LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Questions hunt justification

Sep 11, 2012

 

Of the 14-page survey, only five questions/statements pertained to deer or hunting:

Page 2: Deer numbers should be reduced by as necessary to protect vegetation in high-quality natural areas: 66 percent of 536 agree and strongly agree. Hunting should be allowed in unimproved portions of county parks and open-space lands: 36 percent of 537 agree and strongly agree.

Page 13: Draw tags for hunting and let it be known to the public. Put it on the news or give fliers through the mail to people to let them know about hunting. Open up hunting to bow hunting

Page 14: More natural lands; undeveloped life preservations; no hunting. More preservation of wildlife areas and restricted access to these beautiful rare areas.

This survey is laughable at best. Refer to Page 14, conveniently not mentioned by Scholtz in a news release.

I was present at a meeting held at Spring Lake Township Hall on March 23. After the meeting, I heard Scholtz talking with an employee from Hoffmaster State Park. Scholtz was informed that the park is open while deer hunts occur. Scholtz replied he would not be within miles of a park that was not securely shut down while shooting was taking place.

Well, John, how do you propose to make sure hunting in North Ottawa Dunes is going to be safe? You can't!

Why were these meetings involving political leaders from surrounding municipalities kept secretive? The public has the right to know what our elected and hired officials are doing.

Cynthia Fricano
Grand Haven

 

Comments

kathy p.

Not only does hunting in the North Ottawa Dunes pose a serious safety threat to residents who live adjacent to the park, it also poses a serious safety threat to everyone in the community from increased car-deer accidents. There is indisputable evidence that hunting actually increases car-deer collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, most car-deer collisions happen during hunting season. The Erie Insurance Group studied the effect that hunting has on car-deer collisions. They discovered that not only did accidents increase during hunting season, but in a 1997 study, that they increased nearly five-fold on the first day of buck and doe hunting seasons respectively, and remained high throughout hunting season. This increase is caused by hunters pushing deer out of their habitat and into the roads, and panicked wounded deer running into the roads.

ghresident

Good job with the copy and paste from the other artice, Yay your smart................

Smartie

Hey, that's ingenuity! Nothing wrong with it at all!

ghresident

Repetitive ignorance.

Smartie

In fact, 60% of all hunting accidents occur during hunting season, and 40% in the remaining year, which should be enough to prove that hunting is to blame for accidents! Hunters disturb deer in their habitat, driving them out straight onto roads and highways, thereby causing accidents!

ghresident

60% of all hunting accidents occur during hunting season.....The deer are in rut and searching out partners is the real blame.

Wingmaster

Well that solves it, quit driving during the hunting season! Duh!

Tri-cities realist

Notso... See above. Oh and 78.3% of all statistics are made up.

Tri-cities realist

Kathy, your statement "There is indisputable evidence that hunting actually increases car-deer collisions" is not correct. While hunting MAY increase car-deer collisions, for your statement to be true, we would need to control all other factors to PROVE that it is the hunting that is causing the increased collisions. There are other factors ( as noted by others) such as the deer being much more active during mating season "the rut". So the old adage "correlation does not imply causation" must be considered here. It would be interesting to know whether car-deer accidents also increase during this same time frame in areas that are not hunted. This could help shed light on the real cause.

GN

Below is the exact quote from the Erie Insurance study and press release showing the evidence that hunting increases car-deer collisions, which the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration confirms and agrees with. This only makes logical sense. Deer that are pushed out of their home ranges by hunters, and wounded deer will run into roads without thinking or looking. In addition, when a hunter kills the matriarch doe whose responsibility it is to cross her family safely across the road, her fawns and yearlings will run across the road w/o any caution.




"Last year, Erie Insurance received an average of 34 deer claims a day. That number rose nearly five times on the first day of buck season and doe season for 157 and 160 deer losses, respectively." "Car-Deer Collisions Carry High Price Tag", new release, Erie Insurance Group, October 21, 1998.




The real issue behind car-deer collisions is that the DNR and other state wildlife agencies typically spend millions of dollars on wildlife habitat improvement for game species. The state’s deer are intentionally managed for “maximum sustained yield” to produce more targets for their hunting constituents. More deer equals more hunting licenses sold, directly contributing to the agencies’ financial bottom line. It is this artificial propagation of the deer population that is responsible for the increases in car-deer collisions, farm crop damage, forest damage, dune damage, and landscape damage in suburban communities. If there are any deer population issues, it is being caused by the DNR's artificial propagation of the deer herd. The DNR's priority is not the safety of residents, but to open up more places for their hunter constituents to hunt, and to sell more hunting licenses.

Tri-cities realist

So my question still remains: do car-deer accidents also increase during this time frame in areas that are not hunted? And because an insurance company published some data that NHTSA agreed with, still does not PROVE causation. Please do yourself a favor and research correlation vs causation. If we want to base our decisions on "science" then we must rigorously adhere to the scientific methods, which take into account other factors. And while this is just anecdotal evidence, I will share it because it is relevant. I witnessed a buck chasing a doe across I-96 a few years ago during the first week of Nov. Neither appeared to have any regard to the four lanes of highway and exit lane they were crossing. The bucks head was down, obviously trailing the scent of the estrous doe. And since it was a week before the gun season opener, that can't be blamed. So I would still be interested to see a historical study of day by day car-deer accidents during the months of Oct through Dec, which include both archery and firearm deer seasons, and coincides with "the rut". Perhaps Erie's claim is valid, but until all of the data are analyzed, their claim is yet another theory. I hope you can appreciate my concerns with their study.

Wingmaster

Bingo! Well said. Level headed thinking instead of knee jerk reaction. You can have sane dialogue, discussion and disagreement when all facts and factors are considered.

RenegadeX

"Kathy p." continues to spout the same tired and disproved assertions of the Defenders of Urban Wildlife who have been unsuccessful in gaining public support for their opposition to urban deer management practices in Grand Haven. She and they like to shout the term "compensatory rebound" based in part on a study they at one time included on their website. It was a 30 year-old study co-authored by Dr. Ronald Labisky and was entitled Reproductive Dynamics Among Disjunct White-tailed Deer Herds in Florida. The study found, in part, that there was slight increase in fertility rates in hunted herds vs. non-hunted herds. Note my use of the term slight and what Dr. Labisky says about HIS findings. Their use of this study caused me to read the study in its entirety. Furthermore, I reached out to Dr. Labisky and was shocked and surprised that he responded to my email inquiries. We all know what "Kathy p." and her ilk say. Hunting deer means the remaining deer will have more food; therefore, more deer will be born. Well. I'll repost some of my conversation with Dr. Labisky and let others be the judge as to the veracity of the statements from Defenders of Urban Wildlife and "Kathy p." His comments are in parenthesis ( ) and I emphasize key points with ALL CAPS. The text display features of this forum are a bummer, but I hope you all can read this. (First off, managing deer herds is urban settings is a complex problem, and I have never researched urban deer populations. I can offer some comments, and will. No, I have never heard of the term “compensatory rebound”. I suspect they derived the term from a statement that Richter and I made on page 969 of our 1985 paper: “Although pregnancy rates DID NOT DIFFER SIGNIFCANTLY between hunted and nonhunted sites in Florida, the number of fetuses per pregnant doe was greater on hunted than nonhunted sites. The index of net reproductive gain, fawns excluded, was 1.240 in hunted herds and 1.075 in nonhunted herds, suggesting that HUNTED HERDS WERE IN BETTER BALANCE with the carrying capacities of their ranges.” I stand by that statement, and besides that concept is as old as the hills. But, let’s tease it apart, by starting with the term carrying capacity. In Florida, nutrition is very poor; levels of crude protein, phosphorus, and in vitro organic matter digestibility in major forages in pine flatwoods habitat “was deficient year-round with respect to the nutritional requirement of white-tailed deer” (Kilgo and Labisky. 1995. Florida Scientist 58: 327-334). Furthermore, does in Florida do not breed until 18 months of age, whereas a high proportion of does in the Midwestern states breed as fawns, e.g., (94% in Illinois). Another facet in Florida is the high predation rate on fawns; a minimum of 60% (94% by extrapolation) of fawns were killed by bobcats in the Florida Everglades (Labisky and Boulay. 1998. American Midland Naturalist 139: 275-281). In your part of the world, PREDATORS ARE ABSENT or at low population levels. All these factors contribute to the low density of deer in Florida (range of about 10-30 deer per square mile)—far lower than densities in your part of the world. Thus, we have a few problems with deer in urban settings, save for homes/landscapes nested within inviolate natural preserves. In fact, statewide, the sportsman cry is for MORE deer, thus, we harvest few does. Bottom line: MANAGEMENT OF DEER IN FLORIDA IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN IN MICHIGAN. Your region of Michigan has good forage that provides high nutrition; thus, productivity is high, which contributes to moderate/high densities. Urban areas and parks, thus, become sanctuaries for deer—resulting in deer damage to natural and urban landscapes. The problem is too many deer in environments with limited carrying capacity. Noteworthy, in this respect, is that the overpopulation of deer has occurred in many Midwestern states in the past 50 or 60 years (e.g., Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota), which led to the now general practice of harvesting female deer to reduce populations. Some of these reductions were drastic, thereby unpopular, but necessary. Some folks have championed sterilization and other related techniques as a means of reducing populations. In my opinion, such approaches are cost-prohibitive and ineffective. For example, if you do manage to render the entire herd incapable of reproduction, you still have the “standing” herd intact and capable of continuing damage to the vegetation until they die. Furthermore, you will continue to get an influx of deer from surrounding environs. YOU ARE ALREADY AT HIGH REPRODUCTIVE LEVELS, SO THE REDUCTION OF DOES TO THE SO-CALLED "COMPENSATORY REBOUND" IS INCONSEQUENTIAL IN YOUR SITUATION. The bottom line is that you need to reduce your deer population before it gets out of hand.) Remember, this is the author of the study opponents of hunting and culling say “proves” THEIR theory called “compensatory rebound”. Am I the only one who finds it telling that Dr. Labisky has never heard of the term? What is most disappointing about “Kathy p.” and her ilk is they want to pretend they understand what they view as the “science” behind their positions. But unlike science, their positions don’t stand up to a modicum of “peer review”. Their minds are made up and that’s just the way it is. What is surprising to me is when you peel back the onion layers of who these people are...they are educated urbanites, pampered by our modern life, who have spent precious little time in the wild. This absence of experience with wildlife oozes from their writings like water from a wet sponge.

Wingmaster

Wow, very impressive. Your post is worth repeating every time this study is twisted by others to offer flawed opinions to this debate. Thanks RenegadeX for doing what investigative reporters are supposed to be PAID to do. See Tribune reporters, that is what someone there could be doing with their time rather then coming up with silly worded polls or inflammatory titled piece regarding this hunt. Actually call the author of the repeatedly posted study on here and ask questions! For those that are lurking and following along with this discussion, this should give you pause to think. If you are of the same views against this hunt as kathy p and others you should really be thinking long and hard. Notice how most on this forum that are pro hunting and hunters themselves, spend time actually studying and understand throughly the complex problems of urban deer. I suspect those same hunters, like myself have been already practicing if the are bowhunters for at least a month now. We are dedicated to being competent when we entire the field. We respect the game we hunt deeply. We practice and are very familiar with our weapons. We have all been through safety programs and most have spent additional time practicing that safety with Mothers and Fathers and peers. Yes I said Mothers. There are more and more female hunters involved with the sport. I have spent time afield with both of my daughters many times before they were of age to hunt and now that they are. I would not be exposing my kids, that I love dearly, to an unsafe environment. Like my father did with me, we discuss safety nearly every time we uncase our guns. We hunters find it very offensive when the uninformed make wild claims regarding how unsafe hunting would be. I feel safer at a camp fire with hunters then I do in a coffee shop in the city with these so called compassionate people. So if you are a non hunter that is fine, but hunting the deer in this park offers a cost effective, safe solution to this problem.

Springtime

One good thing that has come from all of this is that the TriCities Safety Coalition has increased more than expected. People are talking about boycotting Ottawa County Parks if they are going to become hunting grounds.
Also I have heard from some of the public that they will be more careful when they vote for their County Commissioners in the future if the hunt proceeds as scheduled.
Fox News tonight said over 2000 deer have died from the disease EHD and if you believe the DNR go ahead and eat the meat, after all you deserve it.
At the rate things are going the deer will once again be extinct as they were many years ago, if you don't believe me look it up.

ghresident

So let me get this straight, your going to boycott a couple parks that let YOU the general public use for free? And more carefull in choosing your County Commissioners who have nothing to do with these hunts? Wow what a brilliant idea......lol! By the way I just read on the EHD disease, The DNR said the flys will keep spreading the disease until a hard frost. Ok so we loose 2000 or so more deer in 4 counties until we have a frost, this disease isnt reported around here as of yet. Your so called safety coalition isnt going to stop the hunt. People tried to stop it here in Grand Haven. It still went on as intended.

Wingmaster

So typical of this type, they want to complain, getting all emotional, spread false misleading claims to support their position and act like they care so much. Their twisted understanding of the subject in which they speak causes their actions to cause more harm than good for what they claim they want to protect! ghresident keep the faith, at least we can enjoy the parks without the crowds!!

Springtime

ghresident, I believe that the Ottawa County Commissioners are the boss of the Ottawa County Parks Dept. and can fire him at the drop of a hat like they have dozens of other department heads, oh yeah, people are watching the whole package and the Board of Commissioners need to get a handle on this department head, safety is the number one issue here. This is not being taken lightly by adjoining Cities and Townships.

ghresident

The commissioners may be the boss of the parts, however they dont have the authority to make the decision to allow a hunt without the DNR's consent through the WCO. The DNRE-Wildlife Division field staff interact with Wildlife Management Unit Supervisors,
wildlife research and management specialists, and other Lansing staff when identifying deer
management issues and making deer management recommendations. Input from field staff is
critical to development of accurate and appropriate assessments of deer population status
throughout the state and for the development of appropriate management recommendations.
Field staff input was also critical to the development of this plan as observations of local deer
populations, deer habitat and vegetation conditions, and daily interactions with hunters and other
stakeholders provided important information and local perspectives.
Successful implementation of deer management in Michigan requires that DNRE-Wildlife
Division staff regularly review deer regulations with other DNRE Divisions including: Forest
Management Division (FMD); Law Enforcement Division (LED); and Recreation Division
(RD). Input from appropriate Federal agencies including: U.S. Forest Service (USFS); U.S.D.A.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
as well as Tribal representatives are also important to successful deer management in Michigan.
While this level of review and consultation occurs successfully at some levels and in some parts
of the state, communication among divisions and with other government agencies regarding deer
management has not been consistent. Actions identified in this plan will improve cooperation at
this level. Ultimately, draft management recommendations and actions are reviewed with the
NRC for approval prior to implementation. DNRE staff identified six principal Goals that incorporate issues and values identified through
the public input process: 1) manage deer populations at levels that do not degrade the vegetation
upon which deer and other wildlife depend; 2) promote deer hunting to provide quality
recreational opportunities, as the primary tool to achieve population goals, and as an important
social and cultural activity; 3) manage habitat to provide for the long-term viability of whitetailed
deer in Michigan while limiting negative impacts to the habitats of other wildlife species;
4) reduce conflict between humans and deer; 5) reduce the threats and impacts of disease on the
wild deer population and on Michigan’s economy; and 6) Enhance public engagement in and
awareness of deer management issues and knowledge of deer ecology and management.
To achieve these Goals, the DNRE will use sound scientific management principles and will
consider the complex interactions of many biological, social, and economic factors while
implementing measures that assure adequate protection and conservation of white-tailed deer in
Michigan. Considering the myriad aspects of deer management, this plan outlines a strategic
management effort that addresses deer management issues that are important to the people of
Michigan. By focusing on the Goals identified in this plan, the DNRE strives to create the best
and most appropriate management effort for Michigan’s white-tailed deer herd and for the
people of the State of Michigan. Stakeholder groups and individuals often have opposing views and needs regarding deer
management. This plan reflects efforts to identify an appropriate balance among the biological
needs of the species, the benefits deer provide to some segments of society, the costs they impose
on others, and the acceptability and feasibility of particular management methods.
The following deer management Goals, Objectives and Actions will be implemented to achieve
the principal purposes of the Michigan Deer Management Plan. They provide guidance for the
management of several deer-related issues at the strategic level. The ensuing headings indicate
strategic Goals (in bold; e.g., 4.1), Objectives (underlined; e.g., 4.1.1), and Actions. These
headings partition broad needs into manageable segments, and thus provide a structure for
addressing individual management issues. Implementation of the Actions described in this plan
will require a considerable amount of funding and effort and will occur over a period of the next
several years. Prioritization of the Objectives and Actions within each Goal will be the first step
toward implementation of this plan. Some of the Actions identified in this plan are purposely
worded in a general and less urgent manner and are intended to provide long-term direction,
while others are more direct in nature and call for immediate specific action. In general, those
worded more specifically address items that were identified by DNRE staff or the public as high
priority. Specific Actions may be listed more than once in this plan if they are critical to
achievement of more than one Goal or Objective. 4.1 Manage Deer Populations at Levels that do not Degrade the Vegetation
Upon Which Deer and Other Wildlife Depend.
White-tailed deer have been designated Michigan’s official game animal and are likely the
signature wildlife species in the State. In addition, deer have been identified by the DNRE as a
Featured Species, which is a designation that indicates a species that is highly valued by the
citizens of Michigan and has habitat issues that can be addressed through active management.
Deer are important to the people of Michigan, perhaps more so than in any other state. For many
Michigan residents deer season is the focal point of the year, providing the opportunity to
reconnect with family, friends, and the natural world. Deer hunting provides revenue that is
critical to conservation of Michigan’s natural resources and is important to stores, shops, and
restaurants of rural towns where hunters spend money on lodging, food, and supplies.
Recruitment of new hunters and retention of hunting traditions are important to the culture of
Michigan, yet management efforts designed to provide sufficient deer abundance to meet the
recreational needs of Michigan’s citizens also must consider the impacts of deer on the
landscape. Deer management efforts of the DNRE seek to maintain a healthy and balanced deer
herd that meets the social, economic, and recreational demands of the public, while conserving
sustainable habitat for deer and other wildlife species. Protection of native plant communities,
agriculture, horticulture, silviculture, and safety of Michigan’s citizens must be included in
planning and implementation of deer management.
White-tailed deer evolved in a forested environment and it is likely that there are both wildlife
and plant species that benefit from the presence of deer and their activities. By foraging
selectively, deer affect the growth and survival of many herbaceous, shrub and tree species,
modifying patterns of relative abundance and species interactions. When populations are not in
balance with habitat, deer have the ability to alter their environment by over-browsing preferred
plants and destroying the vegetative cover upon which they and other species depend. Overbrowsing
can result in reduced availability of adequate ground-level vegetation (herbaceous
plants, seedlings, saplings, and shrubs) that provides the food and cover required by deer
(Alverson et al. 1988). In addition to impacts on deer habitat, over-browsing by deer can
degrade the quality of habitats for other wildlife species and alter entire ecosystems. Numerous
wildlife species use ground level and mid-story vegetation of forests in Michigan for nesting and
escape cover that may be negatively impacted by intense deer browsing (deCalesta 1997, Cote et
al. 2004). In addition, deer compete directly with wild turkeys, ruffed grouse, squirrels, and a
variety of other birds and small mammals for acorns, fruits, and other mast.
Deer browsing Deer browsing can impact the quality and viability of entire natural communities. Damage to
natural communities extends to a variety of other species including insects, birds, reptiles,
amphibians, and other mammals that are dependent on those communities. Impacts on rare
plants, animals, and communities are of special concern as years of over-browsing can threaten
viability of local populations. Successful deer management requires assessment of deer populations so that goals and
management activities can be identified, implemented, and evaluated. While it is difficult to
accurately and precisely estimate the population size of free-ranging deer, deer management has
typically included the development of population estimates, population goals, and population
management activities related to these goals.

Wingmaster

Now if we could get the Grand Haven Tribune reporters to do a piece that would include even half of the information on your post and others here, the level of discussion regarding this hunt would actually bring a community together to solve the issue rather than incite argument and hyperbole.

RenegadeX

In what state have theses deer died? It certainly wasn't in Michigan as this disease has been diagnosed ONLY in a captive population of animals in this state, and NONE in Ottawa/Muskegon counties.

And if deer were "extinct as they were many years ago"' how in heaven's name do we have so many today? If you fail to grasp a basic biological term like extinct, how are you to be believed or taken seriously for ANY opinion you offer?

Wingmaster

Correction RenegadeX, it has occurred in Michigan. You are confusing EHD with Chronic Wasting Disease. EHD is more severe in drought conditions and is caused by a biting Midges. Healthy deer can develop immunity and pass on to off spring. It can affect up to 25% of the herd and has already occurred in Ottawa county. More deer, less food, makes deer more prone to contacting the disease. Herd control is the only way to insure healthy deer as there is no way to prevent exposure.

RenegadeX

Thanks much. My bad. Should know better than to try and engage my brain at 5 am! Thanks again for the correction. Love the clarification on facts!

LessThanAmused

LOL! This has been an entertaining read with everyone espousing their own private agendas, but you win the award for most rediculous comment in print for the week! As has already been pointed out to you, extinct means GONE, as in.....ain't coming back. You can't unextinct something. If you have evidence or data to prove otherwise please share cuz I did look it up and could find nothing to support your out in left field proclamation. I'm not entirely sure what side you're on, but you're doing them a disservice with your wacky comments.

Tri-cities realist

GN please read my comment and question at the bottom (2nd to last) of this thread. Thanks

RenegadeX

Ms. Fricano, who generated notoriety for herself when she was photographed squirting ketchup into snow to "protest" deer management practices in Grand Haven some years ago, should try running for elected office to convince voters in her community of the correctness of her position on this matter.

Oh, wait a minute...

Lakota05

Courage is putting your name out there and running for office and writing letters - not hiding behind a screen name. I applaud Ms. Fricano whether I agree with her or not.

RenegadeX

I agree. Nice screen name by the way.

RenegadeX

Ms. Fricano, since it is evident you read these forums, and are accusing public officials of a crime, perhaps you would care to share with readers how these public officials have SPECIFICALLY violated the OMA. http://www.michigan.gov/document...

RenegadeX

Ms. Fricano, since it is evident you read these forums, and are accusing public officials of a crime, perhaps you would care to share with readers how these public officials have SPECIFICALLY violated the OMA. http://www.michigan.gov/document...

Pages

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.