Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Community Members

Photo by Michigan Municipal League (CC BY-ND 2.0)Community based management cannot occur without the participation of community members. As with any aspect of civic life, community members have both rights and responsibilities. They should expect to have their interests and concerns considered fairly by community leaders. They also have responsibilities as citizens: to become informed, responsible, and active participants in community deliberations about deer management.  When community members show mutual respect for the concerns of those with differing points of view, and a willingness to compromise for the greater community good, they can make progress toward their shared objectives. Community members:

  • Make their interests and concerns known to one another and to community leaders, through means such as public meetings or surveys of residents.
  • Provide input that is used to form community objectives and to select community actions.


Phase 1: Problem Definition

  • Bring deer impacts to the attention of local leaders
  • Discuss impacts to compare notes with other residents and neighbors

Phase 2: Decision-making

  • Participate in public informational meetings
  • Take advantage of materials and educational opportunities to learn about deer biology and management
  • Express informed opinions about management options under consideration
  • Engage in civil discourse and respect the opinions of others

Phase 3: Implementation

  • Stay up-to-date on deer-related ordinances and management activities
  • Take safety precautions and encourage other residents to do the same

Phase 4: Evaluation and Adaptation

  • Participate in official community surveys related to deer-management
  • Report deer damage or other observations through appropriate channels

Common Questions

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. 

There are a variety of ways that different communities’ may involve community members in the deer management decision-making process. Some communities may implement a survey of residents; hold public meetings or workshops; recruit citizens to sit on a deer-management decision-making body; solicit feedback through a municipal website; or involve citizens in the monitoring of deer impacts. A good place to start is to contact your local elected municipal leader’s office to find out about these opportunities. Many communities may also include this information on their municipal website.  

Please see our resources tab to find a variety of information about deer and deer management that you may find interesting. Your county’s Cooperative Extension office may be another place you can contact to find out about any upcoming programs or workshops related to deer and deer management. Many counties' Cooperative Extension offices have natural resources specialists who may engage in outreach related to deer.