Friday, March 13, 2009

WISCONSIN NEWS: Another Municipality Struggles with Deer

City officials in Onalaska are trying to figure out a way to control a booming deer population.

The public had another chance to give their thoughts on the issue Wednesday night. City officials say most people who responded to a recent survey agree something needs to be done to control the number of deer in Onalaska.

Now they have to figure out a way to go about it.

"It appears most people would rather see an archery type hunt, but the parameters of that still has to be figured out," says Joe Barstow, the GIS technician and erosion control inspector for the city of Onalaska.

Some onalaska residents still have questions they want answered before anything is finalized.

"Our concern is that there isnt' a wholesale slaughter of deer, that they maintain property rights, that people don't hunt deer on individual properties and that there's a long term solution, not just like a quick fix type solution," says Michael Strasser, a resident who attended the meeting Wednesday.

If all goes as planned, city officials would like to start a managed hunt by the middle of this fall.

Source: WKBT

Monday, March 09, 2009

KANSAS NEWS: Controlled Hunt Proposed for Shawnee Mission Park

A state representative from Eudora has sponsored a bill to create two special bow-hunting seasons to cull the exploding deer population at Shawnee Mission Park in Johnson County.

Republican Anthony Brown wants to allow archers into the 1,280-acre park for nine days in October and nine days in January to shoot deer in a controlled hunt.

The goal of House Bill 2342, he said, is to cull 400 deer from a herd that wildlife officials say is at least eight times larger than the park can support. Any animals not harvested in that time would be killed by sharpshooters, Brown said.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Overpopulation can be dangerous to the health of the deer, people and the park’s ecosystem, experts say. Supporters of controlled hunts say they are done successfully in the area.

Critics say arrows are cruel and inhumane. They are pleading for a less “barbaric” solution that could involve relocation, sterilization or contraception.

Hunting is not allowed in the park, and any controlled hunt would require a change in state legislation.

“With 200 deer per square mile, this is causing a problem,” Brown said.

Brown estimated that it costs $300 per deer to hire a qualified sniper, $400 per deer to trap and relocate each animal and up to $700 to sterilize a deer.

“These options, given the number of animals in the park and the current economic climate, are not viable,” he said.

Brown’s efforts came as a surprise to county parks Director Michael Meadors.

“Everybody’s wanting to rush in and do something,” Meadors said. “Our caution has been … to slow down, take a step back, gather as much information as we can, but to make sure the process is as transparent as possible and includes the public.”

Meadors said a draft deer-management plan will be given to the park board in April. Public hearings will be held in May before the board decides the fate of the deer, he said.

Meanwhile, after months of debate, the St. Louis suburb of Town and Country, Mo., last month approved a plan to kill deer and sterilize does.

Deer overpopulation has long been a problem there, and officials agreed to hire a firm to bring in sharpshooters to kill some of the animals, starting this fall. The sterilizati0on effort has begun but is expected to take years to become effective.

Source: Kansas City Star

WISCONSIN NEWS: Oshkosh Cull Halted

Attempts to reduce the deer herd in the Vulcan Quarry area are on hold indefinitely.

The city is no longer putting out bait in an attempt to draw the deer into the wooded area near the Oshkosh National Guard Armory, 1415 Armory Place, and a third culling attempt is not planned, Police Chief Scott Greuel said.

He said the factors that played into the city's decision include the limited success the city has seen in the first two attempts, the reduced snow cover and the fact that female deer give birth during the spring.

"The baiting has stopped and no culling is planned," Greuel said.

City-hired sharpshooters with Urban Wildlife Specialists shot six deer on Jan. 30 and Feb. 13. Sharpshooters also made a third attempt to reduce the herd on Feb. 28, but did not fire a shot.

Two other deer were found dead in the area. The state Department of National Resources determined a deer found Feb. 6 died of starvation and preliminary necropsy results indicate a deer found dead on Feb. 14 died from grain overload, which resulted from eating more grain than it could digest.

Source: Appleton Post-Crescent

MAINE NEWS: Lowest Deer Harvest in Decades

After a long winter with record-setting snow packs, Maine 2008 deer harvest was the lowest in decades.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says preliminary figures put the deer kill at 21,062, or 27 percent below the 2007 total.

Deer biologist Lee Kantar says deer yarded up on average for 140 days, compared to the normal 84 days. The result was extremely low survival rates for fawns, reflected in a 45 percent decline in the fawn harvest.

Kantar says the current winter looks similar to last year, which could mean a further decrease in any-deer permits and a reduced deer harvest in 2009.

Source: Burlington Free Press