Friday, November 16, 2007

UK NEWS: Cull in Quantock Hills Called "Shooting Spree"

THE number of red deer on the Quantock Hills could be halved if plans by a conservation group go ahead.

The Quantock Deer Management and Conservation Group has sent letters to landowners on the hills to drum up support for a mass cull of red deer on November 30, which will target fe-male and young deer.

The group claims deer numbers are 'unacceptable' and that the animals are causing damage to forestry and farming interests.

The group aims to hold an annual cull over the next five to ten years to reduce population levels.

But the South West Deer Protection Group has condemned the cull and branded it "a shooting spree".

Its chairman Kevin Hill said: "One problem with the proposed shooting spree is that any deer in the sight of the gun might be shot.

"We're not against the principle of culling deer. Our job is to make people think.

"I'm into the minimum number being culled, but this looks like one big blast."

Deer biologist and secretary of the Quantock Deer Management and Conservation Group, Dr Jochen Langbein, told the County Gazette that action must be taken to protect farmland from damage.

"I think they don't really understand that it's meant to be one day of culling not a major slaughter of deer.

"We're aiming to try and get deer back to levels people are happier with over a period of about five years," he added.

"Almost every farm we work with feels there are too many deer and most are happy to see 20 or 30 deer roaming the fields, not 50 or 60."

The group hopes the cull will take place in the morning and evening of November 30.

The Quantock Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty group is also supporting the plans.

Group development officer Iain Porter said: "It's not designed to eradicate red deer but to bring levels back to a sustainable deer heard."


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WISCONSIN NEWS: Wausau Takes Aim At Urban Deer

A flurry of resident complaints about deer foraging in yards has led city officials to find a safe method to control the urban deer population.

The favored method involves hiring sharpshooters. Several residents on the outskirts of the city claim deer ravage their landscaping and create a safety hazard for traffic. Based on police records, there were about 100 deer-related crashes within city limits the past five years.

"The consensus has been that we need to do something to control the deer in the city," said Dave Erickson, the city's environmental engineer.

Deb Hadley, president of the City Council, said Monday at a public hearing that some council members, including herself, started receiving complaints this summer about the deer. Erickson said a state grant could provide up to $5,000 for urban deer control, and the city has applied for a grant.

At the public hearing, four Wausau residents spoke about the deer issue -- three raised no objections to the sharpshooters, though Brad Hoffman did.

"I think the bow is the effective way of getting rid of (the deer problem)," Hoffman said, adding that Rhinelander used bowhunters last year to control deer herds within city limits.

Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel said he's received requests from bowhunters to help control the urban herds, but police have yet to authorize hunting within the city.

"We're just not comfortable allowing hunting in the city," he said. "We feel more comfortable with sharpshooters."

If sharpshooters were used, Hardel said they would put up deer stands near a problem area -- mostly on the northeast, northwest and westernmost outskirts -- bait the deer and then shoot them during evening hours. The sharpshooters would not be positioned in someone's backyard, Hardel said.

The city expects to hear back from the state regarding the grant in January.