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Management of wild deer in Australia

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Abstract

Deer were introduced to Australia in the 19th century, and today 6 species have been established in the wild. Australians have considered deer a pest and an important economic and hunting resource since their early introduction. We recommend promoting the management of wild deer for the joint outcomes of reducing adverse impacts on agriculture, forestry, and conservation values, and for exploitation and harvest. We also recommend that managers recognize deer as an established component of many Australian ecosystems. If Australians are to have a professional approach to wildlife management, we must move away from the traditional paradigms of protection of native species and eradication of exotic species and embrace wildlife management for all its complexities, challenges, and positive outcomes. We discuss wild deer management as a test case to explore these issues.

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... Australia is the only inhabited continent without endemic deer. This species was introduced in the 18th century (Hall & Gill, 2005) by acclimatization societies, and releases continued into the 20th century for game and aesthetics (Frith, 1973). Six species became established as feral populations: chital (Axis axis), hog (Axis porcinus), red (Cervus elaphus), rusa (Cervus timoriensis), sambar (Rusa unicolor), and fallow (Dama dama) (Bentley, 1978). ...
... Feral deer management in Australia has resulted in an intense debate among stakeholders, including landowners, recreational hunters, animal welfare groups, conservation organizations, and health authorities. As already apparent in Royal National Park (between Southern Sydney and the Wollongong Region), extremes in conflict occur between those who view deer as game and an aesthetic addition to the landscape versus those who perceive deer as pests (Hall & Gill, 2005). The current legislative approach to deer management in Australia is, however, predominantly geared toward game hunting, with limited consideration of other values and impacts (Forsyth, 2009). ...
... Positive attitudes toward deer have been attributed to the "Bambi syndrome" (Hastings, 1996;Nietschmann, 1977). In contrast to the development of positive attitudes toward Australia's feral deer, there is also a negative view of them as pests and/or a hunting resource (Hall & Gill, 2005). These polarized views emerge repeatedly in deer management. ...
Article
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Deer are not endemic to Australia, but were introduced for game and aesthetics between the early 18th and 20th centuries. Until recent decades, most deer descended from these introductions. Before the 1970s when deer numbers and distribution expanded dramatically, farming was a modest enterprise. With the collapse of farming in the 1990s, large numbers of deer were deliberately released and translocated. Feral numbers and herds have subsequently expanded, and are increasingly encroaching on urban areas. As a new issue in Australia, views toward feral deer are polarized and span “welcome guest” to “major pest.” The emerging urban deer issues need greater acknowledgment and strategic management. This will require more emphasis on raising awareness, engagement with stakeholders, and development of legislative instruments to provide better strategic management of urban deer. This article reviews the potential increase in urban deer in Australia, considers the associated issues, and provides recommendations for management.
... Most introduced species can be hunted without restriction, but some deer are subject to bag limits, closed seasons, or restricted hunting methods in most jurisdictions. Some states have active deer management programs that aim to enhance hunting opportunities (Hall & Gill 2005, Moriarty & Brown 2012. Hunting or shooting operations in National Parks and other conservation reserves are generally tightly controlled and tied to specific management objectives regarding target species and locations (e.g. ...
... However, highly valued species are often hunted selectively in order to maintain viable populations that provide ongoing hunting opportunities. For example, deer hunters in Australia and the USA have often been reluctant to kill does because of their perceived importance as breeding stock (Hall & Gill 2005, Ward et al. 2008. Indeed, the Australian Deer Association's Code of Conduct encourages hunters to consider the effects of removing does from the herd and to refrain from taking 'too many' bucks (Anonymous 2014b). ...
... Preiss 2015). Other individuals have deliberately acted to promote the establishment, dispersal, and persistence of introduced mammal populations (Moriarty 2004, Hall & Gill 2005, Spencer & Hampton 2005. It is therefore important that efforts to grow the hunter population should be informed by a sound understanding of hunter motivations and behaviour, and focussed on increasing the number of hunters who genuinely identify as 'vermin hunters' or 'damage control managers' (sensu Bauer & Giles 2002, Ward et al. 2008. ...
Article
Natural resource management agencies in many countries take advantage of recreational hunting to manage the impacts or abundance of mammal populations that damage biodiversity or environmental, economic, or social values. In Australia, public lands are increasingly being made available for recreational hunters to pursue introduced mammals that can cause substantial damage to important resources. There is fervent debate over the role that recreational hunting might play in controlling introduced mammals in Australia, and scant evidence to build management strategies upon. In this review, we combine information from Australia and elsewhere in a systematic examination of the potential for recreational hunting to contribute to the control of introduced mammals on public lands in Australia. We examine the traits of introduced mammal species and populations, geographical settings, hunters, and management agencies to propose situations where hunting might be most useful, and suggest how current practice could be improved. We find there is insufficient evidence to support or disprove arguments that contemporary recreational hunting programs are effective at controlling introduced mammal populations on public lands. Moreover, current hunting management programs offer little potential for clarifying the situation or optimizing the value of recreational hunting as a pest animal control tool. To resolve this problem, we outline a framework of competing models and diagnostic criteria for assessing the effects of recreational hunting on introduced mammal populations. We contend that hunting will continue to be an under-utilized and over-politicized resource until management strategy is informed by transparent monitoring based on rational strategic objectives that provide mutual benefits to hunters and public resource managers.
... The Hawaiian archipelago is not alone in having nonnative species introduced for the purpose of hunting. For instance, the continental U.S. introduced such species as the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), New Zealand introduced hares (Lepus europaeus) and other species (Nugent 1992), and Australia introduced 22 species of deer (Hall and Gill 2005). One of the main challenges of locations such as Hawaii and New Zealand is that managing native species in a socially acceptable manner is difficult enough without the added complexities of managing an introduced species in perpetuity (Hall and Gill 2005). ...
... For instance, the continental U.S. introduced such species as the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), New Zealand introduced hares (Lepus europaeus) and other species (Nugent 1992), and Australia introduced 22 species of deer (Hall and Gill 2005). One of the main challenges of locations such as Hawaii and New Zealand is that managing native species in a socially acceptable manner is difficult enough without the added complexities of managing an introduced species in perpetuity (Hall and Gill 2005). People are limited by where they are willing or able to hunt (Brown et al. 2000b;Stedman et al. 2004), whereas introduced wildlife, especially invasive species, may not be geographically limited. ...
... Policies that cover large areas of land may inflame this conflict as regulatory bodies have limited tools they can apply to a broad range of situations. Our research reinforces lessons from other countries that show that smaller localized management plans may be the best approach for alleviating humanwildlife conflict for introduced game species (Josayma n.d.;Madden 2004;Hall and Gill 2005). ...
Article
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Hawaii’s game animals are all non-native species, which provokes human–wildlife conflict among stakeholders. The management of human–wildlife conflict in Hawaii is further complicated by the discrete nature of island communities. Our goal was to understand the desires and perceived values or impacts of game held by residents of Hawaii regarding six game species [pigs (Sus scrofa), goats (Capra hircus), mouflon (Ovis musimon), axis deer (Axis axis), turkeys (Melagris gallopavo), and doves (Geopelia striata)]. We measured the desired abundance of game on the six main Hawaiian Islands using the potential for conflict index and identified explanatory variables for those desires via recursive partitioning. In 2011 we surveyed 5,407 residents (2,360 random residents and 3,047 pre-identified stakeholders). Overall 54.5 and 27.6 % of the emailed and mailed surveys were returned (n = 1,510). A non-respondent survey revealed that respondents and non-respondents had similar interest in wildlife, and a similar education level. The desired abundance of game differed significantly among stakeholders, species, and islands. The desired abundance scores were higher for axis deer, mouflon, and turkeys compared to pigs, goats or doves. Enjoyment at seeing game and the cultural value of game were widespread explanatory variables for desired abundance. Models for Lanai emphasized the economic value of game, whereas models for Maui identified the potential for game to contaminate soil and water. Models for Oahu and Kauai revealed concern for human health and safety. Given our findings we recommend managers design separate management plans for each island taking into consideration the values of residents.
... The control of invasive animals often involves culling, which is strongly rejected by some social organizations. Confrontations between animal rights organizations and government agencies have emerged particularly in the management of large or charismatic mammals, such as feral cats (Felis catus) (Clarke & Pacin 2002), deer (e.g., Cervus elaphus) (Hall & Gill 2005), and wild horses (Equus ferus) (Rikoon 2006). The debate centers on a basic value disagreement between those who consider these animals to be invasive and bad and those who regard them as individuals with intrinsic worth in themselves, regardless of origin or impacts (Perry & Perry 2008). ...
... The debate centers on a basic value disagreement between those who consider these animals to be invasive and bad and those who regard them as individuals with intrinsic worth in themselves, regardless of origin or impacts (Perry & Perry 2008). In this way, feral horse and deer culling programs are frequently controversial (Hall & Gill 2005;Rikoon 2006), but even the eradication of black and brown rats (Rattus rattus, R. norvegicus) on Lundy Island (U.K.) was opposed by animal rights groups concerned about the use of anticoagulant poisons in rats and other species (Meech 2005). The ultimate consequences of these conflicts are clearly illustrated by the proposed eradication program for grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) in Italy, which was contested in court by community organizations and subsequently cancelled because the delay in action eventually made the project unviable (Barr et al. 2002;Bertolino & Genovesi 2003). ...
... Originally introduced for hunting and food, extensive cultural and recreation hunting activities are now centered around these feral pig populations (Perry & Perry 2008). Despite animal rights organizations also being concerned about culling practices, hunting associations are particularly well organized to prevent eradication of feral pigs for recreational purposes, and the literature showed that deer management in Australia faces many of the same issues (Hall & Gill 2005). ...
Article
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Decision makers and researchers recognize the need to effectively confront the social dimensions and conflicts inherent to invasive species research and management. Yet, despite numerous contentious situations that have arisen, no systematic evaluation of the literature has examined the commonalities in the patterns and types of these emergent social issues. Using social and ecological keywords, we reviewed trends in the social dimensions of invasive species research and management and the sources and potential solutions to problems and conflicts that arise around invasive species. We integrated components of cognitive hierarchy theory and risk perceptions theory to provide a conceptual framework to identify, distinguish, and provide understanding of the driving factors underlying disputes associated with invasive species. In the ISI Web of Science database, we found 15,915 peer-reviewed publications on biological invasions, 124 of which included social dimensions of this phenomenon. Of these 124, 28 studies described specific contentious situations. Social approaches to biological invasions have emerged largely in the last decade and have focused on both environmental social sciences and resource management. Despite being distributed in a range of journals, these 124 articles were concentrated mostly in ecology and conservation-oriented outlets. We found that conflicts surrounding invasive species arose based largely on differences in value systems and to a lesser extent stakeholder and decision maker's risk perceptions. To confront or avoid such situations, we suggest integrating the plurality of environmental values into invasive species research and management via structured decision making techniques, which enhance effective risk communication that promotes trust and confidence between stakeholders and decision makers. Clarificar los Valores, Percepciones de Riesgo y Actitudes para Resolver o Evitar Conflictos Sociales en el Manejo de Especies Invasoras.
... Two papers were published on rusa deer (Cervus timorensis) in Royal National Park: Webley et al (2004) investigated the genetics of this population and Keith and Pellow (2005) described observations of browsing on plants. Hall and Gill (2005) discussed some issues in the management of deer in Australia. Peel et al (2005) described observations of the ecological impacts of sambar deer in part of Victoria. ...
... Deer management in Tasmania is based on the Quality Deer Management (QDM) that was originally developed for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) in the United States (Murphy 1995(Murphy , 2001Hall 2004;Hall and Gill 2005). QDM aims to set regulations that reduce the abundance of deer (eg by encouraging harvest of females rather than males), thus increasing the body condition and trophy characteristics of males in the population because there is more food available per capita (Miller and Marchington 1995). ...
... As a result, there is a particularly strong incentive for hunters to conserve their hunting resource and a range of densities could potentially be considered optimal, depending on the hunting opportunity sought. To this end, 'Quality Deer Management' (QDM, Hall and Gill 2005) is practiced in Tasmania, Victoria and NSW. This involves maintaining deer populations well below carrying capacity and at a sex ratio close to parity and restricting the trophy harvest to older stags. ...
... Large herbivores are also recognised for causing damage to sites managed for agriculture, forestry and conservation (Putman and Moore 1998), especially where they have established feral populations following introductions (Dolman and Waber 2008;White et al. 2008). There is growing concern regarding the detrimental impacts of deer browsing on native biodiversity in woodlands and forests managed for conservation objectives (Putman and Moore 1998;Kirby 2001;Rooney and Waller 2003;Joys et al. 2004;Hall and Gill 2005;Hughey and Hickling 2006). Browsing pressure on ground flora and the shrub layer can reduce species diversity (Gill 1992;Kirby 2001) and alter the three-dimensional structure of the woodland (Putman and Moore 1998;Rooney 2001), leading to further impacts on many bird species (McShea and Rappole 2000;Fuller 2001;Perrins and Overall 2001), small mammals (Flowerdew and Ellwood 2001) and invertebrates (Stewart 2001;Rooney and Waller 2003). ...
... Collaborative management at the landscape scale is frequently suggested as the most appropriate management strategy for deer populations (Mayle 1999;English Nature 2003;Wilson 2003;Hall and Gill 2005). However, addressing issues of management conflict surrounding the divergence of management objectives among stakeholder groups is essential for the success of such strategies (Paulson 1998). ...
Article
Context. Some species that are perceived by certain stakeholders as a valuable resource can also cause ecological or economic damage, leading to contrasting management objectives and subsequent conflict between stakeholder groups. There is increasing recognition that the integration of stakeholder knowledge with formal scientific data can enhance the information available for use in management. This is especially true where scientific understanding is incomplete, as is frequently the case for wide-ranging species, which can be difficult to monitor directly at the landscape scale. Aims. The aim of the research was to incorporate stakeholder knowledge with data derived from formal quantitative models to modify predictions of wildlife distribution and abundance, using wild deer in the UK as an example. Methods. We use selected predictor variables from a deervehicle collision model to estimate deer densities at the 10-km square level throughout the East of England. With these predictions as a baseline, we illustrate the use of participatory GIS as a methodological framework for enabling stakeholder participation in the refinement of landscape-scale deer abundance maps. Key results. Stakeholder participation resulted in modifications to modelled abundance patterns for all wild deer species present in the East of England, although the modifications were minor and there was a high degree of consistency among stakeholders in the adjustments made. For muntjac, roe and fallow deer, the majority of stakeholder changes represented an increase in density, suggesting that populations of these species are increasing in the region. Conclusions. Our results show that participatory GIS is a useful technique for enabling stakeholders to contribute to incomplete scientific knowledge, especially where up-to-date species distribution and abundance data are needed to inform wildlife research and management. Implications. The results of the present study will serve as a valuable information base for future research on deer management in the region. The flexibility of the approach makes it applicable to a range of species at different spatial scales and other wildlife conflict issues. These may include the management of invasive species or the conservation of threatened species, where accurate spatial data and enhanced community involvement are necessary in order to facilitate effective management.
... The populations of FD, after an initial demographic outburst, have stabilized with moderate numbers in all the above states, except in Tasmania, where they are very numerous and detrimental for agriculture (Hall and Gill 2005). ...
... As for Australia, in terms of diet, it seems that the FD prefers the newly sprouted and young seedlings of both deciduous and coppices tree species. They have also been observed to graze among crops, particularly in poppy fields in Tasmania (Hall and Gill 2005). ...
Article
Despite being widely spread and a source of potential harm to host ecosystems and human activities, a review of the worldwide distribution of the fallow deer (FD, Dama dama) has been missing since 1980. In this study, we provide a review of the existing literature on the species distribution, integrating it with the available information on its feeding preferences across its spatial distribution. Also, utilizing the software VOSviewer, we conduct a bibliometric analysis, investigating the most common and discussed topics connected to the topic, as well as their temporal trends. Our results show that, despite its widespread presence, the distribution of the species is only partially well documented (mainly in Europe), while elsewhere there is no general consensus and the sources are outdated and inaccurate. About the diet, it is generally accepted and known that the species has an extremely wide spectrum of food preferences, with food habits depending on resources availability. The local sources debating the food preferences of the species are once again either scarce or outdated, with the exception of Europe, North and South America. Last, the results of the bibliometric analysis showed that studies discussing the FD jointly with other cervid species are a common topic, followed by the role of the FD as farmed or game species, and the issue of parasites and diseases related to the species. The opening to these topics seems to be recent. We advise studies ad hoc that may better describe the current demographical situation and diet.
... In Australia, establishment of wild deer populations began in the mid-1800s, when Acclimatisation Societies released deer for hunting (Bentley 1998;Hall and Gill 2005). Establishment has continued to the present with accidental farm escapes and deliberate releases (Moriarty 2004a). ...
... Deer are managed for different outcomes in each Australian state and territory (Hall and Gill 2005) and are, therefore, variously classified as 'pest', 'game' and 'protected wildlife species' (Table 1). Nonetheless, all states and territories have legislative provisions for managing deer impacts (Table 1). ...
Article
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Deer are among the world's most successful invasive mammals and can have substantial deleterious impacts on natural and agricultural ecosystems. Six species have established wild populations in Australia, and the distributions and abundances of some species are increasing. Approaches to managing wild deer in Australia are diverse and complex, with some populations managed as 'game' and others as 'pests'. Implementation of cost-effective management strategies that account for this complexity is hindered by a lack of knowledge of the nature, extent and severity of deer impacts. To clarify the knowledge base and identify research needs, we conducted a systematic review of the impacts and management of wild deer in Australia. Most wild deer are in south-eastern Australia, but bioclimatic analysis suggested that four species are well suited to the tropical and subtropical climates of northern Australia. Deer could potentially occupy most of the continent, including parts of the arid interior. The most significant impacts are likely to occur through direct effects of herbivory, with potentially cascading indirect effects on fauna and ecosystem processes. However, evidence of impacts in Australia is largely observational, and few studies have experimentally partitioned the impacts of deer from those of sympatric native and other introduced herbivores. Furthermore, there has been little rigorous testing of the efficacy of deer management in Australia, and our understanding of the deer ecology required to guide deer management is limited. We identified the following six priority research areas: (i) identifying long-term changes in plant communities caused by deer; (ii) understanding interactions with other fauna; (iii) measuring impacts on water quality; (iv) assessing economic impacts on agriculture (including as disease vectors); (v) evaluating efficacy of management for mitigating deer impacts; and (vi) quantifying changes in distribution and abundance. Addressing these knowledge gaps will assist the development and prioritisation of cost-effective management strategies and help increase stakeholder support for managing the impacts of deer on Australian ecosystems.
... There is little strategic direction of recreational hunting activity, with the exception of restrictions placed on the harvest of some deer in order to maintain or improve the hunting resource (e.g. Hall and Gill 2005). ...
Conference Paper
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Public lands in Australia are increasingly being made available to recreational hunters to take introduced mammals such as wild pigs, goats, deer and canids. These species can cause substantial damage to environmental or agricultural assets, and it has often been argued that recreational hunting contributes to the amelioration of these impacts by reducing pest population densities. This position has been vigorously disputed by some parties. However, there is little locally-relevant evidence to support either side of the debate, and hence little evidence on which to base useful policy. Here, we discuss recreational hunting of introduced animals on public lands in Australia, present a framework that might be used to assess its value, and hypothesize about when and where it might be most useful. In doing so, we highlight opportunities to improve returns on public investment in recreational hunting and outline a path to resolve important aspects of the ongoing debate over the role of recreational hunting in the management of introduced species on public lands.
... 69 Twentysix species of exotic mammals and 27 species of exotic birds have been introduced to Australia since 1788. 70 Some of the mammals developed into pests due to the absence of natural competitors, such as rabbits, foxes, asses, buffalos, camels, which all affected the foliage on the ground tremendously and changed the composition of the fauna to the detriment of the domestic species. 71 The importance of portmanteau biota in the history of imperialist expansion is underlined in the historiography of Hawai'i for instance. ...
Article
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This contribution attempts to discuss unintended, neglectful, or willful manipulations of Social Ecological Systems (SESs) by commercial stock farmers as part of an attempt to drive Aboriginal people from their lands into the hinterland thereby accepting or condoning their annihilation or demographic reduction. By displaying the different ways in which commercial stock farmers have engineered changes in the ecological system I will show that traditional definitions of the term genocide fall short of applied techniques of decimation which consist of a combination of micro-practices and quotidian low-level violence. It is doubtful that given the complexity and the resilience of SES, however, a group of commercial stock farmers is able to operate the system (of which, after all, they are an element) in a controlled way. I argue nevertheless that the term ecocide should be applied to the way stock farmers changed the habitat of the Indigenous population, because the settlers had agency without understanding the totality of their actions. SES as coupled complex systems are dependent on the existence of bio-diversity, the intensity of grazing,11. Andrew J. Ash and John G. McIvor, ‘How Season of Grazing and Herbivore Selectivity Influence Monsoon Tall-Grass Communities of Northern Australia’, Journal of Vegetation Science 9, no. 1 (February 1, 1998): 123–32.View all notes defoliation, habitat fragmentation and changes of the soil as a consequence of densification.22. Kimberly A. With and Thomas O. Crist, ‘Critical Thresholds in Species’ Responses to Landscape Structure’, Ecology 76, no. 8 (December 1, 1995): 2446–59. Richard J. Hobbs, ‘Synergisms among Habitat Fragmentation, Livestock Grazing, and Biotic Invasions in Southwestern Australia’, Conservation Biology 15, no. 6 (December 1, 2001): 1522–8.View all notes
... A reluctance of hunters to take females was thought to be a major barrier to effectiveness in some programs targeting deer ) and pigs (Toïgo et al. 2008). This type of selective harvesting to protect breeding stock has also been reported in Australia (Hall & Gill 2005) and is consistent with codes of conduct promulgated by some Australian hunting organisations (e.g. Australian Deer Association 2014). ...
Technical Report
Ground-based shooting is commonly used to try and reduce the impacts or abundance of over-abundant animal populations in many parts of the world. It encompasses a wide range of activities carried out by many different types of people driven by a variety of interacting motivations. Given this contextual complexity, it is unsurprising that results of ground shooting operations for pest animal control range from counter-productive to highly effective. This review systematically examines a sample of published papers that report on the efficacy of ground-based shooting operations in Australasia, North America, Europe and Japan. Although the sample was small and the literature surveyed included many flaws and inconsistencies, several key themes that contribute to effectiveness were identified. These included: 1) the use of tools or methods that enhance efficiency; 2) a manageable geographic area of operations; and 3) the use of highly skilled and committed shooters. Factors repeatedly shown to detract from efficacy included: 1) the inability of harvest-oriented shooters to sustain effort as target populations declined; 2) insufficient spatial or temporal coverage to counter immigration; and 3) the presence of refugia within treatment areas. It is clear that ground shooting can make important contributions to the management of pest or over-abundant species, but shooting alone is often insufficient or prohibitively inefficient to achieve desired outcomes. Managers planning to use ground shooting as part of a population management strategy should: 1) carefully examine the options to determine what type of shooting operation is likely to be most useful; 2) establish and monitor meaningful objectives; 3) ensure that operations are sufficiently resourced to meet and maintain those objectives; and 4) integrate ground shooting with other control methods wherever possible. Operations that are poorly-planned, resourced, integrated and executed are unlikely to deliver useful outcomes. Ground-based shooting is rarely, if ever, a cheap and easy method for reducing pest impacts or abundance.
... Six deer (Cervidae) species have been introduced into Australia and are now recognised as influential components of environmental, economic and socio-cultural systems in many parts of the country (Hall and Gill 2005;Davis et al. 2016). However, research into fundamental aspects of deer ecology such as movement patterns, habitat use, mortality, fecundity, health status, social behaviour and interspecific interactions has been hindered by a lack of demonstrably safe and effective methods for capturing deer in Australian conditions (Hampton et al. 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Context. Safe and effective capture methods are crucial for improving our understanding and management of many wildlife species. The adaptation of established capture methods to novel situations requires critical evaluation because differences in environmental conditions and species' susceptibility to trauma and capture myopathy can produce unexpected outcomes. Helicopter net-gunning has been a valuable tool for capturing wild deer in New Zealand and the Americas, but there are no practical records of its use in Australia and only one report of it being used to capture three fallow deer (Dama dama) elsewhere. Aims. The present study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a helicopter-based net-gun capture technique for wild fallow deer by quantifying the efficacy of the technique and the frequency of injuries and deaths. Methods. We captured fallow deer over two 3-day operations at a 135 km 2 site in eastern Australia. We collected data on operational efficiency and variables expected to affect animal health and welfare, such as injuries and the duration of stressful procedures. We used GPS tracking collars with an accelerometer and a mortality-sensing function to monitor post-release survival and activity of fallow deer. Key results. In total, 127 deer were targeted for capture, with nets fired at 64 deer (50%) and 27 deer captured (21%). Mortality within 30 days of capture was zero. Mean chase time was 2 min 46 s and mean total time from start of chase until release was 11 min 19 s. No animals were severely injured or euthanased, but hyperthermia was observed in 33% of captured animals. Conclusions. Helicopter net-gunning was an effective and safe method for capturing wild fallow deer when compared with alternative methods. Implications. We recommend that researchers consider using helicopter net-gunning to capture fallow deer in Australia and elsewhere, and other deer species in Australia.
... The most common cervid species farmed in the United States and Canada are the elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis), fallow deer, sika deer (Cervus nippon), the axis deer or chital (Axis axis), and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus; Hoffman and Wiklund, 2006). Although most deer in Australia are wild, a growing number of animals are now being managed extensively under the so called Property-Based Game Management Plans (Hall and Gill, 2005) and deer farming for venison is performed only by a small number of farmers in New South Wales and Victoria. ...
Article
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• An overview is presented on the global human usage of unconventional animal species (ungulates, rodents, rabbits and hares, kangaroos, reptiles and bats) derived either from wild harvesting or farming • The nutritional value of these species is discussed, focusing on their potential to contribute to food security and to address the protein requirements of a growing population. • The challenges and opportunities arising from the commercial use of these animals are highlighted, as are the problems faced with overexploitation of certain wild species. • Of the species addressed, the rodents appear to present great potential for becoming large commercial commodities for food use.
... Although global biodiversity continues to decline (Butchart et al. 2010), some species benefit from the continued anthropogenic-induced changes to the environment to the extent their populations create management challenges (Fall andJackson 1998, Messmer 2009). European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), for example, can roost in large numbers in urban areas causing damage to buildings, while deer (Cervus spp.), rabbits (Oryctolagus spp.), rats (Rattus spp.), and geese (Branta spp.) can cause agricultural damage (Thearle 1968, Conover 2002, Leirs 2003, Hall and Gill 2005. ...
Article
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Negative interactions between humans and wildlife are increasing, often leading to conflict between different stakeholders over appropriate management interventions. We experimentally tested whether introducing trained Harris's hawks (Parabuteo unicinctus) through falconry could be an effective management tool to reduce nuisance Egyptian geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca). We hypothesized that falconry would result in elevated fear responses of geese, resulting in increased vigilance, reduced favorability of the site, and locally reduced abundance. We conducted our study on 3 golf courses (1 treatment and 2 controls) in the Western Cape, South Africa, where Egyptian geese are a pest species. Our treatment involved flying the Harris's hawk directly at geese from golf carts. We monitored vigilance and goose numbers before, during, and after treatment. Goose vigilance at the treatment site increased by 76% and abundance declined by 73% following falconry. We did not observe changes at either control site. Although the hawks killed some geese, the decreases in abundance were almost 3 times greater than the numbers killed, indicating that indirect effects were considerably larger than the direct effect of mortality. During the treatment period, vigilance rates were greater in the presence of a golf cart, suggesting that geese learned to associate carts with the threat of predation. Post-treatment vigilance rates were significantly less than rates detected during the treatment period and goose abundance on the experimental site increased rapidly post-treatment, returning to pre-treatment rates within 2 months. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of falconry to reduce nuisance bird abundance and suggest there may be other applications where the deployment of trained predators can be used to mitigate negative human-wildlife interactions.
... Th is results in conjecture about the extent of their ecological impacts (e.g. Hall and Gill 2005;Bennett and Coulson 2008); however, there is nothing conjectural about the observed impacts caused by antler rubbing because native mammals do not possess antlers. Deer primarily rub antlers on trees to remove velvet from fully grown antlers, for scent marking to defi ne territories, and potentially for strengthening muscles for fi ghting (Bentley 1978;Gill 1992). ...
Article
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Surveys of 49 Warm Temperate Rainforest gullies in East Gippsland identified discrete populations of Yellowwood Acronychia oblongifolia in 34 gullies. Antler rubbing of Yellow-wood by Sambar Cervus unicolor was obvious and widespread in all 34 gullies. Eight gullies were randomly selected to assess the extent of antler rubbing to 100 Yellow-wood plants in each gully (50 plants close to two randomly generated locations). Across all eight gullies an average of 64.6% (± 17.7 sd; range 36-92%) of Yellow-wood individuals were antler rubbed, with 51.0% (± 17.8 sd; range 18-80%) subjected to severe rubbing (>50% ringbarking), with mortality recorded at 30.3% (± 14.0 sd; range 6-52%). Yellow-wood with stems in the range 30–150 mm diameter at breast height (DBH) were subjected to the highest rates of antler rubbing (73–81%), with smaller stems (10–16 mm DBH) suffering the highest rates of mortality. Sambar represent a major threat to the long-term persistence of Yellowwood and rainforest communities in East Gippsland. (The Victorian Naturalist 130 (2) 2013, 68–74)
... Reproductive performance of Formosan sambar deer in semidomesticated herds was reported by Chan et al. (2009). Numerous studies compiled by Chardonnet (1993), Semiadi et al. (1994), and Hall and Gill (2005) indicated that countries like Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea have successfully set up commercial deer farming and hunting using sambar deer. Bennett et al. (1995) indicated that wild sambar deer population was badly depleted especially in Sarawak, Borneo. ...
Article
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We examined the growth, reproduction, rutting behavior, and health status of sambar deer (Cervus unicolor brookei) in secondary Acacia mangium plantation. The data were collected over 11 years from a breeding herd of 21 stags and 33 hinds in Sabal Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Malaysia. Brody’s growth model of the pooled data is Y t = 148.56 (1 − 0.98e−0.023t ), which estimates that maximum weights of adults are 184 and 115 kg for males and females respectively. Sambar deer are nonseasonal breeders with the breeding peak in February. Although the earliest age at which a female reached sexual maturity was 11 months, the mean age was 23 ± 7 months. Mean age of first fawning was 32 ± 8 months. Mean gestation period was 259 ± 12 days (n = 82). Stags shed antlers mostly between March and July. Velvet hardens at 103 ± 27 days (n = 23), and velvet harvesting is best at 7–9 weeks when antler length is 25–30 cm. Sambar deer are suitable as a farm species in forest plantations and have a vast potential to uplift rural living standards.
... These factors override their lack of utility in ecosystem function. The resultant paradigm is that ecosystems should be allowed to progress to some new state to accommodate these exotic species and not be restored to their pre-introduction states (Hall and Gill 2005). ...
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Humans directly and indirectly impact on the lives of wild animals, primarily by altering landscapes through the removal of habitat for human dwelling or resource production (e.g. agriculture, mining, forestry) (Mathews 2010), but also through changes to the quality of remaining landscapes (e.g. roads, chemical and noise pollution, disease, stress) (Fraser and MacRae 2011). The lives of wild animals are further impacted in the management of remaining natural habitat and human-occupied land (e.g. production landscapes, urban remnants) where wild animals still reside. Wildlife management stems from the need to control species that impinge on human lives and/or livelihood (i.e. where species are defined as pests) or where some form of ecological dysfunction results in what is perceived as an imbalance that requires intervention (i.e. for some higher conservation objective). The subjective and anthropocentric nature of wildlife management, particularly where it relates to the reduction of pest or ‘overabundant’ species, was recognized by Graeme Caughley (1981). As the human population expands and demands more land and resources, the separation of clear conservation goals from the need to protect human livelihoods is likely to prove increasingly difficult. Although the welfare concerns of wild animals have been treated as an unimportant consideration in the development of environmental law and policy, there is considerable benefit in joining animal welfare science and animal conservation science to assist in wildlife management policy. Indeed, under the banner of compassionate conservation, a new paradigm for wildlife management beckons, one where nature has a voice in environmental policy and is no longer ignored.
... Although most of the deer found in Australia are wild, there are a growing number of animals that are managed extensively under the so called Property-based Game Management Plans (Hall & Gill, 2005). Deer farming for venison and velvet is performed by a small number of farmers mainly located in New South Wales and Victoria. ...
Article
This review focuses on how game meat from southern Africa and venison that are increasingly being imported into Europe and the US addresses consumer issues as pertaining to production (wild, free range or intensive production) and harvesting methods, healthiness (chemical composition, particularly fatty acid composition), and traceability. Although African game meat species are farmed extensively, deer species are farmed using extensive to intensive production systems. However, the increasingly intensive production of the cervids and the accompanying practices associated with this (castration, velvetting, feeding of balanced diets, etc.) may have a negative impact in the near future on the consumer's perception of these animals. These alternative meat species are all harvested in a sustainable manner using acceptable methods. All these species have very low muscle fat contents consisting predominantly of structural lipid components (phospholipid and cholesterol) that have high proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This results in the meat having desirable polyunsaturated:saturated and n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratios. The South African traceability system is discussed briefly as an example on how these exporting countries are able to address the requirements pertaining to the import of meat as stipulated by the European Economic Community.
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For millions of years, Australia’s terrestrial fauna and flora, driven by climatic oscillations and geomorphological processes, co-evolved in isolation. The result was a rich diversity of unusual wildlife, high levels of endemism and, prior to the arrival of humans, a pristine wilderness existing in a dynamic equilibrium. Following the arrival of Aborigines some 40–60 ka, Australia ceased to exist as a wilderness. Largely through hunting and burning the vegetation, Aborigines changed the structure and composition of the biota (Roberts et al. 1995; Bowman 1998; Flannery 2002; Gammage 2011; Jurskis 2014). This was further exacerbated by the introduction of the first feral animal to the Australian continent, the dingo (Canis lupus dingo), some 3500–4000 years ago from neighbouring Indonesia or New Guinea (Gollan 1984; Clarkson et al. 2015). The dingo established across the entire mainland, including the arid zone, and asserted itself as a top-order predator (Glen and Dickman 2005; Moseby et al. 2012). It is thought to have caused the extinction of at least three vertebrates on the mainland: the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the Tasmanian native hen (Gallinula mortierii) (Corbett 1995; Johnson and Wroe 2003).
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The tooth eruption and wear (TEW) technique for aging wild European fallow deer (Dama dama dama) in Tasmania, Australia has been in use for >15 yr, but it is also subjective and relies on the skill of the assessor and their assumptions of tooth wear. Deer managers and hunters have suggested that the TEW patterns observed in Tasmania are not consistent with age predictions of deer based on male antler growth. The cementum annuli (CA) technique provides a more objective assessment of age, but is more costly to perform. Our objective was to examine the relationship between the TEW and CA techniques for estimating the age of wild fallow deer in Tasmania. A game manager experienced in the use of the TEW technique assigned 300 deer jawbones collected from 3 sites during the 2001–2006 hunting seasons in Tasmania to different age categories. We conducted preliminary trials to develop a protocol that reliably exposed the CA in incisor teeth. Finally, we compared the ages determined by both methods. The preliminary trials successfully developed a protocol to use incisor teeth for reliably assessing CA. The CA technique gave a higher putative age than the TEW technique, though the magnitude of this result was dependent on location. The amount of soil ingested by the animals, and whether the animals mainly browsed or grazed were possible reasons why tooth wear varied between locations. Whilst the CA method is effective at indicating the age of wild deer, the method should be proven against known-aged deer before being offered as a definitive measure of age. Managers should be clear in their objectives whether they require an approximate guide to age or an objective measure of age before deciding on which method to use. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.
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• Context Over the past few decades, the impact of large herbivorous ungulates on forest vegetation has been clearly highlighted. Among those impacts, bark stripping of coniferous trees is one of the most damaging. Bark stripping leads to rot development, inducing serious loss of timber value. • Aims The present study aimed firstly at evidencing the factors explaining the variations observed in fresh bark peeling rate for spruce and Douglas-fir in southern Belgium and secondly at identifying the key factors to consider when setting up a deer management plan. • Method Fresh bark peeling rate was recorded with a systematic sampling survey from 2004 to 2007. The covered territory was then divided into 63 distinct hunting zones of area ranging from 1,000 to 25,000 ha. About 5,000 plots were monitored annually. Each zone was characterized with a large number of explanatory variables. The explanatory variables were integrated firstly into fixed linear models using a stepwise procedure, and then into a mixed model. • Results The significant variables included in the model (R 2 = 44 %) are (by decreasing order of importance) red deer densities, proportion of coniferous stands and agricultural areas, snow cover, distance to urban habitats, and species diversity in the understory. • Conclusion The models revealed the impacts of several factors on bark peeling: deer density, deer-carrying capacity of the territory, landscape structure, and severity of winter conditions. The adjusted model allowed subtracting the impact of winter conditions in order to produce a relevant indicator for hunting management. In addition, the model was used to assess the sensitivity of a forested area to bark peeling based on its environmental characteristics.
Article
A survey conducted on fallow deer (n = 79) in northern New South Wales Australia, aimed to ascertain the prevalence and gross pathology of liver fluke. In total, three deer populations were assessed (1 farmed and 2 wild) across 2 sites (site A and B) by conducting total fluke counts in the liver and fluke egg counts in faecal samples. At site A, 16 of 19 farmed deer (84.2 %) and 9 of 20 wild deer (45 %) had active or resolved infections. At site B, 16 of 40 wild deer (40 %) had active or resolved infections. Deer with active infections had low fluke burdens (1–11 fluke) which were in the adult development stage, shedding eggs with faeces (0–121.7 eggs per gram). Liver pathology score did not exceed 3.5 out of 5 with gross pathomorphological lesions predominately confined to the peripheral regions of the left lobe. Farmed deer, confined within a fluky habitat, attained the highest group mean pathology score, with dense fibrosis and concomitant atrophy of the left lobe (site A: farmed – 1.8, wild- 0.6; site B: wild – 0.3). Well-defined fibrotic capsules captured and restricted fluke migration beyond the peripheral region of the left lobe of the liver. The presence of live and dead fluke within the fibrotic capsules confirms the inherent ability of fallow deer to resolve infections. This survey has highlighted the susceptibility of fallow deer to liver fluke within an endemic region. Recurrent exposure, as seen in the farmed deer confined within a fluky habitat, appears to strengthen tissue response in terms of gross pathology and may impede the release of fluke eggs from the liver. Low fluke burdens and limited lesions suggest fallow deer have a strong level of resistance to liver fluke. Nevertheless, within this endemic region, fallow deer are widespread and clearly facilitating the liver fluke life cycle. Further research is warranted to ascertain the impact of fallow deer on disease transmission in livestock production when cohabiting the grazing environment.
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I examined wildlife management practices and opinions of metropolitan residents in the United States concerning urban wildlife by: (1) mailing questionnaires to a random sample of residents from 10 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, (2) telephoning a random sample of nonrespondents, and (3) mailing questionnaires to a random sample of metropolitan residents taken from a list maintained by Survey Sampling, Inc. With the exception of a single question, there were no significant differences among these 3 sample groups. Most respondents (69%) stated they or their households actively managed wildlife in the prior year, and 61% reported a problem caused by a wildlife species during the last year that resulted in a mean of $63.68 in damage. Forty-two percent stated they or their households tried to prevent or solve wildlife problems in the prior year, spending an average of $32.48 and 7.2 hours in the attempt; of these, 52% reported that their efforts were unsuccessful. Most respondents (57%) stated that they or their households encouraged wildlife around their homes and spent an average of $60.42 and 22.2 hours in the process. If these results are extrapolated to the 60 million households in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, then these households annually suffered an estimated $3.8 billion in damages caused by wildlife, despite spending $1.9 billion and 268 million hours trying to solve or prevent these problems. Additionally, they annually spent $3.6 billion and 1.3 billion hours encouraging wildlife around their homes. Combined, these estimates ($5.5 billion and 1.6 billion hrs) indicate that metropolitan residents in the United States are deeply interested in urban wildlife and are willing to spend both their money and time on its management.
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Describes tree species most susceptible to white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus in Ohio, when damage occurred, plant parts damaged, locations of damage within plantings, proportion of crop damaged, and economic losses caused by deer.-from Authors
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Perceptions of U.S. agricultural producers about wildlife were examined by distributing questionnaires in 1993 and 1994 to 2,000 farmers and ranchers: 1,000 selected from a random list maintained by Survey Sampling, Inc., and 1,000 contacted through county offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. One thousand three hundred forty-seven usable questionnaires were returned. Most respondents (51%) purposely managed for wildlife on their farm or ranch. Activities included providing cover for wildlife near fields (reported by 39% of the respondents), providing a water source (38%), leaving crop residue in the field (36%), leaving a portion of the crop unharvested (17%), and providing salt licks (12%). In the prior year, respondents spent a mean of $223 (SE = $24) and 14 hours (SE = 1) to help or encourage wildlife on their property. Most respondents (77%) allowed hunting on their property; 5% charged hunters a fee. Most respondents (80%) suffered wildlife damage in the year prior to the survey, and 53% reported that damage exceeded their tolerance. Respondents spent a mean of 43.6 hours and $1,002 in the prior year trying to solve or prevent wildlife damage. Despite these efforts, 54% of respondents reported >$500 in losses annually from wildlife damage. Because their losses were so severe, 24% said they were reluctant to provide habitat for wildlife, and 38% said they would oppose the creation of a wildlife sanctuary near their property. Problems were caused most often by deer (Odocoileus spp.; listed by 53% of all respondents), raccoons (Procyon lotor; 25%), coyotes (Canis latrans; 24%), and ground hogs (Marmota spp.; 21%). Regional differences were found in wildlife enhancement practices, hunter access, and species causing problems, but not in the extent of wildlife damage.
Article
Exotic animals can establish wild populations that have adverse economic and environmental impacts. In Australia, more than 50 terrestrial vertebrate species have established wild populations and at least half of these species are considered pests. A number of exotic species currently kept in captivity are potential pests if they were to escape and establish. Paradoxically, there is a push to allow freer trade in animals between countries for recreational and commercial purposes. This paper outlines a model of risk assessment used in Australia to assess and manage these risks, including the application of ecological theory to estimate the probability of escape, establishment, eradication and harmful impact. Ways to improve this process by developing a more quantitative approach are discussed.
Article
Deer species (fallow, red, sambar, chital, rusa and hog deer) have formed wild populations in Australian habitats ranging from arid woodland to rainforest and are a growing management issue. Data were obtained via an Australia-wide land-manager survey that collected information on the liberation, distribution, abundance and management of wild deer in Australia. It is estimated that there are 218 wild deer herds in Australia with 7% of these herds originating from acclimatisation society releases, 35% from deer farm escapes/releases and 58% from translocations (deliberate releases). On average, herds released by acclimatisation societies are estimated to be 107 years old, herds that have escaped from (or been released from) deer farms are 9 years old, and transplanted herds are 6 years old. It is estimated that Australia currently has 200 000 wild deer, with 85% of these deer originally released by acclimatisation societies, 6% through escapes/releases from deer farms and 9% by translocation. Poor knowledge of the impacts of wild deer by land managers and the absence of consistent legislation governing the management of farmed and wild deer are factors that have exacerbated deliberate releases of deer and the escape of deer from farms. Management strategies for wild deer in Australia need to be developed by land managers to address the escape and release of deer from farms, the illegal translocation of deer into the wild and the management of existing wild deer herds.
Article
Probably in response to recent changes in habitat structure, populations of a number of species of deer are increasing both in numbers and in geographical distribution in lowland Britain. In the wake of this expansion there is increasing awareness and concern over damage to agriculture/horticulture and forestry, as well as damage to sensitive vegetation in conservation areas. Despite a perception that damage levels are rising, data that actually quantify the scale of impact by deer on lowland agriculture and forestry interests or conservation habitats are scarce. This review attempts to draw together such objective data as are available to assess more formally the actual impact of deer damage in these different contexts and the economic significance of damage caused. The review concludes with a brief consideration of implications for management. The majority of agricultural damage reported in England and Wales was due to Fallow, Red and Roe Deer; Muntjac were only implicated in a little horticultural damage where they are numerous. Most reports were of damage to pasture or cereals, with oilseed rape, nursery and orchard crops also frequently damaged. Because of fundamental differences in ecology and distribution, different species of deer were implicated in different types of damage, depending on feeding habit and distribution in relation to geographical patterns of crop-type. In a woodland context, Fallow, Red and Roe Deer were implicated in the majority of reported damage in lowland UK, which is most frequent in the north of England and lowest in Wales. Despite the apparent severity of damage caused to agriculture or forestry, the actual economic significance of such damage would appear in many cases to be negligible or small. Field crops frequently recover completely from such damage, and although woodland crops may be checked and quality of the timber may be reduced as a consequence of earlier browsing damage, losses may be far less than they first appear. This whole question of the true economic cost of deer damage needs further research. Deer damage to conservation habitats in England and Wales appears largely restricted to woodland; impact on heathlands, grasslands and wetlands is generally welcomed as helping to arrest invasion of scrub. Within woodlands, while concern is expressed in a small number of cases over losses of sensitive ground flora or suppression of natural regeneration, the major problem is in damage to coppice regrowth on sites where coppice management has been recently reintroduced.
Article
Leader browsing was monitored for several years on some 2000 trees at 14 sites in Glenbranter Forest, Argyll. We recorded trees individually to obtain cumulative totals for browsing and other damage, and to relate incidence to height and state (i.e. whether the trees had single or multiple leaders, old or new leaders). Rates of leader browsing peaked in late winter and also for a few weeks during the spring flush of growth; they were least from mid June to September. Incidence was closely related to height, trees from 30 to 50 cm tall suffering the most damage, while trees taller than 80 cm rarely incurred leader browsing. Annual rates of leader browsing were greatest in the second and third year after planting but varied considerably among sites. Newly established crops were no more damaged than second-rotation restocked crops. Multiple regression showed that the incidence of leader browsing was significantly negatively related to the density of trees <60 cm tall and to percentage cover of ericoid plants, and significantly positively related to deer presence, as measured by the accumulation of pellet groups of both deer species. Individual trees were browsed two to three times on average before reaching a safe height, but a few trees experienced up to eight leader browsings. In recovery from browsing, trees often produced several leaders; we found that trees with multiple leaders or new leaders were more susceptible to leader browsing than trees with single or old leaders. So once a tree has been browsed the likelihood of future browsing is increased.
Article
A penned study for obtaining definitive information on the status of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as a host for cattle feverticks (Boophilus microplus) was conducted on St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Four generations of fever-ticks were propagated on one deer during a six month period. Nine wild white-tailed deer also were collected from four insular estates to evaluate the carrier status of these animals on an island where cattle fever-ticks are indigenous. Two deer were infested with B. microplus where contact with domestic livestock had not occurred for 20 years; five deer were free of B. microplus where a vigorous cattle dipping program had been practiced for three years; and, two deer were infested with B. microplus where contact with fever-tick infested cattle occurred at irregular intervals. It was concluded that white-tailed deer constitute a host species for B. microplus and must be considered in future fever tick eradication endeavors. This study also suggested that, through routine dipping of cattle, fever ticks may be eradicated from an area where cattle and deer cohabit the same premises.
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