Resources to Effectively Argue Against  
Bow Hunting and
 Other Lethal Methods
to Resolve Human-Deer Conflicts
Produced by Peter Muller of the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

Public Meeting Script

Keep your focus on your objectives:


1) Influence the board of decision makers you are addressing

2) Persuade the general public and media in attendance

3) Network with like-minded people and speakers at the meeting



1) Find out the name and title of the presiding member of the board of decision makers you are addressing.

2) Greet the presiding member of the board by name and title and the board as a whole.

3) Introduce yourself and the organization you represent, if any.

4) Know both sides of the issue.

5) Know what positions various board-members have taken publicly or privately on the issue.

6) Convey to the board that you understand the issue and that you have a solution that you would like to explore with a committee.


1) Stay calm and let the facts speak for themselves.

2) Don't ridicule or denigrate agencies or individuals representing the opposing view.

3) Don’t get into a detailed discussion - some detailed points are hard to follow in a short verbal presentation.

4)  Don't misrepresent or exaggerate anything -- You will damage your personal credibility as well as that of other animal advocates.


Good evening Chairman Bloom and Environmental Committee!


Thank you for affording me this opportunity to address you; I have distributed folders  that contain documentation on the points that I will be making today. The folders also contain my card so that you can reach me for additional information or clarification:


I am speaking for Wildlife Defenders -- we oppose the proposal to open parks up to bow hunting.

There are many emotional issues on both sides; and we should not discount their importance in deciding  policy. Feelings are important and deserve consideration.
However let’s not disregard the facts that science bring to bear on this issue.

Wildlife biology established the following facts:

  • Hunting cannot permanently reduce the size of a deer herd.

  • There are non-lethal cost-effective methods to reduce the size of a deer-herd.

  • Deer car collisions peak whenever hunting takes place.

  • Science shows that deer density is not a cause of Lyme Disease.

  • Bow hunting is least effective in deer-herd reduction and the  cruelest form of hunting.


Wildlife management as practiced by the game agencies in all 50 states is geared to accommodate the demand for hunting. There are many stakeholders: farmers, orchard owners, wildlife watchers, drivers, gardeners wildlife protectors -- and hunters. Yet the agencies accommodate primarily the hunters. In New York, for example, the DEC maintains 210,000 acres of “Wildlife Management Areas” whose stated purpose is to increase wildlife, including deer.

Let me read a brief quick quote from a NYS-DEC website:

“Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are lands owned by New York State under the control and management of the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. These lands have been acquired primarily for the production and use of wildlife.”

The primary natural population control is the availability of browse. Hunting increases the available browse to the surviving members of the herd An abundance of browse increases the fecundity of does in several ways, among them are:

1) Does will come into estrus more often.
2) The chance of multiple births increases from 18% to a whopping 43%.
3) Yearling does will go into estrus.

This will result in a net increase of the size of the deer herd in the spring after the fawns are born.

When deer populations are above carrying capacity, the number of fawns born per doe is reduced. This is dictated by available nutrition and stress.
When populations are kept below carrying capacity, available nutrition is increased and more fawns are born per doe.

In two typical situations
In an area which is above the biological carrying capacity only about three fawns per 10 does are born annually. Which does not even compensate the herd for the rate of natural die-off. So the herd size is reduced.

In an area which is below the biological carrying capacity, there are  many more births and the herd-size is increased.

Let's see what happens in a hunted region as opposed to an unhunted region:

In the hunted region the population is artificially reduced below the biological carrying capacity by killing some of the deer (most often bucks). The result is a net increase in the herd size. A “bumper crop” of fawns will be born in the spring due to increased fertility of the does caused by an increase in browse. This biological phenomenon is referred to as “compensatory rebound.”

In the unhunted region, if left to its own devices, the herd-size will do a “random-walk” around the maximum sustainable size for that region – constrained only by the biological carrying capacity.

If we do want to reduce the deer population there are non-lethal options. Immunocontraception is a method used to reduce fawn-production by vaccinating some of the does with an agent that will temporarily prevent them from becoming pregnant. In combination with the normal die-off, this reduces the herd size without resorting to lethal methods. The most commonly considered and currently used immunocontraceptive products are PZP and GonaCon. PZP (Porcine Zona Pellucida Vaccine) is the original product, and is currently being further developed by Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick.

A number of recent studies show that deer density has NO measurable effect on the number of blacklegged ticks nor on the incidence of Lyme disease in the area.
Let me quote from an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology 44(5):752-757. 2007 byy Robert A. Jordan, Terry L. Schulze, Margaret B. Jahn

“Deer culls are totally ineffective in reducing the number of blacklegged ticks.

…There was no apparent effect of the deer culling program on numbers of questing
I. scapularis subadults in the culling areas, and the overall numbers of host-seeking ticks in the culling areas seemed to increase in the
second year of the program. The Lyme disease incidence rate generated by both passive and active surveillance systems showed no clear trend among years, and it did not seem to vary with declining deer density. …”

Other negative social effects are also exacerbated by hunting and deer management to accommodate hunters.

Insurance companies have found that hunting DIRECTLY relates to the number of claims due to deer-car collisions.
According to their records of accident claims, deer-car collisions peak during first day of hunting season and on the first weekend of hunting season.

Hunters sometimes make the point that the rut coincides with the hunting season – however the report  of the Erie Insurance Co. clearly teases apart the effect of rut and hunting. In other words, hunting exacerbates deer-car collisions.

Bow hunting is both ineffective and cruel.
Studies by the DNR’s of the biggest hunting states show again and again that the crippling rate of bow hunting is 50%. Half of the deer shot and hit with an arrow are never recovered.
Those deer die over the course of days, weeks or months from infections.
Deer with arrows embedded in them sometimes panic and run directly into traffic, crash through glass doors or windows in public buildings or private homes.

And lastly, there are many other members of society who enjoy the recreational use of open land. Wildlife Watchers, bird-watchers, hikers – all are stakeholders and taxpayers who are precluded from using open land for their enjoyment while it is reserved for a small minority who destroy our wildlife.

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today. I’ve included these remarks in written form in the folder I distributed to you. I look forward to addressing your questions and comments, and look forward to a non-lethal resolution.