Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Community Example: Town of Dewitt, New York

Key facts

  • Formed a town Deer Task Force in 2015 (disbanded in 2016)
  • Refocused the discussion on most-impacted neighborhoods
  • Adopted and began implementing a deer management plan in 2017
  • Venison is donated to Hunters for the Hungry
  • Community Size: Medium city (10,000 to 50,000 people)
  • Region: Northeast
    • Plan established in 2017

    The Town of DeWitt engaged in a 3-year process of gathering information and working in partnership with town residents, regional experts, and the greater community. In October, 2017 the DeWitt Town Board formally adopted a Deer Management Plan, and subsequently received a Nuisance Permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitting the town to conduct a managed hunt of antlerless deer. The first managed hunt was conducted between January and March of 2017.

    In some areas, the Town of DeWitt has approximately 85 deer per square mile, roughly ten times the number generally considered acceptable from an ecological and societal perspective. The intention of the deer reduction is to stabilize the deer population in DeWitt, reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and deer-vehicle collisions and limit damage to landscape plants and other vegetation.

    The deer reduction program is occurring on both private and public lands. As a safety precaution, night-time park closures—from dusk to dawn—are enforced during the hunt. [Source: Town of DeWitt Press Release, January 2017].