Response to initiative to eliminate questions about acceptability of lethal methods of controling deer population

I understand why the “Research shows…” questions in the survey questions about lethal methods might be considered “leading” and biased, eliciting protests from certain quarters. However, what I am wondering is, did anyone show you even one single piece of research that shows that any of the non-lethal deer population control methods (Contraceptives, sterilization, trap-and-release) have been shown to be safe and effective in reducing the population in a free-ranging herd of deer? If not, it seems to me that, despite protests, there was no fact-based reason to withdraw the questions. Lethal approaches are effective and safe. Just ask Huron-Clinton Metroparks, for example, or Oakland County Parks. Non-lethal methods of herd reduction haven’t been shown to work anywhere in an urban/suburban non-isolated setting, to my knowledge. (Examples like Rochester Hills show feature non-lethal approaches — but to damage prevention, not population reduction).

Because success stories in the real world (i.e. not fenced-in properties or islands) for these non-lethal approaches are hard, perhaps impossible, to find, I am wondering whether in fact we are misleading people by asking them for opinions about options that will not gain regulatory approval for our situation in the foreseeable future, despite DNR’s stated “openness” yesterday evening to consider proposals.. In my reading, even the cases put forth regularly by anti-cull proponents, e.g. Fire Island and Cornell, have turned out to be failure stories when it comes to suitability of non-lethal approaches. On Fire Island, NY the National Park Service is culling, deeming PZP after years of study as impractical. Cleveland Metroparks spent $500,000 studying a contraceptive related to PZP. They are culling.

I am aware of the current Humane Society-promoted Hastings-on-Hudson study of darting does with PZP, but that is in the first year of a five-year study and the first year did not have success even in darting the intended animals. I’m also aware of intention to sterilize does in East Hampton, NY, subsidized as perhaps only the Hamptons could accomplish — but I don’t believe we have any results from that at this time. The Cornell study, mentioned last night, actually showed the clear failure of tubal ligation as a population control method. As you may have heard, It turned the ever-ready sterilized does into “buck magnets.”

My conclusion: It’s not the statement that research favors lethal methods that is misleading. More likely to be misleading is the implied message in the survey that there are non-lethal methods of herd reduction that might actually be implemented in the near future despite not being permitted today.

#A2manydeer #deercontraceptive #wc4eb

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