Does the deer population in Carrboro need to be “managed”?

This is the third in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 3: “Deer overpopulation needs to be better managed to reduce negative impacts on forest regeneration and ecosystem health and biodiversity.” [page 38]

Again, although there are three end notes at the bottom of page 38, none of them references any studies regarding deer and their adverse affect on forest regeneration, ecosystem health, or biodiversity.

And again, this assertion begins with the anthropocentric implicit bias of “deer overpopulation.” As we established earlier, the deer in Carrboro are not overpopulated.

According to In Defense of Animals, “Wildlife management, population control and wildlife conservation are euphemisms for killing–hunting, trapping and fishing for fun. A percentage of the wild animal population is specifically mandated to be killed. Hunters want us to believe that killing animals equals population control equals conservation, when in fact hunting causes overpopulation of deer, the hunters’ preferred victim species, destroys animal families, and leads to ecological disruption as well as skewed population dynamics.”

The second part of this assertion contains the unproven assumption that deer are adversely affecting forest regeneration, ecosystem health, and biodiversity. As we established earlier, “excess deer” are not the primary cause of decreasing plant diversity.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, “It is easy to point the finger at deer and blame them for our forest growth woes, yet the reality is that forests are affected by many things: acid rain, insect damage, disease, forest fragmentation, pollutants, loss of soil fertility, animal browsing, invasive and other competing plant species, parasitic organisms, climatic and weather extremes, over-development … and deer. It is vital in addressing deer-human conflicts that we not use deer as scapegoats for larger and more systemic ecological problems.”

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