Scientists conducting experiments at Duke Forest reveal how a warming climate affects even the smallest woodland creatures. Read more about it here.
A couple of followup tidbits to a story I wrote last week about a regulated hunt to reduce the number of deer in Duke Forest.
First, I got a few comments from readers wondering how the Duke Forest folks count deer.
I asked Judson Edeburn, who manages Duke Forest. Here's his explanation:
"We got a permit to do a spotlight survey on our forest roads. We sampled the routes several times over a few weeks and averaged the results. Counted eyes, divided by 2 and extrapolated the sample."
Also - some of the debate related to the deer hunt has to do with the method - bow-and-arrow hunting. Some folks say it's dangerous, particularly if done in residential areas.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission keeps data on this sort of thing and issues annual reports.
You can read the latest report, from 2007-08, by clicking open the attachment below this blog post.
But I'll summarize: according to the report, there were three reports of non-fatal bow-and-arrow hunting accidents in 2007-08, and no fatal accidents. (Page 17 of the report; thanks to Carolyn Rickard with the commission for this info.)
Duke Forest is overrun with deer.
The solution: Bow hunting.
That's what's going on right now on much of the 7,000-acre forest, which doubles as a working laboratory for ecologists and other environmental scientists.
But the deer and their foraging have taken their toll on many plant species in this forest, and university officials turned to the hunt to thin the herd.
It's a move not done without controversy or concern.
Read more about it here.
Our story in The Durham News last week on the Duke Forest deer hunt had two mistakes.
We reported that the hunt would end Dec. 31. It ended Dec. 30.
More important, we reported that 200 deer lived in the area being hunted. This morning Judson Edeburn, forest resource manager, said they don't know how many deer lived in the forest before the hunt. Estimates ranged from 15 per square mile to 80 per square mile depending on which part of the six forest division you're looking at. That put the population in the 10 square miles at between 150 and 800.
We've posted a short update that corrects these figures. The story also reports that preliminary figures show hunters killed approximately 70 deer in the hunt that began Sept. 15.
Read more about the hunt here.
I read Anne Blythe's story on the plans for hunting in Duke Forest to cull the deer herd. I wondered about Morris Grove Elementary School, because the new school sits across Eubanks Road from the Blackwood Division of Duke Forest.
Just spoke with Judson Edeburn, resource manager at Duke Forest. He added a few things to the article.
All schools have been notified of the hunting, which will take place Monday through Thursday, Sept. 15 to Dec. 30. There is no general hunting, as the article said; the university is contracting with hunting clubs. There are buffers surrounding the hunting areas, and the hunters must shoot from tree stands about 9 feet up and at a minimum location from the roads.
"It's really not a possibility," Edeburn said when I asked about stray bullets. "We also know the exact location and direction of where the folks intend to hunt. They won't be directed at any risky area."