Cornell UniversityThe Nature Conservancy

Wildlife Professionals

Photo © Matt MillerWildlife professionals with expertise in deer ecology and management can be found in government agencies, universities, or nongovernmental organizations. Communities often consult with several different wildlife professionals, who fulfill different roles, as a community moves through the phases of CBDM. Initially they may consult with such professionals to learn how deer are affecting people, other wildlife, and the natural environment. Later on they may consult with wildlife professionals to clarify the pros and cons of various deer management actions. If a community selects management actions that require state permits (e.g., deer reproductive control, special hunting seasons), those communities work with professionals in their respective state wildlife agency to obtain such permits. Communities may even collaborate with wildlife professionals to evaluate program outcomes. Wildlife professionals:

  • help create a shared knowledge base about deer-related impacts in the community and actions communities might take to manage those impacts
  • help the community understand and navigate the regulatory system for deer management
  • help the community think through the technical aspects of program implementation and evaluation

Responsibilities

Phase 1: Problem Definition

  • Serving as content experts to provide information/education on topics such as: deer natural history; effects local deer are having on people, other wildlife, and native plants and forests; and deer management activities affecting that community.

Phase 2: Decision-making

  • Helping communities identify and understand a range of management alternatives and learn about the pros, cons, potential consequences, and feasibility of various alternatives in their community.
  • Making communities aware of the types of permits a community would need before taking actions directed at deer population reduction, and clarifying the conditions required for communities to receive such permits.

Phase 3: Implementation

  • Helping communities negotiate the process of applying for necessary permits to implement local deer management actions.
  • Reviewing permit applications submitted by communities to their state wildlife management agency.
  • Providing the technical guidance (detailed "how to" information) a community needs to design actions such as a controlled hunt.
  • Assisting with actions such as deer removal or deer reproductive control.

Phase 4: Evaluation and Adaptation

  • In some cases, assisting with or facilitating research to monitor and evaluate some of the outcomes associated with program implementation.
  • In some cases, communicating the results of evaluation and monitoring to the community where actions were implemented, as well as interested stakeholders in adjacent communities and beyond.

Common Questions

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.

 

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

After the issue has been identified, and you understand what is and is not possible in your community, it is time to explore what tools or combination of tools or actions are available to you. Some tools may need to be implemented by a community, some by individuals. These tools have varying costs, effectiveness, and time horizons that a community needs to understand before they select the method or combination of methods that is right for them. This means weighing the alternatives available, and being open to continual evaluation and reassessment of your community’s use of those tools. This also means being adaptable in your approach and changing that approach as conditions change—conditions which you may be trying to affect as well as conditions which may be beyond your control. 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 which actions were selected in different context. 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.