Contact: Priscilla Feral
Phone: (203) 656-1522

Darien,CT–“Each year, apologists for hunting are pressed to justify their violent, unethical deer-killing schemes bolstered by state wildlife agencies which profit from hunting,” says Friends of Animal’s president, Priscilla Feral.

In a press release issued by the pro-hunting group Fairfield County Municipal Deer Management Alliance, traffic accidents, Lyme disease and environmental destruction are solely blamed on deer. The group even called for Fairfield County residents to sanction deer killings on their private property, to “do their part” to eradicate deer. As though deer must disappear to ensure public safety.

Hunting is on the decline, and has been for years; fewer than 1% of Connecticut’s residents hunt.

It’s no longer acceptable to call hunting recreation. Hunters invent social benefits to excuse their killings: “protecting” deer from “over-population” or people from disease, or feeding the hungry. They are “protecting” wildflowers from “over-browsing” and heading off collisions.

“What’s missing,” Feral says, “is respect for conscious life – – and for the truth.”

Feral observes that humans-the only species on earth whose population is truly out of control-often fail to acknowledge how our reckless overdevelopment and penchant to overpopulate directly impacts our perceived problems with deer and other free-living animals.

Hunting changes the way deer naturally evolve and can cause deer populations to increase. Nature itself ensures that the deer population is limited by available food, territory, and winter weather conditions, which restrict both food and range. Numerous studies over the years have shown that both the reproductive rate and the survival rate of deer will then decrease-creating a natural balance.

Neither do deer cause Lyme disease; black-legged ticks carry the disease when immature, on smaller host animals than deer. Vigilant checks for ticks on the body and immediate removal, especially in the summer and early autumn weeks, are key for controlling the spread of Lyme disease.

It’s true: there are about a 1.5 million reported instances of drivers hitting deer in the United States every year. “So, clearly there is a problem, yet the quickest way to reduce deer/auto collisions is to get the hunters out of the woods,” Feral says. A 2002 study by Friends of Animals found that hunting actually exacerbates roadway deaths of deer because it can frighten deer into darting out to roadways. About half of all these collisions occur in just three months: October, November, and December — hunting season.

Howard Kilpatrick, a biologist with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Connecticut, celebrates the fact that more land has been opened up to hunting-telling the Stamford Advocate “that’s what we need to manage deer populations.” But what Kilpatrick doesn’t mention is his own professional bias: The DEP is a pro-hunting agency that is funded, in part, by the sale of hunting licenses and a federal excise tax on guns and ammunition. This fact alone ensures only one thing: corrupt, one-sided “science.”

Nature is being managed to death; it’s time for communities to call for ceasefires. Deer simply need us to let them be.