Is It Me? Or Are There Too Many Deer?

Cody Joines, Reporter

I don’t know about you, but recently, in the mornings, I have been seeing a lot more deer than usual.  And I didn’t really have a clue about why that is, but I have some theories. 

To start, in Pennsylvania, deer are really overpopulated, which could be a reason for all the deer.  There are 1.5 million deer in Pennsylvania, which is 30 deer in one square mile. 

Senior Connor Sokoloski said, “I haven’t been seeing many in the morning but I always see them at night. Deer are overpopulated in Pennsylvania and in most other states too.” 

The whitetail deer is Pennsylvania’s state animal.  In the 1800’s the forests had been cleared to produce lumber and/or grow crops, as a result, by  the early 1900’s, the deer population started to grow. 

The statewide white-tailed deer population is estimated to be around 5.4 million deer and it is down slightly from previous years, but fawn recruitment predictions indicate an overall robust population increase. 

Junior Chase Cashner said, “Just this morning I saw five fawns in the field.”

The Edwards plateau has the most population of deer in Pennsylvania. It has more than two million deer. Hunter success in this region runs about 79 percent with an estimated 12.7 deer harvested per 1,000 acres.  

Hunting is vital when it comes to managing the deer population.  Without wildlife management, the deer will become overpopulated.  When there are too many deer, there are a lot of negative consequences, like more car accidents and depletion of farmer’s crops. 

Another cause of having too many deer is the lack of predators.  There used to be lots of predators but a lot have died off.  Now, there is nothing but hunters to hunt the deer. 

And in regard to hunting, this past season for me and my family was not very good.  There were only like two to three deer killed when usually almost everyone kills one.

The problem for us wasn’t that there weren’t any to see, but what we saw were small bucks and deer–not worth killing.

And we aren’t the only hunters that had these issues. According to Pennsylvania State Game Commission, “Hunters harvested an estimated 376,810 white-tailed deer. The statewide buck harvest was estimated at 145,320 and the antlerless harvest at 231,490.  That take, overall, is down about 13 percent compared to 2020-21.”