September 19, 2020

Is Pennsylvania Getting It Right?

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The states all line up with a common problem – too many deer in urban and suburban areas. Reason? No hunting allowed. Cure? Allow hunting. That was a simple solution to a growing problem now wasn’t it. There’s only one problem. Dealing with those who find hunting an unsafe and cruel means of deer management.

Pennsylvania is taking a more proactive approach in trying to put back into place a time-proven long-term cure for an overabundance of deer – hunting. I’m no rocket scientist nor am I a wildlife biologist but experience, combined with a lot of pudding containing proof and it becomes clear as to what works and what doesn’t.

Hunting deer has been the only long-term management tool that works. Biologists have tried periodic culling and occassional hunts with sharp shooters and the results, if affective at all, are short term. A regular hunting season takes care of the population problem now and into the future.

Open your eyes and look around at where there are problems with too many deer eating up people’s back yards, wrecking cars, disease and starvation and you’ll see it is where deer hunting is not allowed. These problems, at least to this degree, don’t exist in the rural areas.

In Pennsylvania, State Farm, the large national auto insurer, ranked them number one in vehicle-deer collisions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control ranks Pennsylvania number two in infection of Lyme disease. The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau estimates that farmers lose $90 million in agricultural losses each year and nurseries suffer losses of about $20,000 annually in damage and costs associated with attempting to control deer damage.

The Game Commission is putting together a plan to go after the problem and they have not tried to hide the fact that hunting is their preferred method of management of population problems. They intend to create more opportunities for hunters to take the deer by extending seasons, opening up more area, allowing more archery permits, allocating more antlerless deer permits. They also intend to spend a lot of time with education programs to teach citizens and community leaders how to more effectively deal with deer problems.

The track record speaks for itself. Contrary to what some say, hunting is an extremely safe activity and it is affective when allowed to run in continuous cycles to control deer numbers. Pennsylvania appears to be headed in the right direction with this. I am sure they will have their hands full of the very small minority who fight hunting of any kind. Will the Game Commission and politicians cave in to the vocal minority who will oppose the plan? We’ll see.

Tom Remington

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