Pa. extension hosts four deer density workshops

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Extension will hold four workshops this spring to show landowners and hunters how to estimate the number of deer on their properties or hunting grounds.

The Deer Density and Carrying Capacity Workshops will emphasize deer biology. They will be held at four locations around the state.

Capacity. “‘Carrying capacity’ refers to the number of deer that the land can support, or carry, and still yield a healthy habitat for forest regeneration and biodiversity,” explains Tim Pierson, an extension forester who developed the program.

“The healthier the habitat, the healthier the white-tailed deer population.”

Schedule. Session are set for:

* March 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Two Mile Run Country Park Nature Lodge in Venango County. The snow date is May 15.

For more information or to register, contact Harry Blanchet at 814-755-3544 or by e-mail at rhb8@psu.edu.

* April 3 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Western Clinton Sportsmen’s Association Nature-Environmental Center at Hyner in Clinton County.

For more information or to register, contact Dave Jackson at the Centre County office of Penn State Cooperative Extension at 814-355-4897.

* April 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gallitzin State Forest in Somerset County. Pre-registration is required.

For more information or to register, contact Mike Wolf at 814-472-7986.

* April 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Bradford Ranger District Office near Marshburg in the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative in McKean County.

For more information or to register, call Tim Pierson at the McKean County office of Penn State Cooperative Extension at 814-887-5613.

Not too many. Pierson stresses that instructors will not make judgments about deer numbers, which have proven to be so controversial across the state.

“At no time during these workshops do we ever say there are too many deer,” he said.

“We show sportsmen and others how to estimate the number of deer. Then at the end of the day, they make their own decisions.”

Management program. The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers a Deer Management Assistance Program that grants one antlerless deer-hunting permit for every 50 acres of forestland.

Landowners who have a deer management plan are eligible for additional antlerless deer permits.

This spring’s deer density and carrying capacity workshops, Pierson points out, will cover how to make a habitat impact survey, one of the tools used to help create a deer management plan.

“Without a doubt, deer prefer to spend time in areas where there’s plenty to eat,” Pierson said.

“But what do deer eat? And how much do they need to eat in order to survive? Knowledge of food preferences is crucial to a hunter’s success,” he said.

In addition to food preferences, workshop participants will learn about deer biology, reproduction, antler development and population.

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