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
However let’s not disregard the facts that science bring to bear on
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 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.
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
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
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
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
many more births and the herd-size is
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
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
“Deer culls are totally ineffective in reducing the number of
…There was no apparent effect of the deer culling program on numbers
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
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
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.