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... nth's, high deer populations can deplete food sources critical to their own survival. It can take many years for damaged winter habitat to recover (38). When this depletion of their own food sources exists deer become sickly and weak.
Its not uncommon for overgrown herds to live in poor health and to be much smaller in stature then a herd of normal abundance. Shedd and Monahan show that, deer in an over populated area weighed thirty percent less then deer of acceptable numbers elsewhere (6). These deer are in a pathetic condition, most with their ribs showing, some so weak that they can barely raise their heads as they walk (Shedd and Monahan 6). Hearing the sad condition of these animals raises an interesting question. Which is worse letting these deer suffer, or ending their poor lives quickly? Current Events states that, hunting thins the herds and saves the animals from slow, painful starvation (3) All of the problems deer overpopulation creates from damaging forests, to reducing biological diversity, to hurting themselves, can all be solved with increased human hunting activity.
The deer population had been kept at acceptable levels for hundreds of years, both by natural predators and by Native Americans. Charles W. Petit states that, by one estimate, Indians in the East killed 4. 6 million to 6. 4 million white-tailed deer every year, the 18, 000 Huron Indians in eastern Canada in the 17 th century probably needed 62, 000 deer per year to keep themselves in food and leather (70). As settlers immigrated to the Americas hunting became a way of life. Without the food provided by rabbit, squirrel, wild turkey, and deer these people never would have survived. As time passed, the farming industry began to boom and beef was so easily accessible, that the need and desire to hunt shrank.
Unfortunately man had pushed into previously uninhabited areas, causing the natural predators of deer to flee. Since man was no longer hunting in the same force he once had, deer populations grew unchecked. Richard McCabe, with the Wildlife Management Institute, predicts that the deer population, could easily reach 34 million with wolves, mountain lions, and other major predators gone from cities and suburbs there is virtually no urban control except hunting (70). Some critics would argue that hunting hasnt done much to control the population of deer over the past hundred years. There is however, a good reason for the decline in the effectiveness of deer hunting as population control.
Nelson and Banaszewski show that, while the number of deer that hunters are allowed to shoot has risen, the number of hunters hasnt (38). The two later go on to state that, although hunters are taking more deer each year, the annual deer harvest has not kept pace with the growth of the herd (38). These statements show that while deer keep increasing in numbers, hunters dont. The solution to this problem lies in increased deer hunting, and increased deer hunters. Hunting is not only the solution to the problem of deer overpopulation, but also has other beneficial aspects. Recreational hunters are of absolutely no cost to the government.
The money that hunting licenses and deer tags (tags allow a hunter to hunt legally and take a specific gender of deer) generate is handled by the states Department of Fish and Wildlife. These Departments use this money to conserve the health of the states wildlife. In essence deer hunters are helping pay to keep the nations wildlife in a good condition. Also, several states have started a hungry hunters program.
This program allows hunters to get a tax write off on the cost of permits and processing of a deer. The meat generated from the program is then given to needy families. With this program hunters decrease the excess population of deer and feed starving families, all at no cost to anyone. Still, some areas have decided deer hunting is pointless, and outlawed the activity all together. The hazardous effects of these actions were seen shortly after. Whenever deer hunting has been banned, deer populations have soared.
Budiansky states that, when authorities of Irondequoit, New York banned hunting the deer took over, and the estimated 500 deer running through town quickly exhausted all available food (85). Shedd and Monahan show this same effect; stating, in 1970 residents of Long Island, New York made hunting illegal, by 1983 the overpopulated deer of Long Island were stunted and sickly (6). When hunting is stopped it is inevitable that deer will become overpopulated. Despite all of the situations involving deer becoming overpopulated, due to a decline in the amount of hunting, there are still those that say hunting is not the answer. These groups have come up with several better alternatives to hunting.
One alternative suggestion has been the trap and transport method. Using this method, deer are trapped by humane methods and then moved to areas of lesser population. This prevents the deer from being killed and is supposedly a much safer method of removing deer, especially if the deer in question are in someones backyard. Another method of controlling the population of deer is the suggestion of birth control. Even though these methods do have their upsides, they all fail in comparison to the benefits provided by hunting.
Trapping and transporting does prevent harm to the animals, but the cost tends to be extensive and the deer often do poorly after the transfer. Shedd and Monahan show this is the case concerning the deer of Long Island. The two authors state that, only 27 of the 119 deer could be trapped; ten died of stress during the actual procedure, and biologist believe that few of the remaining transferred deer survived the winter; this poor attempt ran at a cost of $ 800 per animal (6). Considering only a few of the 27 deer survived and the procedure cost $ 21, 600 the procedure wasnt exactly a success. When compared to the cost of a single bullet and a hunting license (about $ 10. 50) $ 800 dollars per animal seems ridiculous.
Add to this the fact that deer hunters use the meat to feed their families and hunting becomes a far better solution than trap and transfer. Those that oppose hunting have also suggested controlling populations with birth control. The nontoxic vaccine is injected into the does bloodstream via an air-gun dart; a protein in the vaccine prevents sperm from penetrating the egg (L. L.
C. 23). Inoculating deer is however a difficult task. Current contraceptives require that a doe be shot with darts containing the chemical twice within a 30 -day period (State Legislatures 8). Another downside being that, like trapping and transferring birth control tends to be expensive, inoculating 531 deer in Irondequoit, N. Y. , over a four-year period was $ 25, 000 (State Legislatures 8). Even those that do support the birth control option concede that it can only be used to maintain current population numbers.
In order to lower numbers they, would still have to rely to some extent on culling killing the excess deer (L. L. C. 23). Once again it seems that hunting is the best solution. Still, it seems that there are those who say that humans should just leave deer alone all together. The absence of hunting ends with a boom in deer populations time and time again.
These huge herds quickly become sickly and weak. The quick end provided by hunting reduces populations, which in turn improves the health of the remaining deer. Hunting also provides food to the families of hunters and to the needy. Humans must intervene, not only to save the deer from themselves but also to reduce the problems caused by these animals. The detrimental effects caused by deer overpopulation range from damage to plant life to the deaths of hundreds of motorists. Considering the expense of alternative methods, the most efficient, cost effective, and beneficial solution is hunting.
Hunting must increase in order to save deer from themselves and from harming others. After all, the only species capable of consciously acting to save another species is mankind. Works Cited Belief, Laurent. Deer Rebound in U.
S. , with a Vengeance. Christian Science Monitor. 6 May 1996: 4. Budiansky, Stephen. Deer, Deer Everywhere. U.
S. News & World Report. 21 Nov. 1994: 85 - 87. Deer + Humans Means Disaster. State Legislatures. June 2000: 8. Diary, Jan E.
Going Wild. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994. L. L. C.
Reining Deer. Environment. October 1993: 23 - 25. Managing New Yorks White-Tailed Deer. Conservationist. August 1996: 6.
McAleese, Kevin, and Joan Submit. On a Collision Course with Losses. Bests Review / Property-Casualty Insurance Edition. October 1998: 97. Nelson, D. , and W. A.
Banaszewski. Too Many Deer. Conservationist. November/December 1991: 38 +. Petit, Charles W. Bambi Goes Bi coastal.
U. S. News & World Report. 14 Dec. 1998: 70 - 72. Shedd, Warner, and Philip Monahan. Crowd Control. Outdoor Life.
February 1997: 6 +. To Hunt or Not to Hunt. Current Events. 19 Sept. 1997: 3.
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Research essay sample on Controlling Deer Overpopulation Through Increased Hunting