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Bowhunting may backfire with deer problem

This is in response to bow hunting in the village to thin the deer herd (May 18). If Fredonia residents want fewer deer, they need to push for less hunting, not more.

Deer reproduce based on food and habitat availability. A doe can even reabsorb a fetus if resources are scarce. After a hunt, the spike in both results in increased breeding and more sets of twins. And when hunters kill off natural predators such as coyotes, the deer population increases further.

If the proposal to kill deer with bows and arrows goes through, citizens should prepare themselves for the sight of injured, suffering animals: The “wound rate” for bowhunting exceeds 50%. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department found that for every deer killed by a bowhunter, at least one more escapes after being shot. A member of the Maine BowHunters Alliance also determined that 50% of animals who are shot with crossbows are wounded but not killed. And an article in Bowhunter Magazine titled “Bow Wounding Losses The Big Myth” stated, “It is disquieting to know that we probably wound one deer for every animal harvested.” Hunters’ intended targets aren’t the only ones who suffer. Hunting accidents frequently destroy property and injure and kill other animals, including rabbits, birds, squirrels, dogs, and cats.

To keep deer out of their yards, homeowners can spread deer repellent, human hair, soap shavings, or used cat litter along the ground, or hang a salt lick in their path. While humans continue to sprawl, bulldoze natural areas, and drive wildlife out of their homes, the least we can do is try to live in harmony with them.

Michelle Reynolds is research specialist for hunting and wildlife issues at the PETA Foundation in Norfolk, Va.

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