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A new analysis by a Ball State University researcher has found many
Midwestern communities could soon be overrun with white-tailed deer
because more than twice as many fawns survive in urban areas compared to
Tim Carter, a biology professor, says young deer are more than twice as
likely to survive in an urbanized area as compared to rural. Ball State
researchers spent 2013-14 tracking deer around the area of the
They collared 119 fawns with expandable radio collars, using radio
telemetry to locate the animals and determine their survival rates.
In rural areas, hungry coyotes caused 92 percent of the deaths of
eight-week-old fawns. In urban areas, vehicle collision is the leading
cause of death of young deer at about 17 percent.
“We were very surprised by the sheer number of fawns able to reach
adulthood in an urban area than in rural areas,” Carter said. “If it seems
like everywhere you turn there is a deer, it’s because they are surviving
at very high rates. But that is because of a variety of reasons, including
fewer predators and the lack of hunting.”
Carter likened the growing deer population to a ticking time bomb due to
increased interactions with humans, including property and vehicle damage.
An annual analysis by auto insurance giant State Farm estimates that the
current odds of a U.S. motorist hitting a deer, elk or moose are 1 in 169,
the same as in 2014. The crashes have become more expensive, averaging
more than $4,100 per claim, up 6 percent from last year, according to the
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that 200 people die
from collisions with deer each year, and a recent IIHS study found that 60
percent of people killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
“Simply, the deer are having young ones that are able to survive in large
numbers and then breed in a never-ending cycle,” Carter said. “The numbers
of white-tailed deer will expand at a high rate unless such communities
manage to control the populations. It is already a hot topic because many
people are tired of dealing with the animals that seem to be everywhere
and causing problems.”
You can read the study posted at: http://deerstudy.iweb.bsu.edu/.