Deer Population

Keywords: population, white-tailed deer, management, overpopulation; Grade Level: ninth grade Total Time for Lesson: 40 minutes; Setting: classroom

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Deer live and reproduce in Pennsylvania.
  • Deer may reproduce at such a rapid rate that they overpopulate a given area.
  • Deer are difficult to manage due to reproduction, but there may be an answer.

Goals for the Lesson

  • The students will be able to estimate the deer population in a given area over a 5-year period.
  • The students will be able to suggest possible management tools to prevent overpopulation.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: 4.2.10C, 4.6.10A, 3.2.10C

Topic: deer population

Introduction (5 minutes)

"Today you will project and evaluate the deer population on the Wilmington Area Conservation Club deer farm from 2001 to 2005. The farm is a 1 square mile fenced area of forested land that is open to public hunting. There are 10 buck and 10 doe living on the farm at the present time. This number--20 deer per square mile--is the ideal population according to the PA Game Commission. Doe reproduction at the farm will be estimated at the same rate as the state of Pennsylvania--1.7 fawns per adult doe. The harvest rate will be calculated at 80 percent of the mature buck present at the start of the year. Again, this is comparable to the state harvest rate. However, no doe or fawns will be harvested on the farm. Everyone likes to see deer. During reproduction, 50 percent of the fawns will be buck and 50 percent will be doe. If there is an odd number of births, we will err on the side of the doe, rounding up for doe and down for buck. Please read the PA Game Commission Field Notes on White-Tailed Deer ."

Lesson Activity (30 minutes)

  • Students will work in groups of two to project the deer population over the next 5 years and answer the analysis questions.

Activity Procedure

  • To complete the data table, follow the steps listed below it.

Conclusion (5 minutes)

  • Students will be asked to discuss the PA Game Commission's management procedure in which not only buck but also doe must be harvested.


  • Data Table #1 Deer
  • Deer Management Plan


PA Game Commission Field Notes on White-Tailed Deer .


Robert Cooper, Wilmington Area School District