September 22, 2023

Delaware Paying Through The Nose for Sharpshooters

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife has hired teams of sharpshooters to cull the deer herd for purposes of scientific study says director Patrick Emory. The culling began on Tuesday night. The teams of sharpshooters are operating at night and DFW hopes to collect 450 does, most of which will be carrying fawns, to help biologists better understand how to manage the deer herd, according to Emory.

The corpses will be analyzed for such things as age-specific reproduction rates, sex ratio of fawns, length of breeding season, and the age structure of the doe population.

Deer hunters are objectionable about the idea of spending tax dollars to cull the herd. They wanted an opportunity to do it. Last fall, DFW asked hunters to donate doe corpses to the study and officials only collected 144.

I seldom criticize wildlife biologists for the simple reason that I know they are a lot more educated than I when it comes to understanding the scientific make-up of animals. What I know comes from experience in the field but I may a better business person than a wildlife expert. There is an aspect of this deer culling event that leaves me wondering if it’s a wise expenditure of taxpayer’s money. If it is, I’m changing professions.

Emory, the director of DFW, in an interview with, said that on the first night out, Tuesday, two teams of sharpshooters bagged 6 deer – yeah, 6. What I don’t know is how many sharpshooters were positioned for the harvest but 6 deer is what they took and they want to cull 450 over a 4 or 5 night hunt. Wow!

Oh, but there’s more. It costs taxpayers about $2,000 per night per sharpshooter team employed. In case you are math illiterate, that’s $4,000 for Tuesday night’s hunt in which sharpshooters bagged 6 deer – in the dark. That places a value of $666.66 on each doe killed. Emory didn’t know how many deer had been taken on Wednesday night. Hopefully it was about 200, to get them caught up with goal quotas.

Emory did say that because of the small number of deer taken, they were beginning to rethink their goals. He said he wasn’t sure if they would just use what deer they had and come up with the best data possible or can the entire operation until a better plan is put in place.

One thing is for sure, spending $4,000 a night to kill 6 deer is ridiculous, considering the fact that the sharpshooting company, or whatever they are, doesn’t have to completely process the deer. In other words, I would assume that they would have to dress the deer and take care of entrails and turn the carcass over to the state.

Often times, sharpshooters hired by cities to cull local deer populations have to take care of everything, including the cost of processing the meat. As I said earlier, I might need to consider changing jobs.

Tom Remington