Deer management is a significant issue across the country, and traditionally has resulted in lethal population control via sharpshooting, hunting with firearms, and bow hunting—despite the latter method’s documented inefficiency and potential for animals to be non-fatally wounded and suffer considerably.
While lethal management can result in short-term reductions in population, multiple scientific studies have demonstrated that it does not bring long-term population stability. AWI has worked for many years to encourage research into humane, non-lethal wildlife management.
Recently, AWI contributed funding to the “Deer Spay Project” in Fairfax City, Virginia, a surgical sterilization effort designed to provide one city an alternative to lethal management in a county where the vast majority of deer are killed by bow hunting. Sterilizing the deer will likely provide the double benefit of stabilizing the current population and preventing an influx of new deer, all without resorting to cruel means of control.
AWI also continues to support fertility control techniques such as immunocontraceptive vaccines (see Fall 2011 AWI Quarterly). After AWI outreach earlier this year to communities on Long Island, New York, the Village of East Hampton approved an immunocontraception project to control deer instead of the previously proposed massive deer cull (see Spring 2014 AWI Quarterly). AWI will also be funding a deer immunocontraception study in Hastings-on-Hudson this coming year to improve the efficacy of the Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) vaccine. PZP has already been successfully deployed in a number of wildlife management situations.