The ‘Missing’ Deer

If you follow the news or social media in New Brunswick you might have the impression that white-tailed deer are vanishing from this Province. These ‘disappearing deer stories‘ are usually associated with condemnations of current and past forest management policies in New Brunswick. If you are interested in forest management, the 2008 Erdle Report provides a comprehensive review of alternative forestry management policies. While management of Crown forest lands in New Brunswick might be far from optimal, the evidence that those practices are having a decisive impact on deer populations is mixed.  Data available from the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and published by the CBC show that deer populations in the 1970s are similar to those that we have seen in more recent years:

Note that the title in the CBC story referred to above is ‘New Brunswick deer herd down 70% in 30 years, DNR numbers show’; it could just as well have been titled ‘Deer populations revert to 1970s levels, DNR numbers show’. That would have been less-alarming and generated fewer clicks, I suppose.

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