Cornell University statement on deer management practices

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MEDIA NOTE: As previously planned, on Thursday, March 27, Cornell University concluded its deer management efforts under our current New York State Department of Environmental Conservation nuisance permit. Cornell’s deer management committee will begin its routine review of recent efforts, and an analysis regarding the current cycle’s effectiveness – including on-campus goals as well as community feedback – will be conducted.


FOR RELEASE:  March 25, 2014

John Carberry
office: 607-255-5353
cell: 607-227-0767

Cornell University statement on deer management practices

ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell has long maintained an integrated deer research and management program to address chronic deer overpopulation on its lands. The program, supervised by a committee that includes faculty researchers and safety experts, is essential to:

  • Protect plant research, plant collections, area forest regeneration and the health of area ecosystems, and to preserve the teaching and research mission of the university.
  • Protect the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and visitors by reducing threats that result from deer overpopulation such as tick-borne disease and deer-vehicle accidents.
  • And to protect our agricultural, rural and suburban neighbors from damage from the overpopulated deer herd resident on our lands.

The deer management program at Cornell includes decades-old regulated hunting and surgical sterilization since 2007, but these efforts alone have not proven completely effective. For that reason, for the past two years, Cornell has applied for and received New York State Department of Environmental Conservation nuisance deer control permits to help meet management goals.

At this time, Cornell is nearing the end of its current DEC-issued nuisance deer permit that is effective from Feb. 1 through March 31.

This nuisance permit involves two methods. A small number of highly trained and licensed participants safely harvest deer using archery equipment at a small set of designated locations. At a smaller set of campus locations where deer traffic is high, researchers use collapsible “Clover traps” to humanely capture and then euthanize deer. Traps have been used to capture deer at Cornell since 1997. They are completely safe for people, who can easily leave by lifting the netted door, and the instantaneous euthanization method employed by Cornell researchers has been approved by the FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association and by Cornell’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. These non-chemical methods of deer harvesting also make it possible for researchers to advance their knowledge of deer physiology and habits, and for the meat to be donated for human consumption.

All deer management activities on Cornell property are tightly controlled to assure safety. The deer management program was carefully built over the past six years, and it has maintained a spotless safety record.

In advance of all such activity, the university reaches out to elected officials and neighborhood organizations and addresses any questions or concerns. Cornell also installs notification signs at the entrances to all publicly accessible lands where deer management is scheduled to take place.

Transparency, outreach and public safety have been lead components of Cornell’s program since its inception. The deer management committee constantly assesses and revises its efforts based on research and field results. Information on Cornell’s deer management efforts is available online at

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