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Ohio White-Tailed Deer - Essay Example

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The White-Tailed Deer in Ohio have gained increased attention in recent years as the herd competes with civilization for habitat and the basics of a healthy survival. The White-Tailed Deer have an extensive range in North America, and can be found almost anywhere in the United States, and are found from southern Canada to the northern areas of South America…
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Ohio White-Tailed Deer
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Download file to see previous pages While the deer are viewed as a trophy animal, as the herd expands it exploits the agricultural areas and is often considered a nuisance as it destroys crops, gardens, and ornamental landscaping. In addition, they are seen as a road hazard on many of Ohio's rural roadways. Effective hunting management of the Ohio White-Tailed Deer population is the result of an in-depth understanding of the deer's requirements for space, food, cover, and water, as well as the impact that the deer has on the existing ecosystem.
The White-Tailed Deer have populated Ohio since the Ice Age, though the herd was nearly decimated by over-hunting in the early 20th century. Today the deer population is in excess of 700,000 and is controlled through a regulated deer-hunting season (Hunt, 2008). Deer density varies around the state based on the available habitat and runs from 5 per square mile in the heavily farmed and treeless areas to 45 per square mile in the areas that are heavily wooded (Golowenski, 2007). Deer damage agriculture by eating the young soybean plants, foraging on young fruit trees, and feeding on tree farms. Agricultural damage from deer has been estimated at $25 million annually in Ohio, and a study at Cornell University places the value at $1.1 billion nationally (Ohio Department of Natural Resources, n.d.; Golowenski, 2007). However, deer hunting generates $266 million in revenue in Ohio alone. Whether the deer is considered an aesthetic and economic treasure, or a menace to civilization depends on whom in Ohio you ask. While the agricultural losses are significant, only a small percentage of the farmers surveyed indicated that they would like to see a reduction in herd size.
As with all other organisms, the White-Tailed Deer have specific requirements for food, space, cover, water, and environmental limits. Limiting any one of these factors will reduce the herd's size and quality. The deer are herbivores that usually feed nocturnally on "leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, and even lichens and other fungi" (White-tail deer, 2009). Herd size and herd quality will be dependent on the available food, but this mechanism has little if any impact in areas that are rich with grass and grain crops. Herbaceous weeds, broadleaf flowering plants, and woody vegetation such as fruit trees, shrubs, and vines make up 95 percent of the deer's diet (The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, 2008). The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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