Friday, October 9, 2009
How Dear Are Local Deer?
1. The first option usually championed by the non-hunting public is non-lethal means. One technique is trap and transfer. Opponents say the high cost is between $2,000 and $3,000 per animal with taxpayers footing the bill.Their research has shown that some animals perish during the process from stress or physical injuries. Still more succumb to stress after being released. And many of the remaining survivors later perish as a direct result of being transferred to a new/foreign environment. (Bob Humphrey, www.bowhuntingmag.com) Besides, where would you put them when this transporting is ill-advised, and may be illegal.
2. The other non-lethal means is immunocontraception. The most common contraceptive drugs available require two treatments the first year, followed by an annual booster--for every breeding female in the population. Some treated does may continue to cycle as many as five times. In addition to the high number of treatments, opponents of immunocontraception say that due to their survival instincts, it is difficult to trap a large number of deer. It is also very time consuming and costly. Failure rates range from moderate to high under tightly controlled FDA experimentation. Additionally, all untreated deer must be prevented from entering the area, or all the efforts are for naught.
3. The first lethal solution often considered is sharpshooters or culling. Opponents say these methods may be acceptable in the short term but are also expensive and even an abuse of public trust since deer are public property, therefore owned by the citizens as a renewable, harvestable, revenue-generating recreational opportunity. If so, then, how can the State tax people to pay professional "hit men"? (Bob Humphrey, www.bowhuntingmag.com) Also, the potential for accidents from high-powered firearms is not a risk that most city councils and parks departments, not to mention local residents, are willing to take. This method may not be be cost effective either.
4. According to Tom Brissee ("Urban Deer Control," www.strictlybowhunting.com, 2000) bowhunting has been proven to be a safe and effective way for the public to reduce deer population. Brissee says the cost to the city councils and parks departments is minimal.In fact, the hunters involved in these highly organized hunts are often trained volunteers who donate their time. Although opponents claim these animals endure prolonged suffering before they collapse and die while surviving deer remain unfound and are are merely wounded and crippled, bowhunters disagree.
When the deer are harvested they can be taken home by the hunters themselves or donated to local food shelfs, providing much needed, inexpensive nourishment for the needy. Brissee believes one of the keys to success is educating the non-hunting public.
Local bowhunting co-ops are also springing up in some exurban areas. They recruit members who can demonstrate experience and responsibility. They then match them with property owners. Most provide their services for free, and many carry insurance that removes any liability from the property owner.
Groups such as the Ohio Bowhunters Association work closely with the Ohio Department of Natural Resource as well as with the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. Also, the International Bowhunting Organization is an active resource in the buckeye state.