Should Carrboro Taxpayers Fund a Marketing Campaign for Hunters?

This is the 14th in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 14: “A well-conceived and well-implemented public outreach and education campaign will require Board and staff approval and effort. This campaign is needed to get public buy-in, ensuring that citizens understand the purpose of, and need for, managing the deer population.” [page 43]

So the hunters want the taxpayers to run a marketing campaign for them. At some level, they must realize that the majority of citizens will be against bow hunting and deer killing within town limits, and that it will require a “well-conceived and well-implemented” taxpayer-funded marketing campaign to persuade them otherwise.

We believe that the residents of Carrboro are intelligent enough and compassionate enough to see this recommendation for what it is.

Carrboro has, in recent years, spent taxpayer dollars on a branding and marketing campaign that produced the slogan, “It’s Carrboro. Feel free.” It seems that Carrboro is now on the brink of spending more taxpayer dollars to undo all that effort to market the town as cool, hip, diverse, progressive, inclusive, compassionate, and inviting. Perhaps the new town slogan will be. “It’s Carrboro. Feel free to kill some of our gentlest residents.”

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Does Deer Killing Have a Positive Impact on Other Wildlife Species?

This is the 13th in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 13: “Culling deer herds is an emotional issue, despite clear science that shows deer herd management results in a healthier deer population, produces a more intact forest ecosystem, and has a positive impact on other wildlife species.” [page 43]

People who advocate for violence, whether it is violence against humans, as in war or the death penalty, or violence against non-human animals, as in hunting, typically present their position as scientific, while dismissing people who advocate for peace, justice, and non-violence as “emotional.”

As we have already established, the Task Force has presented no scientific evidence that deer killing results in a healthier deer population or produces a more intact forest system.

But what of this new assertion that has been slipped in to the recommendation? Does deer killing have a positive impact on other wildlife species?

Again, the Task Force provides no scientific evidence that killing deer has a positive impact on other wildlife species, nor does it even specify what these other species are.

But neither does it give us any examples where violent human interference has ever had a positive impact on species diversity.

According to an article by Peter Muller in Animals in Print, “The activity of human hunting is not and never has been a sustainable, mutually beneficial, predator, prey relationship. Human hunting techniques, even the most primitive ones, are far too efficient to meet the conditions required of a natural predator-prey relationship. In modern times, with new technology, the efficiency becomes totally lopsided so as to cause instant habitat degeneration. Add to this the conscious mismanagement of habitat to further degrade and obviate all natural corrective measures.

“Using techniques such as sex-ratio distortion, habitat manipulation, the removal of natural predators and the introduction of exotic game species destroys biodiversity. The goal is to maximize the number of targets for human hunting, thereby destroying the naturally evolved ecosystems and putting them at the brink of total collapse.

“The number of animals of game species (native and exotic) is maximized at the expense of all others. The naturally evolved mechanisms that insure biodiversity are short-circuited.

“The only way that these ecosystems can recover is to prohibit human hunting and all other forms of non-sustainable consumptive uses of these animals. We should allow for the unfettered reintroduction and re-immigration of predators (which is occurring naturally). Stop ‘managing’ the environment of those areas. When it comes to managing the environment, our knowledge is inadequate to do an even passable job. Even given an ethically sound motivation, which the state agencies now lack, we simply don’t know enough to do a better job than nature.

“Rather than playing God, we’re acting more like the three stooges, when it comes to managing ecosystems. For the sake of life on earth, we must not allow the hunting and gun-manufacturing lobbies to continue to dictate wildlife management policies.”

 

Are Deer Contraceptives Expensive?

This is the 12th in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 12: “Contraceptives are expensive ($600-800/doe) and only work when the deer population is isolated and does not have an opportunity to migrate in or out of a given area. Sterilization is expensive ($800-1,000/doe) and is currently not legal in North Carolina.” [page 43]

We’re not sure how the Task Force came up with this estimate, but it throws into question the validity of their other estimates.

The current state-of-the-art birth control for deer is immuno-contraception using PZP (porcine zona pellucida), a protein that occurs naturally in pig ovaries. The Humane Society of the United States and others are conducting research to develop a synthetic form of PZP. In 2006, the cost of PZP vaccine was between $10 and $25 per dose “and is constantly being reduced as production becomes more efficient.”

The real cost, of course, is in the labor involved in administering the contraceptives, which is typically done via dart. If the hunters in this community really cared about the environment and the health of the deer, they would volunteer to administer the immuno-contraceptive darts.

However, because the task force has provided no scientific evidence that the deer are overpopulated, that their numbers need to be reduced, or that it is even possible to reduce their numbers, given that Carrboro is not an island, Carrboro should wait until those facts are established before implementing any population control methods.

We couldn’t find any references for deer sterilization being illegal in North Carolina; however, we do know that Bald Head Island received permission from the state for a deer sterilization program. As mentioned previously, Carrboro is not an island, and there is no evidence that a deer sterilization program would work in Carrboro.

Does Deer Killing Decrease Deer/Vehicle Collisions?

This is the 11th in our series analyzing Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Protection Task Force’s Recommended Deer Cull.

Assertion 11: “A reduced/better managed deer population would…Decrease the incidence of deer/vehicle collisions…” [page 43]

According to Erie Insurance Company, the number of deer-vehicle collisions actually rises “nearly five times on the first day of buck season and doe season.”

And according to the Missouri Insurance Information Service, increased deer activity associated with hunting is a “major factor” in the rise in deer-vehicle collisions in the last three months of the year.

Finally, as we’ve already established, deer killing programs do not reduce deer population, so there is no logical way that they could reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

So what does help in reducing deer-vehicle collisions? The Humane Society of the United States has some excellent advice.

Does Killing Deer Improve Their Health?

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

Assertion 10: “A reduced/better managed deer population would…Improve the overall health of the deer population…” [page 43]

In what perverse moral universe do we improve the overall health of a population by killing some of them and wounding or crippling as many as we kill?

“Improved health” when applied to free-living animals is hunter-speak for improved fertility. It creates more animals, not fewer, which is exactly the opposite of the stated goal of the task force.

Killing a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or sister disrupts deer families and causes fear, trauma, stress, and other unhealthy outcomes.

 

Should Carrboro Abdicate Control to the State?

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

Assertion 9: “The Task Force therefore recommends that Carrboro reopen the consideration of implementing its own deer herd management program to reduce negative impacts on forest regeneration and ecosystem health and biodiversity and protect our forests from an expanding deer population that is too large now and may grow. Specifically, the Task Force recommends that the Town consider submitting a letter of intent to participate in the Urban Archery Season program of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.” [page 42-43]

On April 20, 2010, Ashley Stanford, a resident of 1800 N. Greensboro St., addressed a meeting of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen and asked that Town of Carrboro get on board with resolving the deer problem. He suggested that the town consider allowing dogs to run loose at night.

Mayor Chilton asked if there was anything that could be done about people feeding deer.

The Board directed the town staff to report on what Chapel Hill and Duke Forest are doing to control the deer population, along with pertinent information from the N.C. Wildlife Commission regarding deer.

At the October 12, 2010 Board of Aldermen worksession, the Board received the staff report on options to deal with deer overpopulation, to include management methods (deer resistant plants, deer repellants, and fencing) and population control methods. The Board directed Town staff to keep them informed of any new developments in urban deer management strategies; to provide educational information about deer management methods to community members, including those involved in community gardening; and to prepare a draft ordinance prohibiting the
intentional feeding of deer.

On November 1, 2011, the ordinance prohibiting the intentional feeding of deer was presented and passed. Three non-resident deer killers, one resident deer killer, and the aforementioned deer foe Mr. Stanford, spoke to the board, urging them to institute a deer killing program. At least one brought in his bow for show-and-tell.

So when the Energy and Climate Protection Task force recommended that “Carrboro reopen the consideration of…Urban Archery…,” it’s important to note that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen has never officially considered implementing urban archery.

At the November 10, 2015 meeting during which this recommendation was presented, Alderwoman Michelle Johnson referred to the several previous meetings, including “one where someone brought a bow and an arrow,” and recalled that the police chief had at that time said that bow hunting could not be conducted safely in Carrboro. Jeff Herrick, a member of the task force and Alderwoman Johnson’s husband, replied that “We have a different police chief now and a different mayor….Last time, it was about people’s landscaping and people’s lawns, and now what we’re really concerned about is the long-term health of the forest.”

Alderwoman Johnson asked the town manager to “find out from our current police chief if that [safety concerns about shooting arrows in town limits] is still the case so that we can have an informed discussion about it.”

The recommendation “that the Town consider submitting a letter of intent to participate in the Urban Archery Season program of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission” is particularly troublesome, as this “letter of intent” ruse was exactly how the neighboring town of Chapel Hill was duped into implementing a deer killing program without the express consent of the Council, and before the public had a chance to address the issue.

On January 11, 2010, the Council passed a resolution that, among other things: “The Town seek permission from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to organize an Urban Archer Program to safely cull the deer population within Chapel Hill. The [Chapel Hill Sustainability] Committee wants this early authorization so that in the event that the Town decides to go forward with such a program, there will not be undue delay in implementing it.”

The letter of intent was submitted by the April 1, 2010 deadline for the 2011 season. The public hearing on deer killing occurred on April 19, 2010. As the Independent Weekly reported:

“Although town officials didn’t know if they wanted a bowhunting program, they still applied by the April 1 deadline to conduct a 2011 urban hunt. They figured that would give them leeway in case they did want to go forward. However, they didn’t know until the forum Monday that their application meant they would be included in a journal as a town that’s friendly to bow hunters.

“Whoops.”

We hope that the members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen learn from the mistakes of the Chapel Hill Town Council so that there won’t be any “Whoops” in Carrboro. We know that the North Carolina General Assembly has, in recent years, taken many options away from municipalities for making their own choices. We hope that the members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen retain control of their ability to prohibit the discharge of weapons within town borders and not abdicate that control to the state.

 

Can the NC Wildlife Resources Commission Address All Concerns in Carrboro?

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

Assertion 8: “The NC Wildlife Resources Commission and others are available to advise the Town about the feasibility of creating a program that is tailored to the needs of Carrboro and addresses all concerns.” [page 42]

The NC Wildlife Resources Commission, like all state wildlife agencies, exists for a reason, and it’s not to tailor programs to the needs of Carrboro.

“The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is the state government agency created…to conserve and sustain the state’s fish and wildlife resources…”

This mission (and indeed the very name of the organization) implies that animals exist to be “resources” for humans, assuming an unquestioned belief in the myth of dominionism. But we know that animals have a complex set of interests that do not include a desire to be human property. As Alice Walker famously said, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”

And what about the mission to “conserve and sustain the state’s fish and wildlife”? It sounds good, but isn’t it the goal of Carrboro’s Energy and Climate Task Force to reduce the number of deer? “Conserve and sustain” sounds like the opposite of reducing population. In fact, elsewhere on their site, the commission admits that “hunting does not hurt deer populations.”

If we read further on the About page, we find the real reason for the Commissison’s enthusiasm for deer killing: “The sale of hunting and fishing licenses, federal grants and other receipts provide financial support of the agency.  The Commission has an operational budget of approximately $65 million and employs over 590 full-time men and women across the state…”

So the bottom line is that the NC Wildlife Commission has no interest in reducing deer populations in Carrboro or anywhere else. Their mission is to “provide programs and opportunities that allow hunters, anglers, boaters; other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy wildlife-associated recreation.” In other words, they exist to provide humans the opportunity to kill for fun.