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Reducing the Deer Population to Save Our Forests

Patch File
Patch File

I would like to express my support for the planned deer cull at Teatown Lake Reservation. Although I opposed hunting and culling until recent years, my work as a volunteer with the Audubon Society and Yorktown's Tree Conservation Advisory Commission has informed me about the very strong science behind what Teatown is proposing.


Data from numerous studies show that the population of deer is as much as an order of magnitude greater than the carrying capacity of the land in our region. This has been confirmed in Yorktown by professional forestry studies conducted in Turkey Mountain and Sylvan Glen Parks. The result is almost total destruction of the forest understory, with devastating impacts on numerous species of songbirds and other wildlife. These animals depend on this vegetation that the deer have destroyed. Loss of songbird diversity has been documented when deer populations rise above 15 to 35 per square mile. Deer populations may be higher than 60 per square mile here in Yorktown.


Another problem with the overpopulation of deer is the alteration of the tree species that compose our forests. For example, oaks, which provide sustenance and homes for many species of wildlife, including squirrels, chipmunks and other small mammals, are not regenerating in our deer-ravaged woodlands. Reducing the deer population is the only way to begin to restore our forests to health.


Culling as proposed by Teatown is the most humane and effective method for bringing the deer population back into balance. Non-lethal interventions, like trap-release or shooting arrows tipped with birth control drugs at does, have proven costly and ineffective.


As Yorktown residents acquaint themselves with the severe environmental degradation caused by having way too many deer, support for Teatown's program should grow. It represents an important step in restoring a healthy biodiversity to Yorktown.

Evan Bray February 03, 2014 at 07:01 PM
I'm thinking of medium-rare venison medallions served over a bed of Israeli couscous with pickled root vegetables and a sprinkling of crumbled kale chips roasted with smoked salt. I just made that up. Can we talk about how tasty deer are?
Evan Bray February 03, 2014 at 07:04 PM
Imagine all the native fauna and flora that these deer have been fattening up on the reservation. Think about that and then let your culinary imagination run wild.
Michele February 03, 2014 at 07:56 PM
No I haven't watched a deer being attacked by coyotes, but I still believe nature should take its course and humans do not have a right to kill them.
Anthony February 03, 2014 at 08:43 PM
Nature has taken its course, then civilization took over and disrupted the balance. Unfortunately, the responsibility now rests in our hands. DEC and other like organizations as well as private land owners all are charged with the duty of wildlife management whether you like the method or not . It is the best we have to offer. I rest. My case.
Michele February 04, 2014 at 08:19 PM
Humane is the only word that comes to mind.....I rest my case!
Evan Bray February 04, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Tasty and humane and the right thing to do are the only words that comes to mind. I rest my case.
Marketa Esaili February 05, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Finally something will be done with deer over population! Teatown Lake Reservation came with the great idea. But meanwhile, before this methods shows effective in nature, why not to step up to faster deer reduction, like increased hunting and offering the meat for sale to interested consumers. Profit could go to charities. People enjoy eating good steaks, hamburgers hot dogs or pork chops without feeling pity for killed cows, pigs etc. So why to walk on tip toes around deers if they became nuisance?
Kim February 05, 2014 at 10:53 AM
It continually amazes me that people don't get the simple fact that deer overpopulation and hunting are the issue here. Nationwide deer number are kept artificially high for hunters--period. If Marketa Esali's plan were to actually be implemented, and deer were the new Big Macs, does she think for one moment that the population would be REDUCED? It would increase. How many billions of cattle, pigs and chickens are killed to feed people? And "profits go to charities?" Why is "charity" always brought into these wildlife-killing discussions? Hunting, DEC sharpshooters, Wildlife Services, etc. is not an answer. Luring the deer with food, getting them acclimated to being fed and trusting the food source, and then to blow them to pieces, is a shameful thing for a nature preserve to do. A place where children go to connect with nature. Will the children watch the deer massacre? It is so ironic that we devote untold acres to mono crops of wheat, corn, and soy, and breed billions upon billions of non-native food animals (with all their waste running off and destroying the environment), and destroy forests left and right for malls and houses, planting totally unnatural lawns (which displace forests) yet a herd of deer are "destroying the forest."
Anthony February 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM
Markets makes a good point - in many areas, the meat from a controlled hunt is used to feed the homeless or other families in need. Kim, your statements are devoid of facts and false. I respect that you are opposed to hunting in any form, and are apparently a vegan,however to make inaccurate statements that have no basis in fact is wrong. Deer populations are not artificially kept high to appease hunters period. Deer are overpopulating simply due to lack of natural predation and for the reasons previouly stated by myself and many others in preceding posts. It is obvious that you are not a person of reason who would weigh the facts and come to a conclusion based on facts, then move on to assist in resolution of the problem. I would hate to think of you serving as a juror
Kim February 05, 2014 at 01:07 PM
I'm not posting things devoid of facts. I often post links to studies, articles, etc. but the discussion generally revolves around the same old stuff and people disregard the facts anyway. Here is one recent example of the deer numbers issue from another part of the country, facts, feel free to offer your own facts to dispute: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/290326/ I am opposed to SPORT hunting being a driving force in wildlife management---that's it. DEC website openly admits that their purpose is to promote sport hunting. Show me other areas where an entire govt agency promotes a hobby. I really like martial arts. Maybe we can have a branch of govt use tax money to allocate space, personnel, and resources for my hobby. Sound fair?
Michele February 05, 2014 at 01:13 PM
I agree Kim- humans have destroyed so much of the natural world with building and development, yet they complain about deer destroying the forest. Very hypocritical. As Jim Morrison sang, "What have they done to our fair sister? What have they done to the earth? Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn And tied her with fences and dragged her down
Anthony February 05, 2014 at 02:02 PM
The link you provided is for an area of Minnesota that is remote and in no way represents Westchester County ....and the "Kill" and reduction in numbers was due to several years of extraordinarily harsh winters. Stop posting false information. Why don't you read the entire DEC Deer Management Plan . You would be educated on facts (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7211.html) instead of "cherry picking" and misinterpreting the intent of the program to suite your interests.
Jonathan Nettelfield February 05, 2014 at 02:18 PM
Trying to stay on topic. First, I read the Duluth News article and nowhere does it say that state officials want to keep the deer population high to satisfy hunters. It was the president of the hunters association who suggested it and a state official was quoted as saying that would be a paradigm shift. Second, there is nothing wrong with the DEC or any other government agency helping provide the conditions to satisfy hunters, fishermen and other outdoor recreations. Heck, we've been doing those things since well before there was a government. We also ask the government to regulate slaughterhouses and we don't complain that that agency is responsible for the overconsumption of meat. And by the way the government helps promote a lot of "hobbies" if you include things like tourism, sport and the protection of species so you can watch them in the wild. Finally, the point that I really take issue with in the thread above, is that we should (or Teatown should) shelter our children from the realities of nature. Nowhere is anyone suggesting that we take our children "to watch the deer massacre" (I would hazard a guess that this is precisely the kind of rhetoric that inflames sensible discussion) but I do think that it gives parents and educators an opportunity to discuss a real world as opposed to some storybook, sanitized place that increasingly we are coming to think of as real. Given the chance, children can take it! Boomers grew up on "Old Yeller" and "Bambi" and don't seem to be scarred for life. Teatown is a wonderful place which allows "children to connect with nature" and therefore I think all the more important that we allow them to experience all of nature which would include difficult subjects like population control and yes, even hunting.
Kim February 05, 2014 at 02:41 PM
The Duluth article is obviously from Duluth, and I'm very familiar with our county's deer mgmt plan. The general point is that a major factor in managing the numbers of animals is their value as a sport---that is not "false information". It is actually common knowledge. Their value as a sport, and their value in the ecosystem are often at odds. Apparently some people think that is okay. That is your right to think that way, but it comes at a grave ecological cost, which is what I am saying. The Teatown issue is not the "hard facts of life" that children need to see. I am aware that predators tear prey apart, and so on, and a sanitized world benefits no one. But luring deer and blasting them away is neither natural, nor necessary. And compassion and a "sanitized" world are 2 very different things.
Area Man February 05, 2014 at 03:27 PM
The only thing "obvious" or "apparent" here is that no one ever changes their opinion by someone else's long winded diatribe on the internet.
Evan Bray February 05, 2014 at 03:37 PM
Astute observation, Area Man. Would you agree that such diatribes might inspire a tasty new dish? Can I tempt you with some bleeding deer heart pate?
george coniglio February 12, 2014 at 08:36 AM
Sad that people devoid of humanity, compassion, and filled with immaturity have so little to contribute that they are reduced to posting provocative comments here. I commend those of you are able to exchange in a civil, respectful, and intelligent manor. To take pleasure in the suffering of any living creature is reflects a damaged mind and absence of empathy.
Area Man February 17, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Does being compassionate, mature and humanitarian include harassing the neighbors of Teatown by honking horns and flashing lights in the middle of the night? That's what the Bambi lovers have been up to.
Anthony February 17, 2014 at 01:52 PM
Just one last comment - Jonathan Nettlefield - has resoundingly put this discussion back on track with the facts, but as all can see, Kim and other like minded folks refuse to even consider the facts when they put have already made up their minds to obscure the facts with known falsehoods and misinformation which they have concocted and now become immersed in perpetuating. Deer management is the only way to insure that the balance of nature stay balanced. I hate to be so crude as to suggest that if the Deer population is not controlled, there will cease to exist trees to hug!
Kim February 18, 2014 at 08:50 AM
Oy vey. Deer ARE "managed" in this area. We pay really good tax money for an entire "White tail deer management" plan complete with an entire staff, expensive studies, full benefits, pension, office space, etc. It doesn't work and it hasn't worked. Those are facts. The fact that we are even having a discussion about deer overpopulation in spite of the fact that deer populations have been closely "managed" by the sages in our government is proof that it hasn't worked. And you think more of the same will make a difference. That is the wildlife management MO. Have an abundance of a game species so there are lots to hunt, tell the general public that there are too many so they can either justify hunting or some govt-sponsored killing, repeat as necessary. Actually proposing that GOVT is capable of "balancing nature" is preposterous. They can't even balance a budget.
Anthony February 18, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Again put plainly you have no clue! Various agencies of state and federal government have saved the Wolves, Elk, Deer, Salmon, American Bald Eagle to name a few species that were once endangered and now thanks to wildlife management are again thriving. Why don't you just find something else to champion, maybe like balancing the federal budget or why the health insurance premiums are so high? Better yet you could investigate why the polar ice cap is now larger than it hs been for many years - ooooh I forgot it must be globle warming which is also causing all the cold weather and snow we are receiving.
Kim February 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Clearly, Anthony, you work for the DEC or something, lol. There is no other way to explain your views. Saved the wolves? Wasn't it a govt agent who killed one of the last of the Mexican gray wolves in 2013? I'd post the link, but you don't seem much for evidence. It was US policy that nearly drove wolves to extinction. But this is a useless debate. You just think what you want to think and let the govt manage nature. Because they definitely know best. They are doing a great job with everything else! Carry on.
Michele February 18, 2014 at 04:35 PM
Anthony- do you actually believe that global warming means the temperatures will be too warm year-round? It means each season will bring more severe weather with it, including colder, stormier winters as we have just experienced. For your information, the new health laws will lower the premiums, not raise them.
Anthony February 18, 2014 at 06:34 PM
I do not work for the DEC or any other government agency. One volcanic eruption pours millons of tons more carbon into the atmosphere than all of the carbon created by man which is infintesimal in comparison. Weather patterns are cyclicle and are formed in the troposphere, they are not a result of junk science theories of "global warming" ie. Al Gore. As for Wolves, in the late 1800's Wolves were thought to be evil and were exterminated worldwide. In the USA, President Teddy Roosevelt (democrat and the originator of the progressive movement). Declared that all Wolves should be exterminated. His policy resulted in there being only 300 Wolves remaining in th US. After Roosevelt was defeated by Taft (R). The government recognized their mistake and reversed the kill policy and Wolves have made a recovery. There are over 4000 Wolves in 13 states with government protective policies in place, their numbers continue to grow although they are still considered endangered. As to the healthcare law, where have you been? Obamacare,aka Affordable Care Act has caused over 5 million people to lose their plans which they liked. Others have had their premiums double, deductibles increase two and three fold. Young people, who this lame law depends upon are not signing on but are choosing to pay the small penalty. The 30 million people, including illegal aliens, who did not have health insurance still don't have it. There is not a single case where the cost has gone down, without the deductible at least doubling. Again before you spee forth -get the facts .
Evan Bray February 18, 2014 at 07:37 PM
This is obviously a divisive issue, but I'm heartened that we all join in the belief that deer are tasty. Whether or not you agree, or disagree, with culling the heard, we all agree that using the meat from the dead to create is the humanitarian solution. Create culinary delights that honor their life and memory. Using all their parts, offal and all. The thought of deer cheek jerky excites me. What inspiration have you had in this thread?
Michele February 19, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Not going to get into a debate over the AHA here...but I know a few people who now have affordable premiums with better coverage than before. The only reason there are certain plans people can't keep is due to the fact that these plans don't meet the fair requirements of the current health care law. Period.
Anthony February 19, 2014 at 09:37 PM
I doubt that you have read or understand the ACA - fyi Affordable Care Act, AKA Obama Care, let alone understand it. Keep drinking the cool aid.
Michele February 20, 2014 at 05:49 AM
Who are you to judge me? I have read it and am speaking from experience. Don't tell me what I understand and what I don't understand. I am speaking from people who have obtained better plans. Go stick your head in the sand and vote for Mitt Romney again
Michele February 20, 2014 at 05:54 AM
this is not a venue for political discussion so I'm not reading anymore of your gibberish. AHA, ACA whatever....Affordable Healthcare Act is what I was referring to.
Anthony February 20, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Wow ! Congrats on reading all 2409 pages of the Afforable Care Act, that's more than the Democratic members of the U.S Congress did prior to shoving it down the American people's throat. Now those Democrats who are running in 2014 are not mentioning Obama Care and don't want to associate themselves with our Supreme Leader. FYI 52% of those who voted for him would not do so because they don't trust him or what he says and does. Pull your head out of the sand and you will see shortly the implosion of the ACA, and the collapse of the insurers who will then have to be bailed out by we the taxpayers. Bye the way I thought that in view of your various rants against the government's management of Deer, the politics were initiated by you.

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