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Manage deer populations and movement

Deer do not get infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. However, deer are a main source of the blood adult ticks need to reproduce. The impact of deer reduction on tick abundance or Lyme disease has been examined in several studies.

  • In studies on islands, removing all deer greatly reduced the number of ticks.
  • Studies in coastal locations found that reducing the number of deer generally corresponded with decreased numbers of ticks. However, the level of deer reduction needed to substantially reduce the risk of human tick bites or break the Lyme disease cycle was not established.
  • A study in mainland NJ found that reducing the number of deer did not correspond to decreased numbers of ticks or reduced cases of Lyme disease. However, this study may have been too short or the reduction of deer insufficient to demonstrate an impact.
  • For more information, please click here.

Actions to control deer movement or populations in communities are usually initiated at the local level in consultation with your state wildlife agency. Contact your local health department regarding deer control efforts in your area. In addition, there are actions you can take that may help reduce deer populations around your home.

  • Construct physical barriers, such as fencing, to discourage deer from entering your yard.
  • Do not feed deer on your property.
  • Check with garden centers, nurseries, or local extension agents to learn about deer-resistant plants.


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Page last reviewed January 6, 2009

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