Stop Sharpshooters From Carrying Out Massive Deer Cull in D.C.

Target: National Park Service

Goal: Stop the cull that would involve sharpshooters murdering deer in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park

The Rock Creek Park, situated in Washington D.C., has seen a steady increase in its deer population over the past several years leaving them at a current estimated 400 individuals. There were a reported 67 deer per square mile in 2009, and now the National Park Service has announced a plan to reduce numbers down to 15-20 per square mile — as low as 60 to 80 deer over the course of three years. A number of reasons have been cited for this move, including the nuisance to property for those who live in the vicinity of the park, the dozens of deer that are killed yearly in car crashes, and damage such as that caused when one deer smashed through the window of a public library. The most important one may be the damage being caused to the park itself  as an overabundance of the animals poses a threat to plant life which is unable to recover fast enough.

However, the controversial aspect of the plan is the mode in which the reduction of deer has been decided upon: a cull through the use of sharpshooters to thin down the population. The cull will cost about $131,000 for the first year as the sharpshooters kill deer lured by bait at night during the winter and autumn. All the meat from those killed will be donated to local food banks. Many people oppose this plan of action, especially on safety grounds by those who note that the park has a homeless population, not to mention the common citizens who picnic late and will walk through at night regardless. These concerns aside, there are alternatives which would not need to involve the mass murder to many deer such as sterilization, contraception, and overall effective means of reproduction control.

Five residents of the area have now decided to sue in the United States District Court in order to halt the cull. They say that the National Park Service is in violation of laws that order it to conserve wildlife. Others have pointed to the Conservation Easement which does not permit the management of deer through “lethal means”, with over 200 residents allegedly opposing the action. Demand that the cull not be allowed and that alternative means be used to control the deer population in Rock Creek Park.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear National Park Service,

In May 2012 you announced the plan to reduce the number of deer living in the Rock Creek Park through a massive cull that would involve sharpshooters picking the animals off one-by-one. With an estimated 400 deer living in the park, the need for population control is understandable, particularly in light of the property damage caused not only to nearby residents, but to the park’s environment. However, a sharpshooter cull is not the best course of action.

Although you plan to take safety precautions by limiting shooting to winter and autumn nights, you cannot hope to completely put aside the risks associated with locals or otherwise who are uninformed and ignorant of the cull, not to mention the homeless population. More importantly, methods which do not involve mass murder do exist. You cite lack of time as a justification for your chosen method, but the same amount of time spent planning could’ve been put toward more serious consideration of reproduction control. Moreover, the culls timeframe already calls for three years for full effect.

Please reconsider what is being done on this land and choose a plan that will not involve danger for either humans or deer.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: FreeFoto.com

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4 Comments

  1. controlling prey animal populations where natural predation has been eliminated is a nationwide problem – being compounded by recent actions to once again cull the predators reintroduced to address it. (see a vicious circle here? we do)

    blasting away with guns, however – especially at night – is NOT the answer. the plans to use the meat, and hopefully hides, antlers, and the many other useful parts, is commendable, but an alternative method of harvesting is essential.

    live snaring and/or fenced deer yards baited with feed, where they can be culled selectively – rather than by hunting which tends to eliminate the best animals rather than the weakest – are a far more practical and safer means to solve the problem.

  2. There are just seven problems which really have to be solved immediately:

    human arrogance, human imbecility, human greed, human hypocricy, human’s inability to think predictively, human pleasure in torturing and killing AND human overpopulation !

    Let’s choose how we liked to be “controlled”:

    With traps, guns, dogs, neutering, bow, knife, rope, contraception, by bleeding to death, skinned alive, lifetime in a small cage sitting on our own feces, hanged, starved, dissected alive, thrown out from fifth floor or would it be more humane for us to be “controlled” by being gassed?

    It seems as if we’d forgotten that it’s LIFE we’re talking about when it comes to “control”.

    Meanwhile every single human being capable of compassion may feel ashamed of being part of such a destructive, soulless and stupid species!

  3. No lack of sadistic hunters, who should be eliminated instead of the deer.

  4. MARTHA LIBIA PEÑA HERRERA says:

    LOS MALINTENCIONADOS, LOS ASESINOS DE LA NATURALEZA, SIEMPRE COGEN LA VIA MAS FACIL, ABSURDA Y CRUEL DE EVITAR LO INEVITABLE QUE ES LA SOBREPOBLACION DE LA VIDA SILVESTRE; NO UTILIZAN METODOS MENOS SANGRIENTOS COMO SON LA ESTERILIZACION, SOLO PIENSAN EN MATAR Y MATAR, SOLO TIENEN EN SUS MENTES SADICAS, ENTONCES MATEMOS A LOS HUMANOS DE LA MISMA MANERA, CON ESO NO HAY SOBREPOBLACION; HAY QUE ACABAR ES CON LOS CAZADORES.

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