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Stop Killing Deer
Stop Killing Deer
"Bowhunters take aim at Trexler Preserve" - Allentown Morning Call, PA
As a trio of determined animal-rights activists watched, area hunters arrived at the Trexler Nature Preserve on Saturday, the first day of a controversial plan to open nearly 500 acres of the park's North Range to bowhunting.

Though a few shot dirty looks as they drove by, the hunters for the most part ignored the protesters, who had erected a makeshift altar of wreaths, signs and flowers to mark the expected deaths of animals.

However one man confronted the three women over hunting. One of the protesters was Lehigh Valley Animal Rights Coalition President Virginia Wolfe, who was dressed in black with a veil to symbolize mourning.
The hunter, who frequently used profanity as he traded words with the protesters, left after Pennsylvania Game Commission officers arrived.

Lehigh County agreed in May to open 471 acres of the North Range to archers in exchange for commitments from the state Game Commission to remove invasive plants and to upgrade access to a section closed to the public. Hunting was limited to archery because of nearby homes.

But animal-rights activists filed an injunction against the hunting in August. A judge tossed the case earlier this week.

Officials have said they hope bowhunting will reduce the preserve's deer population, which they say damages the ecosystem by eating trees and seeds.

But wildlife conservationist Anthony Marr, at the scene Saturday, said that the preserve is actually stimulating the deer population with plots containing Dwarf Essex Rape and other foods the animals like.

''They want to cultivate as large a deer population as possible so that the bowhunters can come in and hunt all they want,'' he said.

Game Commission officials could not be reached for comment Saturday. In the past, they have acknowledged observations like Marr's but say that the plots are designed to create a healthy habitat for all wildlife.

Wolfe and other activists argue that bowhunting leaves wounds that become infected.

But hunters like Sarah Salukas, who quickly downed a deer Saturday, believe bow-hunting is not cruel if done correctly.

''I would say in general if you get a good shot, no,'' said Salukas of East Allen Township. ''This deer was dead in 20 seconds.''

A killing shot usually is done from no more than 30 yards and hits the heart or lungs, the hunters said.

Scott Hillegas of Northampton said he practices different shots in different scenarios to hone his skills.

''If you shoot a deer right like you're supposed to, the animal is dead in less than 30 seconds,'' he said. ''That's quicker than when it gets hit by a car. That's quicker than when it has no food.''

Licensed sportsmen can bowhunt at the preserve during the regular archery deer season, which started Saturday and runs through Nov. 10.

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