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Letters to the Editor and Others

Deer Slaughter at Minneapolis Water Works

Counterpoint article submitted to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune

January 12, 2004

The barbaric deer slaughter at Minneapolis Water Works is testament to the arrogance and primitive thinking of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Despite having been given options to reduce the deer herd in a safe, humane manner, the DNR opted only to bring violence and death upon these tame animals via the barbarity of bow hunting. This is not a surprise to those of us who know that wildlife management is based hunting permit fees and excise taxes on firearms and bows and arrows.

Mike Don Carlos, the DNR's wildlife research manager, admitted that the one-day bow hunt that took place on New Year's Eve would not resolve the perceived problem with the deer, making it clear that the DNR is looking to make killing of the tame, caged deer at the Water Works an annual occurrence.

Just how barbaric was the slaughter? According to a Columbia Heights coalition of deer protectors, the deer were lured into one area with bait piles so killers (it's a stretch to call these people hunters) armed with bows and arrows could shoot them. To say this hunt was like shooting fish in a barrel would be an understatement. During the slaughter, wounded deer were seen running for their lives, sometimes ramming themselves into the fences surrounding the Water Works property in an attempt to escape.

These helpless animals were chased back toward the killers where they were mercilessly slaughtered. One can only imagine the horror experienced by these animals who previously had known only human kindness. A doe was seen running and trying to protect her two fawns, as any mother would do for her children, but the killers did not care about this mother's love and slaughtered her and her babies.

Columbia Heights mayor Julienne Wyckoff has been critical of the slaughter, acknowledging that the deer are tame and would "practically eat from your hand and romp playfully in the fields."

Leaving the deer alone would be the best and most humane way to manage their numbers. If there is indeed a food shortage, nature will slow their fecundity and stabilize the herd. Killing the deer will only increase the breeding rate - something that is music to the ears of the DNR. This will ensure that there will be a "need" for hunting each and every year to come.

If the Water Works wants to reduce the number of deer on the property immediately, tranquilizing and transporting the animals is a safe and effective way to achieve this end. The DNR routinely transports animals when it conducts studies or "stocks" animals to increase populations, but when transporting the animals to save their lives is suggested, the program is suddenly deemed too risky for the deer or too costly for the Department.

Sadly, the DNR expects the public to fall for their deceitful statements that promote hunting as a panacea while they hide their monetary incentive to perpetrate agonizing pain and death upon peaceful animals.

Instead of humanely dealing the with the issue, the DNR opted to shoot the deer with razor sharp arrows that kill by acting as internal knives, continually cutting and tearing muscles and organs. Death is often slow and extremely painful. In hunts across the country, many deer are shot in the lungs, which adds suffocation to the agony. The animals, literally, drown in their own blood.

All involved in this senseless slaughter should hang their heads in shame.

It is tragic that so many harmless, peaceful and tame animals will lose their lives to the violent and lethal policies of the DNR which impact the public in so many ways. May the slaughtered deer rest in peace.

Joe Miele,
CASH

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