Controlling Deer In The Suburbs

Jennifer R. from Maryland writes to ask about urban deer hunts. “Over the last month there has been news about urban bow hunts being utilized to lower deer numbers in our area. Do those programs really work, and how would I be able to bow hunt in such areas?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Yes Jennifer, urban bow hunts are being used in hundreds (maybe thousands) of communities to curb deer numbers. In fact, bow hunts are the only feasible, cost effective, way to control deer in suburban environments.

The goal of such hunts is to harvest does because that is how deer herds can be lowered. It can be done. For example, one group, Ecologix, hunting in a suburb of Philadelphia, took 443 deer and 439 were does.

To get involved in such hunts, contact your local DNR and they will give you more information about who runs such hunts in your area. To participate (in most cases), you will have to undergo an interview, take the Bowhunter Education Program, and take a proficiency test. But, in so doing you will not only get to bow hunt, you will be helping people who have deer problems. That’s a lot more than the animal rights groups do.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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