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

Implementing a resident survey requires a large time commitment as well as financial resources to commit to developing a survey instrument.  Often, developing and implementing an effective survey will require the involvement of experts in this skill. You may wish to consult your local university or a private company that specializes in survey design and implementation. For example surveys, please visit our resources tab; you will find example deer management-related surveys under the “tools” heading. 

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.

Stakeholder engagement can be accomplished in many ways, so it does not look exactly the same in every community. Some communities get input from public meetings or comments on proposed actions; some collect information using surveys of community residents. Other communities involve stakeholders more directly, using in face-to-face deliberations like focus groups or workshops. Over time communities may gather information using a combination of several approaches. The best approach for engaging people will depend on factors such as: the level of conflict over deer, the number of stakeholders affected, how interested and aware stakeholders are in the deer management issue, how much information decision makers need from stakeholders, as well as any resource limitations your community might have. For more discussion on this, please see Decker et al. 2002.