December 3, 2013
Time seems to think that deer are vermin, as are most other wild creatures
and wildlife who populate the woodlands and forests...Please let them know that
you will not support their "pimping for hunters" and other such "wildlife
management" groups who use lies, distortions and fantasy excuses as a
rationale to justify their bloodlust!
The only real "pest" problem lies with the on-going proliferation
and overpopulation of the dreaded two-legged "inhuman" species....the
perpetrators, killers and inventors of guns, bombs, biological weapons, and
carriers of dreaded diseases; the mindless thieves, assassins, rapists, muggers,
murderers, wife and child beaters; the perverts, sexual deviants, who prey on
women and children; the users/abusers of helpless, innocent animals; the liars
and "bought" amoral politicians who sell out the poor, the homeless, the most
needy! Now that's where the "culling" needs to begin!
Letters can be written to: http://content.time.com/time/letters/email_letter.html
It looks like the article was written by David Drehle (This guy is a raging
animal hater! He needs a serious physiological evaluation!) and info/ myths/
lies/ propaganda supplied by Miles Ulmer Graham, Caroline Farrand Kelley, Nicole
Greenstein, and Nate Rawlings
One good thing about this--they threw everything into this article. This
is the big game plan to spread hunting--everything that's in this article.
We can refute this BS with facts, but will they listen? The more, the
Anybody up for this?
Monday, Dec. 09, 2013
America's Pest Problem: It's Time to Cull the Herd
By David Von Drehle
Faced with an outbreak of lyme disease and rising deer-related car accidents,
the city council of Durham, N.C., authorized bow hunting inside city limits in
November. Authorities in San Jose, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, voted
to allow hunting wild pigs within that city in October. Rock Island, Ill., one
of the five Quad Cities on the Mississippi River, recently approved bow hunting
in town, provided that it occurs in green spaces--golf courses, parks,
cemeteries--or on private land. In Maine, new rules doubled the number of birds
that wild-turkey hunters can take home this year and gave them an extra 30
minutes before sunrise and another 30 minutes after sunset to bag them. Ohio
granted its deer hunters a similar overtime, stretching the hunting day into
And in New Jersey, despite protests and a spirited lawsuit, the fourth annual
black-bear hunt will start bright and early on Monday, Dec. 9. A small army of
hunters, their names chosen by lottery, will begin combing the forests between
Philadelphia and New York City in a six-day season designed to cope with what
has become a bear boom of unsustainable proportions.
Across the country, hunting is poised for a comeback, and not just because the
folks on Duck Dynasty make it look like so much fun. We have too many wild
animals--from swine to swans. Thirty million strong and growing, the population
of white-tailed deer in the U.S. is larger today than it was when Columbus
sailed the ocean blue, according to National Wildlife Research Center scientist
Kurt VerCauteren. They gobble up crops and vegetable gardens, dart into traffic
and spread tick-borne diseases. Then there are the wild hogs. From a little herd
imported to feed explorer Hernando de Soto's 16th century expedition, some 5
million feral pigs are rooting through city parks and private lawns in 48 of the
50 states. "There are but two kinds of landowners in Texas," wildlife expert
Billy Higginbotham of Texas A&M likes to say, "those with wild pigs and those
who are about to have wild pigs."
And beavers. Nearly wiped out in the 19th century, they're back with a
vengeance. In the Seattle suburb of Redmond, beavers are felling ornamental
trees not far from Microsoft headquarters to build dams in the drainage
culverts. Bald eagles are back too; one has been feasting on pet dogs near
Saginaw, Mich. Raccoons bedevil the tony North Shore suburbs of Chicago. The
world's largest Burmese pythons are no longer found in Burma; they are
flourishing in South Florida. Wild turkeys swagger through Staten Island, N.Y.
The yip of coyotes competes with the blare of taxi horns in New York City and
Washington, while a fox has lately been in residence on the White House grounds.
At least one mountain lion has had its photo snapped while hanging out in the
Hollywood Hills. On Nov. 20, a conservation officer shot a wildcat hiding in a
concrete tunnel under a corncrib in northwestern Illinois, far from the nearest
established breeding population, in South Dakota.
Whether you're a Walmart employee in Florida wondering what to do with the
alligator at your door, a New Yorker with a hawk nesting on your high-rise or an
Ohio golfer scattering a flock of Canada geese, you now live, work and play in
closer proximity to untamed fauna than any other generation of Americans in more
than a century. Even as the human population climbs toward 320 million in the
U.S., plenty of other creatures are flourishing too.
This was no sure thing. A child born around 1930 stood a pretty good chance of
outliving the last white-tailed deer in the U.S. Abundant when the first
European settlers arrived, the brown-eyed beauties had been hunted nearly to
extinction. A sense of loss, even doom, hung over the U.S. publication of Felix
Salten's novel Bambi, translated from German in 1928 by a left-wing intellectual
named Whittaker Chambers. But Walt Disney, among others, imagined a different
ending. As Chambers morphed into a conservative and the child of 1930 approached
her teen years, Disney's studio made Bambi into the animated masterpiece
credited with helping turn a nation in love with Buffalo Bill into the
conservation-minded America of today.
The psychic shift symbolized by Bambi reshaped the population of American fauna
so dramatically that one Saturday morning early this year, a child born around
1930--Dorothy Pantely, 83, of the Pittsburgh suburbs--witnessed not the
extinction of the deer but rather the sudden arrival of two whitetails in the
hallway outside her bedroom. Thinking quickly, Pantely activated her emergency
medical alert. When police showed up, they found the picture window smashed, the
carpet damaged, the adult deer escaped--and a frightened yearling left behind.
"It was just the worst thing ever," Pantely said afterward.
Too many deer, wild pigs, raccoons and beavers can be almost as bad for the
animals as too few. This is why communities across the country find themselves
forced to grapple with a conundrum. The same environmental sensitivity that
brought Bambi back from the brink now makes it painfully controversial to do
what experts say must be done: a bunch of these critters need to be killed.
FROM PESTS TO PROTECTED
Nowhere has this stirred more emotion than in New Jersey, America's most densely
populated--by humans, that is--state. Weeks before the start of the annual bear
hunt, protesters were preparing for another year of heartbreak. From a low of
about 50 bears around 1970, the number of black bears in New Jersey jumped
seventyfold, to an estimated 3,500, by 2009. Complaints about bruins raiding
trash cans, mauling pets--even breaking into houses--led state officials to
institute the bear hunt in 2010. Since then, hunters have harvested (that's the
preferred term in wildlife-management circles) nearly 1,350 black bears,
bringing the species' population in New Jersey down by about 20%.
For people who had started to worry about letting their pets and small children
out in the yard, that's a big improvement, and state officials would like to
reduce the number of bears further. For people like child psychologist William
Crain, however, the slaughter has been appalling. Crain, a professor at City
College of New York, has turned out to protest the bear hunt each of the past
three years; his protest last December ended when he was bundled into a
state-police car while wearing a hand-lettered sign that read Mother Nature is
crying. (Bill Crain also head of the East Hampton Group for Wildlife has been
fighting against deer culls, wildlife slaughter for years). Crain's sign points
directly to the heart of the crisis. For the fact that New Jersey is teeming
with bears (and all other manner of urban and suburban wildlife) has relatively
little to do with Mother Nature and far more to do with you and me. In the state
of nature, a burgeoning bear population would be handled efficiently and
unsentimentally by a dry-eyed tyranny of starvation and disease. After the
Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano arrived in the area in the mid--16th
century, however, the state of nature--"red in tooth and claw," as the poet
Tennyson put it--began its gradual transition into New Jersey, and the story got
The first three centuries of European immigration were bad news for the bears.
People cut down forest habitats for timber, charcoal and farmland, and when
bears raided pigpens or smokehouses or berry patches, the humans killed them as
pests. By the middle of the 20th century, so few bears remained that the state
took action to protect them.
And so as with the deer, just when the bears were on the brink of extinction,
humans brought them back. How? Partly it was a triumph of the conservation
movement. Killing black bears was outlawed, and patches of forest were linked
and converted into preserves. Partly too it was a matter of changing economics.
People no longer warmed their homes and powered their machines by burning wood.
Small-plot farming became a hobby of the few, rather than the livelihood of the
masses. The destruction of the forests slowed, then stopped: according to the
New Jersey forestry service, while the human population of the Garden State has
more than quadrupled since 1900, the amount of the state that is
forested--42%--has remained the same, and the quality of many of these forests
has improved, as they teem with grasses and blueberries. The revival has been
even more pronounced elsewhere in the eastern U.S. "Today the northeastern
United States is almost 75% forested," according to Ellen Stroud, an
environmental historian at Bryn Mawr College. The same pattern holds true across
the Great Lakes, parts of the Midwest, the South and the slopes of the Rockies.
Even better for the bears and other wildlife, humans built suburbs next to the
forests and threaded them with green space and nature trails, then stocked their
neighborhoods with vegetable gardens and fruit trees and big plastic cans full
of yummy garbage. At random intervals, they installed even bigger metal
dumpsters overflowing with pungent delectables, not to mention pet bowls heaped
with kibble and backyard barbecue grills caked with succulent grease. Adult
black bears require as much as 20,000 calories a day in autumn to prepare for
their long winter naps. That's a lot of bugs, berries and carrion--so much that
scientists have determined that Mother Nature's ideal bear population is only
about 2* animals per square mile of forest, depending on the region. The same
amount of land, strewn with high-calorie human-supplied treats, can sustain many
more bears. And that's where the trouble comes.
As goes New Jersey, so goes America. Already this academic year, suburban grade
schools in New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, Idaho and Florida have ordered
lockdowns in response to black bears prowling near the premises. Bears are
growing fat on human hospitality from the outskirts of Los Angeles to the
Beltway of Washington.
In his book Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned
Backyards Into Battlegrounds, journalist Jim Sterba documented the superfauna
revival and our ambivalent feelings about having them walk among us. "We create
all these food sources," he explained in a radio interview. "We put out
birdseed. We put out garbage. We grow this beautiful grass and gardens that are
full of wonderful, luscious things for wild creatures to eat. Not only that, if
an animal shows up that shouldn't be there, we tend to treat it as sort of an
outdoor pet. I know people who, when a bear turns up in their garbage, say, 'Oh,
get a doughnut.'"
But does that mean the poor bears must be killed? Anti-hunting activists
advocate taking reasonable steps to eliminate the suburban banquet halls in
which bears and other fauna now nosh and prosper. We should bear-proof garbage
cans, hide pet food and birdseed, lock sheds and garages. All these techniques
would help control the population of bears and other wildlife, they argue.
But suppose that all these steps were taken tomorrow and the black bears of New
Jersey and elsewhere were instantly restored to their paleo diet. Slow
starvation is no happier a way for a bear to die than by a hunter's bullet or
arrow. And in the process of starving, animals cut off from their human feed are
likely to become increasingly desperate and brazen. They start eating pets
instead of pet food. Incidents like this one could become more common: in May, a
woman in Altadena, Calif.--a suburb of Los Angeles, near Pasadena--entered her
kitchen to find a bear already there, munching on peaches she had left on the
counter. When she screamed, the bear reluctantly left the kitchen, ambling
outside and flopping on the pool deck for a postprandial snooze.
Other nonlethal strategies tend to be either ineffective or expensive or both.
What's known as aversion training works on the idea that animals can be scared
away from human habitats by loud noises, nipping dogs, strobe lights or blasts
of rubber buckshot. But an experiment in New Jersey found that the lure of the
dumpster quickly overwhelms a bear's memory of such traumas. Contraception is
another popular idea, but when it has been tried on deer, the most effective
birth control technique--medicated darts--works only on captive populations.
Without an enclosure, unmedicated deer mingle easily with the medicated ones,
and the result is more fawns.
Meanwhile, the damage done by booming wildlife populations is substantial. Some
200 Americans die each year in more than 1.2 million vehicle collisions with
wandering deer--wrecks that cause damage resulting in more than $4 billion in
repairs, according to the Insurance Information Institute. One recent Tuesday
morning in western Michigan, a motorcyclist named Theobald "Buzz" Metzger, 55,
struck a deer in the suburbs of Kalamazoo. The force of the collision sent him
flying from his bike. Moments later, 78-year-old motorist Edmund Janke happened
on the scene. Startled by the sight of a body in the road, he swerved, lost
control of his car and died after he was thrown from the vehicle. One deer, two
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that some 5 million feral pigs do
$1.5 billion worth of damage each year. The hogs are digging through garbage in
the suburbs of Atlanta, rooting for acorns in the city parks of Houston and
plowing up golf courses from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the heart of Indiana.
Worried about the threat of disease spreading from wild pigs to their
domesticated cousins, the USDA is preparing a nationwide effort to encourage
hunting. The bad news: feral pigs are notoriously difficult to shoot.
THE HUMAN SOLUTION
An overabundance of wildlife is a wonderful problem to have. I'm dazzled by the
variety of beasts and fowl my kids have met in their own backyard. Though they
live in an inner-ring suburb of Kansas City, Mo., they've seen foxes trotting
across the street; bunnies, opossums and raccoons in the yard; and hawks diving
on prey. A migrating swan spent a couple of days in the neighborhood creek last
winter, and a mature barred owl spent an hour the other day just outside our
kitchen window, perched on a tree branch and rotating its head to give us a
lordly look when we tapped quietly on the glass.
Compared with my children, I grew up in a veritable wilderness: a Denver
subdivision where suburbia quickly gave way to farmland and open range. And yet
that open landscape was zoologically dead. A pair of muskrats had their den in a
nearby irrigation canal, and an occasional jackrabbit tore through the tall
grass. But mostly it was quiet, because humanity had killed just about
Today wild-bird strikes bedevil American airports. Lyme disease, spread by
deer-borne ticks, haunts hikers and gardeners and kids in backyards. Rabies
passes easily among raccoons, beavers, foxes and skunks, while wild hogs carry
swine brucellosis. Humans caused the near collapse of American wildlife, and now
that the critters are back, it is our job to help maintain the delicate balance
of the ecosystems we have designed and built.
If we don't do it, who will? The unprecedented numbers of large mammals now
roaming the U.S. are sending a powerful natural summons to an unwelcome
alternative: the resurgent apex predators that occupy the top of the food chain.
The wolf, the cougar and the brown and grizzly bears ranged across most of the
North American continent before humans nearly wiped them out. Now they too are
rapidly returning. According to veteran wildlife biologist Maurice Hornocker,
"there may now be more mountain lions in the West than there were before
European settlement," and cougars have been spotted in recent years in Eastern
states where they hadn't been seen for generations. Gray wolves have rebounded
so robustly from near destruction that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is
proposing to remove them from the protected list of endangered and threatened
species. And some scientists theorize that the resurgence of grizzly bears in
the wilderness helps explain why black bears are now suburbanites. They've been
pushed closer to the humans by their bigger, more aggressive cousins.
The return of alpha predators is sure to remind us of the reasons these beasts
were so relentlessly hunted by our forefathers. Wolves, lions and bears are
known to attack livestock and even pets. On rare occasions, they have killed
humans. So what can keep them away from our neighborhoods? Only the pushback
from the No. 1 predator of them all: the human being. Well-planned hunting can
safely reduce the wildlife populations to levels that won't invite an invasion
of fangs and claws.
There are signs that Americans may be embracing this responsibility. According
to the Fish and Wildlife Service, hunting gained in popularity from 2006 to
2011--the most recent available data. That was the first uptick in decades, and
it included a record 1.8 million hunters ages 6 to 15. The enthusiasm isn't
universal: in South Dakota, 21% of the population hunts; in Massachusetts, it's
But whether we hoist the gun or draw the bowstring--or simply acknowledge the
facts of nature that require these things to be done--it's time to shake off
sentimentality and see responsible hunting through 21st century eyes. The legacy
of indiscriminate 19th century slaughter is not a burden for today's hunters to
carry. Instead, they are an important part of the ecosystem America has
successfully nursed back from the brink. By shouldering the role of careful,
conservation-minded predators, hunters make the coexistence of humans and
The communities I mentioned at the start of this article--places like Durham,
N.C., and Rock Island, Ill.--have embraced the role of hunters in their local
ecology reluctantly. Durham Mayor Bill Bell isn't sure that opening the city to
bow hunting will accomplish much, he told TIME. Yes, he has noticed more deer on
the roads. "I'm more cautious when I drive into my neighborhood now," he said.
"I know if I round a bend, there might be three or four deer attempting to cross
the road. Other folks have similar experiences." But whether hunting is the
answer "remains to be seen," he said. "I'm not even speculating."
In Rock Island, state officials counted deer by helicopter last December and
concluded that the population was too high for an urban area. Even so,
alderwoman Kate Hotle was skeptical that hunting was the right response. "I do
think we have more deer in our city than we did when I grew up here," she said
in an interview. "There are more in the urban area of the city. I see deer now
in my neighborhood, whereas I never used to. But I don't feel comfortable with
us having hunting in our city."
Like many other jurisdictions across the country coming to grips with their
fecund fauna, Durham and Rock Island have taken every precaution. They favor bow
hunters rather than rifle hunters within city limits: stray arrows aren't a
threat to pierce the siding of a house and kill a napping child, as a bullet
might conceivably do. The cities restrict bow hunters to shooting from elevated
blinds or into ravines, so that the arrow's trajectory is downward. Hunting is
limited to golf courses, parks and private land. Still, Hotle remains
unconvinced. "There's only a certain number of spaces that are, in my mind, safe
enough" for hunting, she told TIME. "It seems an inefficient way to do it."
She might feel better if she paid a visit to Hidden Valley Lake, Ind., near
Cincinnati. The little tree-sheltered community found itself overrun with
white-tailed deer a few years ago. A helicopter census of the tick-bearing
traffic hazards led scientists to estimate a population of more than 50 deer per
sq km, at least seven times the optimal number. The deer had chewed through the
understory of the Hidden Valley woodlands, devastating habitat for other
wildlife, and their feces were raising bacteria levels in the town lake.
Meanwhile, road crews were busy clearing deer carcasses from local roadways.
Authorities weighed expensive alternatives like traps and contraceptives before
choosing to authorize an urban hunt in 2010.
Two years later, after about 300 deer had been killed by skilled
archers--permits were issued only to hunters who had passed a test--the deer
population remained slightly higher than the ideal for biodiversity. In other
words, Hidden Valley still had plenty of deer. But the number of animals killed
in traffic accidents fell significantly, while area food banks were well stocked
with donated venison. A sort of balance had been restored, in which there is
room not just for hungry deer and their human neighbors but also for the plant
and animal species that the deer were driving out.
This is nature's way: an equilibrium of prey and predator, life and death. There
is no getting around the fact that humans now dominate the environment. We were
wrong to disrupt the balance by killing too often during the heedless years of
the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now it is wise to correct the more recent
mistake of killing too rarely.
--With reporting by Miles Ulmer Graham, Caroline Farrand Kelley and Nicole
Greenstein/Washington and Nate Rawlings/New York