Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Phase 3: Implementation

Key events

CBDM Process DiagramThe implementation phase is all about taking action—a culmination of the information gathering and analysis conducted in the first two phases. The centerpiece for the implementation phase is the creation of a deer management plan. There is no one right way to develop your community's plan, but effective plans share several common elements by spelling out: drivers (i.e., problem definition), goals, budget, communications, and monitoring and indicators. Will your community take a partnership approach to implementing pieces of the plan, or will a single entity be responsible? Be sure to state the responsibilities clearly.

Key information needsPhoto © Bill Silliker Jr.

The information needs at this stage are technical and logistical. “How-to” information about developing a deer management plan will be especially useful. For example, Pennsylvania's Guide to Community Deer Management describes useful components to include in a deer management plan (pp. 8-9). Be sure to check out how other communities have implemented similar management actions as you bring your own program to life, such as: Burnsville, Minnesota; Greenwich, Connecticut; Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Common challenges

  • Addressing public safety concerns. An implementation plan needs to include clear information on the steps that program managers will take to address public safety, and those plans and procedures need to be communicated to community residents. Community members may block implementation of a management plan if these steps are not adequately addressed.
  • Legal and regulatory challenges. Community members who oppose use of the management actions selected by their leaders may take legal actions to prevent those actions from being taken. For example, groups that oppose hunting may take legal action to block implementation of a controlled deer hunt. Some communities will need to prepare and defend an environmental assessment document to address state regulatory requirements or legal challenges. Other communities have firearms discharge ordinances that have to be modified or removed before the community can use deer hunting as a management tool. Any of these challenges can result in long delays between the decision making and implementation phases of CBDM.
  • Making evaluation plans explicit. One of the deficiencies that often appear in CBDM plans is a lack of clear direction on how outcomes of CBDM actions will be assessed or monitored. The best evaluation plans provide details on how, where, and when specific monitoring and evaluation activities will be executed. Evaluation plans should be linked to achievement of community-established objectives.
  • Resource limitations. Implementation of even a modest management plan requires funding, paid staff time or volunteer management and maintaining a flow of communication about deer management activities. Program costs range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands in a given year. Consider how your community will handle startup and recurring costs over time. Realistic budgeting for these expenses will help set your community on a sustainable path.

Recommended Resources

Make communication a priority for your community's deer management program. Consult these guides to learn how.

Consult these materials to compare possible action alternatives for deer management in your community.

Learn how other communities have structured their CBDM programs by browsing these deer management plans.

Translate your community's desired outcomes into deer management objectives that are specific and measurable.

Dig deeper into community-based deer management with these practitioners' guides. 

Find books, newspaper articles, blog posts and more about the relationships between communities and deer.

Read these first if you are new to community-based deer management.

Jump-start your community's deer management program with these templates.

Common Questions

There is no easy answer to this question. Time will vary based on a number of factors and needs specific to your community, including the amount of time and money you are willing to contribute, the support of local elected officials, the management method selected, and public support of the effort. CBDM is often not a one-off effort, but an ongoing commitment by a community. Some communities are able to come to a decision and take actions quickly (i.e., less than a year). In other communities it can take years to agree upon and implement deer management actions. 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 the time commitment that may be needed. 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. 

For more information on direct actions for managing deer, we suggest visiting the website or reviewing our resources page for additional help.

Implementing your deer management plan may require the involvement of private firms, non-profit organizations, or local citizens. Please see our list of experts to help you find the appropriate assistance in your area.