Early in the century, when hunters were allowed to kill
animals at will, year 'round, the population of deer was decimated. In
1904 Aldo Leupold, a famous conservationist, predicted that deer would
be extinct by 1920. Deer hunting was ended, and the herds made a slow
but gradual comeback as the habitat allowed.
In the late 1940's deer hunting was again allowed in
limited areas on a very limited basis. The hunters discovered herd
manipulation to increase herds and hunting opportunities. And proceeded
to implement regulations to produce lopsided sex ratios to increase herd
size. Deer are polygamous. One buck can easily breed 10-20 does, so
hunters concentrated on killing bucks, and left the does for breeding.
At the same time they did, and still do, wage war on the
natural predators of deer. Wolves, coyotes, etc.
The deer herds have responded. Populations have exploded
and hunters have targets like never before, yet their activity does not
curtail the population which keeps growing due to their "management".
In many areas the male/female sex ratio is as high as 11
does to one buck, yet the young are born at a 50/50 rate. Up to 90% of
the bucks from a herd can be removed every year without affecting the
population for the next year. Hunters have discovered this and use it to
their advantage. When the hunting fun is over, the rest of us are left
with an overpopulation to destroy crops, damage cars, and. yes, even
starve. Hunters and their manipulation are, in fact, the cause of
today's overpopulation problems.
Any classroom "study" will use arbitrary numbers that
don't have basis in fact. The fact is, that despite hunting, the
population is exploding. Game departments refuse to investigate
alternatives. They refuse to reintroduce predators where they are
needed, they refuse to move ahead with oral contraceptives for deer,
that have been developed and proven practical and effective. This is
because hunters pay for their salaries and they have to protect their
Predators could hunt year 'round, contraceptives could
be administered as needed to control populations. And people need to
accept that we are consuming habitat, and if the carrying capacity of
the remaining habitat is exceeded, some deer will die. This is natural
and normal. We should not seek to kill deer because they MIGHT starve to
Hunters also use the argument that without them, deer
would perish, even become extinct, yet they use overpopulation as an
excuse. It cannot be both ways.
Go on to Are Animal
Rights People Extremist?
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