Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Wisconsin deer

It’s estimated there were about eight deer per square mile in Wisconsin before Europeans settled in the U.S. There are now as many as 72 deer per square mile in some counties.

MADISON — New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests an overpopulation of deer is having a long-term impact on the state’s forests.

Biologists have long known that an overabundance of deer negatively affects the number and diversity of forest plants. But a new study headed by Autumn Sabo, a Ph.D. candidate at the university, suggests it’s also changing the soil beneath the forest floor.

Sabo took samples from test plots that have been fenced off from deer for up to two decades and found less soil compaction and a thinner layer of depleted soil, which is called a leach zone.

“The thickness of this low-nutrient layer appears to influence the abundance of forest plants including species like lilies and violets,” Sabo said.

Sabo said she suspects the thinner leach zones are caused when deer eat hardwood tree saplings but that more study is needed to find the exact correlation.

She said it’s estimated there were around eight deer per square mile in Wisconsin before Europeans settled in the U.S., and that there are twice as many in the area near the test plots she studied.

There are now as many as 72 deer per square mile in some counties, Sabo said. She said her findings show the impact on forests from an overpopulation of deer exceed what the animals eat.

“So these changes in growing conditions might serve as a legacy of deer overabundance and that could influence how well the forest recovers even if we are able to reduce deer numbers,” Sabo said.

Sabo’s research began in 2011 and focused on test plots in the Ottawa National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Peninsula State Park in Door County.

It’s estimated there were around eight deer per square mile in Wisconsin before Europeans settled in the U.S.; there are now as many as 72 deer per square mile in some counties.
0
1
1
0
0

(6) comments

canman

There are higher deer numbers in metro areas because of many factors, food sources and safety from predators. The rest of the state has low numbers, ask any hunter who spends time in the woods. Also the proliferation of wolfs and coyotes have decimated the deer herd in many areas and now the DNR is serving up elk for them. This study smells more like the insurance companies bs.

1s n 0s Doc

how deep did manure get when cows were grazing in forrest genius?

corys1181

wrong 30 days of deer hunting your nuts we already have a weak herd how about making it the way it use to be and stop handing out so many doe tags we don't have an overpopulation problem this is some bogus article drummed up by insurance company's to keep numbers low the only overpopulation problem we have is humans

chucker

When Landowner's won't let Hunter's in , the Deer know where to go and like the area across form Menard's ,off sand lake Road they are 100's of Deer out there in field , BUT NOBODY can Hunt there ?? And this past year it was the worse year of Hunting ever and make the Deer Hunting season 30 days long , not 9 days !!

Thinkfirst25

Using 72 deer per square mile is no doubt the high end of the estimate.
Looking at the maps they go as low as
8 also. Why not report that too? It tends to look like there is an agenda when you lean one way and don't list all the facts. You could have even used the state average but did not. Looks like the state average maybe around 35 deer per square mile with my guess.

http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/maps.html

Let's have some fair reporting for a change. I know. I expect to much.

Climatehoax

Why waste tax money on this study ? Any half wit could have told you that to many animals on a parcel of land will ruin it, be it cows, hogs, deer,buffalo etc, etc,etc.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thanks for reading. Subscribe or log in to continue.