2006-03-16 / Letters to the Editor

Solutions other than hunting

I have been following the controversy over the Jamestown deer population with some interest, and realized after reading the article in your March 9 edition that the Town Council may be near making some decision about this problem. I urge them not to make a mistake by authorizing violent culling of the deer.

Our family has been affected by Lyme disease, and we are well aware of the spread of this terribly debilitating disease by the deer and by the field mice which live everywhere. We are animal lovers, but we have allowed deer hunting on our small property. I guess you might say we fall in the middle of the spectrum of fiercely-held opinions on the island.

There is one thing which I do know for certain, however, given my study of biology and biological systems. That is, no amount of culling of the deer population by hunting will ever sufficiently reduce the deer on our island to an acceptable size. The deer can reproduce faster than they can be culled, and even a severe and intrusive hunting operation would have to be repeated year after year in order to have any chance of holding the population in check. These are the facts of deer biology, and we must take them into account, rather than go forward with a firearm-based method of deer control. Do we want high-powered rifles to be discharged across our small island for months at a time, year after year? I think not.

The only long-term way to control the deer on our island is through either a chemical-based or a biological based contraceptive program. Obviously, the $1,000-per-deer price quoted in your March 9 article is prohibitive, and I question its accuracy.

I believe we must look further, to find methods which reduce the deers' fertility at a much lower cost. If we study the biology, habitat, and lifestyle of the deer, we will find a solution to this vexing problem.

William W. Smith III

Hull Cove Farm Rd.

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