Every year since 2010, the Environmental Restoration Group has commissioned a flyover census of the deer population in Beverly Shores. At one time, the town of Beverly Shores appropriated funds to support the census, but with the town's difficult financial situation, the cost falls to ERG.
The flyover census is taken before the spring birthing season so the number underestimate the year's deer count by some amount. The chart below shows that even the understated numbers from the census consistently exceed the upper-bound target for deer numbers in Beverly Shores. ERG aims for a deer population of 15 per square mile, the target maximum for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Beverly Shores itself is about one square mile, but with its surrounding area, the census covers roughly two square miles. Thus the target deer population density, 15/mi2 yields a maximum target population of 30 animals.
The numbers graphed above are shown in the following table:
|Flyover Date||In Town||Around Town||Total|
|March 2, 2010||44||51||95|
|March 28, 2011||37||39||76|
|February 12, 2012||25||19||44|
|March 22, 2013||38||68||106|
|January 22, 2014||54||30||84|
|March 17, 2015||28||27||55|
|March 4, 2016||46||55||101|
|January 15, 2017||37||55||92|
|March 21, 2018||26||38||64|
|January 3, 2019||30||21||51|
|January 29, 2020||78||54||132|
The 2020 survey is the last aerial survey that our current vendor will do. Note that the numbers recorded are up dramatically from earlier surveys. Conditions for the infrared survey were unuaually good on the night the census was conducted, so we will exercise caution before moving to obtain permission for a hunt or cull, but the numbers are nevertheless a matter of considerable concern. We note that the National Park Service reports that during its Winter 2020 cull. “We have not seen an unusually large number of deer coming into the bait sites.”