Close Encounters: Deer Sightings on Increase
Sightings of deer in backyards and other neighborhoods in more heavily populated areas of the county are becoming more common.
While the deer population in Moore County continues to rise gradually each year, it has not been at an unmanageable rate, according to state wildlife officials.
Sgt. Mark Dutton, who works out of Moore County with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, says his agency continually reminds local residents to be aware of the presence of deer along with other wildlife, such as bears.
Deer sightings are increasing because some deer are forced out of their habitat by new development.
"The loss of habitat from urban and rural development pushes the current population out of its habitat and forces them to move to a new habitat in order to have the things they need to live healthy," Dutton said.
Each wildlife habitat can support a number of animals, but when there are too many animals or the habitat itself is lost, a population must be decreased, Dutton said.
"Animals will die off from old age, disease, starvation, accidents and hunting," Dutton said.
Some developments in the area, according to Dutton, retain a good sustained habitat that allows animals to live there. They face no hunting pressure. This can sometimes lead to overpopulation in those areas.
Residential areas adjacent to lands supporting a large amount of deer will have more interaction because the deer will become accustomed to and less afraid of people, dogs, lights and cars, he said. Also, home gardens can become extremely inviting to deer in search of food.
"Our agency has taken steps to ensure that we have a healthy population and prevent overpopulation," Dutton said. "These things include more liberal hunting season and bag limits, extended urban area archery seasons, hunters for the hungry meat donation programs, public land management, research and law enforcement."
The N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission has several techniques and reports on coexisting with wildlife on its Web site.
"The public should realize that we live in and around wildlife," Dutton said. "We should leave the wildlife to live as they are accustomed to living and avoid inappropriate interaction with the wild animals."
Anyone needing more information can contact the commission at 692-4074 or toll-free at (800) 662-7137 or on the Web at www.ncwildlife.org.
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