Human overpopulation is the main contributing factor to the overpopulation of deer. The overpopulation of deer affects the urban environment, just as urban sprawl displaces deer from their natural environment. Urban growth and deer overpopulation are both symptoms of human overpopulation.
Bring back the wolves! Heh, well maybe not. Wolves are dangerous, that is why we slaughter them. Despite the fact that wolves are dangerous to humans, they are part of the natural food chain. We have disrupted our own food chain in recent centuries with the annihilation of natural deer predators, like wolves. Although it is not easy, we must take responsibility for our own impact on the eco-system.
Automobiles kill more deer, than hunters do every year in America. Vehicles hitting deer on roadways is a problem for humans, as well as for deer. If you care about the deer, this should upset you as they are getting slaughtered by the millions. If you care about humans or automobiles, then there is a major safety problem on highways and roads. If you care about vegetation, gardens, farms, and public sanitation then our country homesteads, towns, and cities are endangered.
A group of deer often eat enough crop in one night, to destroy a season worth of human family food without being seen. This is easily done in a single garden location, especially while the plants are young. Fencing off every field and garden from deer is not practical, although it helps to have some type of ward or protection.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is spreading throughout deer populations nationwide, parallel with deer overpopulation. CWD is a neurological disease of deer producing brain lesions, behavioral abnormalities, body deterioration, and death. CWD is a TSE similar to mad cow disease in cattle. Prions, the infectious agent, are proteins without associated nucleic acids (not bacterial or viral). Hunters are not recommended to use the meat.
Tens-of-Thousands of Americans are infected with Lyme disease, a statistic increasing every year. Lyme disease is spread through deer ticks. Lyme disease causes painful skin blotches, headaches, aching, and swollen joints. There is treatment but no known cure for Lyme disease in humans.
Deer overpopulation is harming humans, not just our rural and urban environment. Hunters, animal rights activists, and environmentalists must come together to solve the problem. If we do not, then more automobiles will kill more deer and humans, in a tragedy worse than life before cell phones. If humans are the cause of the problem, let humans find the answer. If apathy is always is our collective answer to problems of our own overpopulation, then Nature will find answers to our problems. Natural answers are not always in our best interest, and not in your best interest if you don’t want to be killed by plagues caused by overpopulation.
* plague in it’s Biblical reference refers to swarms of crop eaters, not just disease; although a deer is a large bug to have land on your windshield.
Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance (website 2009)
Urban Deer Action Committee (Ozarks First, website 2007)
“Controlling Deer Overpopulation by Increased Hunting” (Maerong 2006)
“Too Many Deer” (Conservationist Magazine 2005)
“On a Collision Course with Losses” (Nelson, D., and W.A. Banaszewski)
“To Hunt or Not to Hunt” (Weekly Reader, Current Events, 1997)
Related entry post: Deer Deterrents, Wards, and Ambushes