The Utopian Suggestion of Natural Predator Reintroduction

Jonathan Vandina

The deer population in the Northeast has exploded. Some maintain that one of the reasons is due to the previous housing boom. During the boom, thousands of acres of land were cleared with the intentions of building homes that were never built.  This cleared land permitted sunlight to hit the ground, which facilitated grass growth leading to the population explosion.

There are more deer in the Northeast today than there were when the settlers first arrived. Although development and land clearing may be partially to blame, we cannot forget the fact that humans also extirpated the main predator, mountain lions (Puma concolor). Due to the over-explosion of deer, the lack of natural predators and the inability of the land to sustain them, many of these animals will die slow deaths of starvation. Sick deer may also spread disease which can adversely affect the rest of the population.  Although hunting may eliminate a small portion of this manmade suffering, some people claim there is a better way; that is to reintroduce their natural predators. Continue reading

Deer Hunting, the First Amendment and Connecticut

Jessica Kordas

The first amendment issues in the news sparked my interest, I headed for the internet to see how U.S. v. Stevens was impacting Connecticut.  Big Game Hunting, a website with a Connecticut news page, has posted an article about US v. Stevens. The article shows particular concern that educational hunting videos will be banded:

“The National Shooting Sports Foundation and its over 4,500 member companies oppose animal cruelty, which is illegal in every state, and stress that hunting scenes are not representative of criminal behavior. Hunting is a legitimate, licensed activity, and responsible hunters respect the animals they pursue and utilize,” said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF. “Such images assist novices with basic hunting and field dressing techniques and provide education about wildlife conservation and safe and ethical hunting.”  Article available in it’s entirety here .

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Deer Culling in Westchester — Rhetoric vs. Reality

I recently received the email below from my colleague (and occasional guest-blogger), Vanessa Merton.  I found the topic so interesting (and topical — see the panther post below) and the email such a good read that I asked her if I could post it on the blawg.  She agreed and so…

deer suburbs

David, I didn’t see this subject referenced on the blawg under “deer” or “hunting”, but I’m imagining that you’re well aware of the major deer “culling” (killing) movement developing all around our immediate area: in my little, recently highly gentrified, home town 12 miles from Times Square, we may have a major deer kill by this winter, probably executed (J) by sharpshooters or maybe bow hunters – see http://hastingsgov.org/W/EMAIL/2009/DEERUPDATE.html .  And of course, similar government-sponsored (not merely permitted, but sponsored) kills have been proposed for Westchester County parks — http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/lohud/access/1719154751.html?FMT=ABS&date=May+17,+2009 – and across the Hudson in Rockland County — http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/lohud/access/1723951371.html?FMT=ABS&date=May+21,+2009 .   (These “solutions”, billed as interim if not final, may soon embrace moose as well – see news story below.)

I recently sat through the first Hastings-on-Hudson legislative hearing on a deer hunt proposal and was struck by the intensity of the many advocates for mass killing and the frequency of their use of the term “rats with hooves.”  The “cull” (I wish I had time to look up the etymology of that word – it’s so exquisitely clinical) proponents proclaimed themselves “animal lovers” and said that those who opposed systematic killing of deer were NOT animal lovers but rather (with an acid tone of contempt) “deer lovers,” because deer so ravage the natural habitat, other wildlife are driven out or starved.  (I’m a little hazy on the mechanics of this phenomenon – the deer eat what skunks and possums and raccoons eat? — but apparently it’s all documented in the legislative report.)  That rhetoric adroitly raises the issue: what is the right position for an animal advocate when confronted with government proposals to exterminate or at least vastly reduce a given animal population such as rats, lice, bedbugs, mosquitoes, etc.?  (I have to tell you, if I could wave a wand or even fire a .22 and kill all the mosquitoes on earth, I’m pretty sure I’d do it.  The bats can learn to eat something else.)

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