Tuesday, May 21, 2013

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Legislative Proposals to Further Politicize Wildlife Management

In Pennsylvania, there are a few bills designed to replace science-based wildlife management with political management. Introduced by Rep. Deberah Kula, HB 870 would prevent the state from addressing wildlife damage on state lands. She also plans to introduce legislation to restrict doe hunting to a 3-day season. Meanwhile, Senator Rich Alloway is drafting a bill to boost deer population densities in the state's north-central region. Source: Lancaster Online

Monday, March 04, 2013

Forthcoming book of interest: DEERLAND

On April 2, 2013, Lyons Press will release DEERLAND: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness.

The U.S. is now home to 30 million hungry deer—100 times more than were here a century ago. When we see all those deer out in the woods, most of us believe it’s a measure of the forest’s health. It is, but in exactly the opposite way we think. All across America, overabundant deer routinely devastate ecosystems and alter entire landscapes. DEERLAND traces the story of how we got here and asks tough questions about what it will take to restore the balance we’ve disrupted.

The author also asked tough questions about the rapidly changing gear, tactics, and values of today’s hunters—and about what role those hunters will continue to play in 21st Century America. And when it comes to deer, are hunters part of the solution, part of the problem, or both? Rest assured, however, that DEERLAND isn’t just about hunting. It’s a much larger environmental and cultural story. (To learn more, you can visit the author's website at www.alcambronne.com) Whether you’re a hunter, a gardener, or a birder, and whether you care about the environment, the deer in your back yard, or the shrubbery they just ate, DEERLAND is an eye-opening read that will change forever the way you think about deer and the landscape we share with them.

 Pre-order a copy at Amazon

Friday, September 28, 2012

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Legislature Considers Hindering Game Commission's Authority

The Pennsylvania state legislature is considering enacting a law (HB 2073) that would subject Pennsylvania Game Commission actions to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.  More specifically, passage of this bill will remove the ability of the Game Commission to set scientifically and biologically sound seasons and bag limits for all wildlife. Decisions on deer season will be delayed if this passes, as is the intent. However, every other action or decision the Game Commission makes will also be delayed. Even decisions made between meetings to protect or preserve wildlife due to disease outbreak, land deals, and mineral and gas leases, as well as other actions and decisions authorized by current law and authority.

The bill seeks to require that all game commission rules and regulation go through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. This process well known to take two years for actions to pass muster of the committee.

HB 2073 will impose an almost impossible bar to what is otherwise well managed agency tasked by the legislature to manage the wildlife in this state. That bar to proper management is borne with the intent to do exactly that: hinder, confound, and remove authority to the game commission in decision that are of the immediate or timely nature.

Source: PA state legislature 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MICHIGAN NEWS: Deer Excluded from Rare Forest

Deer are being fenced out of a Tenhave Woods, 15 acre nature reserve that protects one of only 10 known sites of wet-mesic flatwoods in Michigan. The Royal Oak Nature Society is erecting an 8 foot fence to protect the wildflowers in the reserve.

The deer’s’ days are numbered at Tenhave Woods.

Bye, bye Bambi.
When the white-tailed does, bucks and fawns head out for greener pastures in a couple months, the Royal Oak Nature Society will raise the fence around the wooded area behind Royal Oak High School to keep them out for good. The departure of the deer will bode well next spring for the thousands of wildflowers cut short during their blooming peaks this year.
Source: Daily Tribune

USA NEWS: More EHD Cases

Additional cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) are appearing throughout the U.S.  We now have reports from:

Eric Lobner, a district wildlife supervisor for DNR, said the outbreak appears to be centered in Columbia County, but dead deer have also been reported in Waukesha, Walworth and Rock counties.
He said about 30 deer have been affected so far.
Source: Oshkosh Northwestern

New Jersey
EHD Type 2 Virus has been confirmed in Gloucester, Salem and Warren counties and test results are pending for samples from Cape May, Cumberland, Camden, Monmouth and Middlesex counties.
Source: Philly.com

Dr. Walter Cottrell, Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife veterinarian, today announced that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has been confirmed as the cause of death for a deer in Westmoreland County. While the agency is waiting for results from samples collected from deer found dead in Allegheny, Greene and Westmoreland counties, Dr. Cottrell noted a sample from Cambria County was inconclusive.
Source: Sacramento Bee

The Missouri Conservation Department says it has been getting reports of hundreds of dead deer around the state. The agency says the deer appear to have fallen victim to hemorrhagic disease, which is spread by the bites of the small midge fly. As of mid-September, the department had received reports of about 2,800 dead deer, with the disease being the suspected cause.
Source: Sacramento Bee

The first documented case of EHD was three weeks ago at an Ashtabula County deer farm. The Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed that of 20 deer samples checked, 13 of the deer had EHD.
Source: Cleveland.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

MISSOURI NEWS: Referendum on Urban Hunt

Another community is using the petition process to halt urban deer management.

There will be no bowhunting for deer in Cape Girardeau this fall.
The ordinance that would have allowed deer hunting within the city limits is now officially suspended. Keep Cape Safe, a group opposed to urban deer hunting, collected nearly 4,000 signatures on a referendum petition, which was certified Friday by the Cape Girardeau city clerk.

The Cape Girardeau City Council passed the ordinance July 16, which would have allowed bowhunting for deer on tracts of at least three acres during four months in the fall. The council now has 30 days to repeal the ordinance or the issue will be placed before voters in a future election.
 Source: Semissurian

MINNESOTA NEWS: Duluth Cull Continues Quietly

Deer are still creating problems for residents in Duluth.  However, the magnitude of the problem has been dropping over the past seven years.

But Duluth would be far worse off if the city had not conducted a bow hunt for deer within city limits for the past seven years. So far, a total of 3,777 deer have been taken during those seven years, and about 84 percent of them were antlerless deer (either does or fawn bucks). Each fall in recent years, more than 300 hunters have paid their $25 fee and passed shooting proficiency tests to take part in the hunt.
There has not been a single accident to date, and it is getting easier to donate venison to local food banks.

Source: Duluth News Tribune

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Petition to Continue Deer Cull

I cannot think of a prior example of a community petitioning to continue a deer cull, but that is happening right now in Essex County.
After years of vocal efforts to block the deer hunts in several Essex County parks, this may come as a surprise: The volunteer groups that handle much of the conservation work at Verona’s Hilltop and the South Mountain Reservation are circulating a petition to not end the hunts.

Theresa Trapp, treasurer of the Hilltop Conservancy, and Dennis Percher, chairman of the South Mountain Conservancy, say that while the deer populations at both parks have been reduced, they are still “nowhere near” the 10 deer-per-square-mile density needed to allow the forests and their ecosystems to regenerate. “We believe that stopping the culling, even for a year, is extremely ill-advised,” the two said in a statement. “With no natural predators in our area (wolves, mountain lions, black bears), deer populations will continue to expand unless the County actively reduces the herds.”
For more information, see: myvernonanj

Saturday, August 25, 2012

WISCONSIN NEWS: October CWD Hunt Scrapped by Governor

Wisconsin will give up trying to control a contagious disease affecting the state's deer population.
Gov. Scott Walker on Friday rejected state wildlife officials' request to run a four-day October antlerless deer hunt in the chronic wasting disease zone, saying he wants to streamline Wisconsin's hunting season structure.

Walker said he's abiding by a report Texas deer researcher James Kroll gave to the Department of Natural Resources in June. The governor hired Kroll to review the DNR's deer hunting regulations and strategies. Kroll noted hunters are unhappy with what they see as a complex web of multiple hunting seasons and questioned whether the October hunt generated enough kills in the CWD zone to continue.

Unless the epidemiology of CWD changes to become less contagious (it develops an R-sub zero of less than 1.0, as experts would say) we can expect the disease to spread throughout the state.

Source: Madison.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

RESEARCH NEWS: Another Recent Study Questions Deer-Lyme Link

A recent study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, questioning the link between deer and Lyme disease. It is not the first study to do so, and in fact my view on the connections between deer and Lyme (such as they are) are a minority viewpoint within the field. Moreover, I do not conduct disease research, so my opinion should not be regarded as "expert opinion" on the topic.
Deer, predators, and the emergence of Lyme disease

Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in North America, and both the annual incidence and geographic range are increasing. The emergence of Lyme disease has been attributed to a century-long recovery of deer, an important reproductive host for adult ticks. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that Lyme disease risk may now be more dynamically linked to fluctuations in the abundance of small-mammal hosts that are thought to infect the majority of ticks. The continuing and rapid increase in Lyme disease over the past two decades, long after the recolonization of deer, suggests that other factors, including changes in the ecology of small-mammal hosts may be responsible for the continuing emergence of Lyme disease. We present a theoretical model that illustrates how reductions in small-mammal predators can sharply increase Lyme disease risk. We then show that increases in Lyme disease in the northeastern and midwestern United States over the past three decades are frequently uncorrelated with deer abundance and instead coincide with a range-wide decline of a key small-mammal predator, the red fox, likely due to expansion of coyote populations. Further, across four states we find poor spatial correlation between deer abundance and Lyme disease incidence, but coyote abundance and fox rarity effectively predict the spatial distribution of Lyme disease in New York. These results suggest that changes in predator communities may have cascading impacts that facilitate the emergence of zoonotic diseases, the vast majority of which rely on hosts that occupy low trophic levels.
Link to study here