A Suburban Deer Sterilization Project to Control the Population 

A deer sterilization project starting in 2013 was approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to control the deer population at a retirement community in San Jose.  It was expected that deer from outside the community would migrate in, so all does were sterilized.  But no new deer migrated into the community.  The population has fallen below the target the community later set.  As shown at right, openings were created in fencing to encourage migration of new deer into the area in an effort to restore some of the population.

This article by Hasan Z Rahim gives some history of the project.  This peer reviewed research paper also provides a summary and a deer population model.  This site is in cooperation with DeerFriendly where there is information on urban deer management and other deer management issues.  Pictures and videos of the deer and other wildlife can be seen by clicking on the links at the Project Deer and Wildlife Page.  Also a graph summarizing the project results from the deer count.

Deer Count:  At the start of the sterilization project in January, 2013, the deer count was 175 with 105 does and 70 bucks, falling to 47 deer in spring, 2019, with 42 does and 5 bucks. Reporting stopped after Spring, 2019.

Spring, 2019 deer count (April):   42 does and about 5 bucks, 47 deer including a few does photographed (some on this page) after the count.

Fall, 2018 deer count:   56 inside the community, 50 does and about 6 bucks.  The count was done later than in 2017, during October when deer are in the rut (mating) and moving more often. 

Spring, 2018 deer count:   49 deer inside the community, 42 does and 6 or 7 bucks in April.  A few deer are spending time outside the count area.

Fall, 2017 deer count:   55 deer, 49 does and 6 bucks in August.  

Deer Updates

A fawn at the Villages:  During the summer of 2019 there were reports of a tagged doe with a fawn.  Photos from one resident confirmed that Doe 16 was taking care of a fawn.  Reports that Doe 16 had been seen nursing the fawn were confirmed by photos that the doe was lactating, demonstrating conclusively that she had given birth to the fawn.  The fawn died of unknown causes a few months later.  This was the second fawn born to one of the tagged does.  As described below, the first fawn was a buck and the doe was one of the deer that died from an outbreak of Blue Tongue in the fall of 2016.  The fawn survived and was cared for by other does.

Buck 45M, tagged as a youngster by mistake thinking he was a doe, was found dead outside the fence during the deer count in April, 2017.  Doe 73 was found dead on January 29, 2017, at the end of Halladale Ct.  She was one of the deer with a radio collar.  According to our records she was probably 10-11 years old.  No signs of injury other than scavenger damage after her death.

Judy Rogers took this photo in April, 2019

A test on one of the approximately 10 deer that died starting in September, 2016, came back positive for Blue Tongue, a hemorrhagic disease that is not infectious to humans or other deer, but is spread by insect bites.  These very small "midges" that carry the disease breed in the mud around water during dry weather where deer may congregate for water.  Cold weather will kill the midges.  No new deer deaths attributable to Blue Tongue have been recorded since the end of October attributable to Blue Tongue.  One older doe found dead that may have been the result a predator.  There are mountain lions and coyotes in the area.

First fawn seen in the Villages in years, in Montgomery area with mom, Doe 100.   Update:  Doe 100 was found dead on the golf course on Saturday, September 10, 2016, no apparent cause, but now expected to be a result of Blue Tongue.  She seemed fatigued in the last video recorded.. See more on her page and updates about the fawn. The fawn was sighted two times recently, during the deer count at the end of October and also on November 6, then throughout November.  Looks to be a young buck. See next picture below, taken at the end of November.

This photo of the fawn, showing the beginning of antlers, was taken at the end of November, 2016. 

Impressive antlers on this buck taken in July, 2017.

Deer Using Fence Opening Created to Encourage Migration of New Does into the Area to Increase the Population

Deer Management Project in San Jose

The tagged does were sterilized as part of an experiment in urban deer management supervised by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Volunteers are kept track of the deer by conducting regular sweeps of their habitat and counting the population.  Some does received ovariectomies while others had tubal ligations.

In order to encourage deer to migrate back into the community in order to maintain the community's deer population target, two openings were made in fencing in areas observed in areas where deer outside the fence were photographed with trail cameras out.   Deer could also move freely in and out of the front gate.  Trail cameras monitored the fence openings for three years and although some untagged deer ventured into the Villages, none stayed.  No fawns were ever observed with the deer photographed outside the fence and the number of deer seen outside declined over the three years that trail cameras were in operation.

Photos from around the Spring, 2019, Deer Count by Frank Langben

Doe 114 photographed after the Spring, 2019, count

Doe 86

One of the few remaining bucks, still has his antlers in April

Here's one without the antlers

Doe 11 likes to move around a lot