The Institute of Ecosystem Studies recognized by the Wildlife Society

The Northeast Section of The Wildlife Society recently presented the Institute of Ecosystem Studies (IES) with a Certificate of Recognition for its Deer Management Program. The award was conferred at The Wildlife Society's 63rd Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mystic, Connecticut.

Dr. John McDonald, President of The Wildlife Society's Northeast Section, commented, "Through diligence and sound science, IES has developed control methods that are indispensable to deer managers tasked with controlling deer in urban and suburban environments. Most of the established controlled hunts in the northeast have drawn from IES experience."

For over three decades, the IES Deer Management Program has been investigating the relationship between deer abundance and forest health on the Institute's 778 hectare (1,924 acre) campus. IES wildlife biologist Mr. Raymond Winchcombe has overseen the program since 1983. By assessing deer browse patterns, monitoring deer numbers, and coordinating a structured deer hunt, he strives to maintain a balance between resident deer and the forest's ability to regenerate.

Deer prefer to eat forbs, grass, and clover. During the winter, when herbaceous plants are scarce, they resort to feeding on woody vegetation. Young saplings and seedlings are vulnerable to deer browsing. By selectively feeding on the buds and branches of immature trees, deer can play a major role in shaping future forests. Preferred food resources, including important canopy trees, can disappear from the landscape while vegetation that is unappealing to the ungulate palate thrives.

A controlled hunt is the cornerstone of the IES Deer Management Program. Each year, the hunt's goals are based on a rigorous assessment of deer abundance and health, woody vegetation damage, and hunter motivation and satisfaction. The program's success has made it a model for other organizations, including the New York Department of Environmental Con

Contact: Lori Quillen
845-677-7600, ext. 233
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

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