The New York Times, surprisingly, is often correct when discussing the scourge of deer.
Deer are simply heeding the biological imperative to go forth and multiply. With no natural predators, and the suburbs a year-round salad bar, they have slipped out of their ecological niche - and it's our fault, not theirs. The deer did not ask human beings to create the kind of predator-free suburban landscapes in which they now thrive. But the mountain lion, gray wolf and bobcat are not about to return, and the houses and highways are staying put. People, therefore, must own up to their place in a compromised food chain, and assume the responsibility for managing it well.
Of course, they aren't entirely on point.
Now, even bird lovers want the deer subdued. The New Jersey Audubon Society, in a report last week, urged the consideration of lethal means to solve the problem, arguing that fencing, contraception and other gentle tactics have proved largely ineffective. The group wants the government to rethink conservation policies it says are intended to maximize herds for hunters, and to consider - especially in the suburbs, where hunting is too dangerous - bringing in sharpshooters.
While the original idea to grow herds may have originated with pro hunting groups, they are not the entire cause of the current problem. Sure, too many hunters are only looking for a nice trophy and not necessarily concerned with the meat, however, whenever I mention to folks around here that I don't shoot bucks and prefer to take does, I get looks of disgust from my non hunting neighbors who think I am simply a cruel and intolerant sadist who is one step removed from killing women and children too. And that attitude, sadly, rests entirely in the hands of the New York Times and its friends in the MSM.
Here are some other suggestions for thinning the herds
- Lengthen The Season - Around here, if you are a bow hunter and willing to take does, you can pretty much take them at any time (but Sunday's - and that exemption should be eliminated) between mid October and mid march. That should be the case everywhere, or even better, classify does as a nuisance species outside of the traditional season allowing anyone to take one at anytime.
- Open The Range of Hunting Lands - We know where most urban/suburban deer are found and part of the problem is hunting is off limits there. Legislation is needed at the state and federal level to allow the harvesting of deer in parks and the wooded areas next to roads. Hunters also need to be granted blanket permission to track the deer across the many property boundaries they are sure to cross in an urban/suburban area. Furthermore, shotgun hunting (in addition to bow hunting) should also be allowed in close in urban/suburban areas (Double Ought buck shot works short range wonders).
- Acknowledge The Utility Of Hunting - Part of the problem is that the governments of almost all urban and suburban areas are not only anti gun, but anti hunting. If they want to correct the problem, they need to welcome hunters with open arms and re-educate the elementary school teachers, soccer moms, and sadly most of the dads too about how vital hunting is to maintaining the balance of nature and man's natural place in the world. That, of course, leads me to my next point.
- Castigate The Anti Hunting PETA People as the Enemies of Society That They Are - At all opportunity, local government leaders and average citizens should scream and yell and harass the PETA contingent until they hang their heads in shame and leave socieity. We need to reverse this dangerous trends that has arisen on college campuses and blame the vegetarians and anti hunting folks around the world for everything they have caused including every case of lyme disease, every death caused by a deer/car collision, and all the other things that deer overpopulating has caused. If we can drive these nuts to suicide, all the better, but at a minimum we should force them into self imposed exile. At the same time, we need to step up enforcement of hunter protection laws and throw these PETA scum bags in jail (stick em in a cage with the booty bandit for all I care).
- Reward The Hunter's Efforts - Let's face it, there is simply too much venison running around right now for an individual hunter to eat all he can harvest. At the same time, there are millions starving. While Hunters For The Hungry (H4H) does a great job trying to find venison to donate to the hungry, more needs to be done. The federal government should give H4H enough funds to ensure all the deer it receives is processed as well as provide a financial incentive for hunters to give up their weekends to go hunting. I propose a transferable tax credit per pound of venison (doe only, of course)
If society instituted these changes, I guarantee we would no longer be facing the problem with deer we currently struggle against.
Denise at The Ten Ring chimes in with some nice words and additional thoughts on the idea of only sharpshooters having the right to cull the herds. I swear, I thought I had addressed that in more detail, but apparently I haven't. No need to repeat efforts, just read what Denise wrote. I agree completely.