Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Hunters Increase the Deer Herd

Sent to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on 1/6/03

A recent article complaining about the growth of Pennsylvania's deer herd (Pennsylvania deer herd is growing and growing - 12/26) neglected to disclose the true reason behind the growth of the herd; mismanagement due to the deliberate workings of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

According to the article, Pennsylvania's population of deer has grown by 20 percent in the last five years. Clearly, the Game Commissions hunting programs are doing more harm than good.

The Commission exists to provide recreational opportunity for the state's hunters in the form of an overabundant supply of deer as targets. The Commission manages the herd for maximum sustainable yield because its budget and the salaries of its employees are paid through the sale of hunting licenses and taxes on weapons and ammunition.

There is a plethora of scientific data indicating that hunting does not reduce deer populations. North American Hunter magazine (October, 1995) reports the experience of a former Texas biologist who "managed" deer on a ranch: "After shooting 100 does, the ranch actually had more fawns than it did the year before.

Because of the significant doe harvest, the fawn survival rate increased from 25 percent (four does to rear one fawn to weaning age) to 120 percent (1.2 fawns per doe)." The Union County (NJ) Parks Department report titled "Deer Management Program For Watchung Reservation" concluded that before being hunted, female deer living in the Reservation gave birth to only one fawn. Afterwards, the birthrate doubled or tripled.

If the state Game Commission Parks is concerned with deer overpopulation, it should explore non-violent methods of wildlife management that are not geared toward hunters and their bloodsport. For more information on state game agencies' version of deer "management" contact the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting at (845) 256-1400 or visit http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/  

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