Deer control in Maine often means that deer are getting overpopulated and are destroying gardens and crops. In many urban and suburban areas the deer populations have soared. Deer are edge animals and the vast array of gardens, lawns, ornamental plantings, and travel corridors provide ideal living conditions for deer to thrive.

The whitetail deer population in these areas is often so high that they begin to become a nuisance.  The complaints from citizens are everything from damage to gardens, plantings, crops, and vehicle collisions.  Many areas of the state eventually had to open up a limited bowhunting season to reduce deer numbers where firearms are impractical or unsafe. While this has proven to be highly effective, the seasons are short and regulated. 

What do you do about deer that are around your home destroying your crops and trees?

1. Prevention is always the best long term strategy. Fencing off gardens, netting young fruit trees, and generally making areas inaccessible to deer are the prefered long term strategies. Sometimes it’s a matter of replacing plants that are highly palatable to deer with varieties that deer do not like in order to modify their long term behavior. 

2. Harassment can be used in some situations. These range from scare tactics or devices, noise makers, etc. While they can work in the short term, deer are quick to adapt and overcome their fear of noise makers. 

3. Population reduction is the final option. Much like harassment, reducing deer numbers is a short term strategy. However, it is often more effective than other forms of harassment for a few reasons. 

1. It introduces a predator dynamic back onto the land. Within urban and suburban areas the biggest predator to deer is vehicle collisions. When hunting gives the deer something to actually be wary of. 

2. There can be an actual short term reduction in the local population causing problems. Reducing deer numbers reduces the pressure and impact in the surrounding area. There is less demand and pressure for the same resources, thereby reducing nuisance issues in the short term.

The only downside with hunting as a control method is that it is often an annual approach. It’s better to think of it as more of a management tool, than a control tool. The best long term strategy will always be habitat manipulation. However, there are a lot of considerations that go into redesigning the habitat. In many cases a combination of some forms of habitat management and hunting/harassment can be implemented for both seasonal short term and long term issues. 

 Don’t spend all of your time and money planting beautiful gardens, ornamentals, vegetable gardens, and fruit trees just to have deer come in and browse them to the ground.

Call Maine Wildlife Management today to get deer in your yard under control and get them to stop damaging your property.