No hunting



To the Editor:

I am writing to urge all Bar Harbor residents to vote “no” on Article 2, the local deer hunt, on Nov. 4. We need to leave deer hunting in the more appropriate rural areas of Maine and not allow hunting in Bar Harbor.

Humans are invading and shrinking the natural habitat of deer. This has brought humans and deer into conflict in three main areas: concern about Lyme disease, deer damaging gardens and car collisions.

Killing deer does not reduce Lyme disease. Killing deer can make the threat of Lyme disease worse for people and pets. When deer numbers are reduced, ticks are more likely to seek out a human or a dog as a host.

Dr. Richard Ostfeld, a leading expert on Lyme disease, conducted an in-depth scientific study on ticks and wrote a lengthy book. He concluded that the human risk of exposure to Lyme disease is positively correlated with the number of rodent hosts and not with the number of deer.

Winter deer hunts are especially ineffective. In the winter, ticks drop off of deer, so killing deer then has very little impact. Even when 86 percent of a deer herd has been killed, tick numbers do not decline enough to reduce the risk of Lyme.

Killing deer does not protect gardens. Even if a herd was largely killed off, the remaining deer would still eat someone’s tulips. Tolerance and common sense are the answer. Adjusting what you plant and deer-proofing are sensible alternatives to killing.

There are many factors that contribute to cars colliding with deer. An obvious factor is that humans have encroached into deer habitat, and we leave them no alternative but to cross the roads. Better signage and reduced speed limits are good starts. Technology also offers solutions. Reflectors are available that alert deer to cars. Motion activated deer-crossing signs warn drivers about the presence of deer and have also been shown to be very effective.

The study produced by the Deer Herd Task Force is factually flawed and completely biased. It also did not thoroughly consider the danger that adults, children and pets would be exposed to from bullets and arrows.

Proposed safety rules would likely be broken. Hunters might leave their approved sites to pursue a wounded deer. People could be severely hurt or even killed.

Bow hunting causes deer to experience a slow and inhumane death. We could all be exposed to the disturbing sight of a deer running around with an arrow sticking out of it.

Let’s keep traditional hunting in Maine’s wild places and not in Bar Harbor. Vote “no” on Article 2.

Joan Tukey

Bar Harbor

 

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