Flyover Census

Every year since 2010, the Beverly Shores 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 highest numbers in the Beverly Shores island before the culls and hunting started were 140 in 2001, 121 in 2002, and 166 in 2003. The census figures show that hunting and culls have reduced this operpopulation significantly. The deer taken now are much larger than the emaciated animals found during the period of dramatic over-population.

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.

Deer Census Chart

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 52 57 109
March 1, 2021 36 5 41

We obtained a census count in 2021 showing a decline in deer numbers. We were glad to see the numbers down from last year's spike, but plan to keep a watchful eye on deer numbers, as reports from residents are not as optimistic. We are cooperating with the Indiana Dunes National Park as they continue deer control efforts in their properties surrounding the Beverly Shores Island. Note that this year's census shows very low numbers of deer surrounding Beverly Shores, but numbers in the island close to the long-term census average (37.75).

In January and February 2021, Dunes National Park took ten deer from the area east of the Beverly Shores island, west of U.S. 12.

The NPS cull may have contributed to the low number of deer in this year's census. In addition, this year's unusually harsh winter conditions may have helped to check deer numbers.

We anticipate being able to obtain one more census from our pilot. We will monitor the results carefully to see if either this year's low numbers persist or, alternatively, if last year's worrisome high population count returns.

Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group,
P.O. Box 667, Beverly Shores, IN 46301