Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Kristen B. Crossney, PhD

Committee Member

Richard Barndt, EdD

Committee Member

Peter Oehlers, DBA



The white-tailed deer herd of Pennsylvania is a common pool resource. Effective management of this resource is important as the herd impacts many facets of everyday life in the Commonwealth and is an essential part of Pennsylvania’s ecosystem. Responsibility for management of the resource rests with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). The purpose of this study was to consider the efficacy and fidelity of the PGC’s methods of managing the herd through the allocation of antlerless hunting permits. Additionally, this study considered whether current herd management tactics resulted in an optimal herd allocation among wildlife management units (WMUs).

To answer the questions posited by this study, data from a series of publicly available data sources was accumulated and consolidated into a single database. The information collected was designed to test the fidelity of the Deer management Recommendation Process (DMRP) utilized by the PGC to manage the deer herd. Regression analysis was prepared for each WMU to determine if the variables used by the PGC in their decision process did in fact effectively predict herd size. The regression outputs provided mixed results. None of the variables used in the regressions were statistically significant at the .05 level on a consistent basis. The research concluded that managing the antlerless permits was the most effective method of her control. Further, the research points out that the reliability of the data used was such that the DMRP model is best considered as a long-term rather than a short-term model for herd management.