As a Montgomery County resident, I know first-hand of the growing population of deer in the county. My property is adjacent to Montgomery County parkland which houses many deer families. Over the years I have watched their population grow and grow without any end in sight.
I am also sickened to my stomach by the over-abundance of road kill I encounter daily, which includes deer, ground hogs, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossum; and within the last 10 days, a dog and a cat. It’s obvious that something needs to be done, especially with regard to the deer population whose deaths by automobile cause a great deal of damage to all concerned.
According to writer Linda Rieger, from the Ad Hoc Committee for Deer Management in an article published by Gazette.net on March 28, 2012, “There are no longer any natural predators to manage the herds and their numbers are swelling. The deer are causing vehicle collisions, health problems (for both the deer and humans) and, most importantly, the devastation to our forests and conservation areas.”
In addition, according to the Gazette.net article, “The Division of Natural Resources and the Ad Hoc Committee on Deer Management suggest that the reduction of the legal distance from a house for bow hunting during season be reduced from 150 yards to 50 yards, as has been done in Frederick County.”
The article further states: “There has never been an accident in Maryland from bow hunting from stands where hunters shoot directly into the ground for their targets.”
To further promote this solution the article continues: “The venison is donated to soup kitchens. The hunters are conservationists and do not charge for their services. There have been tests for bow hunting through the country to help find an inexpensive, humane and effective solution.”
As an animal rights writer and activist, I am fully in favor of a solution that will help reduce the population of deer in a safe and humane way. I don’t think easing bow hunting restrictions is that solution.
Fifty yards from my back door is too close for comfort. It’s only one-half the size of a football field. In addition, I really don’t want hunters in deer stands marring the view of the parkland from my backyard. Would the easing of the bow hunting restriction include a mandate for the use of stands while hunting; and shooting into the ground for their targets? And what of the poor unfortunate deer that isn’t killed instantly? Will a hunter be able to out-run a frightened, injured deer to complete the job of killing it, especially if he is up a tree in a stand? I sincerely doubt it. So what then? Homeowners with children will now be seeing injured and dying deer in their backyards instead of live deer eating their foliage. And what if an injured deer, who could become dangerous because it is suffering and afraid, chooses your backyard to die in? How would you feel then about bow hunting occuring 50 yards from your home?
I’d also like to add that maybe no one has been killed or injured in a bow hunting accident to date in Maryland because the distance one is currently allowed to hunt from homes is 150 yards in most jurisdictions. I’m also not an expert on the population of Montgomery County vs. Frederick County; and am not sure if comparing the two is fair. I do know, however, as a long-time resident of Montgomery County, that the population is dense and growing.
I would like to see more alternatives to killing. I hope that the distance of 150 feet remains the same. I feel that utilizing methods of birth-control for deer as well as less development of their habitat should be considered along with fencing off highways to help prevent deer from crossing roads and highways. I also think conservationists should sit down with animal rights advocates in order to come up with a solution we can all live with.