Urban deer: Let's shoot them (with contraceptive darts)

If you've been visiting this site for a while, you know that much of our discussion focuses on wild horses.

The horse issue is heated and often in the news. And with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management admitting that its system of rounding up and removing horses from the range is a failure, now is a vital time to be speaking up about the most obvious, effective and humane way to help address the problem: fertility control vaccine.

Yet, other species are also often in the news: Including urban deer.

In nearly every part of the United States, deer are an issue. As human development encroaches more and more into former wilderness, we interact with these animals. They are beautiful. And they can be fun to watch from the living room window. But they may also eat our gardens, rile up our dogs, or leap in front of our cars and bikes.

We may enjoy and tolerate them, but maybe our neighbors don't. And in some regions, traffic accidents can be a very real concern.

So, what do we do? Mostly shoot them, unfortunately.

If you follow the news, you'll see that death by bullet or arrow is the primary way communities choose to address the issue. In some communities, wildlife agencies or law enforcement take on the job of killing deer. Other areas contract sportsman, or give them licenses to hunt within city limits. A stray bullet or arrow in these cases could be tragic - leading to the death of a dog, cat or child.

There's a better way.

In areas where rising numbers are a public concern, we should shoot urban deer with contraceptive darts.

The use of fertility control as an option for managing urban deer has been studied, with promising results, in South Carolina, New York, Maryland and Connecticut.

On South Carolina's Fripp Island, use of the PZP contraceptive vaccine cut deer density in half - humanely, with no harm to deer, other species or to the surrounding environment.

Wanting a better way, people have advocated for more study and use of this approach in many other areas, including Idaho, Wyoming, Michigan and British Columbia.

If you want to learn more, read these articles on our website and stay tuned for more:

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Information: Animal Fertility Control Vaccine
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