Deer population 'maxed out' on Jekyll Island
The Brunswick News
November 2, 2013

A series of studies of the deer population on Jekyll Island has led to one conclusion: There are too many deer.

At more than 100 deer per square mile on the island's approximately 7-square-miles of solid land, the population has reached all the land can support, Ben Carswell, conservation director for the Jekyll Island Authority, said. He doesn't expect the number to grow, because there simply isn't room or resources for them.

"We're dealing with a population that's maxed out. It's stressful on the health of the animals and plant communities," Carswell said.

Something must be done, he said.

Deer are having a serious effect on plant life, and more than 13 of them have been found dead on roadsides since April. Carswell says 13 is an alarming number.

"Between the studies, our review of scientific literature, talking with colleagues in wildlife management, like the Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service and more, we feel population control on Jekyll is a good idea," Carswell said.

The next step is to assemble a committee of specialists to discuss how to do it.

Carswell is recommending that the committee be made up of Jekyll Island Authority staffers, a representative of the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, a representative of the DNR Nongame Conservation Section, an academic researcher, an extension agent or a consultant with relevant expertise and a Jekyll Island resident with relevant expertise.

Carswell wants all options on the table for the committee to consider.