The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
Oh Deer! Environmental Forum 2009
Consensus Position Statements
Southern Columbia H.S. (PA) (11/20/2009)
Pennsylvania, with a population of 12 million, is home to 1 million deer. This becomes a problem as we are a small state (32nd of the 50) with a relatively large resident population (5th of 50). We have a state Game Commission strictly responsible for the management of PA wildlife. Several of their primary concerns are the management of the deer herd, the land they utilize, and the people deer come in contact with in their environment. Deer numbers are particularly important to PA as we have many more miles of paved roads than most other states. In PA, we experience our lowest deer populations in the spring as a result of a healthy hunting season each fall. In addition to hunting, other death occurrences, due to car collisions or natural death, do occur. This culls 1/3 of the herd annually. The birth of 400,000 fawns each spring swells the herd back to 1 million in time for hunting season beginning just after Thanksgiving. We recommend adjustments in hunting regulations for West Virginia’s deer overpopulation issue.
On the whole, we all feel the deer population is high enough to cause issues within the community, such as overbrowsing and car collisions. We also feel that hunting is the most humane and cost effective solution for controlling and maintaining the deer herd. 71% of PA residents advocate hunting, so we feel it can also be a well researched and ongoing solution for WV. Hunters are highly motivated, enjoy their sport and, if adequately regulated, can be a strong force to reversing the current deer overpopulation issue. Hunters can engage in a recreational experience while controlling the deer population at the same time. We disagree with other methods we reviewed during the forum due to either their high cost or long term maintenance of the operation, such as fencing or birth control. Also, hunting causes the least interference to other species.
To set a plan in motion, we suggest several adaptations to current deer hunting regulations. First, an increase in bag limits can quickly stabilize a population to a manageable number. Next, accurate record keeping on deaths each year and other statistics can provide feedback of current numbers that exist. Then, agencies in charge of hunting regulations can adjust bag limits accordingly. Thirdly, hunters need reasonable prices on licenses and ammunition to engage in the activity fully. Lastly, State Legislature could be addressed in order to secure funding for agencies that manage deer.
What better way to enjoy the outdoors than to be doing something good for it at the same time? Our plan allows the population of deer to return to its appropriate level, gives homeowners peace of mind that yards will not be destroyed by deer, provides relief for farmers who suffer crop damage from overpopulation, and a break for insurance companies with a decrease in animal collisions. Some may find hunting inhumane, but in our eyes, unhealthy, starving deer or animals suffering following car collisions is less desirable. Our final consensus plan promotes hunting as a solution to deer overpopulation issues.
East Hardy High School (WV) (11/20/2009)
Our class believes the most affective way to control
the deer community is to increase the denominator of deer we are able to
hunt. We think there should be an increase in the money that people have
to spend to hunt. We also think the deer season should be extended so
the deer population may decrease. We think hunters should hunt more
female deer than male deer, because the population of deer is directly
related to the number of female deer to reproduce offspring. For the
farmers' benefit we think the process in which getting a permit to shoot
deer out of season should be a faster process. We believe there should
not be a limit of eliminating deer depending on the number of acres. Our
class thinks these steps would benefit the people long-term and