One of the first signs of spring in the Northeast is the unmistakable calling of the spring peeper. The peeper is a small frog, weighing only a few grams, but its mating call is louder than many songbirds weighing 10 times as much.
In deciduous and coniferous forests dominated by mast-producing trees, such as oaks, consumers are confronted with the sporadic production of abundant resources. Mast-consuming animals, such as the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), rely on these pulsed resources.
Stabilizing a deer population requires a balance between annual recruitment and mortality. For a population reduction, mortality must exceed recruitment. Using hunting as our primary management tool, our hunters are required to focus their efforts on culling females as well as males.
Presently, hunter observations are used as the technique to assess if Cary controlled hunts are stabilizing local deer numbers. Night spotlight counts of deer have been used to index trends in abundance in the past. The observations of deer by bow hunters, has yielded data that have correlated very well with spotlighting numbers with the observation data easier and less expensive to obtain.
Since 1983, Mr. Winchcombe has been monitoring the intensity of deer browsing on the major tree species on the Cary Institute's grounds. Browsing intensity varies annually, with over-winter browsing linked to total winter snowfall amounts. Browsing studies help govern deer management strategies, with heavy browsing highlighting the need to further reduce local deer numbers.