Letter: Hunting the best option for deer control


In her letter to the editor of March 6, Michelle Peacock offers ideas for deer management in Coupeville.

Deer habitat is diminishing but deer find better food in yards than in the woods. Deer numbers are increasing because a doe can have up to three fawns annually. Hunting can control the deer population but hunting areas have disappeared due to anti-hunting individuals and groups.

Using hunting to diminish deer populations is not “outdated” as she says and most certainly does not increase deer breeding. Nature controls that.

East Coast municipalities overrun by deer found that hunting can diminish the deer population by using dedicated hunters. Where firearms are not safe, archery and modern air rifles can take deer effectively. In some New York areas, hunters are allowed to harvest two antlerless deer per day in a three-week season because there are too many deer.

Even the Sierra Club advocates hunting to control deer populations.

A Cornell University study found that birth control can be very expensive, as did some Maryland communities that tried it. Tubal ligation and ovariectomys can cost about $1,000 per deer. Specialized trappers are needed to capture the deer. Once sterilized the deer can remain in the same neighborhood and be a nuisance for what’s left of its 10- to 15- year lifespan. Where immunocontraceptive vaccines were used, the deer must be marked somehow so that the annual booster shot can be given to the same doe. The vaccines are not 100 percent effective.

In some communities deer are trapped and euthanized with the meat being donated to food banks.

Deer can become aggressive if diseased or when a doe protects her fawns and during the rut bucks can become very aggressive. You may abhor hunting but the alternative will be more deer everywhere, not just in your yard.

Alan Meaux

Oak Harbor

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