Vegetation Monitoring and Professional Sharpshooting to Manage White-Tailed Deer in Indianapolis
High white-tailed deer abundance at Eagle Creek Park (ECP) in Indianapolis necessitated active management to improve park habitat conditions. Significant deer impacts on local natural areas were first noted in the late 1990’s. Multiple years of deer browse monitoring, beginning in 2003, documented greatly impacted vegetation with heavy to severe browse damage in the park. After an initial managed hunt in 2014, population reductions have been accomplished exclusively at night by professional sharpshooters. Positive results are being evidenced through increasing pounds of venison per deer harvested and significant recovery of impacted vegetation communities. This case study describes the context, goals, and outcomes of deer management.
In a nutshell, this resource offers:
- Descriptions of how excessive deer populations can threaten forest health.
- An approach for managing excessive deer populations.
- Targets and metrics for achieving reduced deer pressure on the forest.
How to use this resource:
- As an example and proof of success of deer management and removal in an urban context.
Author: Brenda Howard, Spencer Goehl, Michael Jenkins, Donald Miller, Jacob Brinkman
Date published: 2020
Point of contact: Brenda S. Howard Indianapolis Department of Public Works, firstname.lastname@example.org
Citation: Howard, B. S.; Goehl, S. A.; Jenkins, M. A.; Miller, D. R.; and Brinkman, J. L. 2020. Use of Vegetation Monitoring and Professional Sharpshooting in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Management at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 13: Iss. 1, Article 16.