Deer plan delays the inevitable

"Bambi" is a great book and animated cartoon. The belief that Bambi goes on to live a beautiful life with his woodland friends, however, is not exactly based in reality.
Dec 2, 2013

The reality is that the good majority of us eat meat. Some of that meat comes from cute, often furry, "innocent" animals. These animals end up on our dinner tables and in our to-go bags.

Deer, like most other animals, are part of the circle of life. When that circle gets out of balance, as is the case of the deer overpopulation in an urban area such as Grand Haven, it’s a problem.

It’s a problem for the deer as they are more likely to lack adequate nutrition and natural habitat. And it’s a problem for humans who deal with the significant damage these wild woodland creatures wreak on their private property.

It seems that, in an effort to appease a very vocal group of Bambi lovers, the Grand Haven City Council has abandoned common sense.

Common sense tells us not to mess with Mother Nature’s chemistry, and prevailing wisdom tells us that we shouldn’t put off to tomorrow what must be done today.

The idea of darting does with tranquilizer and injecting a protein-based contraceptive is an effective plan for reducing the growth of a herd – but only in a specific contained area. Like, for instance, at a petting zoo. With fences.

But our reality in Grand Haven is we don’t have fences dividing our town. Even if the injections – at $200 a dose –miraculously reached all the does in our community, there is nothing stopping those deer from leaving or keeping others from joining our neighborhood.

And we don’t really know exactly what we’re doing when we meddle with Mother Nature in this way. It would for sure be a grand experiment, but why experiment in our community with a method that is anything except tried and true?

Other options need to be explored and executed. These options could include the relocation of deer to wildlife areas or the culling of the herd.

By culling the herd in a safe, deliberate and effective manner, we could also donate the meat to help stock the refrigerators of our neighbors who have fallen on hard times. This could be a case of two birds with one stone.

It’s time for our council to bite the bullet on this one and make the tough call. They’re never going to make everyone happy, but that’s the nature of the job.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty 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

Lakota05

I thought one of your reporters attended the meeting Trib.....get the facts would you? Stop trying to sell papers by working the public into a frenzy over this.

truthhurts

so you are for spending $200 per dart rather than provide meat to food banks?

bigdeal
Back to the Wall

\\mocking sarcasm

omg
meat is murder
amd killing is bad !!!11!!

mocking sarcasm\\

Lakota05

The statements below from the editorial board are false and lack journalistic integrity:

The idea of darting does with tranquilizer and injecting a protein-based contraceptive is an effective plan for reducing the growth of a herd – but only in a specific contained area. Like, for instance, at a petting zoo. With fences.

But our reality in Grand Haven is we don’t have fences dividing our town. Even if the injections – at $200 a dose –miraculously reached all the does in our community, there is nothing stopping those deer from leaving or keeping others from joining our neighborhood.

And we don’t really know exactly what we’re doing when we meddle with Mother Nature in this way. It would for sure be a grand experiment, but why experiment in our community with a method that is anything except tried and true?

Lakota05

I love how no one worries about food banks until the topic of culling comes up. Write them a check and keep the bullets to yourself. Weapon USE does not belong in our parks.

GN

First, there is no evidence that there is an overpopulation of deer or "deer problem" in Grand Haven other than the Grand Haven Tribune's ongoing biased agenda saying that there is. Last year there were only 17 documented deer complaints (mostly deer eating flowers) and there has only been 4 minor car-deer collisions to date this year. There are around 10,000 residents in Grand Haven. These facts do not align at all with the guesstimate "deer surveys" or the Tribune's "ballooning deer numbers". If the deer population was anywhere near the estimates in these "deer surveys" the complaints and car-deer collisions would be off the charts. Complaints and collisions are extremely low, and are evidence that there isn't a "deer problem" in Grand Haven, but that this is just a manufactured controversy.

PZP deer contraception is not experimental but is a proven solution that has been published in scientific peer reviewed journals. Suburban deer populations have been stabilized and reduced over time by 35-50% .

The deer population in Grand Haven might not be fenced in, but it's contained by the lake, dunes, and development. Deer typically live in their small home ranges their entire lives. The wildlife biologists from the Humane Society of the United States did a site visit to evaluate this situation, and thought that Grand Haven was an optimal site for a successful contraception project. Deer contraception is a proven safe and effective solution for deer population management. In addition, the contracepted deer act as placeholders so that new deer don't immigrate into the area.

The culling program that the Grand Haven editorial staff is promoting would have men running around Grand Haven, a densely populated and developed community, shooting high powered rifles, which threaten the safety of families, children and pets.

The rifle typically used in these culling activities is the AR-15 magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle, a civilian version of the M16 military rifle, considered an assault weapon. The ammunition used would likely be the .223 caliber 55-grain bullets. This is the same style assault weapon used to commit mass murder in Aurora Colorado and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and 6 adults were killed. The maximum range of this ammunition is 2.5 miles +.

Any ammunition capable of killing a deer can kill an adult, child or pet. You only have to look to Amherst New York, where a bullet fired by a police sharpshooter participating in that community’s culling program passed through a deer, struck an unknown object and ricocheted into a residential area. After blowing a baseball-sized hole in the second-story window of a young couple’s home while the father was inside with his son, the bullet lodged itself in a framed picture on the wall. The bullet that entered this home in Amherst was fired by a police officer up in a tree stand aiming down toward a deer on the ground. Immediately following this incident, an Amherst council member declared the culling program, "an accident waiting to happen." (Officer's Errant Shot at Deer Upsets Residents, The Buffalo News, Thomas J. Dolan). Missed shot, ricochets, and misfires all pose lethal threats to the densely populated neighborhoods in Grand Haven.

This also raises the serious risks of psychological trauma to residents and children who witness wounded and dying deer in their yards.

Laura Simon, The Humane Society of the United States' Wildlife Biologist wrote in her letter to Council on January 18, 2013, "Killing deer will not resolve people's backyard conflicts with deer. Certain plants, like tulips and hostas, are irresistible to deer. Even if the deer population could be brought to a very low level, these top-choice flowers would still be eaten by any remaining deer. That's why effective solutions focus on deterring deer and protecting flowers and ornamentals rather than trying to shoot out every deer that may possibly eat them."

Scientific facts and common sense tells us that it would be more effective and safer to educate residents on how to deer proof their gardens and landscapes, and implementing a safe and proven effective deer contraception program to manage and reduce the deer population, rather than implementing a culling program that puts all of Grand Haven City residents at serious risk of lethal harm, and which doesn't even resolve the problem of deer eating a few residents tulips.

GHJames

While you may be correct on most of your statements your comments about the rifle and amunition used are either incorrect or irrelivent to this conversation. The .223 round is little more than a glorified .22. If they are using .223 it is because that is the lowest caliber/velocity round you could reasonably expect to kill a deer with using a single shot. These rounds are available as frangible rounds to prevent overpenatration of the target. The Sandy Hook comment is meaningless in this conversation and makes it seem like gun control fear mongering instead of discussing wheatherfirearms should be discharged in the city.
In past practice I only know of culling taking place on Harbor Island, in Mulligans Hollow, and Lake Forest Cemetery in the wee hours of the morning by professional shooters. These were not men running amok through the neighborhoods with weapons of mass destruction.
The bottom line is and always has been if the culling is necessary. Period. What weapon is used and where the meat goes are after thoughts to the real debate.

Lakota05

GH James - In 2009 when in broad daylight, while people were still in the cemetery walking their dogs, men were shooting from the back of trucks toward Lake Avenue and climbing the dunes shooting toward the houses around the cemetery. WZZM, WoodTV 8 and 911 were called by residents to film/witness this unbelievable sight. It was a debacle which ended up with Lisa Sutterfield, then Assistant City Manager, fired. Pat McGinnis needed a fall guy. The desecration of the cemetery was spoken of far and wide on blogs everywhere. Thousands of people signed a petition against that action. Videos on Youtube mock the city and its leaders to this day. I could go on but you get the picture. Having cops shoot in the middle of the night is not the answer either. I think we have seen what happened with cops at the Rod & Gun club.

GHJames

I did not know about the 2009 incident. I was out of the country most of 2009 and 2010 with more immediate concerns than my hometown deer on my mind. ; ) From my understanding the option of using our public safety officers was immediately nipped in the bud by the chief. I doubt the current chief would touch the idea with a 10 foot pole either. Again trying to make this about guns is not the point. The rod and gun club is a totally seperate subject that involved the GVSU police department and had nothing to do with the city or our police force in any way. The question here is still "Is a deer cull necessary?" Only if the answer is yes does the method come into consideration, rifle, crossbow, poison dart, or hand grenade. We have a lot of deer in the city, I have seen enough of them to state this as fact. Are they enough of a problem to spend this much time and money on? My opinion is no.

GH55

"Little more than a glorified .22!"????? Know any physics? The link below gives some good visual comparison of the performance fo the two completely different rounds.
http://www.thefirearmblog.com/bl...
The numerical differences are just as startling:
.22 speed approximately 400mps, and energy about 150J.
.223 speed approximately 950mps, and energy about 1200J.
WAY more that a "glorified" .22!
The only property "destruction" going on is some plants getting eaten. Plant things they don't want to eat. Plant Hosta, they will be eaten!

GHJames

I stand by my statement. The fact that you cite an article ( A darn good one too. Excellent refference.) devoted entirely to explaining the difference between the two calibers makes a pretty good point in my favor. I doubt there are many articles devoted to the difference between a .22 and a 30-06. Your article also states right at the begining that the .223 is legal to hunt deer with "in some states." supporting my statement that it is a minimally acceptable round for hunting deer.

Lakota05

Exactly GN. The counts are a joke..an absolute joke. Why on earth is there no journalistic integrity these days. Did the trib even ask the city where the numbers came from and WHO was counting?

Lakota05

And yes, if they would research this fact:

PZP deer contraception is not experimental but is a proven solution that has been published in scientific peer reviewed journals. Suburban deer populations have been stabilized and reduced over time by 35-50% .

It would be most appreciated. Come on Trib. No one is taking away your right to hunt. There will be still be plenty of venison for you up north. We are talking neighborhoods. Want to be famous and have the entire nation reading your paper? Areas implementing contraception are getting accolades internationally.

GN

Donating deer meat to food banks poses serious health risks.

* Deer don't originate from an approved USDA inspected food source.

* The meat doesn't go through a USDA inspection to make sure it's safe to eat.

* Deer are a reservoir for infectious diseases like E-Coli.

* The field-dressing process subjects the meat to environmental contamination and temperature abuse.

* Recent CDC studies show that eating (rifle shot) venison significantly raises lead exposure to dangerous levels, especially for children and pregnant women .

* Deer also typically has higher levels of herbicides and pesticides from browsing on treated grass and crops.

At risk are low-income beneficiaries of venison donation. While the rich can choose between their USDA inspected meats, the poor are being fed uninspected meats with the high probabiliy of disease and bacterial contamination, and dangerous levels of lead and pesticides poisoning.

This issue has become even more serious with the lead poisoning guidelines being recently revised.

Lead poisoning guidelines revised; more considered at risk

http://www.usatoday.com/news/hea...

Lead found in donated venison at food shelves

http://www.startribune.com/sport...

Minnesota food shelves will halt distribution of venison donated by hunters after lead particles were discovered in ground venison at North Dakota food shelves. ... Authorities urged that any donated meat that had already left the food shelves not be eaten.

Eating venison, other game raises lead exposure

http://www.environmentalhealthne...

Wild game source of lead for those who eat the hunted meat.

http://www.environmentalhealthne...

Laker Dad

Grind up the meat and donate it to the Humane Society for dog food.

GHJames

Your first two reasons are more than enough for any foodbank to refuse the meat. Could they legally take it even if they wanted to?

Barry Soetoro

"Eating deer meat is a serious health risk" says GN while enjoying a plate full of GMO food.

Vladtheimp

"It seems that, in an effort to appease a very vocal group of Bambi lovers, the Grand Haven City Council has abandoned common sense."

Seems like the editorial board was right on the mark with this statement.

truthhurts

know kidding! i guess the citizens with common sense need to get ahold of the city council and get more vocal as well! You can bet that I will call!

LessThanAmused

No kidding?

Lakota05

Actually vlad, the only vocal group I know of is the trib trying to get everyone in a frenzy over deer.

Vladtheimp

Look-in-the-mirror.

bigdeal

true that! lol

jawbreaker10

Congratulations Tribune, you got what you wanted, to stir up trouble and get people angry again. Sounds like you are getting your information from some people that were not at the meeting when the Humane Society of the United States were here and explained it very well. This birth control will solve the deer problems and without gun fire in the City, this is a win win situation and those who are against it were not at the meeting so how can they judge. Alex was at the meeting and guess he was not listening very closely or else he didn't tell his editor the facts.

Robtownredneck

I just spent a week out west hunting with a gentleman from Boulder Co. Seems this is an issue in Boulder as well. Boulder is also home to a large population of dare I say liberal bunny huggers. Seems enough damage was done they have hired proffesional deer culling experts. There weapon of choice is the crossbow. I did not reseach this just going with what my friend told me.

Bee

Cant we all just get along?

truthhurts

no

LessThanAmused

Isn't that know?

truthhurts

get a job stalker

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