2801 Sharon Turnpike; P.O. Box ABMillbrook NY 12545-0129, USA
Mr. Winchcombe's research focuses on effective ways of managing whitetail deer on the Cary Institute's grounds. The primary goals of the Cary Institute deer management program are to protect the structure and function of our forested ecosystems, and minimize damage or interference by deer to research, education efforts, and landscape plantings. The four major components the program include:
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.
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.
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.
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343