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Are There Deer Contraceptives?

Jennifer Smith

Posted on April 25 2019

Department of Natural Resources personnel have been working with many animal groups to find the best non-lethal measure to reduce the number of deer on landscapes; however, they are coming up short with answers.

Some question "Why not just give white-tailed deer contraceptives?" The Humane Society of America has an experimental deer birth-control program; however, the cost of implementing this plan ranges from $300-1000 per deer, making this a non-cost effective means for deer management.

DNR is asking deer hunters to get involved in reducing the deer population; but for those that are not looking for lethal means of deer control can choose from fencing (the most effective) to re-route deer away from landscapes; growing deer-resistant plants (second place for effectiveness); and sprinkling deer repellents on yards (which hardly does anything due to climate).  

Thinning out the deer population with contraceptives sounds like a great idea in theory; until money comes into play. Volunteers may be needed to help track deer movement in neighborhoods and work with deer program leaders to trap doe for the birth control study and injection. 

“Deer have entered our backyards and essentially become unruly guests,” said Dr. Allen T. Rutberg of Tufts University's Center for Animals and Public Policy. “We are bound by suburban rules in dealing with them, and violence is not how we deal with neighbors we don’t like.”