A controlled archery deer hunt in a residential community: Cost, effectiveness, and deer recovery rates

Howard J. Kilpatrick, William David Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Large deer herds in urban settings may be problematic. Evaluations of methods to safely reduce these populations are needed. We assessed cost, effectiveness, and deer recovery rates of a controlled archery hunt to reduce a herd of overabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in a residential community in Connecticut. This community-supported archery hunt was implemented on community-owned conservation lands in 1996 and 1997. A rigorous hunter-selection process was used to select qualified archers. Guidelines, in addition to state hunting laws, were developed by the community to increase the safety and effectiveness of the hunt and minimize potential conflicts between user groups. The archery hunt reduced the local deer herd by 50% during the first year, and many residents subsequently experienced reduced deer damage to landscape plantings. Data from hunter surveys indicated that shooting accuracy experienced by archers under hunting conditions was 20% lower than shooting accuracy experienced during a prehunt shooting proficiency test. Hunter recovery rates of radiocollared deer were lower than recovery rates reported on hunter surveys. No hunting accidents occurred, no conflicts between hunters and residents were reported, and no deer hit with arrows died outside the hunting area. The most significant cost to the community was additional law-enforcement personnel required to respond to potential conflicts with protesters. We conclude that under controlled circumstances, a well-designed archery hunt with a rigorous hunter-selection process may be an effective tool to reduce urban deer herds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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