Last January, the News-Herald carried an article by Betsy Scott about deer over-population in Mentor. You can find the article, including a video about how area bow hunters qualify to hunt in the URL below:
If you read the 27 online comments on the article, you’ll see that the vast majority favored some sort of deer hunting season. Some who objected thought sterilizing the deer was preferable.
Others thought we should move the deer to areas where they’d have plenty of room to roam unmolested.
And some thought Ron Micchia was ridiculous for objecting to hunting the deer and favoring birth control.
I’ll address the last issue first. First, I believe that every one of us ought to be saddened by the need to take the life of innocent creatures, even when there’s a clear and present imperative to do so. I strongly support culling the deer, but I’m saddened by our having created the need to do it.
And second, the criticism of birth control was aimed personally at the councilman and didn’t give sound reasons why the process was impractical. So here’s why it’s not the answer:
Sterilization’s been tried in the past and proved to be prohibitively expensive. Moreover, the stress of the procedure results in the death of many deer. And sterilized deer continue to destroy habitat for other creatures and plants and continue to run in front of cars. In fact, from 2007 to 2009, there were 245 car-vs-creature crashes in Mentor. That’s more than any other community in northeast Ohio.
Some communities tried and abandoned relocation because of the expense, because there are no longer locations where the deer are welcome, and because the stress of removal often results in death for the deer.
In Betsy’s article, Michael Tonkovich, Deer Project Leader for the ODNR, says, “Where feasible, hunting remains the best option. Outside of that, culling is really the only viable option at this point.”
Sadly, Tonkovich’s “. . . at this point” means at the point to which we ourselves have brought our sprawling communities. We permitted the destruction of natural habitat without regard to the plants and creatures who lived there.
We must be better stewards in the future.
And in the today, we must consider the solutions proposed by the best, disinterested minds studying the subject: There is neither a simple nor a good solution to the problem other than the humane culling of some of the deer in the Mentor area.
Stay tuned for Part III: The Objections
For my previous blogs on the subject, go to