A 20-Year History of Sika Deer Management in the Mt. Goyo Area, Northern Honshu
The biology and management of sika deer on Mt. Goyo in the Tohoku district of northeastern Japan is reviewed. This is a relatively isolated deer population in this part of Japan. The deer subsist primarily on dwarf bamboo; 60–80% of winter diet determined by fecal analysis is Sasa nipponica. Deer migrate in elevation in response to winter snowfall. Density on the winter range is high and the deer are forced to feed on fallen leaves and tree bark. Deer numbers were low in the early 1900s and received legal protection as a cultural resource from 1919 to 1929 Because the deer population increased, with consequent damage to agricultura crops, hunting of males was resumed in the early 1930s. Thereafter the population continued to increase, despite the increasing kill of males, and winter starvation began to occur. Therefore, kill of females and cull hunting were instituted, with the female kill approaching the male kill by the mid-1990s. This hunting plan has stabilized the situation and must be continued to maintain a balance between deer numbers, agricultural damage, effects on vegetation, and winter starvation. Deer population control will continue to be required to manage deer and human interaction at Mt. Goyo, including cultural and esthetic values.
KeywordsSika Deer Supplementary Feeding Deer Population Dwarf Bamboo Deer Density
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