Forests & Whitetails - Striving for Balance

9-10 June, 2005
St. Ignace, Little Bear Conference Center

About 200 foresters, wildlife biologists, other natural resource managers, and interested folks attended this conference addressing the impacts, challenges, and possibilities of deer populations on forest resources. The conference presented 14 papers highlighting various issues of deer overabundance. Top researchers and managers from across eastern North America spoke about ongoing and current projects and programs.

The Michigan SAF hopes that information from this conference can be applied to improve natural resource management throughout the State of Michigan and be used in similar geographic regions. The highly controversial nature of this topic is certainly recognized. Solutions will have to largely come from outside the strictly scientific base of knowledge, although the science strongly supports the position that deer in many areas have become overabundant and negative environmental and ecological impacts have been ongoing for substantial periods of time. The body of research is compelling, yet not complete. Forest management practices as they affect habitat quality can certainly be used (and have been for decades) to impact deer populations. As forest managers, we need to re-evaluate our role in the overabundance of deer populations. However once again, solutions must largely come from the socio-political arena.

For those interested in a comprehensive and well-done review of the issues, begin reading the review prepared by Steeve Cote et al. (2004). Jean-Pierre Tremblay presented some of the elements of this review at the conference.   Post-conference, in June 2008, the U.S. Forest Service published a deer impacts document "Impacts of White-Tailed Deer Overabundance in Forest Ecosystems: An Overview".

In 2007, as a result of conference evaulations, the Michigan SAF membership was surveyed about their perceptions of deer impacts on the forests. A report on the results of this survey has been prepared and made available (~0.9 mb pdf file).

All files are in Adobe (pdf) format. You will need an Adobe Reader to view the files, which can be downloaded free from the Internet, if you don't already have the Reader on your computer [].

Conference Papers

Adobe pdf

Adobe pdf

Entire Proceedings

Paper11.4 mb
Forward and  Acknowledgements
      Bill Cook, Conference Program Chair
53 kb
Challenges of deer management from an ecosystem perspective
     Gary Alt, Wildlife Consultant
51 kb
Population biology, abundance, and management history of Michigan white-tailed deer
Brent Rudolph, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division
631 kb
Slide Show
4.6 mb
Forests for dinner: Exploring a model of how deer affect advance regeneration at stand and landscape scales
     Joseph LeBouton, Michigan State University
387 kb
Slide Show
1.9 mb
Cost-share programs, deer habitat enhancement, and PNIF implications
     Tom Ward, Michigan State Forester, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
37 kb
Slide Show
0.3 mb
Ecological impacts of deer overabundance on temperate and boreal forests 
Jean-Pierre Tremblay, Laval Université, Québec
336 kb
Slide Show
1.7 mb
An assessment of long-term biodiversity recovery from intense and sustained deer browse on North Manitou Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
     David Flaspohler, Michigan Technological University
408 kb
Slide Show
6.9 mb
In our opinion:  Are Michigan deer hunters satisfied stewards or coerced conservationists?
     R. Ben Peyton and Peter Bull, Michigan State University
120 kb
Slide Show
1.5 mb
Chronic regeneration failure in northern hardwood stands: A liability to certified forest landowners
     Gary Donovan, International Paper
58 kb
Slide Show
1.5 mb
Certifying sustainable forestry: The deer factor
     David deCalesta, Wildlife Analyses Consulting
46 kb
Slide Show
1.4 mb
Even-aged silviculture as an approach to regeneration of forests with high deer densities
     Susan Stout, USDA Forest Service Northeast Forest Research Station
85 kb
Slide Show
6.3 mb
Adaptive management for deer: A case study from Pennsylvania
David deCalesta, Wildlife Analyses Consulting
797 kb
Slide Show
2.0 mb
Deer and sedge : Bottlenecks to seedling regeneration in northern hardwood forests and potential restoration techniques aimed at reversing the effects
Jesse Randall, Michigan State University
55 kb
Slide Show
2.6 mb
Strategies in changing deer management policy in Pennsylvania, 1999-2004
Gary Alt, Wildlife Consultant
36 kb

Conference Agenda
Speaker Biographies
Annotated Bibliography
Conference Participants

Paper152 kb
Paper 167 kb
Paper 98 kb
Paper116 kb

Other Papers Recommended by Speakers
Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report: 2004 Seasons.  2005.
     Brian Frawley

447 kb

Demographics, Recruitment, and Retention of Michigan Hunters.  2004.
     Brian Frawley

371 kb

White-tailed Deer and Landscape Effects on Forest Structure and Species Composition.  Draft Bulletin MSU Extension.
     Joseph LeBouton, Et al.

187 kb

Deer and Sedge Impact Tree Regeneration in Working Forests: Possible Restoration Treatments.  Draft Bulletin MSU Extension.
     Jesse Randall & Mike Walters

53 kb

Management of Allegheny Hardwoods for Timber and Wildlife.  1981.
     David Marquis

295 kb































Citation for the proceedings: Michigan Society of American Foresters. 2005. Forests & whitetails-Striving for Balance, Conference Proceedings. Edited by W.Cook. Fall Conference of the Michigan SAF, St. Ignace, Michigan, 9-10 June, 2005. 289 pp.


Links to additional deer impact information

Anticosti Island research []
CWD Alliance []
Curriculum "Ecological Impacts of High Deer Densities" []
Deer workshop presentations from Bemidji State University []
Deer checkstation software []
Deer Crash Coalition-Wisconsin []
Hunt for the Hungry []
Michigan DNR Deer Management [,1607,7-153-10363_10856_10905---,00.html]
Michigan Traffic Crash Facts []
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety []
Kinzua Cooperative []
Mad Deer []
Pennsylvania Oak Regeneration []
Major Pennsylvania Audubon study []
Rooney & Waller research []
Steeve Cote research []
Tom Rooney's Deer Impacts Blog []

Michigan SAF Home Page

This website is maintained by Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension Forest in the Upper Peninsula.  Comments, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted. 

Last update of this page was 14 July, 2008






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