysis by analysis", feeling like there is still too much to learn before a decision can be made. But, at some point, your community will have to move forward. Do your due diligence regarding education and learning, make a decision, and when you reach the evaluation stage of the process, be willing to reassess your decision given any new information your community has learned.