Sunday, October 9, 2011

True Nature of Solon's Deer Plan

To: Solon Times <>
Subject: Letter to the editor

The true nature of Solon’s “Comprehensive Deer Management Plan”  has finally come to light.  At the close of the Council Meeting on October 3rd, Councilman Russo once again questioned Mr. Stanek on the deer management program, asking what non-lethal options existed and who would be responsible for carrying them out.  Mr. Stanek replied and Councilman Russo confirmed that the burden of the non-lethal management methods was going to be placed on the shoulders of the private property owner.  Council and the administration have ignored obvious opportunities to support, or even engage in a discussion of non-lethal methods, leaving it to private citizens to provide a Work Shop on coping with deer.  Despite the fact that the Deer Workshop was free and open to all, conspicuous by their absence were any members of the city council or administration.  It would seem, that the City is going to stay the course with the same old lethal program.  A great deal of time and effort has been put into constructing and justifying the lethal programs, while non-lethal methods have been given nothing more than lip service, excuses as to why they won’t work, and then thrown to the private homeowner to facilitate.  I’m not saying that the homeowner is not a legitimate stakeholder in this issue, but the City has simply done a “Pontius Pilot” here and said to everyone, “you’re on your own.”

The whole idea of “deer management” is a bit absurd.  You can’t manage wildlife.  You can manage livestock, but only because you control every aspect of it’s life.  You control where it lives, where and what it eats, when and if it reproduces and how long it lives.  The same can’t be said for wildlife.  Oh sure, you can send hunters into the woods to take pot shots at the animals, but that’s not management, that’s recreation.  You can throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at the problem trying to kill as many as you can, but they keep coming back.  An interesting concept was brought up by a Mr. Naegle of Urban Deer Solutions when he was here to give his presentation on Deer Parks.  He used the term “manipulate” in his discussions about deer.  You don’t manage deer, you manipulate them in a manner to reduce the impact they have in a given area.  By encouraging the deer to congregate in an area where they are not going to be a problem, you minimize the social and environmental impact on areas where they are not welcome.  While deer parks are not practical in Solon due to a lack of natural predators, the manipulation concept is the very heart of non-lethal management.  If you don’t want the deer on your property, take steps to discourage them from visiting.

Heinz Knall

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