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Tuesday, August 7 • 10:00am - 10:20am
Management 2 Track: Managing White-tailed Deer at the Intersection of Ecosystem Restoration, Game Management and Endangered Species Conservation

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AUTHORS: Elina P. Garrison, Cory R. Morea, Rebecca M. Shuman – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Richard B. Chandler, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; L. Mike Conner, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center; Karl V. Miller, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; David B. Shindle, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Michael J. Cherry, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech

ABSTRACT: Management of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southern Florida involves a complex association of biological, social, political, and economic forces. Deer are the most popular game species and the primary prey of the endangered Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi), a predator that generates strong and diverse opinions. Managers must therefore assess deer management from both game and prey management perspectives, while balancing the societal complexities of restoration of an apex predator in the system. In recent decades, harvest and aerial monitoring data suggest that deer populations are declining in portions of southern Florida; however, the causes are unknown as population declines have coincided with changing hydrological regimes, habitat conditions, and predator community. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a $7.8 billion, 30-year project, has changed the hydrological flow through the Greater Everglades ecosystem since 2000, influencing the suitability of habitat for deer. Habitat conditions also have changed as a result of altered fire ecology and the invasion of nonnative plant species. Furthermore, recent additions of coyotes (Canis latrans) and Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) and increases in Florida panther abundance have substantially altered the predator community. We explore the biological and cultural history of deer management in southern Florida to illustrate the challenges of deer management in a system where a multitude of competing conservation and management goals and numerous interacting factors influencing deer population dynamics. Understanding these complex factors is critical to long term conservation and management of this popular game species while ensuring a sustainable prey base for Florida’s native carnivores.

10AM pdf

Tuesday August 7, 2018 10:00am - 10:20am
Assembly Hall A
  • Slides Available Yes

Attendees (6)