Updated Response to the Deer Management Program

The Conservation Commission accepts the 10/7/19 report and recommendations of the Deer Management Subcommittee concluding that high deer densities degrade forest ecosystems and that Harvard’s town conservation land has been moderately impacted by an abundant deer population and recommending that a controlled hunt on selected conservation areas be implemented. 

The Commission’s plans for the deer management program include the following:
-- Continued research on conditions and related programs in our region and nearby towns. 

-- An ongoing monitoring program to assess deer densities and impacts on conservation land across town using several established techniques including vegetation surveys and exclusion areas.

-- Collection of deer-vehicle collision data. 

-- A controlled hunt to start in the Fall of 2020 utilizing selected bow hunters on limited conservation areas with the goal of forestalling deer population growth. 

-- Establishment of protocols for the hunt including selection and assignment of hunters, public notification and communication regarding the location and times of hunting, and data collection from the hunt including feedback from hunters and the public documenting their experience and observations during the hunt. 

-- Talks, public forums and educational programs organized and information and resources made available on the town’s website.

-- Information and decision-making will be public and community engagement will be sought to develop a program in consideration of public safety and enjoyment of the land.

Approved November 21, 2019