[email protected] of Iowa
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Paltz, NY 12561