Hunting is the primary tool for managing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations. Effectiveness of hunting in suburban areas may be reduced due to limited hunter access to small properties, firearms-discharge laws, and public safety concerns. In Connecticut, USA, hunting over bait on private land was recently legalized to increase harvest opportunities. Our objective was to assess bow-hunter willingness to use bait and effects of bait type, hunter disturbance, time spent hunting, and property size on deer-harvest potential in a suburban landscape. We mailed a prebaiting survey in February 2002 and a postbaiting survey in February 2004 to the same group of hunters. Hunters using bait were more successful and harvested more deer than hunters using no bait. Hunters using bait on small properties observed similar numbers of deer within shooting range as hunters using bait on larger properties. Hunters using bait met their venison needs, whereas hunters using no bait did not meet their needs. Resource managers should implement strategies that increase hunter success when developing urban deer-management programs for communities.
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Vol. 74 • No. 4