Deer Management

Are you concerned about the deer population in Fairfax County?

Deer sightings in Fairfax County are not uncommon. While the presence of deer in Fairfax has been a delight for some, other residents express concern over damage to cars, gardens, and yards caused by deer.

Learn more about how Fairfax County is managing the deer population, including:

What are some of the problems caused by deer?

  • Road safety: An average of 4000-5000 deer-vehicle collisions in the County each year.
  • Wildlife habitat destruction: Over-abundance of deer results in depleted food and natural habitat for birds, amphibians and micro-organisms that are necessary to sustain County wildlife and the natural environment.
  • Forest regeneration: Too many deer result in a lack of shrubs and plant life. Plants most vulnerable include young oaks, maples and poplar trees.
  • Ornamental plant damage: Deer diet includes many non-native vegetation found in parks and neighborhoods, such as azaleas, hostas and daylilies. The cost of this damage is of great concern to residents and taxpayers.
  • Deer health: Too many deer living too close together reduces the overall health of the county’s deer population. Deer compete with each other for food and space.
  • Human health: Too many deer may increase human risk of exposure to ticks infected with Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. Deer may transport these ticks across the county.
  • Devaluation of the deer species: Although deer are a valued wildlife species here, as well as in the wildlife chain, an overabundance may cause some to view them as “pests."

What current deer management activities are underway?

  • County officials gather data about damages caused by deer from residents
  • County monitors trends in herd size and location.
  • County monitors health of selected herds of deer
  • Use of roadside reflectors tried, but were not effective in reducing deer-vehicle collisions
  • County wildlife experts conduct seminars to help the public better understand deer and local management issues surrounding them.

What can residents and community groups do to help?

  • It is illegal to feed deer between the months of September – March
  • Report evidence of deer damage in neighborhoods and parks
  • Consider deer-proofing your propert
  • Sponsor resident education activities
  • Participate in deer management surveys
  • Discourage others from feeding deer

Are there any plants and shrubs that may deter deer from grazing in my yard?

  • Common boxwoods
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Red Osier Dogwoods
  • Scots Pine
  • Common lilac
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Tarragon and wormwood
  • Virginia bluebells
  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Carnations
  • Daffodils
  • Lily of the valley

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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