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The Disastrous Results of Unlimited Deer

2010-09-05: Deer in the HeadlightsA hundred years ago, humans hunting for food had nearly wiped out local populations of deer, turkey and even squirrels in the Mid-Atlantic region. And humans protecting their livestock or hunting for trophies wiped out bear and wolf populations.

Deer were eventually reintroduced - and their populations exploded. While black bears have made a comeback, they're too slow to hunt adult deer. Wolves are great deer hunters, but reintroduction efforts in the eastern half of the United States have had limited success. And deer hunting is restricted on private property & on federal parkland, where deer thrive dashing through backyards and parks.

Today WAMU reports on the disastrous results for both people & our environment:

As an ever-rising population of white-tailed deer have bumped up against their human neighbors in the D.C. area, the results haven't been pretty. There were an estimated 88,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Delaware last year.

But beyond the roads, experts say the deer are also having a major impact on forests, which are unable to replenish themselves to nurture the next generation due to the deer population's eating habits.