Deer Become A Suburban Nuisance - Even A Danger
December 22, 2000
There are more deer in the United States now than at any time in the last century. Due to environmental and social factors, white-tailed deer are thriving.
- Conservation and regulation of hunters - - especially restrictions on shooting does - - have protected the animals.
- Urban sprawl has invaded former hunting grounds, giving deer an ideal suburban environment.
- Deer reproduce so quickly that a herd that isn't hunted can double in three years.
- While wolves are making a comeback, there still aren't enough to thin deer herds, and there hasn't been a harsh winter in years that could reduce the population.
Meanwhile, deer collide with half a million vehicles every year, killing about 100 drivers. The property damage totals $250 million in the Northeast alone. Heavy feeding on some plants, such as Canada yew and white cedar, threatens biodiversity of plant life.
As a result, some states are increasing the number of deer hunters can take in a season. But animal protection groups have won hunting and trapping restrictions at the ballot box, although wildlife managers say anti-hunting sentiment and voter initiatives ignore predator-prey relationships, ecological balance and human safety.
Source: Tom Vanden Brook, "Deer Population Exploding Across the USA," USA Today, December 22, 2000.
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