Hunting won't solve the deer problem
Regarding Robert McCartney’s Nov. 21 Metro column, “Kill the deer, but please do it without me”:
The arguments for using hunting as a tool to control the deer population are overblown. The fact is, deer are abundant in many suburban communities, and having archers kill some deer might make some people feel better, but it does almost nothing to reduce the risks of Lyme disease transmission or deer-auto collisions.
The Lyme disease-causing tick is carried by deer but also by more than 150 other species, including popular songbirds and even lizards. That’s why public health authorities don’t recommend hunting deer for Lyme disease control.
What about road dangers? The truth is that careful driving is the best defense against collisions with deer. In fact, one large-scale Clarke County, Va., study revealed that deer-car collisions were actually lowest in some areas of high deer density.
Let’s look at real ways to coexist with suburban deer and solve deer conflicts with more surgical and effective tools, such as effective garden protectors, deer-resistant plants, roadway warning devices and even surgical sterilization and contraception where appropriate. And let’s not get sidetracked by false claims about the population-level benefits of bow-hunts.
The writer is field director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Urban Wildlife Program.
Laura Simon, Woodbridge, Conn.
| November 26, 2010; 7:17 PM ET
Categories: D.C., HotTopic, Maryland, Virginia, wildlife
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