This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
I am taking the opportunity to write this letter in order to express my views and concerns over Solon’s impending deer management activities. I felt that writing might be more convenient for everyone and less painful than having to listen to my comments at a meeting. One of the concerns regarding deer is the anticipated “surge” in the deer population. I would like to take you back to 2004. When Solon counted the deer in 2004 using the thermal imaging method, it was determined that there was a population of approximately 922 deer within our boundaries. Considering that there had been no culling or hunting of the deer prior to 2004, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that the 922 deer represented a static population in an environment already at it’s carrying capacity for deer? A population level where the birth rate and the death rate balance each other out. Granted, DVAs have increased over the past three decades, but then so has Solon’s population as well as traffic through Solon. Is it that we have more deer, or simply more traffic? In any case, it is my belief that a population of around 1000 deer, give or take, is the maximum number that we would experience. Since 2004, the City of Solon has spent in the neighborhood of $800,000 in the effort to use sharpshooters to manage the deer population. This number includes not only White Buffalo’s costs, but also the cost of processing the deer at Trumbull Locker as well as Police and Service Department overtime. After a brief two year hiatus, the deer numbers are back to their original 2004 numbers. The compensatory rebound effect would seem to render all efforts, using either sharpshooters or hunters, ineffective as a means for population control. The missing deer are simply replaced by new births and deer migrating in from surrounding areas. Bow hunting has been mentioned. I am against the use of hunters for deer management within the City of Solon for reasons that I have already mentioned at an earlier Safety Meeting. I believe the City has in it’s possession, a letter from Dr. DeNicola commenting on the proposed use of bow hunters. Dr. DeNicola states that the use of bow hunters as a means of reducing the number of deer would not be effective and would serve only as a recreational activity for a handful of hunters. One of the arguments that I hear quite often from people is the argument that the deer are starving and we must thin the herd to prevent their horrible death from starvation. In a more natural setting, apex predators would perform that task by taking the old, the weak, and the sick deer, leaving the healthier specimens to remain and breed. On the other hand, hunters seek out and take the best specimens of the herd and sharpshooters take whatever enters their range of fire. I have seen the reports from White Buffalo indicating the deer that were taken. They include Does, Bucks and Fawns under a year of age, all taken to satisfy a quota. That’s not management, that’s indiscriminant slaughter. Another disturbing bit of information is the detailing of the number of pregnant Does and the number of fetuses they were carrying when they were shot. Honestly, what sort of civilized society shoots children, pregnant mothers and then counts the fetuses? You don’t have to take my word for this, I can forward copies of the report if you wish. Another argument is the one to reduce the number of DVAs. There will always be DVAs. As long as there are deer, there will be DVAs. While stating a goal to lower DVAs may seem noble, it may not be practical. To say for instance, that an acceptable number might be 50 DVAs a year, may satisfy many, but what do you say to the 50? “I’m sorry, you were an acceptable loss”. A person accepts risk every
time they venture out onto the road. It’s time people accepted their responsibility and stopped making their risks, other people’s problem. The City has apparently been approached by at least three individuals involved in non-lethal management of deer. Two involving street-side devices for deterring deer and one lady who gives talks on deer proofing gardens and landscaping. We have heard from ODOW and USDA, the advocates of lethal management. Why have we not heard more about the advocates of non-lethal management, and why have they not been provided equal time? What is perhaps the most disturbing and disappointing aspect is the apparent lack of understanding by certain members of Council, the Administration and fellow Citizens, of just how wrong the whole concept of killing is when it is done simply to rid oneself of a perceived annoyance. The City is employing mediaeval methods to solve a 21st century problem. For me this is simply a moral issue. What you have done in the past is wrong. We could not convince you of that in the past. I doubt that it will have any impact now, or in the future. We do however have other arguments at our disposal this time around. For instance, the City’s own numbers confirm the existence and the effects of compensatory rebound. If it is your intention to continue to spend $100,000 to $200,000 a year to pursue a futile program with no lasting results, then we are going to continue to have differences. There is no rational reason to continue a program that is expensive, ineffective, and not to mention, controversial. That money could be spent on more permanent and effective solutions that don’t involve killing animals that some of us consider a natural resource for our enjoyment. As one who is opposed to the use of any lethal measures I would suggest the following. Continue with the annual count. You can’t make informed decisions without the facts. Expand the use of Strieter Lights and similar deterrent devices to minimize DVAs. Engage horticultural experts to educate the community on how to deer proof gardens and landscaping. Install warning signs in areas of high deer traffic. Provide educational material to the community to familiarize people with the deer and their habits. Install fencing to discourage deer from entering areas where they might cause danger and encourage citizens to fence in vegetable gardens when needed. Prohibit the feeding of deer and other wildlife year round. A possible exception would be bird feeders that are off the ground and out of the reach of deer. Encourage people to learn to live with the surrounding wildlife. It’s a natural resource that will always be with us. They might as well get used to it. These are just a few suggestions, I’m sure we can find more if we work together. Please take time to consider a kinder and more humane approach to the deer issue.
Sincerely, Heinz Knall Solon