You are on page 1of 8

Urban Deer Project

The large number of deer found in cities and rural areas during the fall, winter and spring
can result in many communities developing a love-hate relationship with these animals.
Some potential issues that come with urban deer include harm to lawns and gardens due
to feeding, the attack of deer on domestic animals such as cats and dogs, the introduction of
predators into urban areas such as coyotes, hazards to motorists on the road, the possible
habituation resulting in no longer viewing humans as a threat, and the potential spread of Lyme
Disease. The Indiana Urban Deer technical guide says: deer-vehicle collisions have been
estimated to cause 29,000 injuries, 200 human fatalities, and over $1 billion dollars in property
damage annually (Conover et al 1995, Conover 1997). The urban deer populations are growing
not just here in Cache Valley but all over the country. These issues are life threatening and will
only continue to grow if nothing is done in the near future to manage the spread of urban deer.
The topic and understanding of urban deer is important in better educating the public
about potential issues arising from urban deer as well as collectively combining new ideas to
better manage and maintain the local deer populations while protecting not only our own lives,
but theirs as well. The introduction of smartphones and new technology will be crucial in order
to keeping track of many deer in the area. However, it does not always work. One of the
resources that we tried to use was an app named GIS. The app turned out to have complications
while we tried to use it and it ordered us to pay to use the functions we needed. That forced us to
going back to Google maps and plot all the deer that we were finding. Our project covered the
areas around the grounds of Utah State University, we used a number of methods and in using
these methods we could develop a solid strategy to produce accurate results leading to the
implication of a management system to reduce urban deer populations.
Our group utilized two types of software for our data collection process, we used Google
Earth and GIS Mobile Data Collection. Both of these programs are vastly different but offer
some of the same tools. Google Earth is made by Google Inc. and is a free online software
download. Google Earth is great for plotting points, creating maps, and pretty much anything
else you can think of on the earths landscape. GIS Mobile Data Collection is a simple mobile
app that allows a user to input points on the go in the field. There are some pros and cons with
both of the data collection methods that we found along our research journey.
We will start out with the cons of each collection method, starting out with the GIS
Mobile App. GIS Cloud was very temperamental in its operation and we found many roadblocks
for our group and delayed our data collection. In the app you were only allowed one
administrator to run the map, the administrator had full control over this map and who could
view, edit, and delete points. That being said, if one person had some points they wanted to post
into the group map, it would place it in a queue, until the administrator approved them. This
doesnt make much sense for a group project, especially on a larger scale system that we would
like to implement this in the future. Group members not having permission to submit data is a
large blockade, especially on top of the subscription fee for full access to the app. We would not
recommend this for future operations. On the other hand Google Earth also has some flaws.
Earth cannot be taken with you in your pocket into the field, so it is not as convenient as a handy
mobile app. Google Earth Pro also requires a subscription to use and share the map with other
users. Here is where things get interesting though and this is what sets these two services apart
from each other. Google Earth is compatible with Google Maps, an app that comes on every
single smartphone now. Google maps is perfect for use in the field because you can get detailed

maps of where you are and the user is able to drop pins on this location. With the saved pins in
your phone you can do numerous things with these, we can take a screenshot of these pins and
send them to an administrator or local city run operation via-email. The user can also save the
points on their mobile device and transfer them to their Google Earth file. Another cool feature
with Earth is that you can save and load the document without having to pay for a subscription.
As stated before the only limit with Google Earth is the ability to post your map to the
community forum and to be able to share, without a subscription you cannot do these things. Our
group did not find it necessary to purchase a subscription to the software because of how small
our operation was. We did a collaboration between the two separate types of software and
entered everything in Google Earth at the end of our project. What we chose to do since the GIS
app was giving us trouble was to meet at one place together and compare our data. Once all
together we loaded up our Google Earth map and began plotting points on the map. We believe
that if this project were to be implemented into a city wide project Google Earth would be the
perfect tool to use. It has everything you need and want in a GIS based application and it is super
simple to use. Google Earth puts a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information
right on your desktop. View exotic locales like Maui and Paris, as well as points of interest such
as local restaurants, hospitals, and schools. Google Earth combines satellite imagery, maps, and
the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips. With
Google Earth you can fly from space to your neighborhoodjust type in an address and zoom
right in, search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions, tilt and rotate
the view to see 3D terrain and buildings, save and share your searches and favorites and even add
your own annotations.(Google) This product description form the publishers at Google give us a
peek at just how powerful of a tool this is.

Figure 1-Arial view of Logan where our main focus was.

Our research was mainly focused in


the areas around campus directly but we
Figure 2-South end of our research, Logan Canyon to the
also spanned out to wherever we saw
east, Main Street labeled with blue line.
Mule deer populations. Deer we saw
have been marked with red pins and
with that data we have come to some
interesting hypotheses. We believe that
the main concentration of deer can be found close to the moths of both Green, and Logan
Canyons. This would make sense because the deer come down from the mountains in the winter
when the snowfall comes. The snowfall at higher elevation is much more than that in the valley
resulting in the deer being pushed from the tops of the mountains into the lower, warmer valleys.
Here the deer find suitable habitats along with a constant supply of food, whether it is their
natural diet or not. Deer are known for trashing gardens and landscaping and it is obviously
becoming a problem in the valleys. Deer also account for a number of motor vehicle accidents,
by collisions or by motorists swerving to avoid the deer. There are many tips and pointers to
follow when approaching a deer in your vehicle but the question that needs to be answered is,
why we need this information if the deer should not be on the roads anyways.
With the city rapidly growing in population we are encroaching on their habitat more and
more every year. Encroachment leads to habituation and that is the main problem with urban
deer. Habituation to humans in close settings allows mule deer to exist at densities above what
is generally seen in the wild. How urban mule deer impact people is often dependent on human
tolerance levels, which can vary by community (WAFWA) The more time deer spend in urban

environments the more used to humans they become, losing fear in them because they know they
will not be killed, and they can stay there peacefully. Deer that stay down in urban habitats
slowly become risks to humans and other animals. As urban deer become more acclimated with
the area, it is likely that they will start to mate and reproduce in these areas. Deer are known to
become more aggressive during the rut when their hormones are at their peak. This poses a risk
to not only humans but other domesticated animals as well. There have been documented cases
where dogs have been attacked by deer and even humans who decide to get too close to them.
Deer are known hosts also for Lymes disease, which is carried by different species of
ticks. Because deer spend most of their time in the wooded areas, ticks are always finding their
way onto deer. These ticks will then come off of the deer and onto humans, Lymes disease is a
very harmful virus that stays with humans for life and can be very detrimental to our health.

There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to implementing a management
structure. We would have two options to choose from, those being lethal and Non-Lethal forms
of management. Lethal management in our opinion would be a last resort as the only options we
have with that would be shooting the deer with either a rifle or a bow. These options are both
radical and pose a safety risk to the residents. This risk is heightened as the deer become more
abundant in urban areas. As you can see with our maps, deer do wonder very close to established
parts of our society. Lethal management would be happening both literally and figuratively in
our back yards. Also the application and selection program for a process like this is very time
consuming. Some benefits though include donating processed game to local food pantries for
underprivileged residents. One of the major obstacles to hunting urban deer is safety. For
obvious reasons, its not a good idea to fire high-powered rifles around houses and other
buildings. The sound alone will cause the neighbors to call the police in terror, and an errant
bullet could cause a catastrophe. (Bruce.) Bow hunting would be more appropriate for a more
densely populated city, but we still run into a major safety issue. Thats why bow hunting with
compound or recurve bows or crossbows is the best tool for managing urban deer herds. A wellplaced arrow tipped with a broad head is a lethal instrument for bagging a deer, and is much
quieter and safer in urban settings than a rifle.(Bruce.) Lethal management as stated before is a
last resort when urban deer become a nuisance to society and the people are in serious danger.
There are a number of more logical solutions to tackling urban deer populations to stop it
from becoming a serious issue. Prohibiting supplemental feeding is a good first step that the city
should take because supplemental feeding can help rapidly increase fawn production. Many
people try and feed deer by hand and by setting up feeders because they enjoy seeing the deer
and think that they are doing a good deed, when in reality they are training the deer that there is a
more reliable food source right here in this yard and that they do not need to migrate up and
down the mountains every year. Bird and squirrel feeders should be placed out of the reach of
deer because they will also attract deer.
Another options is to implement the use of chemical repellants and scare devices.
Chemical repellants are available commercially but also run the risk of polluting the are you are
applying
these section
in. Another
chemical
repellants is that you have to constantly reFigure 3- North
of ournegative
research,for
includes
Green
Canyon,
Blue
pins
represent
herd
of
deer
numbering
in we see a lot of here in Logan.
apply them especially after rain and snow, something
15+

Scare devices include propane cannons that shoot compressed propane producing a loud
noise, also we can use firecrackers and m-80s. The user of these would first have to consult with
their local city ordinances to see if devices like these are allowed. Deer resistant plants and
fencing are also a good option to keep deer from moving into urban areas. The problem with this
is that deer can cleverly find a way to get around these, so we believe that this is a short-term
application for management.
A system like that of Hardware Ranch could be considered for deer. With Hardware
Ranch in Hyrum elk have a place to safely graze and rest in the winter, keeping them in the
mountains and out of the farmlands and urban areas below. This could work in Logan and Green
Canyon. If somehow deer were compelled to stay in the canyons before they reached the mouth,

this could cut the urban deer population off at the source and potentially have a drastic affect on
the problem as a whole in Logan.
Relocation seems to be the most effective in managing urban deer populations. The
experience for a deer to be trapped and relocated is probably pretty traumatizing, that being said
it is unlikely that the deer will move back to the same spot. Arlo Wing talked about how they
used this method for bears and they would tag the animal and spray paint it, if the animal came
back to the area within two weeks; the estimated time the spray paint would stay on the animal,
they would then move to a lethal operation, as that animal has not learned not to stay in the area.
If lethal management is to be considered a system like this should be looked at for deer. This
removes the problem deer who are so acclimated with an urban area that they would return after
being trapped and relocated.
The best way to market a plan to a city seeking management of an urban deer population
would be to consult the residents, as they are the ones directly affected by the animals. If they
feel that the deer are becoming a major problem, and a posing a threat to society and something
needs to be done immediately they should lobby for lethal means of management, only after
being advised of the risks and alternatives. If the deer arent a major problem, but people notice
them more often, then they should start to troubleshoot the problem with the non-lethal tactics.
A political hot potato for years within the community, the relocation program seems to have
been well received by residents, according to Hill. Traps are only set in areas where homeowners
have granted sports officials access to potentially trap the deer and Howard said the DWR takes a
close look at each area, before a decision is made of whether or not an area is an appropriate
trapping site.(Clark.) It would be imperative to first find out what the issues are and how to
combat them, then to propose the plan to the city and ask for approval. This would not be a
resident run operation, but an operation run by the DWR, therefore we would need their approval
and resources to begin an operation like this. Logan is a big city in terms of population and size,
density during the school year is definitely increased and it is also the time of year where deer
like to migrate into the valley and this ultimately proposes a risk too many residents.
In conclusion, our data alone suggests that at the mouth of each canyon shows the highest
densities of urban deer populations with another group on the island. We know that deer will
keep coming down into the valleys no matter what and that they pose a risk to residents
especially with the growing population of residents here. Without a solid management
framework deer will keep coming down and calling Logan their home. We propose that
management framework be set into motion, including surveys of residents to see where the most
attention is needed. We believe that if the city were to set up a Google Earth page and allow
residents to submit information to the city for example, where they saw the deer, how many deer,
and the sex of the animal it would be extremely helpful in starting up a reliable accurate data
table in which the DWR and other agencies can use to learn where the deer are and where to
focus the most attention at. This will also help the agencies find and tag these animals so they
can track their movements and relocate them as needed. Lethal options are a last resort and will
only be needed once the population becomes a danger to society and we think the city should

stray away from these types of management. Using google earth with the help of the citizens in a
joint operation with the various societies will form an unstoppable force against the urban Mule
Deer population in Logan. As long as pockets of relatively undeveloped areas remain within the
city deer will continue to use them, so we need to act now. Any action taken has the luxury of
doing so with the newest up to date and affordable technology we have to offer to provide a safe
deer free Logan.

Works Cited
Bruce, Eric. Game and Fish Mag. 28 September 2010.
<http://www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/hunting_whitetail-deerhunting_ra_0707_09/>.
Clark, Antone. Standard Examiner. 31 December 2014.
<http://www.standard.net/Environment/2014/12/31/Bountiful-deer-trappingprogram-under-way>.
Hadidian, John. Wildlife in U.S. Cities: Managing Unwanted Animals. 11 November
2015. <http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/5/4/0401/htm>.
Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife. "Urban Deer Technical Guide ." (2014): 6.
Western Association of Fish and WIldlife Agencies. Urban Mule Deer Issues Fact
Sheet #9. July 2014. <https://wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/pdf/mdwg/mdwg9_urban_issues.pdf>.