Local News

Durham Deer Population Exploding; Costing Residents Dearly

Posted Updated

DURHAM — Did you know estimates say North Carolina's deer population has tripled in the past 15 years?

And that the average buck needs to eat four to 10 pounds of leaves, grass and twigs each day?

WRAL's Len Besthoff takes us to a Durham neighborhood near Duke Forest where the deer are eating more than their fair share.

Bob Weynard says it's hard to believe how badly bushes have been chewed up in his yard.

Listen toauorReal Audiofile."Devastating, devastating. This is not a winter time shedding. You can see where the leaves are and where the deer have eaten."Residents like Doris Sorrell say this deer problem has cost them dearly, ruining their yards and dropping the value of their properties.

Listen toauorReal Audiofile."We love our lawns and we love our gardens. But they're doing thousands of dollars worth of damage."The culprit is not hard to find. Deer from neighboring Duke Forest make a nightly ritual of grazing in the homeowners' yards, and they've been doing it in growing numbers for the past five years.

Listen toauorReal Audiofile."I heard noise outside my bedroom window, raised the blind and there was one eating azaleas and looking in my window."Residents have asked Duke Forest and state wildlife experts for help with the deer. But beyond giving them advice on how to keep the deer away, there's not much they can do.

Duke Forest Manager Judson Edeburn says allowing people to hunt there isn't an option.

Listen toauorReal Audiofile."Given the guidelines for use of the forest for teaching and research, we have also a lot of adjacent homes surrounding the forest."Duke Forest says even if it did try to reduce its deer population by allowing hunting, it would be easily replenished by other herds that would migrate there.

The state has taken some steps to control its overall deer population. Hunters can now increase their take during hunting season.