The Project

Fawn 002 from Summer 2015
Fawn 002 from Summer 2015

This project is a collaboration of Fort Drum Natural Resource Branch and Cornell University focusing on urban white-tailed deer population ecology in an area with a long term hunting program.

Our collaboration began in 2015 with two primary drivers.  The first was the dramatic increase in Lyme disease cases for soldiers and their families.  The second was the absence of forest regeneration in old growth maple stands that are essential habitat for the endangered Indiana bat.

Beyond the direct management implications for Fort Drum, our project has applications for other urban communities that are facing increasing problems with high deer densities.  Land access has limited intensive studies in other urban areas, but due to having a single land owner, the US Army, we are able to conduct this work without this limitation.

We have an extensive data set that gives us the freedom to study  several population ecology parameters.  Since 2015 we have captured more than 300 deer for these projects including more than 100 for our fawn survival study.  We have telemetry data on about 175 of these deer and blood work on about 250.

There are 4 primary studies within our project at Fort Drum:

  1. Urban white-tailed deer fawn survival and the role of refugia in a community with a hunting program.
  2. Vertical transmission of Neospora caninum and herd health factors in northern New York.
  3. A comparison of intensive mark-recapture population estimation using trail cameras.
  4. Landscape use and dispersal in a fragmented urban landscape.