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Killing more deer is not the answer

4140 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  critter gitter
I've been reading this site for many months now and thought I would contribute an article I just read on preventing lime disease through deer hunting. It's an opinion piece I found at that I don't really agree with. I'll let you read it and tell me what you think.

Letter: Killing more deer is not the answer

Article Last Updated: 03/31/2008 06:15:32 AM EDT

The Connecticut legislature will soon be voting on HB 5852 (An Act Concerning the Control of Lyme Disease). It would greatly expand deer hunting, under the guise of preventing Lyme disease.
Advocates for killing deer to "eradicate" Lyme disease are using outdated information. A simplistic deer-mouse-Lyme disease computer model from the early 1990s has been repudiated by several peer-reviewed researchers. They now recognize that the Lyme disease vector is extremely complex with many variables.
ä The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies has found that fragmentation of the forest by land development reduces vertebrate biodiversity. As a result, risk of human exposure to Lyme disease infected ticks is increased.
ä Climate change has amplified the incidence of vector-borne diseases, including Lyme disease. The World Health Organization found that climate change since the mid-1970s has significantly impacted human health throughout the planet. Lyme disease was first diagnosed in Connecticut during that time period.
ä Entomologists from Cornell's Long Island Horticulture Research and Extension Center concluded that reducing deer on islands does not eliminate ticks. Studies on Shelter Island, where hunting has gone on for years, have shown no reduction of Lyme disease. In fact, Lyme incidence in Suffolk County has almost doubled between 2003 and 2005. DEP and Department of Health 2006 data show there is no relationship between deer numbers and Lyme disease rates.

ä Fairfield County: deer density of 29.4 per square mile; Lyme disease incidence rate is 40 cases per 100,000 population.
ä Windham County: deer density of 28.7 per square mile; Lyme disease incidence rate is 135 cases per 100,000 population.
Contrary to the assertions of deer-killing proponents, more deer equaling more Lyme disease is false.
Tell your state representatives that HB 5852 should reflect real scientific methods for combating Lyme disease, and not expanded hunting.
Lynn M. Gorfinkle REDDING

I think it would certainly help along with over population, deer/car accidents, etc. This debate reminds me of the baiting deer controversy, in relation to trying to stop disease. What do ya'll think about this opinion piece?
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I agree the disease is more frequent in mice, squirrels and small game than deer and you can't wipe them all out. It's transmitted mainly by the black legged tick that's what needs to be controlled. If the deer have lime disease you can't get it from eating them and they can only pass it along at birth no other way to pass it on except ticks.

Go to here and perhaps you'll see my point

DVBID: Transmission | CDC Lyme Disease

If there is over population then that's a different matter but increased deer hunting based solely on the control of lyme disease is ridiculous IMO.
Looks like the Connecticut DNR is using Lyme disease as a Scare tactic to try and convince the majority that killing off more Deer is the solution to reducing Lyme disease cases.
There's probably a concern with Deer over-populating an area and sometimes those so-called experts will try to use scare Tactics in the media as a smoke screen, while they gather enough votes to enact whatever it is they're trying to impose. (In this case it looks like they're trying to increase the Deer kill)
My guess is they tried to reduce the herd at some point and didnt get enough support from the hunting community so now they're going to try and get votes from people who wouldn't usually vote on such issues. It's sad but in most cases the scare tactic usually works for the experts but only because the non-hunting voters are usually Ill informed and dont understand the real situation...
Good reply Bruce; that is exactly what I was thinking while reading the article.
There is not a whole lot of difference between a density of 29.4 and 28.7, which seem to be good densities to me. I wonder what the target density is, 25? Is that going to make that much difference?

I understand the desire to control lyme but to base you herd management plan on a disease I think is questionable. I wonder who is pushing this legislation. I doubt if it is the DNR and is probably some well intentioned but misguided legislator. Which is the problem when hunting and fishing are regulated by the state legislature.

I like our set up in Tennessee where the agency only answers to the commission which is separate from state government. All the decisions are made by the biologist without the politics.
I like that set up too. I think I might want to move to Tennessee. It sounds more logical.
I guess i don't know all the details, but it could be they ae just attacking the lyme disease problem from all angles, and killing more deer just happens to be one of the angles. I would think/hope they aren't ignorant enough to believe that this will completely eradicate the problem.
Although adult ticks often feed on deer, these animals do not become infected. Deer are nevertheless important in transporting ticks and maintaining tick populations.

This was the part that got me, last few lines of ticks life cycle. Deer are simply carriers ,but very little of the public come in contact with deer. Seems to me more concern should be paid to rodents, squirrels and family pets that will bring the disease closer to and into the home.

Really don't see how hunting more deer would help at all. A hunter can't tell if their carriers or not. Say you have 100,000 deer in your area and 1/3 were infected. In harvesting more in all likelihood only 1/3 of the deer harvested will be infected. Say you take out 90% of the herd, now you only have 10,000 and 1/3 of the herd is still infected. Have you really gained anything?:coffee:
Went to Conn. site and was reading article under lyme disease. Apparently they too say deer don't become infected but as major host of the tick provide life to it. They have studies that say by reducing deer , they used an electric fence in study, you can reduce tick population by around 80 %. So by managing the herd they could greatly reduce the tick population.

DNR, do you know if they actually want to increase limits or are they trying to hunt in areas that hunting hasn't been allowed? Expanded hunting as stated in your original article could mean either without knowing what the Bill actually seeks.
since i live nearby to conn i wrote to the dnr over there bout deer hunting STILL waiting for a reply:unsure:
Here in Wisconsin the DNR are also putting the scare on poeple with the CWD issue I don't think that killing more deer is going to solve anything.
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