Urban deer hunts proving successful

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The resurgence of the white-tailed deer is one of America’s great wildlife management success stories.

A century ago, deer had been almost hunted out of existence. States responded with limited hunting seasons and other restrictions, and today the nation’s deer population is estimated to be more than 20 million. Unfortunately, that growth has come not only in the forests and woodlands but also in suburban or even urban areas.

That can be an unhealthy co-existence. Deer not only do significant damage to landscaping and gardens, but they can also spread disease. Moreover, once they adapt to an area, their reproduction can be staggering. One study in Michigan showed a herd of six deer in a confined park grew to 222 in seven years.

That is why so many areas have used limited urban deer hunts to thin the population, reduce the damage and keep a reasonable balance for suburban areas.

Eleven cities in West Virginia now use the hunts annually…

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