New deer and forest study set
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The most controversial wildlife management subject in Pennsylvania is going under the knife again.
Starting this fall, researchers will attempt to hone in on just how much white-tailed deer impact forest regeneration in comparison to things like acidic soil, invasive plants, insects and more. The results could determine if, when and where deer populations may be allowed to climb in coming years.
The work is being carried out by the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Game Commission and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The work has several objectives.
One is to measure how effective the deer management assistance program is at increasing antlerless deer harvests. Another is to see how hunter behaviors and attitudes change in relation to changing deer populations.
The study goals sure to attract the most attention from deer hunters, though, are the ones aimed at determining how deer impact forests and whether the current system of monitoring those impacts is sensitive enough.
In short, “we want to make sure deer are the problem,” said Game Commission deer biologist Chris Rosenberry.
To do that, researchers will monitor GPS-collared adult bucks and does on four study areas within Bald Eagle, Rothrock and Susquehannock state forests. They'll also monitor what trees and plants are regenerating in the study areas, and in what abundance.
The commission has been examining those things for years, said commission forester Dave Gustafson.
This latest research is an attempt to “evaluate the sensitivity of our measures” and make the program better, he said.
Duane Diefenbach, director of the cooperative fish and wildlife unit, said lowering deer populations a decade ago, cuts maintained since, largely helped the state's forests. But more studies need to be done, he added.
“We've made great progress in the last 10 years. But if you dig down in the weeds, the more palatable species are still struggling,” Diefenbach said. “The question is, is that just deer?”
The Game Commission always knew that deer weren't the only problem, said commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County.
But it had to lower deer numbers while developing a system for measuring impacts.
This latest refinement of that work could make things less “black and white,” though.
“What this study will do is give us more confidence in whether there are too many deer or too few in an area,” Putnam said
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pa. Game Commission wants fee hikes, must convince sportsmen to buy in
- Frye: Summer’s end offers space for fishing
- Outdoor notices: Aug. 30, 2015
- Fishing report: Fishing slow despite great weather in Western Pennsylvania
- Citizen science meets technology in unique herpetology survey
- Pa. Game Commission seeks hunting license fee hike
- Outdoors notebook: Milestone reached in peregrine recovery effort
- Effort to rebuild Hereford Manor begins