Deer Management Program
In 2014, Palmetto Dunes Property Owner’s Association (PDPOA) began monitoring the deer population in the community. Since this time, numerous spotlight surveys have been completed which have indicated that the deer herd in Palmetto Dunes is growing. While there have only been a few vehicle accidents involving deer, the increasing deer density in the community certainly poses a risk for future safety concerns. In comparison, Palmetto Dunes deer density is twice as high as some neighboring communities on Hilton Head Island.
Additionally, as the community is nearly built out, and empty lots and natural grazing opportunities are scarce for the deer population, they now resort to residential yards in search of food. This has resulted in several owner complaints regarding damage to their landscaping.
In 2020, the PDPOA Board of Directors approved a wildlife program to manage the deer population in Palmetto Dunes. In 2021, the Association engaged the services of another vendor to conduct a spotlight survey and the results were consistent with the previous surveys by indicating a high deer density in Palmetto Dunes. While we all love the presence and beauty of deer in our community, the board recognized that a management program was necessary to maintain a balance between wildlife and community members. The board also recognized that some community members are affected emotionally by this topic and do not support a deer cull. As such, the board and management have worked extremely hard to exhaust all possible solutions so that our community can coexist safely with deer and the wildlife can remain healthy. Some of the steps taken include the following:
- Community education with Q&A sessions,
- Collection of owner feedback,
- Written policy,
- Prior annual spotlight surveys with reviews by management,
- 2021 Spotlight Survey results and supporting data, and
- Wildlife Biologist recommendation.
As a result of these actions, along with the 2021 annual spotlight survey, PDPOA will be conducting a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) permitted deer cull sometime during January-February 2022. Per SCDNR Guidelines, an approved sharpshooter will be contracted to conduct the cull and the processed meat will be donated to a local foodbank. Security personnel will assist during this process to ensure that all safety protocols are followed. Moving forward, the Association will conduct annual deer spotlight surveys. Based on the results of these reports, management will determine whether any action should be taken. Community members should not experience any inconveniences during this time, and we expect that the deer cull will enhance the safety of the community for all of those that live, invest, work, and play here.