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,

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

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.