Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Hunters Enjoy a Successful 40th Annual Deer Hunt at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region, November 9, 2013
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A healthy adult male white-tailed deer at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
A healthy adult male white-tailed deer at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: William Bell

Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge completed its annual deer hunt, an activity enjoyed by hunters dating back to the early 1970s. Deer are an integral part of the wildlife resources found at the Refuge and serve important ecological functions, but like all things in nature, need to be in balance with their environment. At high densities deer can reduce the quality of the forest for many species that depend on healthy native understory vegetation. The Refuge strives to maintain a moderate density of about 20 deer per square mile and hunters provide an important service by keeping deer numbers in check.


The main goals of the Refuge Deer Hunt Program are to 1) maintain the deer herd at a density that allows for a diverse and healthy forest, 2) manage for all age classes of deer to preserve a natural social structure, and 3) provide a safe and high-quality outdoor experience for the public. The deer herd is monitored annually through a pre-hunt spotlight survey and from biological information collected on harvested deer at the Refuge Deer Check Station. Harvest strategies and bag limits are evaluated annually by staff, and adjusted when necessary to achieve program goals. For example, this year, the bag limit was one deer of either sex per hunter over four days in early November. Prior to the regular hunt, a one-day youth hunt was held to encourage the participation of young hunters. More than a hundred hunters came to the Refuge over the 5-day period enjoying good weather and harvesting a total of 37 deer.

Contact Info: Steve Henry, 561-735-6021, steven_s_henry@fws.gov
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