Friday, March 25, 2011

20-Year Integrated “Deer Management” Plan

Dear Editor: 

Regarding my “preliminary deer management plan” mentioned in your article titled [Foes cry, but city will seek culling bids] (Sept. 21, 2006),

I’m writing give a more complete picture of it. Culling deer as a means to reduce deer-vehicle accidents is turning neighbor against neighbor and Solon against itself. It is traumatizing children when they witness deer being killed before their eyes in the backyard next door. It is short term at best and makes little sense in the long run. 

As the contract shooter himself said, “Culling deer is like mowing lawn,” meaning that, due to the compensatory rebound effect of deer population, the killing has to be repeated year after year, at about $250,000 a year. Over 10 years, this would cost Solon $2.5 million, and over 20 years, $5 million, not counting inflation. And after all this expenditure, Solon would still be back at Square One, with nothing to show for it. 

All this lowers the deer-vehicle accident (DVA) rate by a mere 25%. On the other hand, if fencing is used, at about $6,000 per mile of fencing, a $250,000 upfront investment would endow Solon with 40 miles of deer-proof fencing, lowering the DVAs to near zero. The life expectancy of a woven wire and/or high tensile wire fence is about 25 years. It is a one-time expense that can solve the DVA problem for over 20 years in one go, with minimal maintenance. 

Other than along high-DVA roadways, the fencing could also skirt the rear of the deer-affected properties, thus keeping deer out of gardens. In addition, there is a full range of other deer repellents (chemical, acoustic, visual and biological). 

In addition to fencing, Strieter Lights have been proven effective in numerous other places (e.g. 40,000 installed since 1980 in British Columbia). The deer will find their own population equilibrium behind the fence by birth-rate adjustment and emigration. 

Most people in Solon or elsewhere do not want deer killed unnecessarily, especially by inhumane means. It is physically impossible for any shooter to make good the one-bullet-in-the-brain-per-deer promise. Many deer have been observed to be body-shot, and shot multiple times. 

Finally, the safety factor. With shooting occurring in over 70 kill-sites within city limits, often within yards of a neighbor’s house, accidents can happen. With all the available alternatives that are safer and less expensive, is Solon City Council willing to accept the responsibility for someone accidentally shot or, God forbid, killed? 

As they are well aware from DVAs, accidents do happen. 

Anthony Marr, founder Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) 
4118 West 11th Ave., 
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6R 2L6 

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