Humans kill more deer, antelope, raccoons, skunks, porcupines, bobcats and coyotes, among others, than any other cause, including predation, starvation, weather, disease and natural causes including age, accident or developmental defects.
I call bullshit. There are lots of animals. So many that we could never hunt enough of them. Have you ever seen a flock of passenger pigeons? They're practically infinite in number.
Second, if controlling the prey population is really that important there would be a greater effort to increase the predator population. Good luck with that.
But Fire Island is the success story: Its 10 percent birth rate contrasts to 35 percent at other Humane Society sites.
But the Humane Society's labor-intensive method--which costs about $1,000 per doe for the first two years of treatment--may keep it from widespread use. A serum that lasts longer than one rutting season is in the early stages of development; if successful, it could bring down costs.
Biologists and ecologists have studied alternative methods for controlling deer population, like fertility control, but professors at Rutgers University, Pennsylvania State University and Cornell University said controlled hunting remains the most effective way to reduce deer population.
Contraceptives can only be effective in small, fenced-in areas where deer can be controlled, not places like the 3.4-square-mile Reservation, said Larry Katz, director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The cost per deer is also higher than using sharpshooters, he said.
“When you’re dealing with free-ranging animals that can move in and out over a large landscape, the only tool available now is hunting,” said Paul D. Curtis, a Cornell professor and extension wildlife specialist.
Research like a 10-year study in Pennsylvania published in 2003 found a direct relationship between deer overpopulation and the loss of plant and animal diversity. In forests throughout New Jersey, deer overpopulation has largely diminished the amount of native trees that are one to five years old, Mr. Katz said.
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