Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: North Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

North Carolina Project

Deer Ecology Across an Urban-Rural Continuum

August 2021 - December 2025


Participating Agencies

  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Urban/suburban areas continue to spread into rural areas, increasing the need to understand deer ecology and assess the cultural impacts of deer and deer hunting across the urban-rural continuum. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) is faced with an increased number of interactions between humans and deer in areas of high human and/or deer density, and these interactions often have negative outcomes (e.g., vehicle collisions). There is limited understanding across this continuum of public perceptions and desires of deer and deer hunting, along with little data on deer movements, density, recruitment, survival, and causes of mortality, or how hunting (the primary herd management tool) affects deer populations. Additionally, harvest and survey trends used to monitor herds across county or management zones are confounded by unknown hunter effort and success in these expanding urban/suburban areas. This project aims to increase understanding of spatial and temporal variation in white-tailed deer ecology across an urban-rural continuum in North Carolina and how harvest regulations affect white-tailed deer herds across these landscapes. Results will be available to help evaluate current NCWRC programs (Urban Archery Season, Community DMAP, depredation permits) and adjust or create new programs. Information can also be used to provide technical guidance to municipalities, landowners, and hunters. Results will be applicable to areas across the state and will have implications for other urban-rural areas across the state and country.