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Deer-Forest Study

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The Deer-Forest Study represents the next step in improving the deer program. By completing the Deer-Forest Study, the Game Commission is working to achieve objectives in its Strategic and Deer Management plans to evaluate and improve management measures and programs. Study areas include DMAP units in portions of Bald Eagle, Rothrock and Susquehannock state forests.

Since 2006, when the Game Commission began using measures of forest regeneration, it has recognized that deer are not the only factor affecting regeneration. To better understand the effect of deer on the forest, these other factors must be investigated. Consequently, the Deer-Forest Study will explore how forest management activities (i.e., timber harvesting, prescribed fire, herbicide treatments, etc.) can influence deer impacts on the forest.

In addition, the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) is an important part of the deer management program. DMAP helps landowners to reach their forest and deer management goals. DCNR is a primary user of the DMAP program and the state's largest forested landowner. As a result, it is important that the science behind DCNR's requests for DMAP permits is as strong as the science behind the Game Commission's deer management recommendations.

For these reasons, the Game Commission and DCNR have decided to work together with the U.S. Geological Survey and Penn State University to complete this comprehensive study of deer and forest interactions.

Within this large, collaborative study, the Game Commission has specific objectives. The Game Commission's objectives focus on:

  1. evaluating, and improving if necessary, the current forest regeneration and deer impact measures,
  2. increasing understanding of how changes in deer populations affect hunter activities and experiences in forested habitats, and
  3. evaluating the effectiveness of the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP).

Background: Forests and Deer Management
Purpose of the Study: Can We Do Better?
Study Areas - select DMAP units in Bald Eagle, Rothrock and Susquehannok state forests
Hunter Benefits

Hunter Registration

Hunters are a critical part of this study. If you hunt deer on any of these study areas, do your part for deer management and register to participate in the surveys.
DCNR Deer Hunter Registration

Additional Information

Penn State Deer-Forest Study webpage
DCNR's White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania's Forests webpage