LETTER TO THE EDITOR: D.C.-area deer herds must be culled

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In the past decade, the deer population has been increasing exponentially in the Washington area, especially in suburban areas around the city. There are many problems associated with a large deer population. Deer are grazers that feed on seedlings and saplings in the forest, and that destroys the understory plant life, the deer’s own habitat and the habitat of other organisms.

Forests around Washington, including Rock Creek National Park, have noticed the consequences of an overabundance of deer. The deer have overgrazed many forests around the city, forcing deer to find new sources of food. This has led many deer to venture into more urban areas in search of food, which has area residents outraged because the deer are destroying gardens and causing car accidents. Deer wandering into roads is a major problem in the area because of the dense human population in the city and suburban areas. If the current deer population cannot be controlled, these problems are only going to get worse.

Almost every county in the suburban areas around Washington has deer-management programs. To reduce the population of deer, many of these counties have implemented managed deer hunts. In a managed deer hunt, parks are closed to the public, and supervised sharpshooters take responsibility for hunting and safely removing deer. This is a start to reducing the deer population, but more actions need to be taken. The reason the deer populations have been increasing in the Washington area is because deer have no natural predators here, and increasing suburban landscapes are ideal for deer habitat.

If we want to cease the exponential increase of deer in this area, more managed deer hunts need to be implemented, and there needs to be fewer restrictions on hunting. Since hunting is illegal in the District and in many suburban areas around the District, more needs to be done.

SCOTTY POWELL
Washington

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