A leadership team developed an adaptive management program to reduce deer density and impact on a 29,642-ha forested demonstration area in northwest Pennsylvania incorporating goal setting, monitoring, and communicating with and motivating hunters. We linked reduction of deer density to environmentally sustainable levels with an appeal to the values of hunters (improving deer and habitat quality). The communication program educated and involved hunters as active participants in all phases of the management plan. We monitored deer density, deer impact, deer health, and hunter satisfaction to adjust numbers of permits for harvesting antlerless deer and to improve hunter access and use of all areas within the demonstration area. We reduced deer density and impacts to goal levels within 4 years and improved deer health. We maintained a base of satisfied hunters who continued to harvest enough deer to maintain goal levels of deer density and impact by the fifth year of the program, which continues to the present. Once we cut deer density in half with public hunting, maintaining deer density at the reduced (goal) rate was achieved with a relatively small pool of dedicated hunters who returned every year to harvest enough deer to off set recruitment.

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