Upper Valley deer population talk on tap
HANOVER — Faced with problems from an ever growing deer population in the Upper Valley, the town has scheduled two forums to discuss possible solutions.
The forums on forest health and deer management are scheduled Monday, Sept. 8 at the Howe Library.
The public is invited to both forums, but the afternoon forum from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. has been planned specifically for forest landowners, stewards, and foresters, Hanover senior planner Vicki Smith said Wednesday.
A forum for residents, with no such restrictions, is planned later that night, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A decline in hunting in the area and the lack of natural predators has led to the overpopulation of deer. Woods near Hanover neighborhoods and some of the conservation land and private land in the area have not seen any hunting for many years, Smith said.
This has resulted in more deer-related car accidents and a spike in reports of Lyme disease in town, she said. But it is also resulting in loss of biodiversity in the forest and has increased the advance of invasive plants since deer naturally eat the native plants. And because of their overpopulation, there is an “over-browsing” taking place, Smith said.
“We’re seeing a change in the makeup of the forest,” Smith said.
The expert panel brought together for the forums is to include Todd Bittner, director of natural areas for Cornell Plantations of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., who will be able to share lessons from upstate New York and the outcomes from their urban and rural deer management experiments, Smith said.
Tom Rawinski, a botanist for the U.S. Forest Service, is also sitting on the forum along with officials from New Hampshire and Vermont forest and wildlife agencies.