Island Deer in Beaufort County

There are some darling mascots along the golf course and roadways of Fripp Island, South Carolina. Island Deer are a smaller variety of our common White-tailed deer and are protected in gated communities like Fripp Island.

But with that protection also brings challenges. Growing deer populations and distracted drivers have lead to an increase in collisions, so it was time that these communities began a management system. Starting about 15 years ago, these communities began a culling system that helped reduce the herds. The deer are hunted late at night with experienced shooters with sound-suppressed rifles, and the meat is then donated to food banks.

This deer population reduction program has been effective and the number of car-deer collisions have reduced. There are those that feel that a better way to reduce the herd is through contraception. Fripp Island experimented with this technique for six years and saw a 50% reduction in the deer population. Using dart guns, they shot the female deer with the contraceptive known as PZP. However, this program was discontinued as PZP was not federally approved.

As a nature lover and photographer, this issue certainly brings lots of questions and we all know that there is never quite the right answer. There are concerns with using contraceptives as a form of herd management. But then, the culling method proved to be well managed and provided sustenance to those in need. After all as humans, do we not herd cattle? Hold flocks of chickens for our food supply?

For now, it seems that the smaller gated communities are doing a decent job with herd management, but in the long run what program is used should be sustainable.

For more detailed information on Culling in Beaufort County Click Here

16 replies »

  1. I’m not too sure how I feel about interfering with fertility of the deer population, But I hope that such a beautiful being will continue to exist much longer 🙂

  2. That’s a tricky question indeed, Emily. I have enjoyed venison in the past, although that’s not something I eat very often and I am sure I could never kill a deer, but then again, I eat beef, lamb and chicken and I don’t think I could kill those either. One must eat what is available to them. I don’t think killing for food and survival is a bad thing at all. Hunting for sport and trophies is a different matter altogether. Great pictures once again.

  3. Love the picture of the little buck with his antler nubs just beginning to grow. We have a deer population problem here also. Some communities have experimented with methods of culling the deer, and I hear that some of the meat has been donated to food banks.

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