February 8, 2023

The $136,666 Deer Vasectomies of Staten Island

To refresh the minds of readers, please recall the story about how Cornell University implemented a program on Staten Island, New York, to give vasectomies to as many male deer as possible in order to reduce the deer population on Staten Island.

Now three years into the program, we discover that of the estimated 2,000 deer on the island, the population has been reduced by approximately 300 deer. At a cost of about $4.1 million, the cost per deer reduction runs about $134,000 each.


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Deer Infestation Problems? What the Heck is That?

An article in Bloomberg recently, lamented about the problems encountered by communities and individuals from having too many deer. Maine does not have that problem, with the exception of a few isolated areas in which hunting essentially is prohibited.

While the author bemoans the results of having too many deer around, even to the point of suggesting a resuscitation of “market hunting”, his blame that he puts on hunters, while partially accurate, needs a bit more of an explanation behind it.

The author claims that, “The hunters who are supposed to control the deer want to keep the numbers up so they have a better chance of shooting a buck. They support changes such as the New Jersey measure to allow bow hunting closer to houses, but they generally oppose efforts to reduce the deer population.”

First off, it’s not the responsibility of hunters solely to “control the deer”. Our money, in the implementation of the North American Model of Wildlife Management, is to be used for game and wildlife management utilizing proven and best scientific practices. The goal of which is a healthy forest. We don’t strictly “control” deer populations but that is just one part of a sought after deer management plan. The author fails to give credit where credit is due.

Secondly, a sweeping and broad statement that hunters only want to shoot bucks is a bit misleading. Studies still reveal that the majority of hunters would like to bring down that so-called “trophy” buck, they also realize the odds are seriously stacked against them and thus, as the season wears on, they are looking for meat to fill the freezer.

Third, to state that hunters, “generally oppose efforts to reduce the deer population”, cannot stand alone. Hunters are the first and best conservationists. This has been forgotten and intentionally so in recent years because of environmentalism and anti-hunting and animals rights activism. The problem that rears its head in deer population reduction comes from the influence of environmentalists, whose real goal is to end hunting and thus convince the masses that deer numbers need to be “about five [deer] per square mile”, as is stated in the article. This effort was attempted in Pennsylvania and created quite a stir. Hunters will protect their investment but most know when there are too many deer and are anxious to do something about it. The problems come because there are too many restrictions that prevent the killing of more deer during hunting seasons.

Therefore, most opposition that this author might be referring to coming from hunters that oppose the reduction of deer numbers, is in opposition to radical killing of deer disguised as an effort to save the forests and songbirds.

It’s also quite laughable that while some so-called environmentalists call for the radical reduction of deer numbers, the same ones oppose the reduction of any amount of large predators that are destroying other species, as is the case in Maine where coyotes, bears, bobcats, etc. are being protected while the deer herd disappears. Why is there a difference in species management?

What this all comes down to is wildlife and forest management based on agendas driven by huge sums of money as opposed to proven scientific methods.

When will we learn?