NYC examines new deer clipping methods
Whitetail deer are adaptable creatures. While quite at home browsing tree buds, acorns and grazing native grasses, they are just as comfortable nibbling ornamental shrubs, gnawing on orchards and raiding farmers’ crops. They will also bed in shaded woodlots, grassy fields or at the edge of a yard or playground.
For most of us that live in the country, the deer season is seen as both a hobby and as a way of controlling the deer population along with the issues the animals can sometimes create.
Unfortunately, as deer have increased their range into urban areas, folks who once excitedly gathered the family to see that beautiful doe in the backyard are now looking at them with a far more disapproving eye.
In many states, including Ohio, wildlife officials have formulated specialized regulations for urban deer hunting and have also given local governments the latitude to allow culling of the animals. All of this is done to lessen the impact of deer gobbling expensive landscaping, being struck on city streets or jumping through windows into businesses or homes.
These limited hunting and culling programs have been both safe and effective but, for some, killing the deer for any reason is still unacceptable. Some of the proposed solutions have been either very expensive or bordered on the ridiculous.
Well, it looks like New York City has crossed that border.
Apparently, Staten Island has become somewhat overrun with whitetails and the residents would like to see something done. The city’s solution is to gather up $2 million of taxpayers’ money and use it to fund a vasectomy program.
You read that correctly. The city wants to round up roaming bucks and give them a government sponsored vasectomy, then release them back into the area’s backyards. Of course, before carrying out such a plan, the city’s politicians sought the advice of experts.
“It’s difficult for me to come up with all the reasons why this is a really stupid plan,” said Bernd Blossey, an ecologist at Cornell University who consulted City Hall on deer management strategies in November. “It’s ridiculous from the onset.”
“This plan has very low likelihood of success,” said Paul Curtis, another ecologist at Cornell who was part of the city’s interagency deer task force. A few bucks in Ithaca, New York, were given vasectomies as part of a multiyear study on deer controls in and around the campus there. “We could only do three vasectomies “¦ it wasn’t safe for the deer and wasn’t safe for us,” Curtis said.
Of course, these people and their advice were ignored and the plan is to continue. City Hall officials, who know a lot about taxation and very little about the south end of a whitetail, believe this is just the ticket to quickly reduce deer-related conflicts.
As a wildlife officer, taxpayer and someone who was raised with a basic amount of common sense, I can’t even begin to understand their logic. Then again, I know a lot about the south end of a whitetail and apparently nothing about fleecing sheep.
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“One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous before, time and time again.” — Thomas Sowell