South Florida Deer Study

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The South Florida Deer Study is a multifaceted research collaboration involving the University of Georgia, the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and National Park Service investigating factors influencing deer population dynamics in Bear Island and North Addition Land Units of Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP), and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

In south Florida, deer are both an important game species and the primary prey of the endangered Florida panther.  Recent deer population declines, particularly in the southern portion of the BCNP and Everglades National Park, have coincided with changing hydrological regimes, habitat conditions, predator communities, and hunting regulations.  A thorough understanding of what factors influence deer populations in this system and a cost-effective monitoring method are necessary for justifiable and defensible management actions. Management practices that result in stable, healthy deer populations are essential for the continuation of the long-term hunting tradition in the region and the sustainability of the critically endangered Florida panther.

Collaborators:

Elina Garrison,Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

David Shindle, Conservancy of Southwestern Florida

Mike Conner, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center

Michael J. Cherry, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center

Robert J. Warren, University of Georgia

Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia

Photo Credit: James T. Johnson