The growth in whitetail deer populations, from their low point of less than 100,000 in 1900, to around 30 million today, is one of the great conservation success stories of our time. The whitetail is by far America’s most popular big game animal, but the whitetail’s comeback has also created problems.
A recent insurance industry study found in the past few years, over 1,300,000 deer/vehicle collisions occurred, and over the last several years, these accidents have increased by over 20 percent.
With the property damage from these incidents averaging $3,100, deer/vehicle collisions cost American drivers $3.5 billion dollars. Sadly, the Insurance Institutes for Highway Safety reports about 200 fatalities each year are caused by deer-related collisions. The combination of growing deer populations and the displacement of deer habitat caused by urban sprawl are producing increasingly hazardous conditions for both motorists and deer.
Research indicates that to keep a whitetail deer population in check, 40% of the herd must be removed annually. And while deer numbers and ensuing damage continue to grow in the US, groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States insist that all deer hunting should be abolished, recommending deer contraceptives, as well as capture and relocation programs as “better solutions” to the deer population problem. Better solution? Really?
Biologists with years of research to back them up will tell you sustained use sport hunting is the single best way to control wildlife populations, create a source of funding source for America’s wildlife, and provide a valuable source of protein for people in need. Common sense indicates sustained use sport hunting is the highest and best use of the resource. Unfortunately, common sense doesn’t seem to be common in the anti-hunter crowd.