The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Selected Articles from our
Fall 2011 Issue
Deer-Car Collisions: The Truth
By David Kveragas
As sure as the leaves turning colors, every autumn now brings us a slew
of articles in newspapers and other media outlets concerning the increased
danger of deer-vehicle collisions.
The problem with virtually every single one of these well-meaning articles
is that they fail to point the blame at the source of most of these
collisions. This would be the nationwide practice of game management by both
state and federal wildlife agencies, as well as a myriad of private,
non-profit hunting industry front groups.
Many such articles blame everything from it being breeding season to drivers
speeding, which are factors, but not the primary cause of such accidents. If
there weren’t an over abundance of deer, often well beyond the natural
carrying capacity, as well as imbalances in the sexes, these collisions
would drop dramatically.
The aforementioned agencies and groups often claim to use wildlife
management but they are actually practicing “game” management. The
differences are a light year apart, despite attempts by hunters to meld the
Wildlife management seeks to work in conjunction with nature to maintain a
healthy balance for all flora and fauna. Game management is the exact
opposite as it seeks to maintain a handful of select species in unnatural
numbers despite the effects they may have on the environment. In fact the
detrimental aspects are actually used as reasons for maintaining the
practices. The hunters will argue that if they don’t kill, excuse me,
“harvest” the deer (to utilize their vernacular), they will overpopulate and
destroy the environment.
The Olean (NY) Times-Herald in its September 30, 1978 edition quoted NYS
regional Wildlife Manager Terry Moore as stating the following;
“We will attempt to increase the number of deer until we experience high
incidences of deer car collisions, depredation of agricultural crops becomes
intolerable and/or deer habitat begin to result in deterioration.”
Both state and federal “wildlife” agencies practice game management, even
though in many states (including Pennsylvania where I live) it violates
their legal purpose.
Game management practices for deer include specifically scheduling hunting
seasons after the breeding season. They then mandate that bucks be targeted
primarily so that the already pregnant doe (which are carrying twins on
average and possibly triplets) will be able to replenish the herd so as to
guarantee targets in perpetuity.
This practice also extends the breeding season by weeks and even months. A
doe will only be fertile a few days per month. If she is not impregnated in
that short window she will continue to come into heat until she is bred.
That means more chases by bucks (and more collisions), especially when there
are fewer bucks to handle all the does.
Other tactics include spending millions of dollars (tax dollars in most
states) to build and maintain food plots, which cover tens of thousands of
acres. Of course they will deny that such are intended for deer, but rather
other wildlife. Yet the plots happen to be heavy on grasses and grains that
deer readily partake. Essentially the agencies are treating deer as cash
crops, while at the same time claiming they are keeping the herds in check
so as to alleviate various property damages.
A century ago deer were on the brink of total extinction, due primarily to
market hunting. Nationwide there were a few tens of thousands of deer.
Today, due to the actions of hunters and the game agencies they control,
there are tens of millions. In Pennsylvania alone there are estimated to be
well over a million and as many as 1.5 million. This, despite “harvests” of
anywhere from 400,000 to 500,000 annually.
The fact that hunter’s numbers continue to decline while traditional
practices are still prevalent does not help either.
Every attempt to change let alone reverse these practices is met with masses
of hunters carrying pitchforks and torches.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximates the annual
number of deer-vehicle collisions at 1,000,000 with 200 human deaths and
over a billion dollars in damages. The estimate on damages is actually a
low-ball figure as the average amount of damages is well over $1,000 as per
other studies, including those by auto insurance agencies.
So it seems that the definition of “high incidences of deer car collisions”
by wildlife managers is different from that of the average person, even 33
years later, as the practices haven’t changed.
Hunters often cite statistics showing that their activity is safe due to the
low number of deaths involved based on the number of participants. Somehow
they manage to ignore the ties between their activity, game management and
vehicle collisions, and deaths and injures. For them to be so actively
ignorant is understandable, but that they have been able to bamboozle the
public, for generations no less, is another matter altogether.
There appears to be only one option for changing the status quo regarding
deer populations and hence reducing collision (as well as other property
Basically, the politicians who have the ultimate control over game agencies
and public lands need to be aware that supporting hunters is not an option.
We need to stop national and statewide organizations such as the NRA, US
Sportsman’s Association, amongst others, from having the elected officials’
ears while lining their campaign coffers.
Contact campaigns and specifically ask where the candidate stands on
hunting. Watch if the NRA and others endorse them. If that’s the case,
contact the campaign and tell them you will not support the candidate and
exactly why. Don’t assume that the NRA will endorse only conservatives. They
have a standing policy, which I have talked to their leadership about
personally, of endorsing incumbents, regardless of their stance on hunting
In any event something has to give, and soon. In the meantime the best we
can do is spread the truth via letters to local papers, talk radio shows and
any other means possible.
David Kveragas protects hundreds of acres of land in Pennsylvania. He is a
former hunter and prolific letter-writer to PA newspapers and online chats.
It’s hard to argue with someone who has been there. He knows hunting from
the inside and exposes it for all to see the ugly truth.
Go on to
Hunters and Game Managers - Look Out:
Exposing the Big Game is Soon to be Released
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