Skip to comments.Bambi's Mother in the Cross Hairs
Posted on 12/02/2002 8:47:38 AM PST by ppaul
Very few people like the idea of shooting Bambi's mother. But there may be no better way to slow the rapid expansion of deer populations that are devastating ecosystems in many areas of the country.
At least 20 million white-tailed deer are ranging the nation at the moment, a huge jump from only 500,000 in 1900, according to a recent report by Andrew C. Revkin in The Times. They plunder farm crops and alter the ecology of forests by eating the low-lying vegetation and destroying the seedlings needed for new growth. In the process, they displace many smaller animals from their habitat. Deer also plunder suburban gardens, help spread Lyme and livestock diseases, and cause an astonishing number of highway accidents. Each year more than a million deer are hit by vehicles, and while the deer are the biggest losers, the accidents kill more than 100 people and cost more than $1 billion for repairs.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to control a fast-growing population of animals that have few natural predators in most of the range they inhabit. The option preferred by many animal welfare groups birth control darts or oral contraceptives may work in self-contained environments like islands but are less effective when deer can roam freely. Sharpshooters have culled the deer in some localities, but they are often unwelcome in crowded neighborhoods. Capturing and moving the deer can be expensive and very stressful for the animals, who often die shortly after release. High fences and repellents can keep the deer out of specific properties but are impractical over large areas. Poisons and germs are too indiscriminate. Large predators like wolves might help stabilize the deer population, but most citizens would not regard importing such beasts as a good tradeoff.
Hunting seems like the best option in rural areas. It is certainly the most cost-effective method of deer control, since the hunters provide their labor free. Ideally, hunters should be encouraged to kill does rather than bucks, despite the resistance from those hoping for an antlered trophy. New Jersey has slowly cut its deer population to some 150,000 to 170,000 animals, wildlife officials say, largely by changing its hunting rules to allow more deer to be shot and to promote the shooting of does.
New York is home to more than a million deer, probably double the number a decade and a half ago. Although the state offers incentives to shoot females, deer have reached nuisance densities in many parts of the lower Hudson Valley and western New York. State experts estimate that in those areas, 40 percent of the adult does would have to be killed each year to keep deer numbers from continuing to explode.
In rural or forested areas, if the damage becomes too great, hunting of does will need to be expanded. But in suburban communities where hunting may be too dangerous, the answers are less obvious, and people who regard deer as very large vermin are pitted against those who admire these graceful wild creatures and feel humans should simply adjust. Concern over more traffic accidents and Lyme disease is pitted against the specter of hired marksmen piling up the bodies of surplus does. Neither alternative is desirable, but as the deer population continues to explode, suburban residents may have to opt for one or the other.
And tomorrow, the Times will opine that it might hurt if you drop a cinder block on your foot. Masters of the obvious, these blokes are...
Guns Before Butter.
Does anyone know?
Other than that I wish I could get deerburgers at Burger King everyday!
"May I have a Bambi-burger, heavy all , please?"
Another fine example of projection. Rounds about where I grew up, the first day of buck and doe seasons were school holidays.
btw.. the best marinade for venison I've found is a mixture of red wine, maple syrup, and chili powder. It takes care of the gamey taste, and tenderizes some of the tougher cuts perfectly.
If you are right, and it is really 1910, I'm going on a real estate buying binge. My descendents, living in 2002, will be incredibly rich as a result of my shrewd selections.
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