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Whitetail Deer Management

The northern woodland whitetail deer, Pennsylvania's revered official big game animal, is a common resident on Penn State's Forestlands. The whitetail deer's voracious appetite to browse on young woody vegetation has detrimentally impacted its own essential forest habitat.

The solution

Permit the public to hunt whitetail deer on all of our forestlands (except in designated areas) within the regulations determined by the PA Game Commission.

We erect deer exclusion fences around the perimeter of our regeneration timber sales within 30 days of the final tree being removed.  The cost of the fence will be funded by a percentage of the revenue generated from the stand's timber harvest.  A deer exclusion fence, when properly maintained for the 3 to 5 years following a timber harvest, will greatly improve the species diversity, the stocking density, and the stem form of the future forest.

The consequence if the solution is ignored

The whitetail deer's browse habits, when left unchecked, will severely limit the ability of our forests to maintain their species diversity.  The preferential browse of the deer will encourage less valuable wildlife/timber species to dominate, leaving the mast producing sought after timber species to be a minor component of the future forest.

We employ two types of deer exclusion fences on our forests:

  1. Multi-strand solar battery high tensile wire deer fence
  2. 8' high woven wire deer fence