Weapon use in city is reckless and dangerous

To the Editor: Weapon use in the city poses a serious safety threat to residents and is an accident waiting to happen.
Dec 7, 2013

Contraception is safe, effective and humane. Peer reviewed scientific studies on this topic tell a different story than the editorial board’s column. The deer contraceptive PZP is not experimental. Suburban deer populations have been stabilized and reduced over time by 35-50%. In addition, contraception does work in semi-closed systems such as Grand Haven. Grand Haven had to meet many stipulations, geographically and otherwise, before the contraception scientists determined GH could be an implementation site. Wildlife scientists traveled the area and studied our deer.  Cities implementing wildlife contraception have experienced positive press nationwide for being smart and forward thinking.

Killing deer triggers reproduction rebound and the migration of new deer. Deer contraception allows the current deer to be placeholders. This prevents not only rebound but the natural migration that occurs when you remove deer. PZP has been used in deer, wild horses, elephants, and bison for years. It is a win-win solution.

It takes courage to educate oneself as the council has done. To disregard a thoughtful approach to this issue, by labeling those who disagree with discharging high-powered weapons in our parks, as “Bambi Lovers” is unproductive and disrespectful. I applaud council for thinking outside the “barrel of a gun” and leading Grand Haven toward solving a social conflict with a safe, effective, humane and long-lasting solution.

Susan Rhem-Westhoff
Spring Lake



retired DOC

I do not recall reading thing about using "high power" weapons. The DNR labels this zone 3 meaning no center fired rifles may be used may be used. Crossbows could work well in the proper places in the city.


Get your logic outta here! We're trying to have an emotionally charged debate about deer sir, please comment appropriately.


@ retired doc - Using Crossboows does not address the humane factor. What happens to the deer when hit by an arrow, one may ask? From a vets perspective on bowhunting: Bowhunters contend that although crippling is undesirable, most animals do not die agonizing deaths, but can quickly recover. They feel that the broadhead arrow inflicts clean wounds that can heal quickly. Bowhunters also like to suggests that a broadhead arrow is an efficient killing tool, with brand names such as the Ripper,Penetrator, and Terminator Doublecut. This pretense seem to be that somehow animals develop hemophilia the instant they are struck; thus, they bleed to death while ceasing all bodily functions with incredible speed - within 30 seconds in most cases, according to The Complete Book of Bowhunting. Contrary to these claims, most crippled animals do not recover from their wounds; rather, they routinely contract peritonitis or a septic infection. Note: "Hunters did not recover 68,000 wounded deer in 2008 in Wisconsin during deer killing season, how about the other states? How many wounded deer did they leave to suffer and die?
Broadheads do NOT inflict clean wounds; they generally inflict dirty wounds. The main cause of infection is today's multi-bladed broadhead arrow. As these arrows penetrate an animals body, numerous hairs are clipped, often caught in the slots of the arrow blades, and distributed throughout the wound channel.The external wound opening then becomes sealed due to clotting and dried blood-matted hair. The bacteria from the clipped hairs begin multiplying in the wound. The amount of bacterial infection emanating from the wound depends on the wound location. The animal's general health is also an important factor affecting the period it takes for the animal to finally die. Death eventually results one to two agonizing weeks later. In order for an animal to bleed to death, it's blood-clotting system must be overwhelmed. To overwhelm this system, the broadhead must penetrate the heart or sever one or more major blood vessels. If these are not lacerated, an animal cannot bleed to death - the animals natural blood-clotting system sees to that. Only 20% to 30% of deer struck by arrows die from hemorrhaging and that 10% sustain wounds that probably heal, leaving 60-65% to of the deer to die from infections. The average time in which broadhead arrows cause death must be measured in weeks, rather than in seconds, minutes, or even hours. Sadly it is not only the crippled animals that suffer, but those hit and retrieved successfully as well. According to experts clean kills are a rarity. While the deer who are hit and retrieved successfully are not fortunate, they fare better than those who are wounded and left to suffer. A comment from an experienced bowhunter who writes in Fins & Feathers magazine assumes that the elapsed time between the initial wounding of an animal and the animals final death is exceedingly long - even if the hit occurs in the vital (heart &lungs) areas. The rule of thumb for bowhunters has long been that they should wait 30 - 45 minutes on lung and heart hits, an hour or more on a suspected liver hit, 8-12 hrs on paunch hits, and follow immediately on hindquarter and other muscle-only hits to keep the wound open and bleeding. Bowhunting literature serves as it's own indictment. The book 'Bowhunting for Whitetails' says "it's important to give them (the deer) time to stiffen & die - 20 minutes at a minimum, 30 minutes even better...just hang back and have a long smoke." There is absolutely no sure way to kill a deer instantly with a bow! The most commonly used broadhead arrow is notorious for it's inherent inefficiency and singular capacity to cripple, wound, inflict pain, and prolong the suffering of animals.The sad irony is that ALL 50 states have banned the .22 caliber rifle for big-game hunting because of it's inadequate killing power. Given that .22 caliber rifles are far superior to compound bows in terms of their killing capability, one can infer that states have failed to institute and implement responsible and consistent hunting regulations.
Again, our focus is on a humane & safe way to control deer population and subsequent migratory patterns. Don't begin to suggest that bowhunting within Grand Haven is an option. Can you imagine the horror on a childs face after finding a wounded & bloodied deer hiding in the garage of his/her home?!?! It happens often.


Dechlan, I like to let the deer die slowly, that way the meat is more tender. I think you have forgotten man is the top hunter in this world. Man need food man needs water, Deer meat is food, so what if the the food that i am getting has suffered or not. You my friend cannot eat anything that has not suffered a tragic end to its life. If you eat vegetables you must not forget that they were grow to be killed and eating. If you have a steak the cow was killed to provide the meat, the list is endless, unless you plan on eating your own finger nails for food then you are a killer just like a bow hunter.


Doing nothing is cruel. We are at the top of the food chain and do so responsibly. Starvation and malnutrition is more inhumane.



I was glad to see Ms Rhem-Westhoff's letter. She has many good points and I was just reading about PZP through the Humane Society of the United States website http://tinyurl.com/odavxjj. The average deer has a life span of about 10 years so if PZP is used on them a couple of times during their lifetime then eventually there will not be fawns born and the deer population will go way down. All of this without using dangerous weapons in the City. I applaud the City councilmen for their efforts in trying something new and safe too.


An example of a city deer culling (killing) program accident.

The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY)
Byline: Thomas J. Dolan - NEWS NORTHTOWNS BUREAU

Three days after an errant shot fired from a nearby woods struck their home, a young Amherst couple are still shaken by the thought of what could have happened.

Amherst police say that one of their officers -- a marksman who is taking part in the town's baitand shoot program to control deer -- fired the round and that the shot ricocheted before hitting the house.

But that's not good enough for residents of San Fernando Lane, where the bullet landed in the second-floor guest room of a young family's home.

"In my opinion they should not have been anywhere this close to a house," said a woman who lives in the house struck by the bullet. She agreed to an interview Monday on the condition that her name and address not be published.

"When it happens, your instinctive reaction is to be outraged. We felt that at the time and still do," she said.

At about 10:30 a.m. Friday, her husband was working in a first-floor room of the house and the couple's son was staying home from grade school because of illness, she said.

The bullet blew a baseball size hole in their upstairs guest room window and lodged in a picture on the wall.

Amherst police came to the house, and they were "extremely cooperative and extremely sensitive and sympathetic" about the incident, she said, but she added that nobody should be shooting a weapon that close to a house.

Police told her the officer involved was several hundred yards away in the woods, aiming down at a deer from a platform when the round struck something and was diverted toward the houses on San Fernando Lane.

Over the weekend, her husband took a walk into the woods and said it was "not that far." "If there's a chance of a fluke, they shouldn't be there," the woman said.

According to the town's online map system, the woods are located between Casey and North French roads, covering an area about 1,000 yards long and about 600 yards wide at the midpoint. The map also shows there are houses on three sides of the woods, the nearest of which are located about 300 yards or less from the center of the woods.

According to the woman, her neighbors are aware of the incident and they are "very interested in what's happening." As for her son, she said, it has been "difficult to explain" to him what happened.

Assistant Police Chief Ronald H. Hagleberger told Town Board members Monday that the bait and shoot program will remain suspended until the department concludes its noncriminal investigation of the incident in about three weeks.

Police were withholding the names of the officer who fired the round and the owners of the home that was struck.

Immediately following this accident, an Amherst council member declared the culling program, "an accident waiting to happen."


This is another example of the dangers of shooting rifles in a densely populated and developed community like the City of Grand Haven. The maximum range of this ammunition is 2.5+ miles. A miss fire or ricochet can pose a serious safety threat to Grand Haven families, children, and pets anywhere within the city. There is no safe place to shoot rifles in the City of GH.


Casey Burns was sitting in her car in the driveway of her North Whitehall Township home, laughing with her sister, brother and fiancé when somewhere nearby, a gun went off. The bullet penetrated the car window, cracking the glass. Burns’ head began to bleed. She was shaking as her family quickly called for help.

Within minutes, emergency crews arrived and began advanced life support. When they learned that Burns not only had a severe head injury but was 7 ½ months pregnant, they called University MedEvac. The helicopter rushed her to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Members of the trauma team told Burns she was in the hospital and would be OK. “Her eyes told us she was scared,” says Laurie Cartwright, R.N. A team from the hospital’s mother-baby unit monitored the fetus while the trauma team treated Burns and took a CT scan of her brain. They were surprised by what they discovered: the bullet ricocheted off her head, lodging a piece of skull in the area of the brain that controls speech and motor skills.

Casey Burns needed surgery right away. While preparations were underway, staff chaplain Charles Orth sought out Burns’ family. He found her mother, Allie Dickinson, outside the emergency department, totally distraught. Orth tried to calm her, reassuring her that her daughter was alive and in good hands. “There’s no dress rehearsal for this stuff,” he says. “She was trying to wrap her mind around something so unimaginable.” He spent several hours with Burns’ family, updating them on her care and progress and praying with them.

Over the next three hours, neurosurgeon Stefano Camici, M.D., and his team carefully removed a large blood clot and bone fragment from Burns’ brain while anesthesia specialists monitored her and her unborn baby. Burns was lucky. If the bullet had penetrated her brain, there would have been more damage—but as she recovered in the intensive care unit, her doctors still weren’t sure she would walk or talk again.

Two days later, Burns opened her eyes and was able to follow her doctors’ commands to move parts of her body. The next day, she spoke, and five days later went home from the hospital. Outpatient care helped refine her motor skills and speech.

Burns learned she was accidentally shot by a hunter firing at a deer. “She’s a miracle,” says trauma chief Michael Pasquale, M.D. “Everyone did a great job caring for her.”

A few months later, Burns returned to the hospital to say thank-you to the people who cared for her in those first crucial hours. “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here and neither would she,” she said, showing the team her three-month-old daughter, Hailey Alexis. Aside from some short-term memory loss, Burns feels great today. She married her fiancé, Robbie Kantner, in March and plans to go to school to become an elementary school teacher.


This is another example of the dangers of shooting rifles in a densely populated and developed community like the City of Grand Haven. The maximum range of this ammunition is 2.5+ miles. A miss fire or ricochet can pose a serious safety threat to Grand Haven families, children, and pets anywhere within the city. There is no safe place to shoot rifles in the City of GH.................................. They do not use rifles
in a controled hunt. By state law you can not discharge a rifle south of M-46


More people are hurt in car / deer accidents then are hurt in controled hunts. Time to thin the herd...
The mother and brother of the 18-year-old woman killed when a deer was hit by another car, then crashed through the windshield of her car, are talking about their shock.

The crash that killed Kenda Talley happened Sunday evening at the intersection of Highway 25-E and Leadvale Road.

Her brother, Jordan Talley, 13, was in the passenger seat asleep.

"The seatbelt scratched me here," he said showing us red marks on his neck. "My nose broke on both sides," he added , describing his injuries.

Jordan woke up in an ambulance.

"I kept on asking everyone whether my sister was alright. They wouldn't tell me anything," he said.

The crash site is minutes from Kenda Talley's family home. Her mother rushed to the scene to find her daughter dead in the car.

"It tried to get her up. She wouldn't get up. They tried to get me out of the car, but how could you leave her laying there? She looked like she wanted me to help her," mother Melissa Talley told us with tears in her eyes.

Just a day earlier, Kenda and her mother had gotten matching deer tattoos. The young woman loved anything to do with deer, which is evident based on what she was wearing at the time she died.

"She had a deer sweatshirt that had the same symbol, she was wearing a necklace with the same symbol," Talley said about the deer symbols on what Kenda was wearing.

"I never thought anything like this would ever happen to my family," Jordan said.

A candlelight vigil will be held for Kenda Talley Saturday night at 6 p.m. on the White Pine Middle School soccer field. The public is asked to wear camouflage in honor of Kenda's love for hunting.

Donations to help with funeral costs will also be accepted at the vigil. For more information, contact Farrar Funeral Home in Dandridge.


Sorry to hear about your friends Sirhansalot. Did you realize, and insurance companies have the data, that deer/vehicle accidents are never higher than during hunting season, especially opening day? GH has a stable, negligible number of deer/vehicle crashes with no fatalities. The deer number is also stable in GH and complaints are down thanks to gardeners learning to garden with deer. The contraception is simply an effective answer to slow any population growth - without polarizing the community.


It is always sad to hear of any accidents, especially when they touch you personally, and I'm sorry when anyone has to deal with one.
However, logic must prevail on this.
I wonder why there are more car accidents than hunting accidents? Could it be, could it possibly be that only a small percentage of US residents hunt, and a huge number of people drive cars? Surely, one cannot compare apples to oranges. In addition, it has also been proven that deer are agitated and driven off their normal paths when hunters are present. Most accidents happen on the first day of hunting, later deer become somewhat accustomed to the presence of hunters and accidents somewhat decrease. The smallest number of accidents occur when there are no hunting seasons for deer.


Sorry NJ, but if we start comparing apples to apples here in the comments section the facts we use to back our opinions suddenly become less interesting and lose the WOW! Impact of hyperbole. And then discussing stuff gets boring. The comments on news sites are just entertainment for folks who like a good argument.


Didn't I say that one CANNOT compare apples to oranges?




so NJ your logic should tell you that you are more likely to get hurt in a deer/car accident then being struck by a stray bullet. The deer are moving during hunting season regardeless if there are hunters in the area or not,they are looking for other deer to mate with, not because they are hunters out in the woods.


That may be your logic, not mine! Deer are NOT in rut through the whole hunting season. According to insurance companies, it is fact that most DVAs occur on the first day of hunting because deer are being disturbed. Of course deer move, but not necessarily onto roads and highways - they all have established trails.


I am looking forward to some sloppy doe this afternoon


You seem to very quickly rebound from your sorrows.....




It adds nothing to genuine, valid information to make silly comments like "sloppy does." Nothing. It is, however, important to regard the safety of a community and the stress undergone by joggers, walkers, pet owners and families. Children are kept indoors near hunting areas - there have been too many bullet holes in siding, front porches and even into kitchens in our local news. No one pays attention to these small news bits until it is THEIR family affected. One of our neighbors had her dog shot by a hunter who then tried to hastily bury it. It was a beautiful large breed dog - obvious to anyone who would have paid attention. She has never forgotten that. One only has to use "google" to find articles about hunters shooting even each other as they are mistaken for deer or even in a few cases: a TURKEY. Seriously? A google search will list these for anyone caring to take the time to research. Every hunter I know claims to be an excellent shot. Sadly, this is not the truth. Citizens have had family members shoot each other in mistaken wildlife identity. This happens several times a year. Safety is not something to make jokes about. Your "sloppy doe" is not worth the safety of residents and pets. Your delight in tormenting both residents concerned about safety and animal welfare advocates, only shows the callousness that citizens fear. These are not the types of folks welcomed into neighborhoods. There are better solutions that do not risk the safety of a community and violate the spirit of a community as well. Please consider these alternate solutions. Citizens have the right to protest violations of their sense of safety - and yes, even the right to protest violations put upon local wildlife. Towns and wildlife do NOT belong exclusively to those who enjoy shooting or impaling wildlife and making citizens stay indoors for safety reasons.

Barry Soetoro

Feel free to help yourself to some PZP.


Hansagruber "One of our neighbors had her dog shot by a hunter who then tried to hastily bury it. It was a beautiful large breed dog" Q. Why would any responsible pet owner let their dog run off leash in a area that is open for hunting during deer season? and the " STRESS " you are so concerned about joggers ect... should be focused on the starving and stressed to near death of the deer now that all of the ground food is covered with snow, and due to the over population of the deer on harbor island that have all already eat all of the lower parts to the trees and tall scrub trees down to nothing they are going to starve to death. That is far worst then a controlled hunt. I am enjoying a “Sloppy doe” today for lunch the meat is tender and the taste is great

Foxy Lady

Hunting is Animal Cruelty ~~ period. Also, several universities have done studies to prove that hunting serves to increase the herd. Even according to big-game texts, "Harvesting . . . gets the population into its most productive range . . . this ensures that many animals will be produced." On the other hand, PZP is perfect and humane.


Foxy lady ...Are you ok with the deer starving to death? The deer in the grand haven area have a very limted food supply, So winter is here and now you can watch with gee as deer slowly die.


Sirhansalot, the deer in GH are healthy and not starving. Ask th DNR if you have any questions.


Yeah, the ones we see during our evening rides look pretty fat and sassy to me. I highly question the starving comments. Either some great white hunter, or some "Bambi lover" has been leaving piles of carrots and pumpkins out there for them to eat the last week or two, so it's not likely they're going to starve, more likely they'll get shot while they'r'e dining. Real sportsman hunting that'll be......Maybe they'll be in some duress by the end of the winter, if we have a hard one, but I hardly think there's an issue of starving deer at this point based on what I've SEEN.

The ignorance on this topic is just amazing. Ever hear the phrase, Nature abhors a vaccuum? You kill 'em off and more will find the open territory and move in. I also don't think there's any need to give 'em all rubbers either. 20 / 30 deer in the Harbor Island area is not what I'd call overpopulated. Up around Big Rapids where my folks live you can see 500+ deer in a single day come spring when they come out of their yards. they didn't look like they were starving last spring either...

Human based game management is in most cases, unnecessary and prone to failure, seen it time and time again. If the city fathers had any sense at all they'd be using this to their advantage as a selling point for the area....nature living in harmony with the cities residents. Really folks, how many people in this town do you think ever even see a deer during their daily travels, unless they ride out to Harbor Island to look for them? If we were in this supposed crisis mode that some suggest we'd have deer/car accidents in town every other day and we'd have deer downtown with their faces pressed to the windows at The Rose Bud and Kirby House.

Leave the poor deer alone and concentrate on something important. Like, oh I dunno, maybe finding some retailers and residents who want to sink some cash into the Minimum Security Prison developmess on the Northwest corner of Jackson and Beacon for starters?

Tribune people, quit stirring the pot on this one just to generate revenue for your paper. Find some real news or go to 3 days a week. Just think of the money you'd save then!


I couldn't agree more Lessthanamused. The problem is Geri Mccaleb is hell bent on killing. The deer will be shot if she and Denny Scott get their way. Period. Either we get rid of both of them and replace stubborn ignorance with intelligence, or we shoot PZP instead. She saw nothing wrong with armed men running around our cemetery shooting in broad daylight in 2008. Praying she will drop the vendetta and compromise this time for the good of all. Heck she'd become famous. Cities are queued up for this solution. If you are going to shoot, shoot a win win.


A vendetta hmmmmm.... Maybe as a child she witnessed her family get murdered by a couple of deer and has since devoted her life to revenge. Now there is the story the Tribune needs to investigate! What tragic incident in Ms. Mcaleb's past has driven her to this point? I think the results of this investigation would be best presented in comic book format followed a few years later by a movie adaptation. Just an idea.


Since you appear to have such great concern for starving deer, how about putting out some food - that should put your mind at ease......
BTW - were you aware that starvation is more likely when deer are managed for MSY, rather than biological carrying capacity?


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