Sent to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on 1/6/03
A recent article complaining about the growth of
Pennsylvania's deer herd (Pennsylvania deer herd is growing and growing -
12/26) neglected to disclose the true reason behind the growth of the herd;
mismanagement due to the deliberate workings of the Pennsylvania Game
According to the article, Pennsylvania's population of
deer has grown by 20 percent in the last five years. Clearly, the Game
Commissions hunting programs are doing more harm than good.
The Commission exists to provide recreational opportunity
for the state's hunters in the form of an overabundant supply of deer as
targets. The Commission manages the herd for maximum sustainable yield
because its budget and the salaries of its employees are paid through the
sale of hunting licenses and taxes on weapons and ammunition.
There is a plethora of scientific data indicating that
hunting does not reduce deer populations. North American Hunter magazine
(October, 1995) reports the experience of a former Texas biologist who
"managed" deer on a ranch: "After shooting 100 does, the ranch actually had
more fawns than it did the year before.
Because of the significant doe harvest, the fawn survival
rate increased from 25 percent (four does to rear one fawn to weaning age)
to 120 percent (1.2 fawns per doe)." The Union County (NJ) Parks Department
report titled "Deer Management Program For Watchung Reservation" concluded
that before being hunted, female deer living in the Reservation gave birth
to only one fawn. Afterwards, the birthrate doubled or tripled.
If the state Game Commission Parks is concerned with deer
overpopulation, it should explore non-violent methods of wildlife management
that are not geared toward hunters and their bloodsport. For more
information on state game agencies' version of deer "management" contact the
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting at (845) 256-1400 or visit