Have Your Say
JAM | Jul 10, 2024

Lindsworth Deer | The white-tailed deer dilemma in Mount Pleasant

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
A white-tailed stag pictured by farmers in Portland, who say the animals continue to ravage their farms for carrots and other vegetable crops. Photo taken October 31, 2019. (Photo: X.com @RoostersWorldja)

The Editor, Sir:

In the serene hills of Mount Pleasant, Portland, unfolds a tale of wildlife intertwined with local livelihoods.

Originating from Somerset Falls but freed during the chaos of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, the white-tailed deer found sanctuary in Jamaica’s verdant forests (Stewart, 2019, February 4). 

Their presence, both enchanting and challenging, poses a conundrum for farmers (Stewart, 2019, February 4). The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA)’s decision to permit deer hunting has sparked debate (Everard, 2016, June 19). While some view it as a necessary step to protect crops, others, like Deborah Binns, denounce it as cruel (Everard, 2016, June 19).

However, permitting hunting brings risks, as seen when a hunter accidentally shot himself (Jamaica Observer, 2022). Besides, armed hunters threaten local safety (Jamaica Observer, 2022). The deer also harbour diseases, including those with zoonotic potential (Jamaica Observer, 2022). Despite these challenges, hunting is but a temporary fix. A collaborative effort between NEPA and universities offers hope (Stewart, 2019, February 4).

A partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) proposes a scientific approach. By tracking deer movements with GPS collars, researchers aim to develop informed management plans (Stewart, 2019, February 4). Accurate population estimates are crucial for effective management (Stewart, 2019, February 4). Understanding their health is equally vital, especially regarding meat safety and potential public health risks (Stewart, 2019, February 4).

Guidelines for controlled culling or domestication, developed in collaboration with UWI, ensure sustainable management (Stewart, 2019, February 4). Exploring economic uses for deer resources provides incentives for controlled culling (Stewart, 2019, February 4). The farmers of Mount Pleasant advocate for a balanced, compassionate approach (Stewart, 2019, February 4).

A captured white-tailed deer in an undisclosed, forested area of Portland, Jamaica, where the animals continue to thrive. (Photo: Facebook @DeerHuntingJamaica)

In navigating the fate of the white-tailed deer, NEPA must embrace science and empathy. This strategy ensures sustainable solutions that honour the intricate tapestry of life we all share.


1.     Everard, O. (2016, June 19). Praedial larceny, wild deer, lack of Gov’t intervention hampering farmers in Mount Pleasant. Retrieved from https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/2016/06/19/praedial-larceny-wild-deer-lack-of-govt-intervention-hampering-farmers-in-mount-pleasant-20231110-0941-519722/

2.     Stewart, S. (2019, February 4). Deer hunting? Retrieved from https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/2019/02/04/deer-hunting/

3.     Jamaica Observer. (2022). Deer hunter shoots self, dies in Portland. Retrieved from https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/2022/04/02/deer-hunter-shoots-self-dies-in-portland/Regards 

Lindsworth H Deer, is a physics, chemistry, electronics and integrated science teacher at Tivoli Gardens High in Kingston.


What To Read Next