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Letter to the editor: Iowa City should stop hiring sharpshooters to thin out the deer population

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A white-tailed deer. — photo by Jill Rogan via Flickr

By Florence Boos

I’d like to reach out to any who oppose Iowa City’s brutal and shortsighted plan for killing deer this coming fall, who might be willing to attend Iowa City’s Aug. 14 open hearing on the topic, and/or to send their opinions on this topic to the city (to derek-frank@iowa-city.org). Here is a copy of a letter which I’ve sent:

Dear Officer Frank:

I would like to state my opposition to hiring White Buffalo to kill deer this year.

  1. I think in the long run such programs are a scam. They cost the taxpayers a great deal, and after lessening the deer population, the increase of food per remaining deer is greater and the population grows back more rapidly. Quite a bit of expense has been incurred for no permanent result.
  2. If we study the success at other places (not as claimed by White Buffalo, but objectively) most of these programs have been suspended after a few years for the reasons stated above.
  3. There are two problems related to deer — plants and road crossings. I think anyone with a garden — such as me — can adapt by placing netting around growing trees, and selecting plants which the deer tend not to eat. It seems overkill to slaughter these quite lovely and non-violent creatures over ownership of a few plants. People are different, but I enjoy seeing deer in my yard or along the street. It’s one of the reasons not to live in a large urban area.
  4. Re: road crossings; deer seem to run into the road during hunting season, so it’s a seasonal issue. It seems counterproductive to encourage a high population of deer for hunting, then kill them because when they are frightened they run across the road. It might help to shorten the hunting season and put up warning signs. I don’t see why anyone who isn’t going above the speed limit and watches carefully need be worried about major accidents with deer on rural roads, and they mostly avoid the major highways.
  5. Older deer teach their young how to cross roads and avoid humans. If you kill off all the mature females who do the teaching, then the young, inexperienced ones will cause more difficulties. It seems ill-advised to prevent the deer from learning what we want them to learn, how to avoid conflict with humans.

Thanks for considering our input. I hope we will choose not to hire this sharpshooting firm in 2018-2019.


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