After nearly two years of work – which included stakeholder meetings, public meetings, surveys and extensive field research – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is pleased to issue "The Delaware Deer Management Plan: A Guide to How and Why Deer Are Managed in the First State," a first for Delaware’s lone big-game animal and largest wildlife species.
“Deer are arguably the most important wildlife species the Division is responsible for managing because they affect so many people. This plan will enable the Division to manage the Delaware deer population in a manner that meets the expectations of the public while also taking into account what the environment can support,” said Joe Rogerson, deer and furbearer Biologist.
The Division of Fish & Wildlife has never had a formal deer management plan. The new Delaware Deer Management Plan fills this gap three-fold. The plan first documents the history of white-tailed deer and white-tailed deer management in Delaware. It goes on to describe at length the current status of white-tailed deer in Delaware, and the positive and negative impacts the state’s white-tailed herd represent. Finally, the plan documents the responsibilities of the Division of Fish & Wildlife as they relate to deer management, while and outlining the goals and objectives for Delaware deer management through 2019.
The new plan is both a strategic and operational plan, using hunting as the primary tool for deer management as well as outlining how hunting seasons are established and amended to keep Delaware’s deer population in check.
“Whether you are a farmer, hunter, outdoor recreationalist, or someone who has experience with deer in roadways, you probably have an interest in how deer are managed in Delaware, which is why we created this document,” Rogerson said. “Though it is difficult to ensure everyone is 100 percent satisfied, we feel the plan will meet the needs and address the concerns of most Delawareans, including farmers, wildlife watchers and hunters.”
Before finalizing the plan, the Division of Fish & Wildlife solicited feedback for several months from hunters, farmers, homeowners, wildlife watchers, and anyone living in the state with interest in or concerns about deer management. Those comments and suggestions were valuable to biologists who prepared the plan and figure into the finalized Delaware deer management plan. In the coming months the Division of Fish & Wildlife also will issue a summarized version of the plan that’s less technical and more user-friendly to the public.