Assessment of the urban public's knowledge of white-tailed deer management in two Texas communities
Alderson, Jessica Lynn
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Urbanization throughout much of Texas has resulted in diminished wildlife habitat, resulting from fragmented landscapes. Several previous studies addressed the public?s attitudes concerning the most acceptable white-tailed deer management techniques in urban areas. As a departure from these studies on urban residents? acceptance of alternative urban deer management strategies, this study assessed the types of information required by urban residents to more fully understand the best management practices for urban deer herds. Two Texas communities, Lakeway and Hollywood Park, were chosen for this study. Since the 1990s, urban deer herds have negatively impacted these communities through increased deer-vehicle collisions, defined browse lines throughout the community, and human-deer encounters. The current number of households in each community was determined and used to calculate the household sample size in Lakeway (N= 4,090, n = 704) and Hollywood Park (N= 1,547, n = 616). An Internet survey was developed which asked an adult resident of each selected household about his or her knowledge of factors that lead to population growth in urban white-tailed deer populations, personal encounters with an urban deer herd in the community, the types of management options he or she would choose in dealing with the urban deer herd, and why and what types of information the respondent would most like to have regarding urban deer management. Finally, demographic information was asked such as age, gender, level of education and years of residency in the neighborhood. The information derived from this study reveals the public?s knowledge, attitudes, actions, and expectations concerning over-abundant white-tailed deer populations in Lakeway and Hollywood Park, Texas. This information can be used to assist communities such as Lakeway and Hollywood Park, as well as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, to develop appropriate educational materials that will provide relevant, current, and accurate information about urban deer population ecology and management for the urban resident. The methods of this study will serve as a useful tool for others to develop pro-active management strategies for controlling over-abundant urban white-tailed deer populations and aid in reducing the conflict between urban deer managers and the public.