Six years ago Vassar began a long-term deer management program at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve (VFEP) to protect the health of that ecosystem by addressing the damage caused by an unsustainable deer population.
Experience and research findings have shown that when this deer population is too large, seedlings and saplings in the VFEP are nearly eliminated because too many deer rely on them as their food source. If these conditions were left unaddressed there would be no generation of young trees to succeed the current stand, as well as further consequences for plant diversity and the overall ecosystem on the 530-acre site.
Vassar is dedicated to stewarding this wonderful open space for everyone. Maintaining ecological balance at the VFEP is also essential to the college’s environmental research, teaching, and community educational outreach conducted on the site. As the college continues its deer management program we are encouraged that our latest research shows the beginnings of re-growth in the VFEP’s sapling population.
Later this month, wildlife management professionals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will conduct the next cull, and public safety will continue to be the priority. Signs will be posted at the VFEP and hundreds of neighboring residents, schools, and businesses have been notified by mail.
Deer culls at the VFEP are conducted at the time of the year and the day when use of the land is lowest, including only at night when the VFEP is officially closed. And once again venison from the culled deer will be processed and donated to local food pantries for people in need.
The VFEP website provides further information about the upcoming cull and Vassar’s deer management program, including answers to a series of commonly asked questions. Questions that aren't addressed in this online information can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.