Deer Damage in Virginia: Implications for Management
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A pilot study was conducted to assess the impacts of refugia on traditional deer management efforts via recreational hunting during 1996. Two study areas in Virginia were selected and, using information supplied by the county tax office, questionnaires were sent to individuals who owned land in the respective areas to determine distribution of land-uses, extent and severity of deer damage, and role of recreational hunting within each site. Deer damage was strongly related to land-use; respondents who owned lands on which some agricultural activity occurred were more likely to experience damage than respondents who owned non-agricultural lands. Respondents in each study area harvested more deer from their land than the mean harvest rate for the county in which they resided. Thus, it appears that, in some situations, deer harvest did not reduce damage to an acceptable level. The presence of local refugia theoretically had the potential to contribute to this relationship, but more research is needed to make definitive conclusions.
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