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Are Deer Disappearing from Cade's Cove?


    Cade's Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park long has been a wildlife magnet.
    Deer would come down to browse the open fields, bears would spill out of the surrounding forests to munch on apples from the orchards. These days, though, there's a feeling that the cove's deer herds are declining.
    And it's true, according to park spokesman Bob Miller. He explains that Great Smoky's black bear and coyote populations are doing very well and they, in turn, are putting pressure on the deer population.
    Here's the full story.


Please save the deer.

Carl, I'm confirming your email address: do this through google. I didn't link it. I sent this to fellow photographers recently. Wright claims deer were killed to reduce the population (1981); whereas the Park claims (2007) that deer were live removed to restock hunting lands (WMA). Big difference between killing (sharpshooting) and relocating live deer. I see a contradiction here between 2 NPS biologists. The restock was in the 80s and hasn't been done since; so where are the deer and what caused the drastic decline? Other national parks implement sharpshooting to control the numbers; and predators are only effective on hunted deer populations when too females are harvested; thereby impacting fawn recruiment. Turkey numbers are up in the Cades Cove; yet the deer numbers continue to decline. Ironic how turkey poults survive predators; but deer fawns don't. Too many adult deer have vanished overnight; not locating enough carcass remains to ratio the loss of deer - contradiction after contradiction when compared to the Park's reassoning.



You all might find this interesting. #7 addresses Cades Cove and may also give some answers for those of you that were interested in Mammoth Cave NP for deer photography. Dr Mike Pelton was a prominent wildlife professor at University of Tennessee; and gave advice to Park management for numerous years. The Park went with his advice nearly a 100% of the time. Gerald Wright is an experienced biologist; and although I haven't gone through the red tape of a FOIA with the State and Feds on a request of deer reductions in the Cove; I seriously doubt that Mr Wright would make this kind of blunder with deer deductions while researching for his book. Of course, there is an under-current of bias here - being so many UT grad students end up working in GSMNP - cherry picked! This in itself throws up a red flag for a straight forward - honest answer when 2 government entities work together. CYA


Once again, there are numerous other valid issues and numerous bioloigical contradictions to support my accusations that deer deductions have been done since 1981. 



Wildlife Research and Management in the National Parks
R. Gerald Wright - 1992 - ‎National parks and reserves
He had intense memories of the unpleasantness of dressing and loading elk in freezing winter weather. 7. In 1981, seventy-seven white-tailed deer were killed in the Cades Cove area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to reduce the population. Concern about an overpopulation of deer was First voiced in 1969 when . c40_jcz78qq1  



Some critics have accused the National Park Service of removing deer from Cades Cove to reduce the population. Miller said the only time the park service has allowed deer to be removed from Cades Cove was in the 1980s when Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency captured 275 for use in deer restocking programs around the state.

That deer removal was not a way of thinning the Cades Cove herd, Miller said. Instead, state wildlife officials came to the cove because they knew there were plenty of deer there that could be caught easily.

The deer taken from Cades Cove helped Tennessee's deer population soar statewide, Miller said.

Disappearing deer
Tony Cox has memories of visiting Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and seeing so many deer he would lose count of the animals.


i have been going to adds Cove for 40 plus years sometimes two or three times a year. There  was always plenty of deer to see at any time of day I ever passed through up to the last 4 to 5 years and it's just like they dissipiord from one year to the other. I counted 328 Deer in just two of the fields in December 5 years ago and then the next year it seems d like they was all gone  and has been getting worse ever year since . I don't know what has happen but somthing needs to be done to get the wildlife to where it was or the deer is going to become exstinct in  Cades Cove. I just spent This Saturday Afternoon there and seen the total of 8 deer the hold afternoon. Which was unbleavable!!!


Eugene, you are correct; the Cove is in demise. CWD laws prevent restock of deer. Native genetcis is near gone. Hogs are not being managed; SNP in Virginia states that bears and coyotes CANNOT reduce and regulate non-hunted deer populations. GSMNP officials have biological contradictions after contradictions regarding their reasoning for the decline. Tommy

Here is another biological record showing that the NPS has been implementing ways to reduce to the deer population in Cades Cove. Remember the NPS claims they haven't removed deer to reduce the population.
"Monitoring of white-tailed deer is restricted to Cades Cove (Delozier and Stiver 1994a). The deer population there has been the subject of several studies over the years, and has been the target of management actions to reduce the size of the herd (Wathen and New 1989, and reference therein)."
Now remember, we have been told that the Park has never removed deer to reduce the population. I see a contradiction here. The way things look now with the Cades Cove deer herd is they have apparently accomplished their objective to reduce the deer population; yet they tell us otherwise, and continue to scapegoat ALL deer mortality on predators. For me, the math doesn't add up here. Remember, management actions are typically implemented by humans - not coyotes and bears. 


It is always nice to see the old structures while going through Cade's cove but seeing the wildlife is always what my children enjoyed seeing . It was always something different to look for while driving through the beautiful cove.we would always loose count of the deer and see the most beautiful bucks and now we miss this .we were there December 2 2017 and saw 2 deer 8 turkey and 3 squirrels this has happened the last 4 to 5 times we have visited WHAT Is GOING On

If you would like portions of a rebuttal essay I'm working on regarding the decline; you can contact me at [email protected] Tommy

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