Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Deer Management - Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Have you ever noticed how people create false arguments, the answers to which support their agenda? Here's this morning's example, from the NY Times

“Deer have entered our backyards and essentially become unruly guests,” Dr. Rutberg Disney said. “We are bound by suburban rules in dealing with them, and violence is not how we deal with neighbors we don’t like.”

There is a town called Hastings, (not the Hastings I fish) it's about two square miles, with a population of 70 to 120 deer. For such a small space to support so many deer there must be artificial food plots AKA gardens.  In 2011, there were 16 car collisions that were reported, and presumably a few near misses for each collision. Biologists and deer managers seem to think that 5 to 15 deer per square mile is a more appropriate number for the deer's well being.

Built up area, so rifles are perhaps not the ideal solution, the sound of shot guns tends to upset the neighbours. So Bowhunting from highseats is the way forward. Safe, quiet and effective. Start with a doe season. Give the meat to food banks that will feed the hungry.

But no the bleedin' obvious isn't for hastings residents, oh no.

Someone has managed to create a false choice between trapping the deer and killing them like factory farmed cows with a bolt gun, who would want that? and spending $30,000 [and up] on a deer contraception experiment.

You can read the story sorry debacle HERE

More soon


Anonymous said...


The problem with bow hunting deer is that the deer inevitably run once shot. Sometimes a considerable distance. Not a good thing in a suburban area where you have many different properties and roads being used by unsuspecting drivers.
The reason they run is arrows kill deer differently to rifle bullets. For 1 they don't have that capacity much admired and discussed by large game hunters world wide know as the "knock down factor".

Having been actively involved in peri urban deer control arena for a number of years I can categorically state that what is required in Hastings is a dedicated team of stalkers using modern small calibre rifles equipped with sound moderators shooting fast frangible bullets at short distances thereby enabling the exclusive use of head shots.

Phillip said...

I'll hold my water in regards to the success or failure of the contraceptive plan. It could work... or it could fail. Past efforts have not fared well, but science marches on. So who knows?

However, lethal management is a valid approach, and it doesn't require high powered rifles. Archery is one option, although there's the ongoing risk of a dying deer running into some suburbanite's driveway to thrash out its last. The other option, still largely unexplored in urban/suburban wildlife management is the air rifle. Quiet. Accurate. Efficient (within limitations), I'm a little surprised no one is talking about them.

Unlike archery tackle, a high-powered air rifle will kill as quickly as a bullet. Ammunition is relatively inexpensive. And the risk to neighbors of an errant shot is extremely low, since the airgun projectiles tend to rapidly shed energy.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Thanks for taking the trouble to write in

Here in Blighty we dont have any Bowhunting, and the approach would be as you described, moderated rifles from High seats so the ground is the backstop. We would be able to underwrite some of the cost as venison is a saleable commodity, whereas i understand its not in the US?


The Suburban Bushwacker said...


The trouble with the contraceptive approach is that deer will continue to 'play in the traffic' while we wait for them to die of old age.

The big air rifles sound like a plan but - any maybe I've misunderstood - I thought they were very loud?


Phillip said...

Sten, I agree that waiting for the contraceptives to change the population is probably one of the biggest faults with the plan. Seems awfully short-sighted. But since I haven't read the whole thing and I certainly don't know the area, I can't speak with authority. Hence my wait-and-see. No skin off my back either way.

Ideally, suppressed .22 caliber rifles would be an obvious choice, and frangible bullets as well. In the hands of professional sharpshooters from elevated stands, this has been proven to work.

As far as the big bore air rifles, some of them are certainly loud... although not on the level of centerfires. However, others like the Marauder and Rogue are pretty quiet. My .25 cal Marauder has about the same report as my old Crosman 760... which isn't much at all. The Rogue is similarly baffled, and not loud at all. I believe either is accurate and powerful enough to cleanly kill deer with headshots at close range... particularly the Rogue .357.

Anyway, this whole topic has spurred me to post for tomorrow morning.

hodgeman said...

As a guy who has done a fair bit of control work in built up areas, you don't have to go high tech at all. The lowly .22RF and a bucket of apples will do the trick. Since the deer are extremely habituated to humans- getting within range of them is rather simple. A high seat and good shooting in the ear bud is all you need.

In open areas I used the '06 loaded with the fast, frangible 125gr Silvertip and never got an exit wound.

Anonymous said...


Large bore air rifles might be a possible solution, I have a shooting buddy that uses a .303 wolverine with success on various varmint species at distances inside 100yards. But I would still opt for a moderated small calibre centrefire rifle shooting fast frangible bullets. They offer that margin of error that brings a degree of comfort not offered via the airrifle route.
Cost recovery via venison sales might not be on the cards but donating carcases to local food banks might be a good way of ensuring good PR.

Phillip said...

Once again, I agree that, if logic prevailed, the ideal solution would be real guns with suppressors. But that's a little different of a proposition, especially in the northeast and moreso in New York. Logic is not a key player in these discussions... and sometimes has no role at all.

People who know nothing about firearms tend to be driven toward worst case scenarios... especially when the predominant propaganda builds on fear and loathing. The common arguments against even professional sharpshooters are about fear of "accidents" or mis-identification of targets. "Who will save the children?" "What if our pets wander into the crosshairs?"

You guys and I know these are pretty much pointless concerns, but that knowledge doesn't make them go away. And these folks can vote that mayor out of office in a heartbeat, so no matter how unfounded their concerns may be, the city fathers have to take them under consideration.

The other challenge is suppressors. In the US, "silencers" are equated to assassins and poachers, and the prevailing legal attitude reflects that mischaracterization. Obtaining a suppressor in the US is about as difficult as acquiring a machine gun. On top of that, new regulations require anyone in possession of a suppressor to have the proper permits (until recently, a corporation could own one and distribute appropriately to its employees). It's not impossible, but it is expensive and impractical for all but the most advanced (and high priced) nuisance wildlife control companies. And given New York's extremely strict firearm regulations, I'm not even sure that they'd be permitted there.

As to the venison, donation is the only option. I believe NY State still allows venison to be donated to food banks.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


That 303 air rifle sounds like a lot of fun, me likey.

The whole silencer/moderator thing is summed up for me by a video I saw of a US manufacturer pointing out that a gun is the only loud thing in the US you CAN LEGALLY SELL without one.
I once blew a hole in the can of a 100cc scooter and it sounded like a dozen Hardlys, horrific!
In southern Europe they are evil poacher tools, in northern europe you're guilty of animal cruelty if you hunt without one, think of your poor dogs ears!


The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Unsporting AKA Highly Effective. LOL