New Brunswick’s white-tailed deer population is continuing to grow and has reached roughly 90,000, according to a provincial wildlife biologist.
The number of white-tailed deer roaming around the province has increased by 15 per cent in the last year. But it is still lower than previous decades.
Joe Kennedy, the provincial deer biologist at the Department of Natural Resources, said there is an increase in younger deer.
"Right now, we're definitely seeing a high abundance of yearlings and two-year-old deer. So that indicates there was a good boost in the younger cohort, and it's a good sign the population is growing," he said.
By comparison, the province had about 75,000 deer in 2011.
At roughly 90,000 animals in 2013, Kennedy said the provincial government would like to see a further increase in the deer population.
Kennedy said it is more likely the deer population will continue to grow if the trend toward warm winter temperatures continues.
The increasing deer population does not surprise one long-time hunter.
Ken Tomah, a hunter from the Woodstock First Nation, has been in the woods for 40 years. He said he believes deer numbers in the area are healthy.
"They're staying steady right now and are on the rise I believe," he said.
Deer moving to urban areas
The deer population is growing but it is also migrating, according to the biologist.
Kennedy said deer are on the move from the deep woods to suburban areas, such as the Kennebecasis Valley.
The suburban area around Saint John currently has the highest deer density in New Brunswick.
A recent survey conducted by the towns of Hampton, Rothesay and Quispamsis indicated that citizens have concerns about the growing deer population.
The deer biologist said intensive forestry, particularly on Crown land, could be leading more deer closer to urban centres
"That may be another factor why we're seeing so many deer in urban, suburban areas rather than in the deep woods," Kennedy said.