"The main factors are more roads, more people, more traffic," said biologist Mike Carraway, Mountain Region Supervisor for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
said, while there may be fewer hunters, they are killing more deer than ever.
Total deer harvest registered with the NCWRC
for 1985 was 55,074.
In 2011, hunters bagged 173,553.
Ashe County's deer harvest for the same year was 2,683 - five deer per square mile of hunting land - up from 1,641 in 1996.
Poaching and predation also contribute to attrition in deer populations, Carraway
With more deer being killed by bullet and automobiles, population growth is puzzling.
offers a counter-intutive explanation: humans are encroaching on their natural habitat.
"Every time a new housing development goes in, it creates a sanctuary," said Carraway
"They provide good grassland forage, ornamental plants and forest cover."
said, hunters and predators are conspicuously absent on suburban and rural tract developments.