OUR VIEWS: Hunt opposition off target

Sep 21, 2012

Some of the concerns may be valid, but others are way off target.

The problem occurs when people forget that these are wild creatures and instead view them as some sort of lovable Disney creation.

These are real animals, living in a natural world that is unkind and unforgiving. Toss out your misconceptions that these are cute, cuddly, peaceful creatures. They're not. These are living, breathing animals that have three primary goals in life: to eat, to avoid predators and to reproduce.

And these wild creatures are capable of overrunning the land on which they live, which is the case in many residential areas across the state. They have no natural predators, other than the occasional coyote.

A more legitimate concern about the proposed North Ottawa Dunes hunt is safety, but even those concerns are overblown. Non-hunters often assume that all deer hunters behave like Amos Slade, the trigger-happy protagonist in Disney's "The Fox and the Hound” who sends lead flying in every direction whenever he's out on the hunt.

In reality, hunters are an inherently safe bunch. The number of hunting accidents in Michigan number around a dozen per year, and many of those involve hunters falling out of tree stands. The number of times a hunter actually fires his bow or his gun and hits something other than his intended target is miniscule.

Granted, North Ottawa Dunes is situated adjacent to a few residential areas, notably North Holiday Hills. But many hunters already set up their blinds in areas close to residential areas. This is nothing new.

Deer hunts have been held in other popular parks across the state. Near Traverse City, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and the park is open to hunting during the fall months.

While we realize that not everyone will support this hunt, we recognize the need to manage the deer herd at North Ottawa Dunes. We’ll put our faith in the experts who recommended the hunt, and our faith in those who participate in the hunt to do so safely.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.
 

Comments

ghresident

Yeah I just threw that in there for a chuckle, Its hard to keep a good sence of humor sometimes.

Mr. Conservative

Prime Example of a feeble weak minded PETA puppet.

Beach Bum

And your reply shows you're just as weak minded - or perhaps just ignorant.

Mr. Conservative

wtf are you calling ignorant? Give me your ideas and we will decide whos ignorant.

RenegadeX

Your opinion that hunting causes deer "reproductive rates" to "double or triple" (which is it and how do you know?) seems significantly ill-informed. Michigan's deer herd is estimated at 1.7 million animals. That estimate is provided by Department of Natural Resources, the state agency with statutory responsibility for managing wildlife in the state. There are approximately 700,000 hunters in the state who harvest between 300,000-400,000 deer each year. These numbers have been relatively stable for the last two decades, though the number of hunters continues to decline slowly. By your logic, such as it is, our state should have more deer than people. Let's just start with these numbers 5 years ago because they really haven't changed that much and assume half the animals are female. In 2007, with a herd size and harvest rate as mentioned, your opinion would put the herd size at approximately 2 million in 2008 after the spring fawns are born. This would be consistent with a "doubling or tripling" of reproductive rates due to hunting, no? In 2008, hunters take another 300,000-400,000 deer. Again, by your logic, the state should have had 3.5 million deer in 2009. Following your logic still (and the very real numbers of hunters and harvest rates), we should have had about 6 million in 2010, 10 million in 2011 and 15 million this year given a 50/50 split in the male/female population.

Now, do you still want to ascert "hunting causes the reproduction rates of a deer population to double or triple"?

ghresident

So let me get this straight, When towns kill deer, they convey a message to our children that killing is the way to solve our problems. How are they getting this info? Is it being taught in school? Are they reading this in the paper or watching it on the news? Or are you as parents conveying this message to them? It’s time for you to come out of your cocoon, death is part of life. If hunting is animal cruelty your very naïve to say the least. Have you ever thought for one second that the meat you live on is slaughtered in a humane way? Go and ask Sara Lee foods in West Olive for a tour of their slaughter area, or should I call it there kill room as they say. Your views on your Thanksgiving Turkey will never be the same…….The beef you eat is filled with growth hormones and steroids, how about the “pink slime” referred to as a filler for the burgers you eat. Next time you give your kid a big ol glass of milk, think about what there feeding the cows to increase milk production. Dang I shouldn’t have posted this, now you’re going to have to explain all this to your children. I almost forgot, everytime time you spank your kid, this is not a good idea. That’s child abuse period.

GH Editorial Board

Hello and thank you all for reading Our Views and being a part of the community conversation in the comment section of grandhaventribune.com. Be assured, however, that the editorial board has not been influenced, buckled under any pressure or otherwise swayed by any particular viewpoint other than our own. Our Views are editorials, which are opinion/viewpoints of the editorial board, not news articles. Hope this clears up any confusion.

Wingmaster

Well now community, can we PLEASE get back to the discussion. Oh, that's right, we have a solution. Thank you professionals at the Ottawa County Parks for your leadership on this issue.

P'tit Nain

The link below is to an older blog, printed in the NYT in 2008, which addresses some of the issues connected to deer over browsing and giving suggestions for herd reduction. The writer raises some interesting points on the ecological impact when the species is allowed to over breed and decimate undergrowth in forest woodlands.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Once the space is created the invasive plants move in replacing the native species. With the added advantage of being unappealing as foraging food, alien plants profit from the imbalance crowding out unique plants, shrubs, and tree saplings from fragile dune lands.
It is possible that if left unchecked over browsing could irrevocably change the lovely dunes and back dunes ecosystem we all cherish.

It's a serious situation we find ourselves in.
Perhaps the time to act is upon us?

http://topics.blogs.nytimes.com/...

Master Gardener Volunteer
Class of 2007

Wingmaster

Welcome to the discussion...P'tit Nain. Fresh dialogue regarding the over browse issue is great to see. Nice link that I encourage all to read. The dune area is different than the area in the link but does give some insight into the problem. The fence would put an end to deer over browse at a higher expenses and long term maintenance. Lets not forget that other creatures can overpopulate and cause unforseen problems. Unfortunately, suburban wildlife areas such as yes Ottawa parks dunes will always need some form of land stewardship to keep ecosystems in balance as human have become nearly the only balancing factor in these types of area for larger animals. By the way, just wait to see what happens if coyotes become the main balance factor to population. I sure they will not be as sensitive to public opinions regarding safety, buffer zones and killing of their dinners!

Hawkeye

Very true that deer are not "Disney" creatures........They are just like your family companions that you love and live with...Your beloved dog and cat. There is a lot more similiar than different... Who wants to subject any living, breathing, intelligent creature to the cruel killing of a rifle/shotgun death or even worse yet , a long , torturous death from being impaled by an arrow?

There are many non-lethal options to controlling a deer population in a specific area that have been successfull in other areas. Why go to the cruel lethal option that subjects these beautiful, noble creatures to horrifying deaths.. Its wrong and as most readers agree, its not something we want a part of. Add to that the very real danger of subjecting innocent humans to death and injury by this approach. I live and and love the outdoors and know deer and wildlife and the forest not by sitting in a deer stand , driven to it by and ATV. I walk throught it daily and encounter all kinds of wildlife, and dont feel a need to put a trophy on my wall to feel good.

Wingmaster

Welcome to the discussion Hawkeye. No one including hunters want to subject animals to a cruel death. In fact death by tooth, fang, and claw is always cruel. Death by hunters many times is in an instant. The animal is not tortured as you say. That happens every time by nature thru dismemberment, mauling or starvation in the natural world.

Mr. Conservative

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained profanity. Discussion Guidelines

ghresident

I appreciate your input and feel your frustration, could you put a little more finesse into your post please. We are trying to stay civil here, even though it can be very frustrating.

Mr. Conservative

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained profanity. Discussion Guidelines

RenegadeX

Give it a rest will you? Forget the finesse, some manors would be appreciated. Leave the name-calling to those who have nothing more to argue with. Sheesh....

Mr. Conservative

do you have anything intelligent to say? please say how you feel about the matter. Btw, conservatives are always right, literally.

RenegadeX

I do and have. Excercise your Page Down button and learn. There's more to meaningful discussion than blanket insults. Learn that, and your writings will appear something more than scribblings on a public restroom wall.

Mr. Conservative

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained profanity. Discussion Guidelines

RenegadeX

Sigh...I am reasonably sure the moderators will scrub the forum clean of that.

You must be a real hoot around the campfire...either that or you are simply a troll.

ghresident

Wow, I usually say what I think to the “T” However I think I’ve held my composure fairly well on this matter. These people against us sportsman deserve to be educated rather than be insulted. No offence bud, that aint cool.

Mr. Conservative

these people are puppets. They are weak minded and easily influenced. PETA has taken control of them. They arent even people, they are liberal zombies.

ghresident

No one said you weren’t right, were just asking for a little more tact……………cool

Mr. Conservative

im sorry, but these ridiculous comments are frustrating

Wingmaster

If you mean that Mr Conservative, leave the gutter to the rats that want to inhabit it! Hit'm hard but maintain a level of decency. Ghresident and RenegadeX are not your enemy and you lose your creditability speaking like that on a public forum...to anyone.

Mr. Conservative

I cant wait for November 15.

Wingmaster

Its in the wind, Oct 1 is a good start.

Mr. Conservative

bow season

Beach Bum

Sadly man chose to eliminate all the predators. What choice do you have but to try and make two wrongs equal a right. Stupid.

Mr. Conservative

What do you know about hunting or conservation?

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