Eden Rozing

Date of Award


First Advisor

Thomas Coote

Second Advisor

Sarah Snyder


Over the past several decades, suburban and exurban expansion has led to a rise in human-wildlife conflict as humans and animals adjust to living alongside one another. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a perfect example of a ubiquitous and charismatic species that can be problematic in human-dominated spaces. Deer-related issues in such environments include deer-vehicle collisions, browsing damage to lawns and gardens, and transmission of zoonotic diseases through parasitic vectors such as ticks. Additionally, deer herds often exceed acceptable densities due to a lack of predation and an abundance of food resources. Nevertheless, managing these nuisance deer can be controversial. Lethal control in particular faces significant opposition from those who view it as cruel or unnatural. However, in many cases, nonlethal management is insufficient for reducing deer-human conflict. It is therefore up to wildlife managers to formulate a management plan that is able to meet community needs while retaining social acceptance. One way to do this is to involve stakeholders in deer programs, either by direct participation in management actions or, more commonly, through surveys and discussions of deer-related concerns and desired outcomes. This thesis combines a literature review and policy assessment with a survey evaluating southern Berkshire County residents’ experiences with and opinions of deer and their management. The results were then used to propose future management actions, including recommended changes to existing programs.

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