Overabundant white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations have been reported in many urban and suburban communities across the United States. Large populations of deer can potentially increase the risk of human-wildlife conflicts, such as deer-vehicle collisions, transmission of disease to humans, and vegetation damage. In 2003, efforts to control white-tailed deer numbers were initiated at the National Aeronautical and Space Agency's (NASA) Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, using the long-lasting, single-dose contraceptive SpayVac®. Our objectives were to evaluate the effectiveness of SpayVac® for reducing white-tailed deer fertility and determine the partial cost for treatment. Between 2003 and 2004, we monitored 45 adult female deer (34 treated with SpayVac®, 11 controls treated with a placebo). Fawning rate over 2 yr for deer treated with SpayVac® >30 days prior to the rut was 0% (n=31), whereas the fawning rate for control deer was 78% (n=11). Inoculation 1 mo prior to the breeding season was sufficient time to achieve fertility control. We conclude that SpayVac® can effectively reduce the fertility of urban white-tailed deer.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4