Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting


Letters to the Editor and Others

Don't expand hunting on Iowan National Wildlife Refuge

Sent to [email protected]  of Iowa




A recent article reported on the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge expanding hunting on the refuge (Hunting reciprocity approved at DeSoto, 8/21).  Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that hunting increases deer populations and nuisance complaints associated with deer overpopulation, and any expanded hunting opportunities will only serve to make matters worse.


The scientific data indicates that hunting is an ineffective method of controlling deer populations and will act to increase populations to levels greater than were seen before hunting began.  In 1974, the deer living in New Jersey’s Great Swamp Refuge were hunted to "reduce the deer herd."  After more than twenty-five years of hunting, hunters have killed more than 4,000 deer at Great Swamp and there has been no reduction in the size of the deer herd.


The Iowa Division of Natural Resources (DNR) sets high "bag limits," meaning that they allow the killing of the maximum number of deer while ensuring that the herd will rebound with larger populations the following season.  Deer hunting creates unnatural deer overpopulation and contributes to agricultural damage, deer-car collisions, and artificially-high starvation rates.  When a herd of deer is hunted, it leaves more habitat, more food, and more breeding opportunity for the lucky survivors.  The birthrate of the remaining deer accelerates and more fawns are born, increasing the deer herd for the next season. 


The wildlife management division of the DNR encourages this unnatural manipulation of the deer herd because their annual budgets, including the salaries of its employees, are funded by the sale of hunting licenses.  This is the reality of wildlife management as practiced by Iowa’s DNR.


The same article (Hunting reciprocity approved at DeSoto, 8/21) reports that “Twenty-five youth hunters will be allowed each day.”  It cannot be overstated that sending children out to hunt is a very dangerous activity which often has tragic results. 


The International Hunter Education Association reports that during the calendar year 2001, children aged nineteen and under accounted for at least forty-three percent of the recorded hunting accidents in which firearms were used in Iowa.


In addition, the Associated Press reported that an Illinois man accidentally shot an arrow through the chest of a teenager. (Bowhunter shoots teen who scared deer: Associated Press, Oct. 29, 2002)  Putting a powerful weapon in the hands of a child is something that will certainly have tragic consequences.  Sometimes the tragedy befalls some unlucky children; often the tragedy befalls some unlucky animals.

Not only is animal cruelty such as hunting wrong on its face, it is also wrong because an increasing amount of evidence indicates that children who are cruel to animals often grow into adults who are cruel toward humans.  A recent incident supporting this viewpoint this took place on April 24, 2003 in Red Lion, Pennsylvania.  Before school started, student Jimmy Sheets, a young teen, pulled a gun out of his book bag and shot his principal to death before turning the gun on himself.  Jimmy was described as "a passionate hunter."  (Philadelphia Daily News)  Even when young hunters do not turn their guns on humans, the crass indifference toward the lives of the animals is something that chills ones’ soul.


When the facts are examined, hunting is clearly a practice that does more harm than good to animal populations and jeopardizes human safety.  For more information on wildlife agency mismanagement of wild animal populations by state game agencies, please visit the website of The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting at or call (845) 256-1400.


Joe Miele

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

PO Box 562

New Paltz,  NY 12561



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