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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I went to conference on forest management and other such things a few weeks ago and I learned a lot about our area. But the thing that got me was this guy started to talk about deer population in NJ and I thought it was interesting so I thought I would share.

One cool fact he brought up was that in NJ the average deer population is 20-30 deer per square mile. To have a stable environment and the deer not eating in our yards and not over graze the woods that number has to get down to 5-8 per square mile.

He also stated that the large amount of sticker bushes in the woods are partly due to deer but also the fact that NJ is getting warmer. Sticker bushed only like warm winters they can't handle the 0 degree weather very long.

He also stated that in a recent study it showed the NJ deer population is growing but the deer are getting smaller. Basically since their is less food the size of the deer is stunted, after it being stunted many generations, the deer will slowly become smaller in NJ. This not a genetic change but a physical change. The fawns will still grow to normal size, but only if they are supplied the right feed and nutritional requirements. He said right now NJ does not have this so the deers growth is stunted, hence we will slowly have smaller deer as the population grows.
 

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Who was this guy and where does he come from?

that number has to get down to 5-8 per square mile.
Oh yeah? Thats for ALL soil types,All land use charactoristics be they Pine barrens pedmont farmland, ridge and valley or "The Burbs".
THATS SO GREAT now I can add to my list of things were ONE SIZE DOES fit ALL! Yes folks wether your nick name is Needledick or Poneyboy these condoms will fit like.....well a condom! If you ask me this guys info belongs in a condom too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Both of you need to calm down, I am just stating some interesting information I learned. And if you already knew it then why waste your time posting?

I am not saying we need to get the deer population down to that or that it ever will, he even stated 5-8 per square mile is the desired but it will never happen.

Also to clarify: the total deer population divided by the total NJ square miles works out to 20-30 deer per square miles. This does not mean this is true every where, some places will have less then others.

And as for smaller deer it is a fact of life, if they don't have the nutritional requirements then size will be stunted. In NJ Show me a place during the winter that has nutritional requirements enough for all the deer in that area. You can't because there are too many deer for the areas they live in. So how does natural selection work? Smaller deer will live better because they don't require as much food as the larger deer do. So a smaller deer has a better chance of living.

Im sorry if this isn't the information you don't want to hear, but it is true, as NJ becomes more populated and less land for deer the food areas will drop. After food starts to diminish one of two things happen, ether animals have to adapt to the environment or they die off. Both have happened in the past (I'm not saying evolution) but recently animals have changed in other parts of the world.

A short google search came up with lots of hits this is one of them, stating deer in populated areas are currently 20% smaller.
http://www.buckmanager.com/2009/02/18/are-white-tailed-deer-getting-smaller/
 

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Interesting post DDS...many "facts" are subjective to some degree but it doesn't mean all info is invalid. I too questioned the 5-8 number for prime upland NJ habitat but it is a range and if the guy put in every qualifier, every fact would be so tedious to read that no one would bother to
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting post DDS...many "facts" are subjective to some degree but it doesn't mean all info is invalid. I too questioned the 5-8 number for prime upland NJ habitat but it is a range and if the guy put in every qualifier, every fact would be so tedious to read that no one would bother to
Thank you for your respectful post, I am perfectly fine with people disagreeing or even bringing up new points like you did.

I agree and I even questioned what he said when I first heard it, thats why its been a few weeks before I posted this. I was researching the truth behind what he stated. I went to school for animal management and agriculture so this is right up my alley. I was even about to start a deer farm (one for meat production) until the economy tanked.

So I did do research on this subject before posting, I wanted to make sure A: I knew what I was talking about and not just throwing out random facts that where not true at all and B: that if I did have questions I could easily back up my points or answer them.
 

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Nice to see someone coming up with a good post, and once questioned not only having an answer but an educated one too.
 

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Both of you need to calm down,
DDS don't worry about me I was laughing as I wrote that.....but I AM tired of EXPERTS who tell us their version of how things need to be and maybe they have a point for one area but they present as if one size fits all.
MANY say one thing or another about what deer density needs to be for an area and when I here that I always ask what study are you pointing to that gave you the confedance to say 2 or 5 or 80 DpSm ? and that is when you get "The look".
Truth be told it is only in the last 5 years or so were deer exclosure studies are being done in enough areas to tell any body anything and YOU TELL ME what does a decade tell you about the sesational life of a woodland?
Just saying (With a smile on my face)and because I do ask does not mean I'm excited or angry hey in a way knocking down the experts helps to pay my bills in another area of knowledge.
 

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Its funny how much of the information given out lately cooresponds to global warming or warming in general. I don't want to get into the whole global warming debate as I believe everything is somewhat cyclical in nature and we would see warming and cooling trends without any human contribution. With that said if you were to look up Bergmann's rule on thermo regulation of mammals by increasing biomass with an increase in latitude it would fit very well with our deer getting smaller as temps get warmer regardless of food resources availalbe. I've shot some of the biggest bodied deer ever the last few years so my results dont fit with his explanation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No hard feelings Jakesbeard. I understand where your coming from.

And I am in no way saying I am a expert, I have just started to study it my self. Just presenting my findings

And that a lot of this research and studies are fairly new, like you said in the last 5 years or so I did come across that in my research. But to point out a different view. In farming wether you do industrial or free range, the animals nutrition depending on size and how much they use out of the food they eat. For example deer and elk are very efficient at digesting the food to get the most out of it. While lets say horses are well horrible at it. The fact is that even though studies are just coming out as population becomes a problem. The knowledge about how much room a animal needs by nutritional analysis has been around for just about forever. The way to find how much room a animal needs to live on its own is not a new concept. Im not saying 5-8 per square mile is set in stone for every where but from what I have read it seams for most of NJ this would be true. Will we ever get to that point, no its just not possible unless something large like a disease or large die out happens.

But like stated as the deer population grows one of two things have to happen, this is backed in stone, ether a die out will eventually happen to thin the population or the deer will slowly get smaller and require less food and less land .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Beaverman:
You bring up a good point on "warming" as I will call it. We both see eye to eye on that. But like you said thats a whole other debate.

But as to the fact about big body dear. When I say Small deer I am talking body size not antler size, just to clarify for everyone. The research for deer size is all new, like jakesbeard stated. Now I have only been hunting for 5 years and can't really say deer back in the day where larger.

But I can say that if you go out west to a rural area with lots of food you will shoot a deer that bigger body then here and it will also most likely be younger. Now the deer out west are the same deer that are in NJ. (NJ deer where killed off, NJ brought in deer from the west to stock). Yes you will have larger deer still and the size is not going to drop 50lb in a year. But like in any species you will always have the dominate animals or the ones that have a good food supply, and they will stay a little larger.

Im not sure about where you hunt but if its surrounded by farm fields and it rural then right there is your reason for having larger deer, you have to put this into perspective. Also it wasn't until about 10 years ago that housing boom happened in NJ. It takes decades for animals to adjust to surroundings, so we are just starting to see it now with the studies. This is not set thing for the whole state every area is going to be different. But as the population (people) in the state grows and takes farm/woodland it will slowly affect other areas. On average in NJ the deer are smaller then their family members in other parts of the country.
 

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So how does natural selection work?
Inferior members of the species are killed by predators, starve etc. The healthy and strong survive. This doesnt mean deer will be the size of labs in 20 years.
 

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interesting topic here. 20 to 30 deer per square mile may be a bit high but trying to cut it to 5 to 8 is crazy talk! the state has 8722 sq. mi. so lets say 5 deer per that only gives you roughly 43,600 deer. more deer are harvested in a year than that. 5 to 8 is a lower number than deer actually harvested per sq. mi. so i guess my point is if the numbers where to ever get that low they wouldnt need us (hunters) anymore and that would suck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Very true Oneshot:
But also along with that comes growth stunt if population is not controlled.

Think about it this way, what predators do deer have in NJ? Coyote? Yes coyotes will take down deer but they really focus on small game to fill their stomachs. Not a hard strong deer. They might go after young or weak ones but I doubt they will go after a full grown deer. Yes hunters take many but is it enough? I think just looking at how many deer are approximated to be in the state and how many are shot will show you that this is a no as well.

So now that we have taken predators off the lis, whats left diseases and starvation. As for diseases yes they will become more evident as population grows but again so far it hasn't been that much.

Now for starvation yes this is a very good possibility, but just as good as stunted growth. Starvation requires a few things ether not enough food or lack of nutrition in the food. NJ has plenty of shrubs around houses but most of these shrubs lack any sort of nutrition what so ever. yes you will get starvation of the "larger" deer because these shrubs just won't have enough or they can't find enough of other food items to eat. Now the smaller deer "stunted growth" will be smaller requiring less food. Since they require less food they have a better chance at survival. So as the larger deer die off from not enough food the smaller deer will slowly take majority of the population. This would be natural selection.

Now what should be asked is will diseases take hold before this happens and wipe out the population? This is the only variable in the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
interesting topic here. 20 to 30 deer per square mile may be a bit high but trying to cut it to 5 to 8 is crazy talk! the state has 8722 sq. mi. so lets say 5 deer per that only gives you roughly 43,600 deer. more deer are harvested in a year than that. 5 to 8 is a lower number than deer actually harvested per sq. mi. so i guess my point is if the numbers where to ever get that low they wouldnt need us (hunters) anymore and that would suck!!
He actually talked about this, I just forgot to mention it. But he said almost the same thing. But he also said NJFW will never let it get that low because hunters would not be happy, and he said he wouldn't be happy ether [ko]
 

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Deer are a major diet of the yotes in my area. Most of the yote shit i find is deer hair and pieces of hooves. The eastern coyote is the biggest and built with the large jaw muscles due to there diet. And i realize its a general statement but you cant with any logic say "this is what the states deer population is"because it varies so much from town to town let alone zones.
 

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i dont buy the " deer will get smaller" theory the same thoery as it relates to people would have african people getting smaller because they have little food and poor nutrition but most of those people are big
 

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^

i believe deer can get smaller over time. its selective breeding just like how we have all the dog species today. if larger deer are dying cause of lack of food that leaves smaller deer to breed with each other which over some time can lead to a smaller version of the deer today. look at the coues whitetail in mexico. thats a whitetail but much smaller than the deer here. i would think from a lower food supply in the desert and the higher temps.

to compare an animals evolution to a humans is like apples to oranges. with animals it survival of the fittest and with humans its survival of the ones with the most assests.
 
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