One of Berry's most distinguishing factors, contributing to both its beauty and grace, is Berry's vast array of deer. The fantastic ratio of students to deer on campus, is 1:7. The deer do, however, prefer to stay near the edge of the woods, but on occasions they wander in various areas of campus. Recent increases in the coyote population have diminished our beloved deer population to around 15 to 20 percent. Berry College has allowed some hunting on campus, with special permission, that has also acted as a deer controlling factor. Our Animal Science Professor, Dr. George Gallagher and his team, were busy for six months, using rocket nets and tranquilizer darts, to(very humanely) capture over twenty deer for research at the college. These deer continue to thrive and entertain many Berry visitors every year. These magnificent creatures contribute to Berry College's beauty and there is no doubt that their multitude leaves an impression on all who visit .


Stunted Deer

There are rumors that Berry deer are stunted due to inbreeding. Since the deer at Berry are habituated to humans, we can get closer to them. They appear smaller because people tend to expect them to be taller than three feet at the shoulder. However, inbreeding does not cause a stunt in growth in itself. Therefore, the deer are most likely normal size and only perceived to be too small. Inbreeding does not severely effect animals as it does humans. Inbreeding amongst the deer also makes them more vulnerable to disease due to lack of gene diversity.


Problems with Deer Habituating to Humans

Deer habituate very easily to humans, especially fawns. For that reason, it is illegal to rehabilitate a deer. If someone sees a fawn hanging out by itself, they should not feel bad for it. Does will leave their fawns for eight to nine hours at a time; they do not abandon their babies.The problem with a deer that is habituated to humans is that once they have lost their fear of humans they then see humans as equals. When mating season comes around they see humans as opponents. While many people in the community think of the deer as cute and friendly, the Berry deer are still wild animals and can actually be dangerous, especially during mating season. Also, because they are so acclimated to humans and the busy life on campus, sometimes they will cross side walks during class times and for those texting or not paying attention it can cause a road block or collision.


Needless to say, Berry's campus has surpassed its natural carrying capacity because Berry grounds are a natural sanctuary for them. To keep the deer population regulated, Berry allows organized and guided hunts on mountain campus two or three times a year on both does and bucks. The hunts are lottery based, meaning that people from around the community can put their name in to be drawn for the hunt. In order for someone to be eligible to be placed in the running, certain criteria must be met. These regulations cut down on the amount of people that would otherwise come if it were an open and non regulated hunt. In addition, each hunt is designated specifically to either a bow or rifle hunt; this will reduce the amount of hunters attracted, and keep the deer population under control.


‍‍‍Dr. Gallagher's Research‍‍‍

Dr. Gallagher has done a significant amount of research with the deer on Berry's campus. His research includes deer-vehicle collision, repellent, and behavior. The research he has completed on deer-vehicle collisions began with looking at the [[#|anatomy and physiology]] of the animal and how it relates to their behavior. Dr. Gallagher mapped out a deer’s retina and was then able to determine what they are able to see. When it came to researching how to repel them and their behavior, he did experiments testing their reaction to different scents and sounds. One of the main points he was able to clearly make was that the sound makers that people put on their cars that make high-pitched sounds have little to no effect because the range of frequency picked up by their ears is a little bit lower than that of humans. Therefore, if we cannot hear it, neither can they.

Works Cited

Gallagher, George. Personal Interview. September 4, 2012.

Smith, Richard P. Deer Hunting. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1991. Print.