Idaho: Dalton discusses deer management via fertility control

Sept. 23, 2015 -- The city of Dalton Gardens held a special workshop Tuesday evening to learn more about deer fertility management and review the city's noise ordinance.

More than 20 people attended the workshop, which featured a teleconference and PowerPoint presentation with Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center at ZooMontana in Billings. He discussed the contraceptive vaccine porcine zona pellucida, known as PZP, which is one option for controlling urban deer populations. He explained that membranes surrounding eggs have "molecular keyholes" that allow the right kind of sperm through; PZP affects the "keyholes" just enough to keep sperm from entering.

"By 1988, we knew that it worked in horses," he said. "By 1990 we knew that it worked in deer."

He cited studies of when the vaccination was used in deer populations near Long Island, N.Y., and Fripp Island, S.C., where the urban deer population was shown to significantly decrease when PZP was used. He also presented a slide of a 28-year-old whitetail deer, whose longevity he attributed to being vaccinated at a young age.

"All of your treated animals are going to live longer," Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick said much of the problem surrounding PZP comes from "an irrational paranoia" that using fertility management on urban deer populations will affect wild deer populations.

"There is no connection between urban deer management and recreational hunting," he said. "Zero, nada, nil."

After Kirkpatrick's presentation, a few council members asked about training and cost. He answered that the necessary two-and-a-half day classes to administer the vaccine via injection or dart is $200 per person. The doses are $24 each.

Dalton Gardens Mayor Dan Franklin said the workshop was called to examine a deer management alternative that is somewhat new to the council.

"It was an opportunity to hear that as a group and hear from one expert," he said. "I think it's an option. We're a community that's surrounded on at least three sides that would have the same deer problems. I'm not sure if there's anything that will actually control the total influx of the deer, so I think that looking at any option is a good option. It's definitely one opinion."

Dalton resident Jamie Smith said she wanted to hear the presentation because she keeps an open mind about Dalton's deer.

"I recognize that they are certainly a problem for some, not for all," she said.

She said she could absolutely foresee Dalton implementing an alternative deer fertility management system such as the PZP vaccination.

"I think it's a great idea," she said. "It's the most humane idea, it's the least harmful idea, so it's a win-win."

Originally published Sept. 23, 2015 in the Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) Press.

Do you like this post?

Showing 2 reactions

Animal Fertility Vaccine Information Center posted about Idaho: Dalton discusses deer management on Animal Fertility Vaccine Information Center's Facebook page 2015-10-08 12:49:52 -0600
Idaho: Dalton discusses deer management via fertility control
@afcontrolinfo tweeted this page. 2015-10-08 12:49:49 -0600
Information: Animal Fertility Control Vaccine
Learn more about managing wildlife with fertility vaccine