Here in New Yawk, we live in a village which is adjacent to a gigantic piece of state/fed land which wraps around West Point. Because of that "forest edge" status, we have a BIG deer problem. Like other areas, we have coyotes (a den on a mountainside 300yds from my front door -- they answer the 5:00 fire whistle!) and reports of the occasional bear.
But the deer are out of control. They're no fun to hit with a car, even less so on a motorcycle
, they eat just about anything ornamental, and, except the bucks, they're generations south of being afraid to come near us.
Coyotes are supposed to be a natural deer predator -- and I'm sure they are, occasionally -- but they'd have to be in a goll-darned deer-eating contest to keep up with Bambi here. A healthy density for deer is about 10-15/sq mi; we're at about 70 here.
So a bunch of us got together year before last and formed an ad hoc "Deer Management Task Force" to see what options there were to address the problem. We consulted with NYS Dept of Env. Conservation people, who confirmed with a 10-min ride around the area that we have a significant "browse line," which is the vegetative "bowl cut" which deer overpopulation creates when they eat just about everything from the ground to about 6 feet. (This can be proven by erecting deer "exclosures" in the woods to show what vegetation grows when the deer can't get to it.) Gross indicators like the browse line are the best measure of the extent of a deer problem, as they don't seem to cooperate with census-takers. And, as it happens, that same broad ecological damage is the most powerful weapon in the "public policy" arsenal to justify disrupting the great deal Bambi now has. If we don't act, the argument goes, the deer will keep eating every tree sapling, every year, and, in a generation, the forest will be irrevocably changed, not only to our detriment but theirs too.
So, what to do? In digging around for answers, we found that, basically, there are three options for population control: 1) Professional marksmen with bait, 2) birth control, and 3) an ongoing hunting program. Montgomery County, MD, has been working on this for some time http://www.montgomeryparks.org/PPSD/Natural_Resources_Stewardship/Living_with_wildlife/deer/deer_index.shtm
and we found a nearby community which has a lot of gov't-owned land but has figured out how to manage a useful hunt. http://www.townofpoundridge.com/documents/Deer%20Season%20Mailer.pdf
Here is a site which addresses the issue generically: http://www.qdma.com/qdm/
The bottom line is that pros are expensive (and the one-time solution they offer has, at best, only a temporary effect) and birth-control is a joke, which leaves the third option of doing an ongoing conventional hunt. In NY, state law authorizes licensed hunters with the consent of the property owner to hunt for legal animals, in season, so long as there is more than 500 ft clearance from the nearest structure capable of being occupied by people which has NOT consented to the hunt. State wildlife people can help with doe permits and out-of-season hunting with "nuisance permits." On top of that, in my village, there is a generation-old anti-shooting ordinance, which prohibits even sling-shots from being used within the village limits. On that impediment, I caused as much aggravation for the Bambi set as I sometimes do here by doing a little research and discovering that the village ordinance was powerless to contradict the state hunting law which permits hunting as described above. (The legal doctrine is "pre-emption," which is the superiority of constitutions over statutes and federal over state; it doesn't nullify our village ordinance but it "carves out" an exception where it conflicts with "superior" state law.) But let me tell you: nobody in the Village government here is unhappy with me because my research solved a problem for them, not only without them having to cast any vote to authorize the hunt, but with the legal "cover" that they are powerless to prevent it.
Of course, "YMMV." But look carefully at state law and consult with your local hunt clubs. You may have a pretty handy solution closer than you think. And, if anybody finds a recipe for Great-grandma's venison goulash, could you please post it up?