This is the 16th in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.
Assertion 16: “Evaluation Criteria • Number of deer culled and reduction of deer per square mile. • Improved health of deer population. • Reduction in number of deer-vehicle collisions. • Return of forest understory (increase in native flora, decrease in exotic species, and increase in plant and animal biodiversity). Reduced loss of crops, gardens, and planted ornamentals.” [page 44]
What is the current number of deer per square mile in Carrboro? Nobody knows? Then how is it possible to evaluate a program based on reduction of deer per square mile, if we don’t know the number we’re starting with, and we don’t have any plans to determine the number we end up with? The only number that might be known at the end of this program is the number of deer killed, and that number means nothing in terms of the goals of the Energy and Climate Protection Task Force.
What is the current health of the deer population, and how was that measured? How will the future health of the deer population be measured? As we’ve already established, deer population health is hunter-speak for deer fertility, the opposite of the stated goals of the task force.
What is the current annual number of deer-vehicle collisions? What was the number of deer-vehicle collisions in Chapel Hill in 2010? What was the number of deer-vehicle collisions in Chapel Hill in 2015? Wouldn’t a better metric for an Energy and Climate Protection Task Force be reduction of vehicles per square mile? As we’ve already established, deer killing does not decrease deer-vehicle collisions.
What if there is no return of forest understory, increase in biodiversity, or decrease in exotic species in five years? Will it have been worth it to kill 60 deer in five years, as Chapel Hill has done, with no benefit to the forest to show for it? As we’ve already established, deer killing does not keep deer numbers down. If, by some miracle, Carrboro was able to eradicate the entire deer population, year after year, what if the forest understory and biodiversity are adversely affected, as many studies have shown? Will the genocide experiment have been worth it?
Are there nonviolent ways to protect crops, gardens, and planted ornamentals in Carrboro? Of course there are, and thoughtful, compassionate people have successfully used those methods all over town.
In the end, a deer killing program in Carrboro will be a failure, just as the deer killing program in Chapel Hill has been a failure, because deer killing programs do not reduce the deer population.