Hunting is no answer to deer overpopulation
Published Saturday, 12/08/01 in the Syracuse
To the Editor:
Re: "Too many deer, not enough hunters" by J. Michael
Kelly, The Post-Standard, November 22:
Is an increase in hunting necessary to manage the deer
population in Central New York? Not at all. Overhunting has caused deer to
overpopulate the State in the first place, and only a reduction in hunting
can solve the problem.
Dozens of state game management and university studies
show that deer instinctively regulate their pregnancy rates based on the
forest food supply. When competition for food is normal, a mature doe may
bring one fawn into the world. But if the does are very well fed -- as when
hunters drastically reduce the population -- the surviving females will
produce many more deer than the forest can feed. They will have twin fawns,
or will become mothers at age one instead of the normal age of two, which
results in an overpopulation problem the following year.
This is a well known phenomenon in Department of
Environmental Conservation and hunting circles. "In fact," explained New
Mexico Fish and Game Director Wayne Evans, "hunting maximizes fawn
production. . . .
More animals are produced for the gun." ... And for our
gardens and roadways.
The best solution to the problem calls for a reduction
in deer hunting in New York state. By issuing half the number of licenses
next year, we would reduce the herd to its self-sustaining forest level and
end the dangerous cycle of deer overpopulation in Central New York once and
The Evans quote is cited in The American Hunting Myth
by Ron Baker, Vantage Press 1985, "No one
will ever be so rash to claim that if there is no hunting, the population
will grow to infinity or sink to extinction. In fact, hunting maximizes fawn
production. . . . More animals are produced for the gun."
-New Mexico Fish and Game Director Wayne Evans, PhD, in
a letter dated July 26, 1978
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