December 22, 2012

Regarding Jim Sterba’s Dec. 16 Outlook commentary, “To get along with deer, we need to shoot a few of them”:

Reducing the deer population may not be the best and most efficient way to reduce damage attributed to deer in urban areas. Most deer damage is site-specific and cannot be effectively addressed through population reduction. It’s far more effective for landowners to use fencing and repellents to keep deer away from specific areas of concern.

If population reduction is deemed necessary, fertility control is an affordable option that can be implemented in our national parks and urban communities where culls may not be effective, feasible or socially acceptable.

We need a toolbox with many tools to resolve conflicts between humans and our wild neighbors. There is no “silver bullet” solution to conflicts with deer, hunting included.

Stephanie Boyles Griffin, Washington

The writer is senior director for wildlife response, innovations and services at the Humane Society of the United States.

Thanks to Jim Sterba for his Dec. 16 Outlook article, To get along with deer, we need to shoot some of them.”

He did not, however, clarify the damage deer are causing. In addition to the $1.5 billion in car damages, there are the expenses for 30,000 hospitalizations and 250 human fatalities a year. The treatment of Lyme disease, which is spread by deer ticks, add hundreds of millions of dollars more.

Depleted forests and reduced wildlife that depend on those forests; billions of dollars a year for car damage, human hospitalizations and illness; and hundreds of lost or damaged human lives — that is what the deer overpopulation is costing us.

Elisabeth P. Waugaman, Potomac