Commend Non-Lethal Deer Management Plan


Target: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Goal: Commend the Department for approving Virginia’s first non-lethal deer management program

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recently approved the first non-lethal surgical sterilization population control method in Virginia. The city of Fairfax proposed this project to humanely reduce the population of white-tailed deer. After efforts to allow limited deer hunting on large tracts of land within Fairfax City failed to earn the necessary support among City Council members, the city considered a new method for dealing with deer overpopulation. The program is an experimental, grant-funded research project to surgically sterilize female deer in order to effectively control what officials are calling a local deer overpopulation problem.

Wildlife biologist Vicky Monroe said an optimal number of deer to have in a suburban area such as Fairfax would be 15 to 20 deer per square mile—but that the local city and county areas currently have an estimated 40 to 100 deer per square mile. Deer are also living longer than average in the city, which is a problem because the deer continue to breed, leading to more and more deer.

Fairfax City will be working with a contractor to humanely tranquilize and surgically sterilize female deer via a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the ovaries. This method, known as an ovariectomy, has been conducted in several states.

Commend the City of Fairfax for making this step towards humane population control. Hopefully this program’s success will make other cities want to try out humane options for controlling deer populations.


Dear Virginia Department of Wildlife and Inland Fisheries,

Thank you for approving this program for the humane sterilization of deer in Fairfax, Virginia. This program proves that non-lethal methods of population control are possible without resorting to injections or guns. It is important that deer populations be controlled using cruelty-free methods that don’t endanger the public.

I commend you for looking into alternatives for population control. With your leadership, many other cities may look into doing the more humane thing to control deer populations as well.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: MONGO via Wikimedia Commons

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