Now really? Are we hearing correctly that the mayor is suggesting a deer shoot for the white tailed deer in the city of Alamosa and at the Cattails Golf Course? OMG (Oh, my God!).
The mayor said she was “not in favor of doing nothing when so many people were upset,” and her pulse was not the full voting public. Columns have come out lately calling for a truce, an effort to co-exist with the deer.
I am in favor of doing something: which is to educate the public living with deer and other wildlife.
I came across some nice booklets and how-to directions in my search for answers. For instance, “What Do We Do with Too Many White-tailed Deer?” is a paper published by Thomas P. Rooney, Ph.D. (assistant professor of biological sciences at Wright State University, Ohio) and can be read at http://www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/rooney.html. The paper gives some suggestions that should be implemented before resorting to lethal hunts. He shows that fences and other barriers as well as flashing lights can detour deer from eating foliage.
State government websites have instructions on how to live with deer. Washington state’s website is: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/deer.html and for a Colorado State website about living with wildlife, visit: http://wildlife.state.co.us/wildlifespecies/livingwithwildlife/Pages/LivingWith.aspx. The State of Massachusetts also educates its public (http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/wildlife/living/living_with_deer.htm). And then there is Mankato, Minnesota. This town is a small town on a river, much like Alamosa. Instead of charging out armed with deer rifles, the citizens are encouraged to go out on the town for a photographic shoot and contest. See, http://www.mankato-mn.gov/Living-With-Deer/Page.aspx for a brochure and details.
I’m in favor of non-lethal control of visiting wildlife like deer, mountain lions and bears.
Another very practical way is to put the deer on birth control. I imagine that wildlife experts could load a dart with medicine and with a keen eye could shoot or inject the birth control into the rump of a grazing deer. Rooney writes in his paper that 50 percent of the female deer population needs to be prevented from reproducing each year to keep the numbers from growing past manageable numbers. Tranquilizing one at a time, could provide a veterinarian the opportunity to spay or neuter the Bambies found crossing our asphalt roads.
Though some say that relocating deer is traumatic, I think there are better options. Why couldn’t we tranquilize some, and before they wake up, transfer them to another place like Bonanza, Colorado? Doesn’t anyone remember the Crocodile Hunter (Animal Planet) and how gentle he was with the most ancient (and deadly) of beasts and how he humanely moved them from a human populated area to suitable habitat?
Why can’t we put birth control into feed put out for them?
My question to the Valley readers is: Isn’t there a Deer Whisperer out there? I mean, it would be great to have our own Pied Piper, or someone like Cesar Milan known on the National Geographic Wild channel as the Dog Whisperer.
Pickens shared a quote in her newsletter: “If Plan A doesn’t work, remember, there are 25 other letters to choose from in the alphabet.” -Anonymous
I think if we are not careful Mother Nature from the margarine commercials of the 70’s is going to strike us all down for being a species that is selfish and inhumane to each other, to the fertile lands and to the animals we were given dominion over.
Gary Larson’s comic turned the tables and created the gun-toting deer. How would that feel to be leaving your home with your family only to be hunted down? A controlled hunt in Alamosa would put everyone in danger and would traumatize the deer that have lived here longer than we have.
If we persist in violent ways and non-compassion spirits, the Bible’s tale of Armageddon might be of our making because we were not empathetic to God’s creatures and the whole of creation.