Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Theresa Seraphim
Vermilion Standard
Tuesday December 19, 2006

The discovery of two cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Alberta underlines the importance of hunters submitting deer heads for testing, says an official with Alberta Fish and Wildlife.

“One of them is in the area we were working last year,” which is north of Medicine Hat, noted information officer Lyle Fullerton. The other case was found in an area north and west of Edgerton. “That’s a new case,” Fullerton stated, adding it marks the first time the disease has been discovered in a northern region.

“In all likelihood it’s an animal that got through the surveillance (of earlier years) and was shot by a hunter,” he stated.

While submission of deer heads is mandatory in some hunting areas and voluntary in others, it’s important that all hunters bring in the heads of deer they kill so they can be tested, said Fullerton.

“We’re certainly pleased with the support of hunters but we encourage them to get their heads in.”

So far, about 2,000 heads have been submitted.

“We’re about halfway through the testing,” said Fullerton. He said no positive results have ever been found in the Vermilion area.

Symptoms of CWD include excess saliva, weight loss and lack of co-ordination, but the disease is too far gone by the time the animal displays these signs, Fullerton noted.
He said the potential exists for more positive results.

Hunters can take the heads to any Fish and Wildlife office or to a 24-hour freezer, said Fullerton.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

OHIO NEWS: Farmers Call for 50% Reduction in Deer Population


Even after hunters killed about 112,000 deer during a full week of gun season, it’s not enough for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

The group that represents Ohio farm interests plans to push state officials to cut the current deer herd of about 500,000 in half, the level of about two decades ago.

Because deer damage crops and cause hundreds of crashes on the state’s roadways, the farm bureau wants the herd to number no more than 250,000, said Keith Stimpert, the bureau’s senior vice president of public policy.

"It’s what we will work toward in the coming year by working with the (Ohio) Division of Wildlife, legislators and others," Stimpert said.

The proposal came during the bureau’s recent annual meeting in Columbus and signals an increasing frustration among its 225,000 members, 55,000 of whom are farmers. "I have met with farmers, and they sometimes have severe damage," said Dave Risley, the wildlife division’s executive administrator of wildlife management and research.

A Cornell University report says deer damage to crops and motor vehicles annually exceeds $2 billion, including $1.1 billion in damage to crops, timber and landscape plantings. In 2005, crashes involving deer killed nine people and injured 941 others on state roads, the State Highway Patrol reported this year.

The state has maintained a pre-hunting-season herd of about 600,000 for the past several years. A significant reduction in the herd won’t sit well with some wildlife enthusiasts, especially some hunters.

"We would not support" the farm bureau proposal, said Larry Mitchell Sr., a deer hunter and president of the League of Ohio Sportsmen, an umbrella organization for scores of hunting, fishing and conservation groups.

Not only would reducing the herd by such proportions be difficult, it also isn’t likely to solve many farmers’ troubles, which are local, Risley said.

"One of the problems is, (the farm bureau) gets too hung up on statewide population numbers," Risley said. "We don’t really have a statewide population policy. We adjust by county."

Deer-hunting regulations divide the state into zones. As many as three deer may be taken each season in deer-heavy counties, and additional deer may be taken in certain urban areas, including Franklin and southern Delaware counties.

Maryland has tried to deal with an increasing deer population by increasing the bag limit. Hunters there are allowed to kill more of the animals than ever before — up to three dozen apiece.

Ohio regulations encourage the killing of does, a strategy to keep the deer population in check. Further, the wildlife division issues special permits that allow landowners to eradicate nuisance deer outside the hunting season.

As the deer population in Ohio has grown from a relative handful of animals 60 years ago, bag limits have been liberalized and seasons extended to allow more hunting, but nothing like in Maryland.

Farm bureau members aren’t satisfied.

"We’re not sure we have it under control," Stimpert said. "What is the right number of deer needs to be determined." Yet the state’s sportsmen seem unlikely to agree that 250,000 is the right number.

About 500,000 hunters, an increasing number of whom come from other states, are expected to take about 210,000 deer this year. The state extended shotgun hunting by two days this year — this Saturday and Sunday. The statewide muzzleloader season will be Dec. 27-30, and archery season remains open until Feb. 4.

Cutting the herd in half likely would discourage hunters or send them elsewhere as they vie for fewer deer. In recent years, one deer has been harvested for about every 2 1 /2 permits sold, a ratio that has been improving steadily for hunters since the lean times of 1965, when one in 31 hunters was successful.

The wildlife division estimates that deer hunting generates $266 million annually. Stimpert said he is aware that deer attract hunters and their dollars.

"The question is, what is the population level that can still attract hunters?" he said. "How can we grow that side of it and yet have some control of the population? "

Risley said the division looks for ways to minimize damage by wildlife, particularly by deer, because they are large, hungry and numerous in some areas. But changing land use in the state since World War II has helped create prime deer habitat.

The proliferation of small parcels developed for housing and off limits to both hunting and agriculture create deer nurseries. About 250,000 Ohioans live on or own 10 acres or less within the state’s forested deer country, Risley said. Farmers with deer problems could be helped significantly if such land, often posted with no-hunting or notrespassing signs, could be made accessible to hunters with guns or bows.

Mike Budzik, a former wildlife chief who lobbies for sportsmen’s issues, said it’s unclear whether a solution will be found, but he noted that the farm bureau and the wildlife division have worked out compromises before. It appears that the bureau is sending a "friendly shot across the bow," he said, indicating it might be time to revisit the deer issue. And the bureau is too influential to ignore, he said.

"They are the E.F. Hutton of lobby groups in Ohio," he said. "When the farm bureau speaks, legislators listen."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

INDIANA NEWS: Successful Cull at Indiana Dunes State Park

Rooney's note: Indiana Dunes SP is 3.4 square miles, so the cull translates to 24 deer per square mile removed. Wow! Also note at the end of the article that the park manager states he was impressed with hunters' knowledge of overgrazing problems. This is progress

Hunters remove 84 from herd at Dunes State Park.


Hunters at Indiana Dunes State Park took nearly twice as many deer this year than they did last year.

"It shows us the population has rebounded," said Brandt Baughman, property manager for the park.

Hunters removed a total of 84 deer from the herd during hunts on Nov. 12 and 13 and Monday and Tuesday.

Of the 84 deer taken during this year's hunt, 31 were removed Monday and Tuesday.

"That's a pretty significant number, considering we had 48 over the four days back in 2005," Baughman said.

Hunting is banned in state parks except for when studies show it is necessary because of overgrazing of plants. Hunters must apply to participate and be approved by the state. Baughman said 100 were approved for Indiana Dunes State Park hunts this year.

Baughman said 58 hunters participated in the hunt on Monday and 30 on Tuesday.

"That's not too bad, especially considering many of these hunters were drawn for both hunts," he said. "The first two days were rainy and the second were cold and terribly windy. The real challenge for the hunters was how wet everything is from the extremely wet fall. If it wasn't wet, it was ice."

Baughman said he was impressed with hunters' knowledge of overgrazing problems at the park and their respect for their role in thinning the herd.

"We have these orientations where the hunters come in and they are definitely concerned and want to help," he said. "That's exactly what I saw when they came to the park for the hunts and we really appreciate that."

CALIFORNIA NEWS: Culling Exotic Deer at Point Reyes

The days of non-native deer populations in the Point Reyes National Seashore are officially numbered.

A National Park Service plan to kill off fallow and axis deer by a combination of contraception and shooting has been approved and entered into the Federal Register. The deer - which biologists say have run roughshod over the park's ecosystem - will be eliminated by 2021 under the plan.

"We will now get a group of people together to begin to talk about how to implement the program," said John Dell'Osso, Point Reyes National Seashore spokesman. "Nothing will start until next year."

The plan to shoot the deer has been controversial, and groups such as the Marin Humane Society vow to keep fighting the plan.

"The decision may be in the books, but our work will continue to save the animals," said Diane Allevato, executive director of the humane society. "There is strong community opposition to this decision and a lot can happen in the 15 years the park service is saying it will take to remove the deer. It's not over for us."

Some female deer will be rounded up with use of a helicopter, then injected with a drug that will keep them from becoming pregnant. The park service will hire a company to shoot the rest of the deer.

The park service has a $750,000 budget for the project. A timeline has not been set.
The park service will donate the venison and hides to nonprofit or charity organizations. A California condor recovery program and food banks have expressed interest in the meat, and American Indian groups are interested in the pelts.

John Jarvis, director of the National Park Service's Pacific West region, gave the plan his approval in October and it was published in the Federal Register last week.

The issue has sparked years of debate. More than 2,000 written and oral comments were presented during recent testimony on the issue as the plan was reviewed.

Two types of non-native deer - which live up to 20 years - roam the 100-square-mile Point Reyes National Seashore: fallow deer, native to Europe and the Mediterranean; and axis deer, native to India and southern Asia.

In the 1940s, the species were purchased by a West Marin land owner from the San Francisco Zoo, which had an excess of the animals. The land owner then released the animals on his property for hunting. When his land later became part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, which was established in 1962, hunting ceased. Those that survived began to re-populate in the area.

Today, there are 300 axis deer and about 1,000 fallow deer. The latter's population has doubled since 2003.

Fallow deer were once concentrated in the central part of the seashore but are now found throughout the park. Their range has been documented eastward, beyond the park's borders. They have been seen on nearby private property and state parklands. If the migration continues, management of the species could become difficult, park officials say.

Park biologists are concerned the non-natives might out-muscle native black-tail deer and tule elk for food, water and cover. The non-natives also can carry disease.

The animals eat 5 to 10 percent of their body weight a day, taking in a ton of forage daily, food that otherwise would be available to native deer. Rabbits, rodents and other animals are affected, too, and officials see ridding the area of deer as the best way to balance nature.

Until 1994, the deer populations were kept in check by shooting by park officials. The deer meat was given to charitable organizations. But that practice stopped when the park service said it wanted to study the situation.

Since then, the non-native deer populations have gone uncontrolled.

MINNESOTA NEWS: Three Deer With One Bullet

By Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota's firearms deer season was almost over, and Chris Olsen of Two Harbors needed to get his venison. One shot changed his season in a big way.

Olsen killed three deer with the same bullet from his 8-millimeter Mauser.

Olsen, 50, was hunting on his property about 15 miles north of Two Harbors late in the afternoon Nov. 17. Two deer that Olsen described as yearlings (1 1/2-year-olds) walked in to check out a scent cloth he had put out. He was going to shoot one of the yearlings, when a doe appeared. It approached the yearlings at the scent cloth, which was about 60 yards from Olsen's stand.

"I thought, `I'm going to have to shoot her. It's desperate times,' " Olsen said.

He was shooting the 8-millimeter Mauser he had bought from a friend about a year ago, he said. It's a German military rifle, he said.

Olsen shot the doe with a single shot, and all three deer bounded away. Olsen thought he might have missed.

Later, his brother Lee Olsen of Two Harbors joined him. They found the doe a short distance away and field-dressed her.

"By George, we got done with her, and there was another one," Olsen said. "I thought, `Wow, two deer with one shot.' "

The two men field-dressed the yearling and retired to their deer shack for the night. The next morning, Chris Olsen got to thinking, and he went back to where he had found the doe and the yearling.

"We retraced our steps, and my gosh, there's a drop of blood," he said.

Olsen found the third deer - the second yearling - not far away. All three deer had fallen within 50 yards of each other, Olsen said. The bullet had passed completely through the first two deer and a piece of it had lodged in the third deer.

"I couldn't believe it. It's absolutely unbelievable," Olsen said.

Olsen had tags to legally take all three deer. He was checked later in the hunt by Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Kipp Duncan of Two Harbors. Duncan wasn't surprised when Olsen told him he had taken three deer. But he was surprised when Olsen told him he had taken all three with a single shot.

Olsen is happy.

"We got venison," he said.

WISCONSIN NEWS: Audit of Deer Census Techniques Concluded

Rooney's note: Will this satisfy the subpopulation of hunters who think the DNR can't count deer? Probably not--look for another taxpayer-funded audit in 6-10 years.

A scientific panel says that when it comes to counting deer, the state DNR is doing a pretty accurate job.

The deer estimates the DNR issues are often greeted with skepticism by hunters who say the agency is over estimating.

But preliminary results from the study panel from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada show the DNR’s estimate is the best available, given the current understanding of the species.

The DNR estimated there were about 1.7 million deer in the state herd going into this fall's hunt.

Friday, December 01, 2006

OHIO NEWS: Deer-Vehicle Collisions Decline as Deer Population Declines

Friday, December 01, 2006, Matt Zapotosky, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Dale Stacker’s GMC Canyon smashed into the deer at 68 mph and became slightly airborne when the animal slid under the truck. This crash is one of 15,525 deer-vehicle crashes reported in Ohio this year. The number typically spikes from October through December, when deer are on the move in search of mates.

But the annual number has been decreasing since 2003 and is on pace to drop again this year. There were 24,153 deer-vehicle crashes at this time last year, compared with 26,229 for the comparable period in 2004, the Ohio Department of Public Safety said.

The drop might be because of increased driver awareness and a decrease in the fall deer population, down from an estimated 700,000 in 2004 to 600,000 this year, Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials said. They attribute that decrease to allowing some hunters to kill up to three deer, two of which must be females, each hunting season, said department spokeswoman Lindsay Deering.

The three-kill area started with 26 counties in southeastern Ohio in 2004 and now encompasses 38 counties. That includes Franklin, which ranked seventh in the state last year for deer-vehicle crashes, with 533.

The number of deer that hunters kill each season has been relatively stable in recent years, but because more than 50 percent of hunters’ kills are does, the population continues to decline, said Dan Huss, the District 1 manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.

Stacker, a 57-year-old deer hunter from Utica, said he has hit five deer in the past five years and has a hard time believing that deer herds are more controlled.

He said hunting is not a totally effective way to control the deer population because most hunters want the one buck they are allowed to kill each hunting season, not the doe that increases the deer population when she breeds.

The declining accident numbers might be misleading because many drivers do not report crashes with deer, said state wildlife biologist Mike Tonkovich.

Stacker’s crash Oct. 15 was the second one he reported. In three previous crashes, the damage was about $300 each time, and he fixed the vehicle himself. This time, facing a $6,000 bill to repair the wrecked driver’s side, Stacker decided he needed to go to his insurance company with proof of his accident.

Though the number of deer crashes in Ohio appears to be declining, the state ranks fourth in the nation in deercrash insurance claims filed with State Farm Insurance, said State Farm spokesman Brian Maze.

Monday, November 27, 2006

MISSOURI NEWS: A Record Deer Harvest

Good weather and an abundance of deer enabled hunters to shoot a record number of deer during Missouri's regular firearms deer season Nov. 11 through 21.

The Missouri Department of Conservation recorded 235,054 deer taken during the November portion of the firearms deer season. That is up 29,594 (14.4 percent) from last year and 12,725 (5.7 percent) from the previous record, set in 2004.

The record harvest was something of a surprise, because this year's opening weekend harvest was down by 8,865 (6.7 percent) compared to 2004.

The record deer harvest is good news for several reasons, said Hansen. "We needed a strong harvest to maintain deer numbers at optimum levels, and we got it. A lot of deer hunters had the thrill of seeing deer and putting meat in the freezer. The strong harvest will help out Share the Harvest, too."

Approximately 475,000 people hunt deer with firearms in Missouri each year. Following are the annual November firearms deer harvest figures for the past 15 years.

2005 - 205,460
2004 - 222,329
2003 - 207,516
2002 - 217,435
2001 - 205,867
2000 - 201,165
1996 - 180,395
1997 - 186,562
1998 - 194,670
1999 - 175,925
1995 - 187,406
1994 - 163,468
1993 - 156,704
1992 - 150,873
1991 - 149,112

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TENNESSEE NEWS: Harvest Up 11% Overall

The deer harvest during Tennessee's 2006 opening weekend of regular gun season was down substantially from 2005. Opening weekend in 2005 gun hunters took 26,559 deer. Opening weekend this year gun hunters took 22,969 deer... a 14% decrease.

However TWRA Big Game Biologist Daryl Ratajczak points out a very good reason for the decline in gun harvest. It all comes down to the success of folks who took part in the earlier muzzleloader hunts.

Due to extremely hot, dry weather conditions the opening weekend of the 2005 muzzleloader season yielded only 11,732 deer. This year however, muzzleloader hunters took 19,634 deer... a huge 67% increase.

Ratajczak says, "there were simply more deer available to the regular gun hunters last year because there were so few killed during the muzzleloader season." He points out that "if you combine the two openers (muzzleloader and gun) our harvest is actually up." Between the two openers in 2005 hunters took a combined 38,291 deer. In 2006 the two openers add up to 42,603 ... an 11% increase.

OHIO NEWS: Record Bow Harvest in 2006

Ohio's deer gun season opens Monday and continues through Dec. 3, with the Division of Wildlife expecting 475,000 deer hunters to take to the field during that week.

Estimates are 600,000 deer roam Ohio's woodlands, and the DOW expects roughly 200,000 of those deer will be harvested by the close of deer season. Ohio will also have a second deer gun season the weekend of Dec. 16-17.

Bowhunters have had a good year, in addition to tagging some of the largest whitetails in the nation this season, bowhunters have taken a record 45,733 deer through the first six weeks of bow season in the Buckeye State.

KENTUCKY NEWS: On Target For Record Harvest

Deer hunters are likely to set another record for harvest this year, and if they don't establish a new record, in most areas of the state the number of deer taken should exceed last year. Hunters had taken more than 91,000 deer through this past weekend.

Conditions have been right for hunters to take a record number of white-tailed deer this season. While gun season ends this week, archery and muzzleloading seasons remain.

"Because of the mild winter and wet spring, we had a large number of healthy fawns this year," said Tina Brunjes, big game coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "The potential is there to exceed the (record) 2004 harvest, if the weather cooperates."

Kentucky's deer herd has an estimated 900,000 animals, an all-time high. Hunters took a record 124,000 deer in 2004, but the harvest dropped to 112,000 last season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MISSOURI NEWS: Opening Weekend Bests 2005 Season

State officials reported that 124,254 deer were harvested over the opening weekend of gun season throughout Missouri. The total kill was up considerably from that of last year, which saw 106,550 deer harvested statewide during the opening weekend.

So far the Missouri Department of Conservation has given out more than 500,000 deer tags this year to residents and nonresidents. The aim is to help bring the state deer population down. The total is well over a million.

WISCONSIN NEWS: Big Kill Opening Weekend

The Department of Natural Resources reports today that preliminary counts show hunters killed 167,573 deer during the first two days of the season -- up about 6500 from a year ago. Wildlife officials say 72,245 bucks and 95,328 antlerless deer were registered.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

INDIANA NEWS: Hunts in State Parks Underway

Rooney notes: The 66 deer killed in the 200 acre park translates to over 210 deer per square mile--actual densities were much higher! Good Lord!

LIBERTY, Ind. -- Hunters killed 66 deer Monday during the first day of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources-approved hunt at Whitewater Memorial State Park.

Eighty-five hunters registered and took to the blinds and woods of the 200-acre park.

DNR officials sanctioned hunts in 18 state parks this year in an effort to thin the deer herds that eat much of the park's vegetation.

Hunting continues between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Dec. 3 and 4. The park is closed those days.

DNR officials said if 55 deer were killed during the four-day hunt, another hunt would be planned for next year. If that number had not been attained, officials would not have had another hunt in the state park until 2008.

Last year, hunters killed 90 deer in the park.

Hunters were selected by random drawing from applications filed earlier this year.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


This comes to us from the Newtown Bee Newspaper (Connecticut). Nice job!

Increasing awareness of the overpopulation of deer in Connecticut has given rise to many misconceptions and "urban myths" about deer, their role in the spread of Lyme disease, and in the destruction of native woodlands. As a member community of the Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, Newtown benefits from the expertise of its members and has hosted talks on the subject of Lyme disease and deer management through local organizations including the Rotary and Kevin's Community Center.

QUESTION: Isn't Lyme disease spread by white footed mice, not deer?

ANSWER: Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is carried by the deer tick. While it is true that the bacteria is introduced into the tick by the white footed mouse, it is the white-tailed deer that is responsible for the increasing number of deer ticks. Without deer the tick cannot reproduce as it requires a large blood meal from a white tail deer. The deer is the host of choice for the adult tick. Each deer can carry about 500 ticks. Each adult female tick can lay 3,000 eggs. Programs carried out in Maine and Connecticut show conclusively that when deer numbers are reduced sufficiently, Lyme disease is reduced dramatically. Other animals do not substitute for the deer. (Kilpatrick and LaBonte 2003)

QUESTION: Why don't we use contraception to control deer populations?

ANSWER: A $5 million experimental program funded by the New Jersey League of Municipalities has recently been dropped due to failure. The contraceptive tested, at a cost of $1,000 per doe, did not work. There is no contraceptive available.

For now and for the foreseeable future there is no tested contraceptive that actually works on wild deer. If and when it becomes available the drugs will only keep the herd from growing; they will not reduce the size of an existing herd.

QUESTION: Are there more deer-car accidents during the hunting season because hunters scare deer onto the roads?

ANSWER: No. Most deer-vehicle accidents happen after dark or before daybreak when there are no hunters out. There are more deer-vehicle accidents on Sundays (when there is no hunting at all) than Saturdays. Hunting season and the annual deer rut (mating season) coincide in late fall. During the rut, deer are energized by the mating instinct and often cross roads while pursuing does or being pursued by bucks. Also the shorter days during fall and winter mean that high traffic occurs at dawn and dusk when more deer are moving around.

No scientific data supports the claim that hunting activity increases the rate of deer-vehicle accidents. Instead, a review of data provided by the Department of Transportation supports the fact that vehicular traffic patterns influence deer vehicle accidents. Removing deer through hunting or other deer management techniques is an effective method to reduce deer populations, which will result in fewer deer-vehicle accidents.

QUESTION: If you start culling deer, is it true that the remaining deer will just start giving birth to more fawns than usual?

No, this only occurs if the deer population is so stressed by starvation that their birth rates are depressed prior to culling. Following a cull of the population, birth rates would return to normal causing population recovery. This does not apply in the case of our deer control programs since the deer populations are still healthy and increasing. Deer reproduction in our region remains a constant 1.77 fawns per doe per year according to deer biologists.

QUESTION: Which is more dangerous, hunting or Lyme disease?

ANSWER: Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities. All hunters must pass many hours of safety instruction before they can obtain a license. There have been no nonhunter injuries in the history of controlled deer management hunts in Connecticut. There were more than 40,000 new cases of physician confirmed Lyme disease in Connecticut alone in 2002. There are also untold numbers of undiagnosed cases of Lyme that go on to develop serious cardiac, neurological, and arthritic complications. The number increases every year. There are also an average of 100 deer-vehicle accidents per town in Fairfield County each year adding to the dangers of excess deer.

QUESTION: Isn't the understory of the forest being destroyed by the canopy of mature trees and not by the deer?

ANSWER: No, the natural cycle of the forest is for mature trees to drop seeds to reseed the forest. This new growth is protected by the forest canopy from the drying sun during their early growth period. The deer, however, are selectively eating these young seedlings and wildflowers. We cannot blame this lack of understory on the "maturing forest" and "natural succession" as some would have us believe. According to forestry experts at Yale, these Fairfield County woods are not mature woodlands; they are intermediate in their development and would require at least another 50 years of growth to reach the stage of maturity that might cause loss of diversity due to dense shading of the forest floor. There is also evidence from forest and wildlife experts at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station that deer are helping in the spread of invasive plants such as Japanese Barberry.

QUESTION: Is there any risk of reducing deer so low that they become endangered?

ANSWER: It is not the goal of Connecticut deer management programs to reduce the deer to critically low numbers. Further, it has become so difficult now to reduce deer numbers in Fairfield County because of lack of access to land and lack of local hunters that it may be hard to achieve adequate reduction of deer numbers, let alone go too far. Population reduction would obviously stop if numbers reached the ideal level of 10 to 12 deer per square mile. A maintenance plan would then be implemented that might include contraception if an effective one became available.

QUESTION: Why not just spray the yard for ticks or kill ticks on deer using the "4-poster device"?

ANSWER: The tick killing chemicals used are toxic to children, the environment, and water supply unless used very carefully. The 4-poster device (used to spread tick killing chemicals onto the heads of feeding deer) is at risk of spreading chronic wasting disease (CWD) through the deer herd by attracting groups of deer to feed at the corn feeder. CWD is a fatal slow virus disease similar to mad cow disease and has recently been shown (Science: October 6, 2006) to be spread through deer saliva, which is an obvious risk at communal feeding stations such as the 4-poster device. Furthermore, the deer are causing more problems than Lyme disease alone. Killing ticks will not stop destruction of the forest nor deer-vehicle accidents.

This information is provided as a service by the municipally appointed volunteer members of the 16-town Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, which aims to promote regional approaches to the multiple problems of deer overpopulation. For more details on these topics, sources and graphs, and for more FAQs on deer management go to www.deeralliance.com.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WISCONSIN OPINION: Studies and Audits Will Not Affect Hunters' Opinion

Rooney's note: Pat Durkin slam-dunked this one. For most people, the validity of the science is based on whether or not it is congruent with their pre-existing beliefs or biases. These expensive studies will have zero effect on the hunting public's opinion of the DNR's deer management program or the quality of deer density estimates.

Sometime before or soon after the state's traditional nine-day gun season opens on Nov. 18, we'll be treated to the findings of two high-profile studies involving Wisconsin's ever-popular white-tailed deer.

One study is by the Legislative Audit Bureau, which analyzed Wisconsin's costly efforts to control chronic wasting disease.

The other is by a panel of noted national deer biologists, who analyzed the Department of Natural Resources' deer census methods.

We're all eager to read the reports, but here's a certainty: A year from now, about 40 percent of deer hunters will be unhappy. Many will claim there are no deer where they hunt. Just as many will say "the DNR is killing way too many deer" where they hunt.

Another certainty? Neither survey addresses the obvious: How do we kill too many deer if they aren't there, year after year?

The fact is, about 40 percent of deer hunters have cried wolf since 1930.

This is mere recreational griping. Yet politicians and the Natural Resources Board forever spend money on redundant studies, foolishly assuming malcontents hunger for knowledge.

A more useful study might ask: Why do political leaders respond to nonsense? Is it the malcontents' persistence? Their repetition? Their passion?

Is there a psychiatrist in the house?

If our leaders studied the past 75 years of Wisconsin deer hunting, they might concede it's too crazy to comprehend or change. They might then tell the DNR: "Hey, sorry for the misunderstanding. Here's the keys to a rubber room. I have schools to fund, businesses to rescue and air and water to cleanse. Do what you must."

Too harsh? Maybe, but just because some deer hunters have mastered the tantrum doesn't mean we must honor it.

Wisconsin has so many whitetails that in 2005, we shot more bucks on opening day of gun season, 74,880, than the combined buck-antlerless kills during the entire nine-day seasons in 1970, 72,844; 1971, 70,835; and 1972, 74,827.

Further, on opening day, the combined 2005 buck-antlerless kill was 138,608 deer. That one-day kill is more than any single year's regular-season total from 1930 through 1979, when we registered 125,570 deer. The 1980 nine-day kill was 139,624.

Now let's look at Wisconsin's 2005 opening weekend, in which the buck-antlerless kill was 195,735. Just so we're clear, that's almost 200,000 dead deer in two days. We killed a similar total, 197,600, during the nine-day season in 1983, which was a record harvest.

For fun, let's ignore the opening-weekend harvest from last year and just compare the season's final seven-day kill, which was 111,193. Only three times from 1930 through 1974 did Wisconsin deer hunters shoot more deer during the nine-day gun season. Since 1975, when we registered 117,378 deer, we've stayed far above 110,000.

In case you didn't notice, we haven't even discussed the other deer seasons. During 2005, we also killed 78,450 deer during archery season, 53,127 during the October and December gun seasons and 8,553 during muzzleloading season.

Those totals came during a year when the traditional gun season ranked only seventh all-time. For further perspective, 2005 also was one of 14 seasons during the past 17 in which gun hunters registered more than 300,000 deer.

Think about that: All those hunting opportunities and all those millions of bloody carcass tags, and yet a 2005 DNR survey found 44 percent of deer hunters think agency biologists overestimate the herd.

The 2005 survey also found 36 percent of deer hunters rated their hunt's quality as "fairly low" or "very low," and 42 percent rated their satisfaction 6 or lower on a 10-point scale.

And rational people question the supremacy of self-pity and mudslinging?

One would think politicians understand the power of negativity and would not allow the 40-percenters to frustrate the other 60 percent of deer hunters.

Then again, maybe our leaders view the 40-percenters as kindred spirits.

Patrick Durkin is a free-lance writer who covers outdoors for the Press-Gazette. E-mail him at patrickdurkin@charter.net

Thursday, October 26, 2006

RESEARCH NEWS: CWD Spread Through Saliva

Deer probably spread a brain-destroying illness called chronic wasting disease through their saliva, concludes a study that finally pins down a long-suspected culprit.

The key was that Colorado researchers tested some special deer.

Chronic wasting disease is in the same family of fatal brain illnesses as mad cow disease and its human equivalent. There is no evidence that people have ever caught chronic wasting disease from infected deer or elk.

But CWD is unusual because, unlike its very hard-to-spread relatives, it seems to spread fairly easily from animal to animal.

Scientists were not sure how, primarily because studying large wild animals is a logistical nightmare. The sheer stress of researchers handling a deer caught in the wild could kill it.

Likewise, animals deliberately exposed to infections must be kept indoors so as not to spread disease, another stress for deer used to roaming.

So Colorado State University researcher Edward Hoover turned to fawns hand-raised indoors in Georgia, which has not experienced chronic wasting disease.

"This allows you to do this safely so the deer aren't freaking out," explained Hoover, who reported the first evidence of saliva's long-suspected role in a recent edition of the journal Science. "These deer are calm and approachable."

Hoover took saliva from wild Colorado deer found dying of CWD, and squirted it into the mouths of three of the healthy tame deer -- about 3 tablespoons worth.

Additional tame deer were exposed to blood, urine and feces from CWD-infected deer.

He housed the newly exposed deer in a specialized lab for up to 18 months, periodically checking tonsil tissue for signs of infection and eventually autopsying their brains.

All of the saliva-exposed deer got sick.

So did deer given a single transfusion of blood from a CWD-infected deer -- not a surprise, as blood is known to transmit this disease's cousins. But it does reinforce existing warnings to hunters in states where CWD has been found to take precautions in handling their kills.

The three deer exposed to urine and feces didn't get sick. That doesn't rule out those substances, Hoover cautioned; he simply may not have tested enough animals.

Proving that saliva is able to spread CWD is important, so that scientists next can determine exactly how that happens in the wild, said Richard T. Johnson, a Johns Hopkins University neurology professor who headed a major report on prion science.

"You can move deer out of a pasture, put other deer into the pasture, and they'll come down with the disease. It's not even casual contact, it's contact with the pasture," Johnson said. "It must be something in their secretions."

Is it spread through shared salt licks? Or by drooling onto grass or into streams? Studying environmental contamination by infectious proteins, called prions, that cause CWD is among Hoover's next steps.

"It's very likely they could be shedding a lot of saliva," shortly before death, noted Richard Race, a veterinarian who studies CWD at the National Institutes of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratories. "Saliva's a good bet."


Associated Press

The state Department of Natural Resources appears to be ready to modify its approach toward chronic wasting disease after five years of trying to eliminate the fatal brain ailment from Wisconsin's deer herd.

According to a briefing for the Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the DNR, an assessment by DNR staffers and other specialists caused the DNR to conclude the approach should be one of containing the disease, then working to control and eliminate it.

The DNR's initial strategy when the disease was first found in the Mount Horeb area in 2002 was to kill enough deer in that area to eliminate the disease.

But a nearly $27 million effort since then has not wiped out the disease.

It remains centered in the region west of Madison in parts of Dane and Iowa counties but also has appeared in other spots across southern Wisconsin, including northern Walworth County.

The DNR says in a memo that it still favors killing a large number of deer, using "nontraditional and, potentially, controversial methods" if necessary.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

OKLAHOMA NEWS: Deer Versus Farmers

Deer take toll on farmers' crops

Good habitat and high population add up to big losses

By Mark Parker

Sixty-odd years ago, there was hardly a whitetail deer left in Oklahoma and a restoration program was initiated to rebuild the herd.

Looking out across a nearly bare patch of Verdigris River bottom ground near Claremore, Charles Coblentz would tell you that the program has been successful.

Maybe a little too successful.

It’s a soybean field or, rather, it’s supposed to be a soybean field that he’s looking at. The rich ground was planted to soybeans after wheat but, today, you’d have to get down on your hands and knees to find an occasional 3-inch nubbin of something that’s trying in vain to produce a soybean.

Deer have devastated that 35-acre field and more. Coblentz, who farms in Rogers, Mayes and Wagoner counties with his son, Charlie, figures the deer have wiped out about 135 acres at the Claremore farm - and that doesn’t count many more acres where deer nibbled away yields at the edges of other fields.

Back to the east in Mayes County near Salina, Okla., farmer Mack Hayes surveys his newly established 3-acre vineyard where the whitetails have robbed him of a year’s growth.

“It takes three years to get the vines to produce and we just lost a year,” he says with disgust, elaborating on the costs of wells, pumps, irrigation equipment and the plants themselves.

The deer, he adds, also wiped out 350 tomato plants and an acre of watermelons - in one night.

“We used to get some deer damage but nothing like this,” said Hayes, who used to operate a dairy on the farm where he’s lived his whole life.

Head north into Kansas and you’ll hear plenty of similar stories. Near Prescott, farmer Ed Samyn fights an ongoing battle with deer. He estimates that deer will claim 10 bushels of soybeans per acre at his place this year, taking his expected yields from about 30 bushels to about 20.

“We’ve had a problem for years, but it’s gotten a lot worse,” Samyn said. “It might be a little tougher this year because it’s been dry but the deer problem just seems to get worse all the time.”

Deer seem particularly fond of soybeans although corn after it hits the roasting ear stage is also a target, as are several other crops.

A small amount of deer-inflicted damage is common on most farms but for those near good whitetail habitat, the damage can be staggering.

Of course farmers aren’t the only people affected by deer. It’s estimated that there are 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the United States, causing $1.1 billion in damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If you talk to game officials in Oklahoma or Kansas, they’ll tell you that the whitetail population in both states is stable but they will admit that there are problem areas.

The primary solution offered is to issue depredation tags, which allow the landowner to kill a certain number of antlerless deer out of season. In both Kansas and Oklahoma, a game official will visit the farm to verify the problem and then issue the permit - usually for five to 10 deer at a time.

Captain Jeff Brown of Nowata, district chief for the Oklahoma Wildlife Department, said the program can be effective.

“We want to be good neighbors and we recognize that deer can cause a lot of problems for farmers in some areas,” he said. “We want to work with those people to solve the problem.”

In some of those cases, though, it appears that deer numbers are so overwhelming that the extra hunting has little or no impact on the problem.

Charles and Charlie Coblentz are farmers with more than enough acres to keep them busy. Since they have no desire to hunt, they have leased hunting rights on the field near Claremore.

“We’ve been able to make some money off the hunting leases but it’s not enough to offset the crop losses and it hasn’t taken care of the problem,” Charles Coblentz said. “There have been 120 deer killed on this place in two and a half seasons and I’ve still never been out here without seeing several deer.

“One evening Charlie counted 45 while he was planting wheat and another night the game warden said he counted 110 and never made it all the way to the back of the place - there are just too many of them.”

Both Hayes and Samyn can tell similar stories and it would be no trouble to come up with a lengthy list of farmers whose crops are being eaten by deer.

A common point is that, although deer, like all wildlife, are owned by the public at large, it is individual farmers who provide the majority with food and shelter.

As Mack Hayes put it, “Wildlife rides on the back of the farmer.”

Some game officials say that the deer population is not out of control and point out that lease hunting has become an important source of income for many farmers.

It is clear, however, that deer are a serious problem for a good many agricultural producers.

There probably isn’t a single reason for the situation. Some people point to the trend of city folk buying up pasture land and letting it go back to brush to provide deer habitat.

Some observe that hunters these days tend to be more interested in antlers than meat and, as a result, the number of does living long productive lives throws the population out of balance.

Others aren’t all that interested in the cause but they are very interested in finding a solution. Many landowners and operators would like to see a dramatic increase in the number of doe tags issued. Some would even like to see a requirement that buck hunters also take a doe or two.

Mack Hayes, in fact, is circulating a petition aimed at getting Oklahoma state government to extend the hunting season for antlerless deer and/or provide financial assistance for protective fencing.

“I’m not mad at the game people,” he said. “They have been more than cordial and they’ve done what they can to help but they can only do what the law allows them to do. They could give me a permit to kill all the deer I wanted to and I don’t think it would make a difference. We need management. We need control. We need help from Oklahoma City.”

In the meantime, farmers already facing a long list of potential calamities - from drought, hail and flooding to unpredictable markets - will keep whitetail deer in their sights as one more problem to deal with.

Mark Parker writes for Farm Talk in Parsons, Kan.

Friday, October 13, 2006

IOWA NEWS: Hunting on Campus-University of Iowa

For the first time, sharpshooting will be allowed on the University of Iowa campus this winter.

Last year, UI officials did not allow sharpshooting anterless deer on their west campus, the area west of Finkbine Golf Course along Melrose Avenue, because authorization by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources didn't coincide with UI's winter break schedule, said Kathryn Johansen, administrative assistant to the city manager.

"They were concerned that the students would be on campus," said Johansen, who also assists the city's Deer Task Force.

The last day of UI's fall semester is Dec. 15 and spring classes reconvene Jan. 16, 2007.

"We were assured that there was no danger related to people in the area," UI director of campus and facilities management Rod Lehnertz said. "I know that the city, in working with this program, is exceptionally careful about the planning. There's no doubt to the UI that the situation will be completely ... one, organized, and two, safe."

The sharpshooting will de done by Tony DeNicola of White Buffalo Inc. The Hamden, Conn.-based non-profit wildlife management firm has been working with the city since 1999. Iowa City became the first and only community in the state in 1999 to manage its deer population through sharpshooting.

City manager Steve Atkins said efforts to keep the city's deer population down have been limited until now.

"The issue has been that we had received a number of requests from residents, but we weren't able to accommodate them because we couldn't shoot on UI property," Atkins said.

As in previous years, sharpshooting will take place within city limits, including North Dubuque Street, North Dodge Street, Rochester Avenue, the Peninsula area near Foster Road and Scott Boulevard. Areas west of Finkbine Golf Course and areas east of Clear Creek, which has portions falling under UI and Coralville jurisdictions, had been forbidden in the past.

However, Southgate Development does not allow sharpshooting west of the Walnut Ridge subdivision, which is west of Camp Cardinal Boulevard.

"That greatly hampers our ability to remove deer in the Walnut Ridge area, but hopefully UI access will cover some of that," DeNicola said.

DeNicola said he didn't know how many deer would be killed on UI property.

Last year, the DNR recommended that 192 anterless deer be killed to meet the goal of having less than 30 deer per square mile in one year.

Unless given permission, DeNicola and his crew cannot be any closer than 150 feet of an occupied structure -- a home or garage -- when they shoot.

Meat from the deer kill will be processed and distributed to charitable groups and the public.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

INDIANA NEWS: Hunt Scheduled for Indiana Dunes State Park

Hunters will converge on the Indiana Dunes State Park four times before the year is out to thin the overpopulated deer herd there.

According to Russ Grunden, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the deer culls will be Nov. 13 and 14 and Dec. 4 and 5. The park will be closed to visitors during that time, Grunden said.

In general, hunting is forbidden in state parks. But in 1994, the General Assembly passed legislation allowing for controlled hunts at state parks to protect the ecosystems there.

Controlled hunts at the Indiana Dunes State Park began in 1998 when scientists determined certain species of plants there were being depleted or vanishing because of overgrazing by the growing deer herd.

With less food to go around, the deer were also becoming thin and malnourished, sometimes resorting to chewing on tree bark and damaging their teeth.

Since 1998, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has evaluated the need for hunts on an annual basis. Volunteer hunters, who apply to participate in the culls, helped thin the herd in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Last year, the state determined hunts would not be necessary because the park was not being overgrazed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

IOWA NEWS: Ames Residents Oppose Hunting In City Parks

Hundreds of Ames residents are opposing an ordinance allowing bow hunters to kill deer in city parks.

A group of about 10 people calling themselves Ames Citizens for Non-Lethal Urban Deer Management obtained more than 350 signatures on a petition opposing the plan in just five days.

Ames city officials began examining the issue more than a year ago after 36 residents signed a petition in favor of deer management by bow hunting.

An ordinance establishing the city’s first bow hunting season was passed unanimously for the third time on Sept. 26. The opponents want the ordinance repealed.

The season officially opened Oct. 1. So far, only one urban bow hunting permit has been issued, said police Sgt. Brian Braymen. Rising deer-vehicle accidents were used as proof that something needed to be done.

However, Alicia Carriquiry, professor of statistics at Iowa State University, said Iowa Department of Transportation crash data shows that 85 percent of wildlife-vehicle accidents have occurred on the outskirts of the city in the past 10 years.

Conversely, less than four percent of the crashes have occurred near the deer management zones established by the city, she said. “It’s absurd,” said Carriquiry.

The group said other alternatives can be used to reduce deer-vehicle accidents, such as fencing along roads where deer typically cross and more warning signs.

Carriquiry said some petitioners have expressed fear of using parks where bow hunting is now allowed. The city has offered free orange vests to residents and their dogs and has posted informational signs at each park eligible for hunting. “There are some people who are truly, truly scared,” Carriquiry said.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

MICHIGAN NEWS: Outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Hits Deer

By Howard Meyerson
Grand Rapids Press Outdoors Editor

SAUGATUCK -- Dave Engel's gut told him something was wrong when he found four dead deer along a half-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River in August.

A call to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources cued him to the fact that 12 others had been reported upstream.

"We knew instantly that something was wrong," said Engel, the manager of the Pottawatomie Gun Club located along the river between Saugatuck and Richmond.

The 120-year-old private waterfowl hunting club has nearly 2 miles of riverfront on its property. The deer were found floating or along the bank.

Engel didn't anticipate finding 17 more in subsequent weeks, the predictable result of a often fatal viral disease in deer known as epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD.

The infectious disease is carried by a tiny flying midge known as a no-see-um. State officials confirmed the presence of the disease in two deer Tuesday. Officials say they have received 50 reports of dead deer in Manlius and Saugatuck townships along the Rabbit and Kalamazoo rivers.

"They (DNR biologists) had a suspicion that it was EHD before this, but no clinical evidence," said Maria Albright, a wildlife staffer with the Allegan State Game Area.

Albright handled many of the calls about dead deer. Most had decomposed. They were no longer good specimens for the lab. But that changed Sept. 18 when DNR wildlife managers got a call about a deer that someone saw die.

"We were able to get to that deer within a half hour of it dying," Albright said. "It went to the lab the next day and that nailed it." It took two weeks to isolate the EHD virus and make sure it was not a close relative known as bluetongue.

Wildlife officials said the deer's presence along the river fit a classic pattern. The deer were hot with fever and went to the water's edge to drink or lie in it and cool down. Some were simply not strong enough to get up and leave. They died in place or got swept down stream.

"I've witnessed three different deer come to the water, lay down and not get back up," Engel said. "I've found 21 so far. All were along the river. It's a gruesome sight. Every logjam has a deer in it."

EHD causes internal bleeding from different organs and the deer go into shock. The symptoms include a loss of appetite, fear of humans, lack of strength and bleeding.
Studies show 75 percent of the infected deer die within three days of being bitten.

"It's fast and it's a localized event," said John Lerg, a wildlife biologist with the DNR Plainwell office. "We haven't fully mapped the location of all the carcasses, but we expect this will be over with the first frost."

Cold conditions kill the midges that carry the disease. It is not spread from one deer to another, according to Lerg.

Hunters also need not be concerned. Humans are not susceptible to the disease. Standard precautions, however are warranted. Do not shoot or eat a sick deer and wear protective gloves when processing it. The disease is not expected to spread beyond the area.

EHD is common in the U.S. and Canada, but outbreaks do not occur regularly. Michigan had an outbreak in the 1955 in 10 counties, forming a band from Muskegon to Shiawassee, and in 1974 in Gratiot, Iosco, Mecosta, Ingham and Arenac counties. In each case, 100 dead deer were reported.

Monday, October 02, 2006

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Deer Pose Problems at Historic Park

Members of several Pennsylvania communities plan to meet at Valley Forge National Historical Park to discuss the area's growing deer problems.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said the deer population in the area has grown to the point that traffic accidents and garden damage are becoming commonplace, and the meeting would debate whether killing the deer is a necessary evil.

"It's the most difficult issue that our community has ever faced," said Bucks County resident Debbie Plotnick. "Most suburban communities love deer ... People don't realize how hard this is."

At the meeting next month, a proposal allowing limited bow hunting of deer in certain areas is set to be proposed and would likely meet with strong opposition by those who say the deer should be caught and released elsewhere, the Inquirer said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission will hold a hearing Monday to attempt to legalize the use of bait in deer hunting, and the proposition will go to a vote Tuesday, said the Inquirer.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

OREGON NEWS: Lots of Dead Deer, Blue Tongue Virus Suspsected

The Associated Press. LA GRANDE, Ore. (AP) — A virus outbreak is being blamed for an unusually large number of deer found dead in south La Grande.

Ten white-tailed deer and three mule deer have been found dead in the past month, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Blue tongue, a virus that periodically hits deer populations and poses no threat to humans, is the likely culprit, said Jim Cadwell, an ODFW biologist. The disease typically strikes between late August through October and primarily hits whitetails. The outbreaks, which occur during dry years, are related to the abundance of tiny biting flies known as midges.

"When the weather cools the insect is suppressed," Cadwell said. "The cause of the disease is shot down." The ODFW was finding about two dead deer a day in south La Grande until the weather cooled a week ago. Then another dead deer was spotted Monday.

Samples taken from the deer were sent to Oregon State University to be tested. Samples from other deer were not submitted because they were found well after their deaths. Cadwell said biologists need to reach a deer within hours after its death for it to be tested for the virus, which kills by causing internal bleeding.

Dead deer have also been reported at Ladd Marsh this month. Dave Larson, manager of the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, said that a number of people reported seeing dead deer there during a youth pheasant hunt Sept. 9-10.

Monday, September 25, 2006

UK NEWS: Deer Collisions Rise Near Ancient Hunting Reserve

Rising numbers of crashes between deer and vehicles in the Ashdown Forest are set to worsen when the clocks change.

Forest rangers attended 100 crashes in 2000, compared with 215 in 2005, and a group has now been set up to reduce crashes and manage the deer.

Deer travel at dusk which will coincide with rush hour when the clocks change next month, Dr Hew Prendergast said.

The area of heath and woodland on the Kent and Sussex border was established 900 years ago for deer hunting.

Dr Prendergast said the A22 near Forest Row was the worst stretch of road in Britain for deer and vehicle collisions.

The Ashdown Forest now has several thousand Fallow Deer, about 50 Roe Deer, large numbers of Muntjac and a small herd of Sika.

Their growing numbers together with increasing volumes of traffic are thought to have led to a rapid rise in crashes.

The Ashdown Area Deer Group includes East Sussex County Council, the Conservators of Ashdown Forest, the Deer Initiative, the RSPCA, the British Deer Society, the Ministry of Defence and local landowners.

Friday, September 22, 2006

MONTANA NEWS: Task Force Examines Helena Deer Population

By LARRY KLINE - IR Staff Writer - 9/22/06

Jon Ebelt IR Staff Photographer - The deer problem in Helena continues to hang over the heads of government leaders as well as local residents, who often find deer literally at their doorsteps. What would happen if city officials chose to do nothing to corral the growth of Helena’s urban deer herd?

Members of the Urban Wildlife Task Force on Thursday considered that question as part of their analysis of lethal and non-lethal options the city might employ to control the deer population. The group identified one merit in maintaining the status quo — the sight of deer in town is pleasing, members said — and plenty of potential problems.

Outlining issues associated with an unchecked deer herd roaming city streets and backyards allows the group to give the Helena City Commission and the public a clearer picture of possible strategies, state Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Gayle Joslin said. Authorities already manage deer in some ways. FWP wardens and city animal control personnel euthanize injured deer if they cannot walk and move on their own. A city ordinance outlaws feeding deer.

Nothing is being done to control the population, Joslin said, and continuing to allow that unmitigated growth creates a host of issues.

Deer can threaten human safety in several ways. Bucks sometime become aggressive toward people during the fall mating season. Does at times do the same in the spring, when they are protective of their fawns. As the numbers of deer increase, some likely will become more aggressive toward humans, she said, because the animals view people as competitors for resources, such as food and space. They also draw predators like bears and mountain lions into city neighborhoods. More deer also would mean more property damage, more collisions between animals and vehicles, and more health problems for the deer.

In Helena, the animals have been found with viral skin infections, ringworm and growths that blind them or prevent them from eating, Joslin said.

She presented a simple population growth model. Beginning with one buck and one doe, and assuming females would produce one fawn each year, the mating pair would multiply into 120 deer in a decade. Using the same scenario, but assuming every doe gave birth to twins, the original four-legged lovers would produce a herd more than 1,000 strong in 10 years, Joslin said.

Task force member Andrew Jakes said he doesn’t want the herd to outgrow its welcome — a “threshold” of tolerance exists among city residents. Another member, Tom DeYoung, said some citizens already are intolerant of deer. He said he recently witnessed a woman throw a rock at a doe.

The task force also is ironing out questions it will use in a phone survey later this fall. About 400 people will be contacted by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The $10,000 phone survey will be paid for in part by a $7,000 grant from FWP. The task force also has $5,000 in city funds at its disposal.

Some of that money may go to Gene Hickman, a consultant and wildlife biologist, who could be enlisted to determine the size of the city’s herd. In his presentation Thursday, Hickman said he counted 60 deer in the Sixth Ward during a sample survey earlier this week.

The growing population is a relatively new problem. Joslin said the deer population has been noticeably growing for about five years. Some of the dozen bucks euthanized in the city last year were 4-year-olds, and represented some of the oldest males found in the city.

When her father was growing up in Helena, she said, news of a hunter finding a deer track spread fast in the city.

Read more about the herd on the IR’s Deer Diary blog at www.helenair.com/blog/deerdiary.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

IRELAND NEWS: Farmers Back Call for Cull--Cite TB Concerns

The Irish Farmers Association has joined calls for a cull on Donegal's wild deer population. Its Donegal Chairman Keith Roulston claims herds of wild deer could be the source of a recent rise in TB cases in livestock in West Donegal and Inishowen.

Earlier in the week concerns were expressed over damage being caused to property by the animals in West Donegal. But Keith Roulston says the spread of TB is also of major concern.

Monday, September 18, 2006

UK NEWS: Proposal to Ease Laws Against Shooting Deer

MINISTERS are considering making it easier for people to shoot wild deer, which pose a threat to woodland and farming as their numbers mushroom.

Biodiversity minister Barry Gardiner said: "Wild deer populations are damaging some of our most threatened woodland habitats and causing millions of pounds' worth of damage to agriculture. "In addition, They are presenting an increasing hazard on our roads."

Details of the proposed changes, which include a shorter closed season, allowing smaller guns to be used and permitting any reasonable and humane means of killing injured or diseased animals, can be seen by logging on to the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/deer%2Dmanagement/ The consultation period closes on October 24.

IRELAND NEWS: Culling Considered in Dungloe

There have been calls for the authorities to consider a deer cull in the Dungloe area as a result of ongoing damage being caused to property in the area by the animals.

Local Councillor Terence Slowey says at least five cars have been damaged in the Chapel Road area over the last number of weeks. There has been a recorded growth of 30% per year in the number of deer in that area.

Councillor Slowey says one man even awoke to find a deer hammering at his front door in the middle of the night.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

TEXAS NEWS: Deer Dieoff, Hemorragic Disease Suspected

West of Eden, deer are dying. And state wildlife specialists are scrambling to figure out why.

West Texas landowners, in a rough triangle around San Angelo encompassed by the towns of Eden to the east, Ozona to the south and Sterling City to the northwest, have reported an unusual number of dead deer, said Don Davis, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station veterinary pathobiologist.

"While some level of deer mortality is not newsworthy, it looks like we have a hot spot developing for epizootic hemorrhagic disease," said Texas Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist Dale Rollins.

The flyborne disease is similar to an ailment called bluetongue that affects sheep and cattle, but Rollins said it's most common in white-tailed deer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

IOWA NEWS: Urban Hunt in Ames

A new ordinance will allow the hunting of deer by bow and arrow in designated areas of Ames. The Ames City Council approved the deer management ordinance Tuesday night. The ordinance proposed the legal hunting of deer using bow and arrow in zones designated by Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Its purpose is to control animal populations within and around the city of Ames. The ordinance will take effect Oct. 1.

Twelve cities in Iowa already allow deer hunting, and 11 of these cities allow hunting with a bow and arrow. "Every city that has passed this has been very satisfied with it," said Ames Police Chief Loras Jaeger.

All Ames deer hunters must follow a number of rules, including passing a proficiency test and obtaining a special-use permit.

To measure the effectiveness of the ordinance, an annual aerial count will be taken and reported back to the council, Jaeger said.

Although the ordinance was passed, there were concerned community members.

"If you need to control the deer population, there are safer ways to do so," said Wolfgang Kliemann, professor of mathematics and Ames resident.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

MARYLAND NEWS: Exotic Sika Deer Accelerating Beach Erosion

Assateague State Park, famous for its wild ponies, is being overrun by another small, hoofed animal that is eating the plants that hold back beach erosion: sika deer.

To save vegetation, state wildlife managers want to whittle the population through an archery-only hunting season from Nov. 13 to Jan. 31. "We've got to do something out there," said Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "Assateague is a unique and valuable resource, and it would be irresponsible to stand by and let it be eaten alive." The agency is asking for public comment.

Although the 680-acre park south of Ocean City is just a sliver of the 37-mile-long barrier island, it is among the top-five busiest state parks each year, attracting 14,000 campers a week and thousands of day trippers.

"It's a confined area. You see the deer far more now than you did several years ago. The ponies eat vegetation, but that population is stable and easy to count. You can see the increase in destruction," said Col. Rick Barton, head of the state parks.

Hunting already is used by the National Park Service to keep the deer population in check on the portion of the island it manages.

Sika deer are much smaller than white-tailed deer, weighing from 50 to 100 pounds and standing about 2 1/2 -feet tall. Introduced to Maryland from Asia in 1916, their numbers have increased and herds have taken hold in the four southernmost counties on the Eastern Shore.

The proposal would allow 12 bow hunters in the park each day, with two of the locations reserved for disabled hunters. Hunting would be allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. "This has been under consideration for a long time," said Barton. "We wanted to be confident it could be done carefully and perfectly. We have hunting at a lot of state parks. ... Why not Assateague?"

Friday, September 08, 2006

MARYLAND NEWS: Deer Imports Limited to Keep CWD Out

Annapolis, Md. (AP) - State wildlife regulators, hoping to prevent chronic wasting disease from reaching Maryland's deer herd, announced new limits Thursday on imports of venison and other meat and trophies from certain out-of-state hunts.

The restrictions apply to meat and other parts of deer, elk, moose and other antlered species killed in areas with confirmed cases of CWD.

CWD is a naturally occurring, fatal disease of the brain and nervous systems of antlered species. It has been found in 14 states, including neighboring West Virginia, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Travelers may pass through Maryland with the carcasses of antlered species, provided that no parts are left in the state.

The restrictions are aimed at preventing imports of animal brains, spinal columns and other tissues that contain the highest concentrations of infectious tissues.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

NORTH DAKOTA NEWS: Urban Bow Hunt Starts Without Incident

Associated Press. FARGO, N.D. - This city's first ever deer bow hunting season has started without incident, officials say. Jason Scott, a local game warden, and police Sgt. Kevin Volrath said they had not heard of any problems or issues with any hunters.

Most archers are expected to hunt their deer later in the year when other hunting seasons end, said Doug Leier, a biologist in West Fargo with the state Game and Fish Department. Leier said he expects to see most urban hunting take place in late November and early December.

The bow hunting season began Friday and runs until the end of January. The goal is to reduce the size of the urban deer herd. The hunt is limited to four city parks along the Red River, where a recent survey counted 190 deer. Hunters had to go through training and pass a proficiency test to get a permit. A total of 35 permits were given out for the first season, meaning 70 antlerless deer can be killed.

Monday, September 04, 2006

RESEARCH NEWS: Deer, Lyme Disease, and an Interesting Twist

Deer-free Areas May be Haven for Ticks
By Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics
Sep 4, 2006, 07:00

(HealthNewsDigest.com) University Park, Pa. -- Excluding deer could be a counterproductive strategy for controlling tick-borne infections, because the absence of deer from small areas may lead to an increase in ticks, rapidly turning the area into a potential disease hotspot, according to a team of U.S. and Italian researchers.

"Deer are referred to as dilution hosts or dead-end hosts,” says Sarah Perkins, a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics. "They get bitten by ticks but never get infected with tick-borne pathogens, such as the bacteria causing Lyme disease."

However, deer are critical to adult female ticks in the last stages of their three-part lifecycle. Ticks use them for a final blood meal before dropping off to produce thousands of eggs, Perkins explains. Currently, health officials believe that removing deer from the equation could disrupt the tick lifecycle and leave fewer ticks to feed on rodents, which, unlike deer, can transfer a range of tick-borne pathogens. Ultimately the tick-borne disease will fade out.

However, previous field studies show that removing deer sometimes leads to higher tick densities and sometimes lower, and the outcome seems dependent on the size of area from which deer are excluded.

"Very few studies have looked at how removing the deer affects the intensity of tick bites on rodents, and how it relates to the size of the area from where the deer are excluded," explains Perkins, whose findings are published in the current issue of the journal Ecology.

Researchers first collected data from published information on tick densities in deer excluded areas ranging in size from roughly 2.5 acres to 18 acres. Next, over a six-month period, they captured rodents from a 2.5-acre deer excluded area in the Italian Alps in a known hotspot for tick-borne encephalitis -- a disease passed to humans through the bite of an infected tick.

"From previous studies we found that tick densities decreased in (geographically) large areas and increased dramatically in smaller areas," suggesting that there is a threshold area – from where deer are excluded – for tick populations to either increase or decrease, notes the Penn State researcher.

Statistical analyses of ticks on the captured rodents indicated that compared to the control areas, the deer-excluded areas hosted a significantly higher number of nymph and adult female ticks, as well as a high prevalence of tick-borne encephalitis.

Because tick-borne encephalitis is transmitted only between ticks feeding on these rodents, the findings suggest how small deer-free areas could quickly turn into a disease hotspot.

"This goes somewhat against conventional wisdom. When you remove deer, it does not always reduce the tick population," says Perkins. "If you were to exclude deer from hundreds of acres, tick numbers will fall. But in an area less than 2.5 acres, you are more likely to increase tick density and probably create tick-borne hotspots."

Researchers say the study demonstrates how the strategy of keeping deer away may work only for large areas but is likely to amplify tick populations in smaller areas. Fragmented patches of forest and small parks that are off-limits to deer could also turn into a disease reservoir, they caution.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CONNECTICUT NEWS: Local Deer Management Committees Address Overpopulation

Deer hunting will go on six days a week in the Bennett’s Pond open space this fall.

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that Bennett’s Pond State Park will be open to archery deer hunting throughout the statewide season from Sept. 15 to Dec. 30.

The property will still be open to hikers, according to DEP Spokesman Dennis Schain, but will be posted with signs informing the public that bow hunters could be using the property. “We typically post signs at trail heads, with information about hunting,” Mr. Schain said.

Bennett’s Pond State Park is a 460-acre property off Bennett’s Farm Road, known for many years as the IBM property. The town acquired the land through eminent domain from the developer Eureka V LLC, and then sold it to the state in 2003, recouping about $4 million of the $11.5 million cost. The property is managed by the DEP Parks Division.

There is also a “controlled hunt” planned later in the fall on the town’s nearby Hemlock Hills open space, a 320-acre tract. That hunt, organized by the town’s Deer Management Committee, will go on from Nov. 16 through Dec. 19, and will involve selected hunters, using firearms, on weekdays.

Dale May, director of DEP’s Wildlife Division, said the work of the town’s deer management committee — and the blossoming deer population the committee is attempting to address — had been a factor in the state’s decision to open Bennett’s Pond to hunting.

“The locally abundant deer population has over-browsed much of the understory vegetation at Bennett’s Pond. Permitting archery deer hunting on this land will contribute to local deer management efforts and will assist in our stewardship of the property. It will also contribute to reducing deer population growth in Ridgefield.”
Over the past 10 years, he noted, Ridgefield has consistently ranked as the town with the highest number of reported deer-vehicle accidents.

Ridgefield is one of several towns in Fairfield County that have appointed a local deer committees to assess the deer population problem, review options, and provide deer management recommendations. Other towns that are having organized hunts include Wilton, Darien and Greenwich.

© Copyright 2006 by Hersam Acorn newspapers

ONTARIO NEWS: Season Liberalization in Response to Overpopulation

The Sunday gun hunt is coming to Ottawa.

The Ontario Government is expanding Sunday gun hunting rights to about 99 municipalities and townships across the province this September. The new rules will allow hunters, providing they abide by local bylaws, to hunt on Sunday's this season.

Minister of Natural Resources David Ramsay says the province is looking to hunters to help control the deer population. Ramsay says an explosion in the deer population has led to increased crop damage and a spike in vehicle collisions. According to the Ministry of Transportation, Ottawa leads the province in the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife per year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

OHIO NEWS: Cleveland Suburb Continues Culling Program

Associated Press

SOLON, Ohio - This Cleveland suburb is again seeking ways to thin its deer population, after a sharpshooting program killed more than 1,000 the last two years.

The city's safety and public property committee recommended Wednesday that City Council put out bids for deer removal options.

Solon's contract with sharpshooter Tony DeNicola, president of Connecticut-based White Buffalo Inc., ended in the spring.

Dave Hromco, the assistant public works director who runs the deer program, wants it to continue. The city has about 20 deer per square mile, more than 400 total, and the target is 15 per square mile, he said.

The sharpshooting program cost taxpayers $520,000 in two years, according to a city-issued report. Another year of the program would cost between $110,000 and $130,000, Hromco said.

State wildlife officials have said Solon was the first suburb in the state to hire professional shooters to kill deer, a method used in some parks. The measure was a response to residents' complaints of deer destroying gardens and running through traffic.

There were 119 reported car accidents in Solon involving deer last year, a 26 percent drop from 2004, when the sharpshooting program began, police Chief Wayne Godzich said. But the program can't be called successful until the deer are counted again, he said.

Animal-rights activist opposed the program, calling for using other methods to reduce the deer population. Residents opposed to the killing set out food in their back yards, hoping to lure deer away from the sharpshooters.

Councilman Ed Kraus, who chairs the safety committee, said the city needs a long-term management program.

"It would be completely irresponsible for this body to do nothing and let the deer come back," he said.

Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ONTARIO NEWS: Urban Deer Conflicts in Kenora

The growing problem of nuisance deer has prompted the Ministry of Natural Resources to ask Kenora to consider loosening the restrictions on its prohibition on discharging firearms within the city.

Biologist Scott McAughey says the ministry is doing its best to deal with the problem by offering more opportunities for deer hunters.

A town official says the no discharge bylaw is going to be reviewed.

McAughey says the rising deer population is becoming a safety issue, citing a June collision between an aircraft and a deer at the Kenora Airport.

Tb News Source
Web Posted: 8/22/2006 3:26:59 PM

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

CALIFORNIA NEWS: Park Service Recommends Deer Cull

Despite the impassioned pleas of local animal rights groups, more than a 1,000 non-native deer would be shot and killed at Point Reyes National Seashore if a new plan endorsed Monday by the National Park Service goes forward.
The park service would donate the animals' meat and hides to nonprofit or charity organizations. A California condor recovery program and soup kitchens have expressed an interest in the meat, and American Indian groups are interested in the pelts.

A final environmental impact statement released by the National Park Service Monday recommends 1,350 deer (800 axis and 550 fallow) be killed over 15 years by park service staff or contractors trained in wildlife sharpshooting.

The impact statement also recommends that the park service seek approval to use experimental contraceptives on 100 to 150 fallow does, which would be allowed to live. These drugs are not thought to be effective with axis does. There is no drug registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for contraception in deer.

Experts believe the plan would remove all non-native axis and fallow deer from the Point Reyes National Seashore by 2021. Park biologists are concerned that the axis and fallow deer will out-compete native deer and elk species for food, water and cover. The non-natives also carry disease.

The park service Friday published a notice of its preferred alternative in the Federal Register. After a mandatory 30-day waiting period, John Jarvis, director of the National Park Service's Pacific West region, is expected to give the plan his approval and begin implementing it. No other public hearings are required.

While Jarvis could reject the plan, "it's highly unlikely that will happen," said park service spokesman John Dell'Osso. "This is the final plan."

The decision elicited a sharp rebuke from Diane Allevato, director of the Marin Humane Society.

"It is extremely disappointing that the park service has chosen a lethal program with relatively meaningless concessions to birth control," Allevato said. "For all intents and purposes, they've chosen death as their preferred option, and that is tragic and unnecessary."

Trinka Marris of Point Reyes Station, leader of "Save the White Deer," a cadre of organizations and individuals opposed to killing the deer, said she still believes public opposition will prevent the slaughter.

"It's going to be a 15-year project," Marris said. "So I think the public has plenty of time to put pressure on the park to use contraception in a larger role than they intend to. We're just beginning."

The park service, however, cited a comment by Paul Curtis, an expert in wildlife contraception at Cornell University, to bolster its decision.

"After more than a decade of research, there is not a single case in North America where I would consider fertility control to be a success for controlling long-term abundance of free-ranging deer," Curtis said.

The plan also did not please the Marin Audubon Society, but for quite a different reason. The Audubon Society has stated its preference for using lethal means to eliminate all of the non-native deer.

"I think it's probably going to be more stressful on the animals and more expensive," to sterilize the animals, said Barbara Salzman, president of Marin Audubon. Because the plan will span 15 years, more deer will end up having to be killed than exist currently, Salzman noted.

Today, there are about 400 Columbia black-tail deer, which are native to Marin. There are about 250 axis deer and about 860 fallow deer.

The non-native deer live up to 20 years. Fallow deer are native to Europe and the Mediterranean, and the axis deer are native to India and southern Asia.

In the 1940s, the species were purchased by a West Marin landowner from the San Francisco Zoo, which had an excess of the animals. The landowner then released the animals on his property for hunting. When his land later became part of the Point Reyes National Seashore, which was established in 1962, hunting ceased. The ones that weren't killed began to procreate in the area.

The non-native deer eat 5 to 10 percent of their body weight a day, taking in a ton of forage a day, food that otherwise would be available to native deer. Rabbits, rodents and others animals are affected, too.

Fallow deer were once concentrated in the central part of the seashore but are now found throughout the park. Their range has been documented eastward, beyond the park's borders. They have been seen on nearby private property and state parklands. If the migration continues, management of the species could become difficult, according to the park service.



The Point Reyes National Seashore estimates there are about 250 axis deer and 860 fallow deer within the seashore area.

It evaluated five management options:

- Alternative A: No action. Monitoring activities would continue.

- Alternative B: Non-native deer populations would be controlled to a level of 350 for each species -- 700 total axis and fallow deer. Control would be over a 15-year period by National Park Service or contracted sharpshooters.

- Alternative C: Non-native deer populations would be controlled to a level of 350 for each species by both "lethal removal" and fertility control over 15 years.

- Alternative D: All axis and fallow deer would be removed by the year 2021 by National Park Service staffers or contractors trained in sharpshooting.

- Alternative E: All axis and fallow deer would be removed by 2021 through "lethal removal" and fertility control. This is the National Park Service's preferred alternative.

Read more West Marin stories at the IJ's West Marin page.
Contact Richard Halstead via e-mail at rhalstead@marinij.com

Monday, August 21, 2006

SOUTH CAROLINA NEWS: Densities Down, Buck Quality Up

WHILE SOUTH CAROLINA’s deer harvest has declined 23 percent during the past three years, the quality of antlered bucks remains high: 136 record-list entries were recorded this year.

That, said S.C. Department of Natural Resources deer biologist Charles Ruth, is a pretty good indication that fewer deer in the population benefit from increased available nutrition.

“South Carolina’s deer herd is in good condition, and it appears that after many years of rapid population growth the herd stabilized in the mid-1990s,” he said.

Recent estimates put the deer population at about 750,000, which is down from the 1-million-plus estimates in the1990s. Ruth said the annual harvest the past few years has been about 250,000.

The DNR’s recently published 2005 Deer Hunter Survey listed a statewide harvest of 244,045 deer last season — 123,503 bucks and 120,542 does — down 2.9 percent from 2004. Ruth said prospects for this deer season, which opened Tuesday in several Lowcountry counties, are very good.

He cited three factors that are believed to have attributed to the decline: a major drought from 1998 to 2002 that reduced populations, the growth of pine stands more than 10 years old, and an abundance of natural foods and unseasonably warm fall temperatures that decrease deer movements.

The top typical buck, which scored 162Ø, was found dead as a road kill on the Savannah River Site in October.

A 13-point buck taken by Manning Lusk of Anderson in a remote area of Lake Thurmond in McCormick County, had the top non-typical rack with a score of 187½.

DNR biologists scored 463 sets of antlers in the spring; 132 typical racks and four non-typical racks made the state records list, which requires 125 points for a typical rack and 145 points for a non- typical rack.

There are 4,641 sets of antlers on the state record list, 4,475 typical racks and 166 non-typical.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

OHIO NEWS: Overpopulation Prompts Hunting Proposal in County Park District

John Horton, Plain Dealer Reporter

Chardon Township- The Geauga County Park District intends to open some of its property to bow hunters this fall to reduce what officials called an overabundant and destructive white-tailed deer population.

The park system's three commissioners said during their Tuesday meeting that they plan to implement a hunting program to address the deer problem. The board is considering a proposal to allow hunting in seven areas that are not open to the public.

The county is also looking at controlled fall hunts on wild turkey and waterfowl.

The concept brought criticism from several residents at the meeting.

Sophie Horvath, 78, of Munson Township described the parks as a safe haven where animals should be protected. She accused the board of turning the county's acreage into "killing fields."

Similar complaints followed the district's decision to allow a spring turkey hunt this year.

"You encourage wildlife, and then you murder the wildlife that comes in," Horvath said.

But district Director Tom Curtin said deer are crowding onto park property, pushed into the areas by ongoing development. Deer counts commissioned by the park system over the past five years show far more animals than the land can support, Curtin said.

The count at one park property, the Becvar Preserve in Russell Township, showed 200 deer per square mile. Ideally, the number should be between five and 10, Curtin said.

The population density at the other properties selected for hunting ranged from 19 to 61 deer per square mile. The properties are in several Geauga communities, including Bainbridge, Chester, Claridon, Munson and Montville townships.

The close-clustered animals are devouring wildflowers and vegetation in the park, eliminating habitats needed by songbirds and insects, Curtin said. The district has been monitoring and studying the situation for years, he said.

"This is about maintaining a balance," said Curtin, who noted that other park systems and communities have begun culling deer herds in recent years.

T. Parkinson, 64, of Munson Township applauded the district's plan and said deer have become a local nuisance and a danger to motorists. He said parkland "should not be permitted to become a refuge for the excessive amount of animals present."

Park Commissioner Mark Rzesztarski said the board would act on the proposal after all details are ironed out. Only Geauga residents would be eligible to hunt the selected land.

"We are going to proceed," Rzesztarski said. "We have to."

Friday, August 04, 2006

INDIANA NEWS: Tag Prices Reduced for Antlerless Deer

To better maintain a balanced deer herd, the DNR has encouraged the taking of antlerless deer during hunting season. Yesterday, the Natural Resources Commission ratified a proposal by the DNR that will reduce the cost of certain bonus antlerless deer tags.

Under the new proposal the cost of the first bonus antlerless deer license remains $24 for Indiana residents and $150 for non-residents. But to encourage the taking of additional antlerless deer, the cost for the second and subsequent bonus antlerless tags falls to $15 for Indiana residents and $24 for non-residents.

“Since the whitetail deer was re-introduced into Indiana in the 1950s, deer hunting has been both a sport and a biological necessity,” said Kyle Hupfer, DNR director. “Man has always been the primary predator for whitetail deer so hunting is important in maintaining Indiana’s deer herd population at a proper biological level and a size more acceptable to the human population.

“The new fee structure established yesterday will help with herd management while also reducing the financial burden on hunters who assist the state in regulating the deer population.”

Copyright Tri-State Media 2001-2006.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

IRELAND NEWS: Government Cost-shares Deer Fences for Foresters

THE SCOURGE of deer to farm forestry is to be addressed with the introduction of a new grant to meet 80% of the costs of deer fencing. With an increase in the population of deer over the recent years, farmers have complained that it was growing increasingly difficult to establish broadleaf or diverse conifer species in areas populated by deer.
They also complained that with the explosion in population, deer were spreading into parts of the country they had never been seen in before and were browsing on young broadleaves and some conifer species.

The new grant, which was introduced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Mary Wallace, has been welcomed by Carlow IFA forestry chairman, Dan Galavan.

“This grant will make a huge difference to many farmer foresters,” Mr Galavan said. “The grant will be available to farm-ers who are establishing new plantations and to growers who wish to upgrade fencing on existing forestry.

“The cost of deer fencing at around •10 per metre has been prohibitive for some forest owners prior to the introduction of this assistance.”

Mr Galavan said that it didn’t make sense for farmers, the Government or the EU to invest in forestry and then for deer to make a meal of it. He pointed out that fencing was one of many control measures that can be used to protect forests from deer.

“The relevant authorities must also look at means of controlling the population to sustainable levels if we are to get on top of a situation which already is out of control in many parts of the country,” he added.

Farmers who wish to avail of the grant should contact the Approvals Section (Deer Fencing) of the Forest Service in Johnstown Castle Estate, Wexford.

WISCONSIN NEWS: Deer population at 1.7 million

By Jim Mense, Outdoor Columnist, Dunn County News

Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer population is projected to be 1.5 to 1.7 million this fall, which figures to be 12 percent higher than last fall. According to Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the DNR, that projection is well above established population goals, but better than biologists expected or ever hoped for. Given the limited herd control seasons last year and the extremely mild winter in northern Wisconsin, hunters did a fine job limiting projected herd growth to 12 percent. But, he continued, you can see by the amount of herd control and earn-a-buck units this fall, of which 59B is a part, that hunters really need to step up to the plate this fall and harvest antlerless deer to keep the deep population within the carrying capacity of the land and reducing crop and garden depredation. And last but not least, vehicular collisions.

No four-Day October Hunt

Hunters are reminded there is a not 4-day October antlerless gun hunt. A moratorium on October gun hunting of deer will be implemented on a two-year trial basis with an option to reinstate the October antlerless hunt after one year if deer harvests in herd control units such as 59B, drops below a 1.4 to 1 antlerless to buck ratio. The October herd control hunt, we know as the Zone T hunt was effective at reducing deer populations. But, according to Warnke, it was unpopular with hunters who felt that it interfered with the very best time for archery deer hunting. Not only bow hunting but pheasant, grouse, turkey and even waterfowl hunting.

Warnke is asking hunters to harvest two anterlerless deer for every antlered buck. If that is accomplished, it has the potential to resolve some of the conflict in deer management. What to do with multiple deer carcasses? Can you think of an easier way to help feed the hungry among us? The Dunn County Fish & Game Club will again be coordinating the program along with area food pantries, meat processors and the DNR that will be happy to accept every deer you harvest if you want it that way. You shoot it, and hungry folks will be happy to eat it.

Monday, July 31, 2006

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Unified Sportsman Sues for More Deer

By Bob Frye
Monday, July 31, 2006

Hunters unhappy with the Pennsylvania Game Commission's current deer management program won at least a partial victory in court last week.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said in a ruling last week that the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania can proceed with a lawsuit against the Game Commission and its deer program.

The suit centers around deer populations. The Game Commission has lowered deer densities in many areas of the state through a program biologists say is meant to bring deer into balance with the available habitat.

The Unified Sportsmen, however, allege that the program is based on faulty science and has decimated deer populations needlessly, thereby threatening hunting and deer.

The commission -- being represented by the state Attorney General's office, as required by law -- tried to get the case thrown out of court. Their attorneys had argued that the commission, as the agency responsible for managing deer in the commonwealth, "owned" the deer, so no entity such as the Unified Sportsmen could sue it over its deer plan. In his ruling, Simpson disagreed with that opinion.

"Because the Game Code clearly recognizes the interests of sportsmen and protects an adequate opportunity to hunt and trap the Commonwealth's wildlife resources, standing is conferred by statute," Simpson wrote.

"In other words, the judge soundly rejected the idea that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is not responsible to sportsmen, and he further rejected the idea that sportsmen have no right to sue them," said Greg Levengood, chairman of the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania. "This in itself is a major victory for sportsmen."

Simpson did, however, did dismiss the portion of the lawsuit that targeted the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Gov. Rendell, two entities Unified had targeted because of their support for the deer program. Simpson said neither are directly responsible for deer management,

Simpson said the Unified Sportsmen must now clarify its complaint before it can move forward.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

TENNESSEE NEWS: No deer baiting this hunting season

There will be no deer hunting over bait in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission. At their meeting last week the TWRC considered the pros and cons, finally siding with the TWR-Agency's recommendation against it. The TWRA spent two months studying data from 15 states, seven of which allow hunting deer over bait.

The primary concern was the deer's increased susceptibility to disease; the next concern was powerful toxins that develop in the feed grains, especially corn. Studies also indicated that deer became more nocturnal when feeding on bait. Finally, in a survey done by the TWRA, more than 60 percent of hunters and non-hunters were opposed to baiting deer. Huzzah.

Tom Wiest is an outdoors writer. Write to him at: Tom Wiest, c/o The Daily Times, P.O. Box 9740, Maryville, TN 37802-9740 or e-mail to tomwiest@att.net