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Living with White-tailed Deer in Illinois

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Welcome to Living with White-tailed Deer in Illinois.

This website was developed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), University of Illinois Office of Sustainability, and University of Illinois Extension to provide Illinois residents with information about how to coexist with Illinois’ white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The website provides information about white-tailed deer natural history, IDNR’s strategy for managing the deer population, damage prevention and abatement techniques, public health and safety information, what to do about injured or orphaned deer, and information about the role you can play in managing Illinois’ deer population.

IDNR’s Division of Wildlife Resources’ mission is:

“To provide leadership with the restoration, management, and protection of wildlife populations and their habitats for the purposes of providing citizens and visitors of Illinois with a quality environment, a state rich in wildlife diversity, compatible recreational opportunities, and responsible oversight of the public’s wildlife.”

To that end, IDNR attempts to manage white-tailed deer in Illinois to provide quality outdoor recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors while also attempting to minimize negative human-wildlife interactions and threats to public safety.  White-tailed deer are the largest native mammal found in Illinois, and many people are very interested in the proper management and continued welfare of the species in the state. 

People have varying interests regarding deer. Some are concerned about deer-vehicle accidents or damage to landscaping or crops; others enjoy hunting, photographing, or watching deer; while others have interest in commercial aspects of deer.

Although IDNR is responsible for the management of deer statewide, the numerous, often conflicting, views on how they should be managed makes the task challenging. The cooperation of landowners and land managers, as well as cooperation among neighbors, is essential to maintain deer numbers at acceptable levels. Individuals who are managing for maximum numbers of deer on their property, especially trophy bucks, should consider what impact their activities are having upon the neighbor’s property or on adjacent roadways.  A “good neighbor” philosophy is not something that can be mandated, but such a view is essential to successful deer management.

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