Friday, January 09, 2009

VIRGINIA NEWS: Staunton Wrestles With Deer Population

With more than 200 deer-car collisions in Staunton in the last four years, combined with complaints by residents about vegetation and landscaping damage from the plethora of deer in the city, council members are looking for solutions to control its deer population.

David Kocka, a regional biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said during the Staunton City Council’s Thursday work session that it was not important how many deer the city had, nor was it important to tell the city what to do about the growing population.

Of the strategies available to the city, some are feasible, while others are not, Kocka said.

For instance, he said the agency would not have anything to do with trapping and transferring deer, and said birth control would be effective only if the deer were contained in a concentrated area. Female deer, which can live about 20 years, reproduce throughout their lives.

“There’s no such thing as menopause when it comes to deer,” Kocka said. “They continually breed.”

Indirect control methods, such as repellents and fencing, would only address the symptoms of deer density and not the problem, Kocka said.

In the last four years, the city has had 278 reported deer-car collisions, according to police data City Manager Steve Owen presented during the work session.

“Virginia, like most states, does not have a great handle on deer-car collisions,” Kocka said. “It’s a hard thing to get ahold of. People don’t report ‘em most of the time.”

In addition, Kocka said deer typically eat about three to five percent of their body weight daily.

He outlined several state programs to control deer populations, including out-of-season kill permits to kill antler-less deer causing damage to residential vegetation or agricultural areas.

Kocka said Staunton already takes advantage of the statewide archery season, from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January. He recommended, however, that the city opt into the urban archery season, developed several years ago, and can only kill antler-less deer only. That program runs before and after traditional deer hunting seasons.

If the city is interested in the urban archery program, it must signal its intentions to the agency by Apr. 1.

Kocka also suggested that the city allow people with 50 acres or more to allow access to their property to hunt deer with shotguns during the traditional two-week shotgun-hunting season.

Mayor Lacy King, along with Councilman Dickie Bell asked city staff to put together an action plan that would meet the Apr. 1 deadline to apply for urban archery season. Councilwoman Carolyn Dull said she wants to see a plan that promotes public safety, while Councilwoman Andrea Oakes said the city should consider donating extra deer shot to Hunters for the Hungry.

“It seems like in the last four to five years, there’s been huge increases,” Dull said. “They didn’t do the birth control on them.”

Source: Waynesboro News Virginian

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

ILLINOIS NEWS: Final Population Management Recommendations Based in Part on Reducing Vehicle Collisions

The Joint Task Force on Deer Population Control (JTF) has made final recommendations on ways to manage the deer population, provide additional deer hunting opportunities, and reduce deer/vehicle accidents throughout the state. The recommendations include extending portions of some deer seasons, expanding educational outreach efforts, and making certain seasonal permits more readily available for longer periods of time to the public.

“I want to thank the members of this task force and the public, for their dedication to this important issue,” said IDNR Acting Director, Sam Flood. Managing the state’s deer population is an ongoing responsibility, and I commend this group for its well thought out, data driven recommendations to better manage populations,”

The JTF recommends that the rate of deer/vehicle accidents be used as the objective to guide deer management and to judge the success or failure of the management programs. The specific target rate (both statewide and at the county level) was set at halfway between the minimum and maximum rates measured during the period 1994 through 2007. The statewide target rate corresponds to a 14% decrease in the accident rate from the statewide peak observed during 2003.

Source: WIFR

TEXAS NEWS: Deer Smuggling Yields Big Bucks (sorry, I couldn't stop the pun)

The sight of deer munching in suburban gardens is a common one across America, particularly in places like the Texas hill Country where at holiday time the ubiquitous roadside deer warning signs are decorated with round red stickers by an anonymous artist in an homage to Rudolph, the most famous deer of all. So plentiful are the white-tailed deer in Texas that the notion of smuggling deer into Texas seems absurd, but this growing and lucrative illegal trade with its threat of devastating disease is challenging state and federal wildlife officers across the country.

There are an estimated 10 million deer hunters in the United States, and 80% of the annual $20 billion spent in the hunting industry is focused on the pursuit of the fleet-footed creatures, according to a federal census study released two years ago. For Capt. Greg Williford, a Texas game warden, deer hunting is a cultural tradition that has undergone major changes in the last decade and now he finds himself using the same undercover methods employed by federal drug agents to combat deer smugglers, lured to the illicit trade by big bucks for, well, big bucks. "It's like everything else in society — people want bigger, better, faster," Wiliford says.


Texas alone has 1,100 licensed breeders with approximately 87,000 deer and a total economic impact of $652 million, according to a 2007 Texas A&M study. Breeders often sell their stock at livestock auctions where the price for a good buck can reach five figures.

For the full article, visit the source: Time Magazine

Monday, January 05, 2009

OREGON NEWS: Proposed Feeding Ban in Jacksonville

Jacksonville officials are considering a ban on feeding what one city council member calls "horned mountain rats," more commonly known as blacktailed deer.

If humans didn't feed the deer, state wildlife biologists say, there would be less overpopulation, disease and death in the herds.

Council member John Dodero says he favors an ordinance like those in Klamath Falls against feeding raccoons and in Philomath against feeding wild turkeys.

The new mayor, Bruce Garrett, says opinion is sharply divided.

Several Jacksonville deer have been found either dead or diseased — lethargic and foaming at the mouth — and were killed by wildlife biologists. One tested positive for a disease caused by eating corn, which deer can't digest.