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The Deer Group

The Deer Group is a bold new program of the private sector to develop a productive wild white-tailed deer resource with net benefits to citizens within the region. The program is unique, broad in scale, open to all citizens, and is resource based. It seeks a variety of human benefits from all aspects of the deer resource while at the same time reducing costs and losses. The program recognizes that there are positive and negative elements to all resources and it seeks to prevent conflicts and minimize overall costs associated with the deer resource. The Deer Group is an enterprise dealing with deer for people and the valuable deer resource. It is a complex, modern, high technology, information-based resource system seeking to maximize the achievement of human objectives related to the white-tailed deer.

The program is legal and independent of the state agency. It does not attempt to replace or duplicate the staff, work, or resources of any public agency. The Deer Group can heighten, encourage, add to, and expand an agency's program with the deer resource, which is not limited by history, policy, staff, and budgets.

The Deer Group staff seeks personal and corporate involvement in a financial-gains enterprise by investments of time, energy, ideas, and financial support. The work ahead is monumental. It is naive to think that any more than a penny ante game will emerge from minor contributions and memberships. Tax deductions and beneficial arrangements within the enterprise are readily available to advertisers, contributors of money, and people wishing to bequeath land and property to lasting, exciting, modern, innovative research, education, and development for the deer resource. Not an organization for charity, The Deer Group has major action strategies seeking a stable budgetary status for the good of the deer and the people of the region, state, and the U.S. One component is a citizens' organization.

The program simultaneously involves:

  1. Information and education
  2. Action opportunities and contests
  3. Land management
  4. Membership benefits
  5. Research and development
  6. Achievement of diverse resource objectives
  7. Damage management
  8. Esthetics

all of which are done while increasing employment and improving the economic conditions of the region.

Each of these eight elements is discussed separately and as if The Deer Group already exists. It does not yet exist. This is a concept paper, the point of which is that the entire enterprise can exist. Its parts exist in some form and can be grasped for use almost immediately. No inventions are needed. It is not "blue sky." It is a serious, practical program that is badly needed. It must be done all together, as a system. Piecemeal work of the past has created the present conditions which The Deer Group addresses. Each of the eight action elements of the system will be discussed. They are all, by design, highly related.

1. Information and Education

  1. Books - Sales of quality deer literature at discount rates with modest profit to the enterprise.
  2. Booklists - A series of prepared texts on all aspects of the deer and deer resource. Sales for modest profit to The Deer Group (hereinafter also called the system or enterprise).
  3. Computer Programs - Personal computer programs for all that are interested in working with and learning about the resource and entering data to get locally relevant information.
  4. Seminars - Two-day seminars on all aspects of deer biology, foods, monitoring of population density, habitat productivity, and suitability, management, laws, hunting, conservation, and damage control.
  5. Satellite Seminars - Occasional seminars (T\/) by satellite or the World Wide Web.
  6. Television - Sales of quality TV materials at discount rates with modest profits to the enterprise. New television - programs about deer and conditions.
  7. Hunting Seminars - One-day seminars on hunting techniques including safety and marksmanship.
  8. Computer Information - County- and region-specific personalized information on deer hunting, etc., from the enterprise computers.
  9. Consultants - A team of consultants working privately.
  10. Recipe Books - Ways to improve meat use, reduce losses, and encourage high quality use of the available resource.
  11. Hunters for the Hungry - Encouragement of an existing program to share meat with welfare groups.
  12. Value-Added Strategies - Means to make better use of meat, bones, carcass, hides; taxidermy, etc.
  13. Membership - Including encouragement of hunting for women and special groups.
2. Action Opportunities and Contests
  1. State and Regional Deer Rifle Accuracy Contest - An annual contest with modest income to the system.
  2. State and Regional Deer Archery Contest - A special annual contest with unique classes of hunts and hunters.
  3. Gamma Fawn - a multi-level, computer game for school biology, FFA, 4-H, and other youth groups, leading to statewide annual competition (like an international chess competition).
  4. Gamma Deer - Equivalent to the above, adults may compete in this difficult, realistic game of regional deer management. The "play" is against "natur", poachers, crippling loss, those who set the season, and management action success. It is an expansive modern computer "game" - very serious business, eventually with big prize money.
  5. Projects - Planned group projects such as deer drives for density estimates, cripple-deer surveys, enclosure construction, removals, meat processing, forage surveys, and road track counts.
  6. Woodcraft Contest - Regional annual tests of field skills related to all aspects of deer resource use.
  7. Banquets and Socials
  8. Special Gun Safety Programs - Backing up and adding to the present efforts of the agency.
  9. Guides - A for-profit guide organization for referral service, promotion, control, and full high quality service.
3. Land Management
  1. Fire Force Crew - (developed with Security and Safety and Forestry) Sponsorship of a hot-shot fire crew, both for fire fighting and for conducting prescribed burns under controlled condition for improved deer range.
  2. Forage Survey Crew - Sophisticated, directed sampling provides local information about deer herd conditions.
  3. Damage Surveys - Computer-aided analyses of potential crop, car, and forest damage. The surveys and analysis programs are created by and sponsored by the enterprise.
  4. Field Trips - Habitat visits to key areas.
  5. The Premiere Deer Food Patch - A computer-designed food mix for planting area-specific food patches for deer.
  6. Forest Deer - An advisory analysis system to estimate the long-term effects of any timber cut on deer.
  7. Stoneworms - Trail building into deer and related areas for profit.
  8. Land Management - A comprehensive forest and farm management program with emphasis on deer - both for increasing production or reducing losses.

4. Membership Benefits

  1. Clothing and Equipment - New products and discount sales
  2. Ammunition - Discount sales and advisory service.
  3. Tours - Group hunts, out-of-state deer-range tours with modest enterprise profits
  4. Membership Emblems - 4 levels of membership based on hunting and deer knowledge, habitat knowledge, field manners, skill, and project work.
  5. Performance-based Fee Structure - Rewards for advancing in membership "level" by work on projects or participation in all aspects of The Deer Group Program.
  6. Area Signs - Symbolized ownership (like a "Tree Farm" sign) of an evaluated area showing a set of qualities for deer.
  7. Hunting Advisory - Computer-produced probability of an individual in a season harvesting a deer, given a set of inputs (payment required but access to the system is limited to members).
  8. Annual Meeting - Full range of conventional business, educational, political, social benefits, and entertainment.
  9. Research Report - Reports produced on request (fee required) by a science staff.
  10. Communications - Means for individuals to be heard, statewide, so their ideas can be used and problems solved.

5. Research and Development

This is a long-term program building on a massive body of research on the deer. It is carefully tailored to the region but is generalized for use on other ownerships. It avoids conflicts with agency efforts, and advances the concept of a total deer resource, not just a game animal. It is a fully developed plan for needed (not "nice-to-know") studies that have potential for direct, immediate use once answers are found. It must be conducted consistently and long-term or it should not be started. A comprehensive research system is created leading to practical answers to questions that can lead to action in the field, courts, or hearing room. The following are titles of high priority research projects. Project descriptions will be prepared as the program develops.


  1. The Objectives of Citizens for the Deer Resource
  2. Monetary Valuation of the Deer Resource
  3. Crop Damage Assessment
  4. Forest Damage Assessment
  5. Deer-Related Accident Rates
  6. Dynamics of Human Deer Resource Preferences


  1. The Deer Resource: Past and Present
  2. Deer Density Relations
  3. Net Energy: The Deer Energy Budget
  4. Characterizing Hunting Areas: A Computer Aid for Clubs
  5. Hard Mast (acorns, etc.) for Deer
  6. Seasonal Food Habits: Browse Myth?
  7. Optimum Food Supplies
  8. Poaching Estimates
  9. Potential Deer Range
  10. Woodlots for Deer: Fragmented Habitats
  11. Stand Density and Basal Area Relations: The Role of Thinning
  12. Regional Reproduction: Fawn-to-Doe Ratios
  13. Seasonal Reproduction by Region
  14. Regional Antler Weight Relations
  15. Toxicants in Deer Tissue: Statewide Survey
  16. Factors Affecting Deer Meat Quality
  17. A Preference Index for Garden, Landscape, and Crop Plants
  18. Impact of Full-moon Periods, Extreme Mast Crops or Deficiencies on Ability to Meet Harvest Targets ... i.e., Dynamic Season-Adjustment.
  1. Models of Deer Reproduction
  2. Models of an Area Deer Population
  3. County Level Deer Dynamics: Effects of Hunting and Other Factors
  4. Potentials for Area-Specific Harvest Regulation
  5. Statewide Allowable Harvest
  6. Expert Systems for Evaluating Deer Range
  7. Climatic Change and Deer Populations
  8. Optimization of Timber Harvests for Deer Production
  9. Integrated Deer Damage Management Systems
  10. Strategies for Trophy Management
  11. Optimum Youth Education System
  12. Scouting and 4-H Program Strategies
  13. Placing Salt for Deer: An Evaluation of the Practice
  14. Waterholes for Deer: An Evaluation
  15. Grass Clearings within Forests for Deer: An Evaluation
  16. Estimates of Monetary Value of Deer-Related Losses to Forest Trees
  1. Membership Monitoring: The Dynamics of The Deer Group
  2. The Resource States: An Automated Annual Report
  3. Optimum Program Budgeting System
  4. The Herd Home: Dynamics of Deer Habitat Statewide
  5. Optimum Seasons: A Decision Aid
  6. The Dynamics of Program and Citizen Objectives
  7. Spotlighting: Encouraging the Public -- Discouraging the Poacher
  8. Reward System for Reports of Poaching
  9. Meat Processor Surveys
  10. Market Hunting: Prevention and Control
  11. Hide Processing
  12. Meat Loss Reduction
  13. Meat Use Improvements
  14. Road Hunting: Prevention and Control - A Process
  15. A System for Monitoring Toxicants in Deer
  16. The Influence of Deer on Wild Flower Populations
  17. Rewarding the Warden: A Procedure for Measuring Performance
  18. Reducing Deer-Related Law Violations
Feedforward (adjusting the present based on confident predictions about the future)
  1. Trends: The Hunters in the Next 50 Years
  2. A Prediction System: A Coordinated Set of Methods
  3. Deer Habitat in 50 Years
  4. Adjustments and Adaptations to Hit Three Possible Future States of the Roanoke Valley Deer Herd
  5. The Likely Influences of Fossil Energy Shortages on The Deer Group
  6. The Likely Influence of Climate Change on The Deer Group
  7. The Likely Influence of Anti-Hunting Sentiment on The Deer Group
  8. Projected Influences of Increased Poaching on the Deer Herd
  1. The Deer Resources of Adjacent States
  2. The Non-Resident Deer Hunter
  3. Deer-Related Investments: Effects on Other Wildlife Species
  4. Park Policy and its Influence on the Deer Resource
  5. A Comparison of Deer Management Programs in Other States
  6. International Projects and Potential Relations
  7. Resolving Conflicts Among Hunters of Other Species
  8. The Forest Without Deer: Explanations of the Ecological Role of Deer Using an Hypothetical Situation
  9. Where Deer Management Fits Within Current Emphasis on "Biodiversity"
  10. Adapting The Deer Group for the Next Ten Years
6. Achieving Diverse Resource Objectives

The Deer Group is, by its nature, history, sponsorship, and leadership, strongly related to deer hunting. It is strongly resource oriented, that is, seeking maximum human benefits of all kinds, at low costs, from the animal and everything related to it, no matter how remotely. It includes reducing losses as well as increasing benefits. There is a net-value concept working throughout the entire system. The objectives sought by the system include (but are not limited to) the following measurable set (in no particular order) and with relative importance not yet assigned:

  1. Maximizing citizen awareness of the deer resource
  2. Maximizing citizen observations of deer
  3. Maximizing the number of high-quality deer hunting hours spent
  4. Minimizing the estimated expected-value of crops lost to deer
  5. Minimizing estimated expected-value of landscape and horticultural plant lost to deer
  6. Minimizing human injury or death related to deer (e.g., auto collision)
  7. Minimizing monetary loss due to vehicle repairs needed (i.e., related to deer collisions)
  8. Minimizing hunting-related human injury or death
  9. Minimizing deer-related human morbidity, or death (e.g., from diseases)
  10. Minimizing estimated monetary losses to forest trees
  11. Maximizing information about the quality of the environment (i.e., a monitoring role)
  12. Maximizing deer-related employment opportunities
  13. Maximizing positive net within-state sales of goods and services
  14. Preventing deer herd extinction
  15. Preventing loss of deer hunting
  16. Maximizing observation and use of wildlife in deer habitats
  17. Preventing extinction of wild flowers from deer foraging
  18. Preventing major changes in forest composition
  19. Maximizing beneficial effects of deer in forests and fields
  20. Maximizing appreciation of the beauty of the deer and its habitat
  21. Minimizing lost-hunter incidents
  22. Minimizing deer-related trespass events
  23. Minimizing crippling and poaching losses
  24. Maximizing use of harvested animals
7. Damage Management

Reports of damage from deer seem to be increasing. There are many causes and these need to be studied during the time that the apparent change is occurring so that the process can be understood. The Deer Group includes research (already listed above) but also includes:

  1. Consultants - Experts (on retainer) provide site-specific advice
  2. Evaluation - A computer analysis allows damage "claims" to be evaluated
  3. Fencing - Modern deer-deflecting and electric fencing is made available in select areas
  4. Policy - A viable permit-for-removal policy is encouraged
  5. Balance - Payment of claims against deer loss is discouraged where deer might be legally removed by hunting
  6. Damage Assessment - Assessment (for a fee) of financial loss for the courts and others
  7. Integrated Damage Management - Not control of deer but control of their damage is the objective. Many techniques exist and in their permutations represent over 100,000 options for reducing real monetary losses. Selecting the optimum integrated mix of techniques to use at lowest cost is a high-order computer use. The Deer Group encourages such use.
  8. Removals - In some areas, in the final analysis, deer must be removed and that cannot be done safely, timely, or reasonable by conventional hunting. The Deer Group provides experts able to remove deer effectively in such unusual situations. In some areas, traps may be used; in other areas effective shooting is required.

8. Esthetics

The program sponsors and encourages the following that emphasize and promote the esthetics of the resource:

  1. Painting and art displays
  2. Photograph contests
  3. Sculpture and related art
  4. Taxidermy
  5. Songs and Music
  6. Tours
  7. Artists' models (tame deer)
  8. Fair and other public gathering displays emphasizing the beauty of the deer and its habitat
  9. Jewelry
  10. Well-designed field clothing
  11. TV and movies
  12. Trail rides into deer country
The Deer Group is a unique resource system developed in the private sector. It is for and by hunters, but these are only a few of the citizens that will benefit from it. The system raises the concept of a sports group to a new level. It has the potential of creating jobs, of sustaining research and development as done in progressive industries, and of demonstrating a real reason for conservation of wildlife - positive net gains monetary and otherwise, from a resource. The Deer Group does not display a policy of "multiple use." It is not unnecessarily broad in scope or direction. It is self-consciously deer-resource oriented (benefits are the emphasis; not necessarily more deer) and merely seeks to achieve a fair hearing and place for deer resource/users at various discussion centers and will cooperate with everyone interested in deer in the well-being of any ecosystem.

Development Cost...............$150,000

Estimated 5th Year Annual Profits (all components)... $200,000

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Last revision January 17, 2000.