Deer spay in Fairfax City, Virginia, began in January 2014. It is a multi-year project to investigate the effectiveness of this procedure in reducing deer populations and improving human-deer interactions. The second round of deer spay started Jan 26, 2015, and lasted about a week. The result is most does in Fairfax City, VA, can no longer produce offspring. The third phase took place Dec 14-18, 2015, when eight more does were spayed.
We opted not to use contraceptive drugs since they must be periodically re-administered to deer, which is difficult and costly. Deer spay is one time and permanent!
Planning began in the fall of 2013 when wildlife biologist Anthony DeNicola started surveying Fairfax City, VA, estimating the number of deer and determining their most common locations. Authorization and approvals were obtained from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and from Fairfax City, VA. A field hospital was set up in late January 2014 and over a period of seven nights eighteen deer were darted and underwent ovariectomies. All were successfully spayed, tagged, and released back to the locations where they were captured. Those does will never again become pregnant.
This began in fall of 2014, except for fundraising which started earlier. Money is needed for professional services by the Wildlife Biologist and for the surgical processes and supplies which start in Jan 2015. Also, for the special radio tags the deer will receive. One change from phase 1: we used bait stations to increase the number of deer we can capture and spay. Bad weather reduced the expected number last winter.
This was similar to phase one and two. Eight more does were spayed and the vast majority of does in Fairfax City are now spayed and tagged; the number of fawns is expected to drop significantly. This effort is the continuation of a project to assess the efficacy of the spay program. Total number spayed and an estimate of pregnancies avoided will be determined.
We believe once this project is assessed we will be able to advocate for its expansion into Fairfax County, a much larger geographic area with many more deer--but also with a much greater need for reducing deer numbers.