There is no shortage of articles on managing white-tailed deer. There increasingly more and more on using birth controls (drugs, vasectomy) to manage overpopulated white-tailed deer. The most recent, high profile case comes from Staten Island, New York. “We are moving ahead with a plan to manage the impacts of the deer population on Staten Island in a way that is smart, effective, and humane. With a multifaceted approach that includes sterilization, education, and the protection of natural resources, we’re confident this is the best plan to ensure the safety and happiness of Staten Islanders who have been affected by the growing deer population,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It’s a bad idea and the kicker is the tax payers will be on the hook for $2 million dollars, and that’s just for the very first year!
Deer Vasectomy is Not Deer Management
Quote: In regard to the vasectomy plan, Mayor de Blasio said, “It is very consistent with, I think, the most modern thinking of how we deal with animal issues.” That’s interesting because I don’t remember vasectomies being in the playbook of qualified wildlife experts for effective and humane wild deer management. Even the New York Department of Environmental Conservation does not recommend fertility control programs due to limited effectiveness. Nonetheless, a permit was issued to the borough because it was argued that Staten Island is a unique situation, and because the vasectomy program is being couched as scientific study.
This is just the latest high profile example of politicians and special interest groups involving themselves in the business of deer management. While any project like this should provide citizens the opportunity to comment and ask questions, and elected officials certainly have a role to play, the input from trained and experienced experts in these matters should carry the bulk of the weight. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening in a growing number of places across the country, and that’s a concern.
As deer enthusiasts, we need to be proactive with elected officials and help educate them about proven and scientifically supported deer management practices. It’s easy to point our fingers and laugh when we see situations like Staten Island, but that’s a reactionary response that does nothing to further the cause of wild deer conservation. This is where NDA can make a difference with your help. If you are aware of a deer management issue that concerns you, please let us know. We won’t always win, but working together we can accomplish great things for wild deer, and for hunters. The last thing we want is for vasectomies and other forms of sterilization and contraception to become the future of deer management. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.
Whitetail More Efficient at Breeding than Vesectomies are a Curtailing
I’m not sure how many of you have tried, but it’s quite difficult to catch a white-tailed buck. I mean you can catch some, but how to you catch all? Well, that’s the plan on Staten Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We do aim to get all of the bucks in order to completely limit the reproduction.” And it turns out they will have to catch them all to be successful.
Quote: “A short course on whitetail breeding ecology: A whitetail doe initially comes into estrus during the fall for a 2-3 day period. If she is not impregnated during the initial estrus period then she will continue to cycle every 28 days throughout the fall and winter until she is bred or her hormones make her stop. In short, a few less bucks will not impact the number of does impregnated but only the timing of when they are bred.
A highly skewed buck to doe ratio will result to lower fawn survival the following year because fawns born later in the year, closer to fall, are less likely to obtain the body weight needed to survive the winter. Mission accomplished?”