Land Developer Information

SWM is now providing FREE services to developers. Property developers are now experiencing new issues in development. Deer are often concentrated in the remaining large tracts of land in the suburbs. As development begins, normal deer activity is disrupted. The number of deer/vehicle collisions increase on nearby roadways. Developers and new homeowners in the development are experiencing high losses in landscaping and ornamental shrubbery. Prudent developers are beginning to deal with the deer populations before, during and after development.

Often, the tract slated for development is situated near sensitive recreational areas and developers are reluctant to use gun hunting as a management technique. Although sharp shooters may be an option, the cost can be significant.

SWM to the Rescue

SWM recently completed its first year of a development project. A developer in Loudoun county was preparing to build a single-family home development on a tract of over 1000 acres. Because no deer management had been practiced on the land for many years, the population not only exceeded the Cultural Carrying Capacity but the Biological Carrying Capacity as well. The developer considered a variety of options, gun hunting, sharpshooters, and SWM. The developer was concerned with the reaction of neighboring property owners to gun hunting. He was also concerned about negative publicity that animal rights groups could bring. The sound of gunfire in the area would surely attract unwanted attention. Sharpshooters were clearly cost-prohibitive. The developer selected SWM as the best option. SWM had the experience in dealing with sensitive situations. The sound of gunfire would not be an issue, and SWM is experienced in collecting the biological data necessary for proper management.

The Program

After listening to all of the concerns of the developer, as well as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist, SWM developed a program tailored to this project. The goals for this program were:

  • Ensure that safety was the top priority
  • Minimize chance of negative publicity
  • Minimize potential incidents with owners and users of neighboring properties
  • Harvest as many female deer as possible until the herd drops below the Cultural Carrying Capacity (CCC)
  • Minimize the number of deer hit and not recovered
  • Use or donate to H4H all deer harvested
  • Collect & report to VDGIF all biological data necessary for sound herd management
  • Establish a sustainable program compatible with ongoing multi-year development
  • Establish a program that can be turned over to a future HOA

The Results

The statistics collected during the program were analyzed after the first three months, early Oct. through early Jan.  This was the DMAP portion of the program.  According to the both the VDGIF biologist and the developer, the program was very successful.

As of the close of the 2000 regular hunting season on January 6, 2001, no significant incidents were reported either by neighboring property owners or their clientele, which might be attributed to the deer management program. Furthermore, there were no injuries to bowhunters or other users of the property directly related to hunting activity. The deer reduction plan focused on harvesting antlerless deer with bow and arrow. A total of 97 deer were harvested successfully by bow, 66 of which were does. Of the 31 bucks harvested, 11 did not have antlers and could not easily be distinguished as male deer.  This demonstrates SWM bowhunters commitment to harvesting does for management purposes.  In addition, 11 deer were found dead on the property and reported by hunters and contractors. Nine of these deer could be directly attributed to hunting losses. The remainder died of other causes (deer/vehicle collisions) or unknown causes.


As part of our commitment to the developer to keep a low profile, we will not post this information on our web site or provide it to the general public.  If you are a developer considering deer management, contact us for complete references.  You can speak with the SWM leadership as well as the developer and the VDGIF biologist.

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