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Tuesday, August 7 • 9:00am - 9:20am
Management 2 Track: From Ridiculed to Recognized: 23 Years of Urban Deer Research and Management on Hilton Head Island, SC

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AUTHORS: David W. Henderson, Community Services Associates, Inc., Sea Pines Plantation, Hilton Head, SC; Robert J. Warren, School of Forestry and Natural Resources (Professor Emeritus), University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Charles Ruth, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Columbia, SC

ABSTRACT: Sea Pines (SP) is a 5,300-acre residential/resort community on Hilton Head Island, SC. Traditional white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) hunting is not feasible due to municipal ordinance. As development in SP neared completion, the property owners association (Community Services Associates [CSA]) began receiving complaints regarding deer-human conflicts. In 1995 the University of Georgia (UGA) developed a research project to provide CSA and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) with biologically sound data needed to manage deer on SP. The project received a great deal of local, state, national and even international media attention. Local newspapers questioned the project and editorials included professional ridicule. In 1998 the original project was completed and UGA proposed a follow-up project that included lethal removal. Five local, state and national animal activist groups organized a coalition and in 1998 filed a lawsuit, ultimately heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court (SCSC) in 2000. In 2001 the SCSC ruled in favor of CSA and SCDNR; however, CSA decided to forgo the follow-up project and opted instead to implement a culling program made possible by recently approved SCDNR Urban Deer Management Guidelines. Since 2001 CSA has utilized sharpshooting to discretely remove 985 deer without incident. Deer-vehicle collisions and complaints of landscape depredation have decreased substantially. Local media, once a source of ridicule, now recognize the merit of these programs. Successfully managing deer in an emotionally, legally, and politically charged environment can be challenging for wildlife professionals. A description of lessons learned while operating amid such controversy will be presented.

9AM pdf

Tuesday August 7, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am
Assembly Hall A
  • Slides Available Yes