How Landowners Can Participate in Deer Management
If you already hunt or are physically and socially mature and want to learn how to hunt, Green Fire strongly suggests that you develop the skills and respect listed at Individual and Organization Standards. A great way to develop those skills and respect is to join an established archery organization that offers a mentoring program. Whether you hunt with an archer organization or independently, please submit reports on your hunting activity and results to Green Fire. The more complete our monitoring data is, the better chance we have of meeting our goal of reducing deer damages. See Monitoring Deer and Deer Damages – Deer Harvests.
If you own property that deer use for feeding, refuge, or trails and that has suitable stands, but don't hunt, then consider granting access to skilled, respectful archers to harvest or at least to track and retrieve deer. See Reasons for Granting Access. If you decide to grant access for harvesting deer, apply to Green Fire and we will match you up with an archer group that meets our standards. Or, if you decide to grant access to individual archers and enforce qualification and behavior standards yourself, consider our guidelines at Individual and Organization Standards.
In deciding to grant access for hunting or for tracking and retrieving, its good to know that Virginia law,
Title 29.1-509, provides legal protection for landowners against liability for injuries that hunters may suffer while on your property as long as you do not charge the hunter a fee and you do not demonstrate "gross negligence or willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity." See also Archery Safety for more references regarding landowners' liabilities.
What is missing from many deer management programs, especially those in suburban areas, is timely information on deer activity, deer harvests, and deer damages. Monitoring data is required
- to make the best use of skilled, respectful archers by guiding them to locations with the greatest needs,
- to motivate people to participate in deer management by illustrating deer numbers and deer damages where they live, work, play, and drive, and
- to determine when deer damages have been reduced to acceptable levels.
Monitoring will also provide a purpose for you and your family to get out of doors and witness nature in ways you may not have appreciated. You do not need to be a landowner to volunteer for monitoring efforts – there are plenty of parks and common properties where monitoring is needed. Green Fire is developing monitoring methods that can be used by everyone, and we will provide instructions and training. See Monitoring Deer and Deer Damages for thumbnail descriptions of planned monitoring methods. See more about the need to monitor at Monitoring.
Volunteer as a Community Leader
Green Fire depends on well informed volunteers in many neighborhoods to interact directly with property owners and other volunteers. Community leaders may
- recruit neighbors to grant access, monitor, and/or hunt;
- answer questions about deer, deer damages, and Green Fire programs;
- coordinate monitoring activities;
- serve as landowners’ agents in applying for damage control permits; and
- in some cases, select archer organizations on behalf of landowners.
Donations will pay for Green Fire’s work to
- recruit, train, and inform participants,
- develop and maintain this web site,
- exchange information and expertise with our partners, and
- establish and evolve policy and procedures.
You can donate whether or not you participate otherwise by granting access, hunting, monitoring, or becoming a community leader. Green Fire suggests that your donations be in proportion to the benefits you will realize from deer management:
- Drivers – reduce the risk of deer/vehicle collisions and the associated repair costs, injury, and grief over inhumane injury to the deer;
- People who work or play in fields or forests – reduce the risk of tick bites and Lyme disease (may depend on achieving very low densities of deer);
- Landowners – reduce damages to horticultural and natural vegetation and improve quality of wildlife habitat for other animals.