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RA Considering Request for Deer Hunt on Sourwood Lane

by Karen Goff June 24, 2014 at 9:30 am 66 Comments

Deer in Reston/Credit: Linda Thomas via Flickr

Reston Association is considering allowing several homeowners on Sourwood Lane to conduct a controlled deer hunt on their properties.

The owners of 11624, 11626 and 11628 Sourwood Lane, located off of Glade Drive in a wooded area of South Reston, say they want to reduce the deer population near their homes as deer have destroyed vegetation and may harbor Lyme Disease-carrying ticks.

RA will take action on the request at its meeting this Thursday at RA headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive. A public comment period will begin about 6:30 p.m.

“There is an urgent health-driven and environmental need to reduce the deer population in and around our properties,” Sourwood homeowner Larry Gsellman wrote in a letter to Reston Association.

“At last count there was a herd of at least 10 deer that pass through our property every day or two to graze on vegetation. … Lyme Disease as well as other tick-borne diseases is a constant concern. Although there have not been any cases in the neighborhood, there have been numerous cases reported in the Reston area.”

Map of Sourwood Lane areaGsellman, who is seeking clearance to hunt for three years, says the plant destruction will eventually cause soil erosion. He also said the homeowners have tried many ways to rid the properties of deer, including a liquid fence, rotten egg sprays, and Deer-Vic, a deer repellent paste smeared on fenceposts.

The deer hunt, using crossbows, would be conducted at owners’ expense on the three lots (totaling  1.45 acres), by Suburban Whitetail Management during the urban archery season that begins Sept. 7. The state of Virginia and Fairfax County both allow for hunts on private property, but in Reston, permission also must be obtained from RA.

RA has recently granted permission to other homeowners. Since 2010,  a resident of Buckthorn Lane — who said four family members were suffering from Lyme Disease — has had permission for Suburban Whitetail Management to hunt deer on his property.

While many neighbors wrote to RA in support of the hunting request, some are not in favor.
From a letter written to RA by one neighbor:

I (and the deer) are your neighbor here on Sourwood Lane. They have lived here for at least the 14 years I have lived here. … The same family, year after year, treks through my backyard, munches down on the weeds, helps control the ivy that strangles the trees and helps themselves to water in my little pond.

Yes, they eat my hosta and tomato plants — but who cares? … I greet the deer family with the joy they deserve for having survived the winter and bringing such pleasure into the lives of me and my family.

A RA staff report recommends that the bow hunt take place from treestands on weekdays at dawn; that the owners post signage alerting the neighborhood of the hunt; and that hunters will be oriented towards the center and rear of the lots to minimize the chances of an arrow going off the subject lots.  Staff also recommended that RA waive the condition that the proposed location of the hunter be held 75 yards away from any street.

Photo of deer on Reston trial/Credit: Linda Thomas via Flickr

  • MaggieSays

    You chose to live in the woods, and now you want to kill the wildlife that lives in the woods?

    • Malka

      I chose to live in Reston 38 years ago because of its diverse mix of woodland plants and animals. Deer were part of that wonderful mix until their population exploded. Both Fairfax County and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries websites provide more information. over-browsing by white-tailed deer now threatens native trees, plants and the insects, birds, and small mammals that depend on the vegetation for food and nesting. Non-native exotic plants are gaining ground in the disruption. The overpopulation of deer threatens the woods we love. Hunts such as the one proposed aim to bring the deer to a more sustainable level, not eliminate them.

      • BBurns

        The huge amount of invasive plants that nurseries promote and homeowners unknowingly buy is a huge part of trees being destroyed. There are *many* plants that are native and deer tolerant. But the only native plant nursery in NoVA is in Alexandria, and nurseries still sell terribly invasive plants.

        The English ivy and other invasives that cover trees and kill everything eventually that you see when on the Beltway or along roads has nothing to do with deer. It has to do with a lack of education and unwillingness on the part of nurseries to do the right thing – to sell the right thing.

        As one native plant specialist once told me, the only thing green in that industry is the money.

        • Frank Angel

          Ivy does not kill oak saplings. Deer does.

          • BBurns

            Many types of invasive plants destroy large portions of forests, including trees.

        • Juli Vermillion

          Actually, according to the Humane Society, deer are often the scapegoats for much larger ecological problems. Forest issues are affected by acid rain, insect damage, disease, forest fragmentation, pollutants, loss of soil fertility, animal browsing, invasive and competing plant species, parasite organisms, climate extremes, overdevelopment AND deer. The bottomline is that a single species management has never been a viable way to manage a multi-faceted problem. Killing a few deer will NOT solve any of the problems mentioned on this thread. Deer are only one vector for the ticks that cause Lymes disease–ALL vertebrates do so unless you are willing to wipe out all mammals (including us…) and birds you are going to have ticks and lymes.
          As for overpopulation, thining a herd with hunts actually apparently has the opposite effect, because nature compensates and the following year or two introduces many twin and triplet births to make up for the losses. I suggest everyone go out and read the excellent documentation on the Humane Society of the United States website on Deer issues. It is a good read and dispells many of the myths used to make deer hunts sound good. In Defense of Animals is another good website. Slaughter if innocent wildlfe should be the last consideration, in my personal opinion. I spoke yesterday, early, so I don’t know the outcome yet, but I’m hoping cooler minds prevaled.

    • Frank Angel

      No one “wants to kill”. Prudent management leading toward a sustainable population is what’s wanted.

      • Natalie Jarnstedt

        Frank, “prudent” management of deer IS practiced by state wildlife agencies, that’s why people are always complaining about too many deer! And if you say that they’re not hunted in this particular residential area, that’s no excuse – deer have legs, they can walk, and move into any area that can sustain their biological carrying capacity. When deer are hunted and killed, reproduction is spurred. According to a study by Richter & Labisky, twinning/tripling occurs in hunted herds 38%, whereas that number drops drastically in non-hunted herds to 14% – do the math! How do you think that state wildlife agencies can accomplish to satisfy residents and their clients (hunters) through hunting? There are fewer deer immediately after a hunt, pleasing to complaining residents, and little do they know that by next season they could have the same number or even more deer than they had? At the same time, this “management” satisfies hunters with a great “crop” of deer to “harvest”, served on a silver platter, raking in hunting license fees to the state, ad infinitum!
        Yes, some people want to kill because they consider it recreation!

  • Mike

    Wildlife has an impact on humans, both negative and positive. Wildlife management is not so simple as just protecting all species, as they come in conflict with one another. Choices must be made about which species should be preserved and at what levels to create the ecosystem that we desire. I’m sorry if that sounds presumptuous to try to effect our ecosystem, but that’s the world I want to live in; not a world in which nature dictates human action to every extent. I would rather that we reduce the population of deer in Reston as humanely as possible than to endanger drivers, or perpetuate lime disease, or permit starvation among all deer. I think hunting is an excellent solution, as it also provides food for the community.

    • Juli Vermillion

      If someone can show me a starving deer in Reston, I’ll eat my hat. In 10 years I can only think of a handful of accidents involving deer. It happens, but not as much as many want you to think. I find all the arguments being used to allow hunting to be pretty shallow and mostly an excuse to kill things. Let’s not pretend it’s about wildlife “management”. If that were the goal the best solution would be to introduce a few puma. But God forbid we have to live with predators….

      • Gavin

        Lyme disease is not “pretty shallow”. Especially when Reston residents have contracted it. I’m fairly sure those residents would argue that their contracted disease is not a “pretty shallow” argument.

        • Juli Vermillion

          Again, I ask for actual numbers. I don’t think the incidence of Lyme’s is any higher in Reston than any other heavily wooded area. So perhaps we should cut all the trees down too…after all they can fall on people’s houses too. No, Lyme’s is not shallow, but using it as a reason to slaughter wildlife is a bit of a reach.

        • Natalie Jarnstedt

          You can actually thank deer for fewer cases of LD – they eat the underbrush, a perfect habitat for black-legged ticks! Ticks don’t die when deer are killed – they merely jump onto other deer or any mammal that happens to come by (you, your dog, a horse).

      • Chris

        You’ve lived in Reston 10 years and can only think of a handful of deer related accidents? There are constant deer strikes on Lawyers Road alone.

        • Juli Vermillion

          Can you give me actual numbers? I ask because deer carcasses don’t move quickly, esp on Lawyers Rd, where I commuted every day for over 8 years. I would say I’ve seen less than a dozen in that time.

          • Rob Norwood

            I’m with you on this one. Relative to “back home,” there are a lot fewer deer carcasses on the roads here, and back home the highway department picks them up fairly quickly (VDOT and the state police here just leave them to rot). I run daily in Reston, often on fairly busy public streets… I don’t see dead deer very frequently, and oh when I do, it sure is memorable especially in the summer…

        • Chris

          I generally see at least that number in dead fawn each year along Lawyers. In fact, you can tell when it’s breeding season due to that. Although this year has been pretty light as I’ve only seen one dead fawn along the road. I do remember seeing at least a dozen dead fawn along that stretch a couple years ago. I’ll start to record the number of dead deer I see along the sides of roads in “Dead Deer Journal”. The worst I’ve personally seen is when I first moved here and there was a car parked on Twin Branches with a dead deer sticking through its windshield and the whole front end crushed. Drive down Lawyers between 6-9 p.m. and you’ll see a lot of deer standing along the side of the road. I drove by three last night at 9.

          • Israeli4Peace

            Indeed! I’ve seen several carcusses in the last few days. Deer wreck my neighborhood and most of my shrubs. I would gladly welcome them as cute visitors until my 2 year old came down w/Lyme and had to have an IV a couple of times. Watch your 2 yr old get an IV and see how trivial Lyme is! It’s not something I had to deal with as a child but is a huge problem now. I know of 4 cases – all in the area.

      • Natalie Jarnstedt

        Predators are quickly trapped or killed off, as soon as they show up! Deer have no predators other than humans.

        • Frank Angel

          Which is precisely why their numbers have exploded. Which is why we have the problems we do. Of course, if we were to “introduce a few puma”, the result would be that the puma would eat the deer alive, after chasing it to exhaustion. I have a hard time reconciling that with the characterization of bow hunting as inhumane.

          • Natalie Jarnstedt

            Gimme a break – those predators didn’t just disappear in the last few years! I don’t suppose you know the history of white-tail deer in this are, do you? Here it is in a very small nutshell. Commercially hunted to almost extinction in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Hunting since that time was done mostly by farmers protecting their crops. Around 1970, state wildlife agencies started “managing” deer so that they could be hunted by hunters everywhere. Seasons, bag limits, hunting license fees were established to raise deer populations for good hunting to all. “Management” also included predator control. States manage deer for Maximum Sustained Yield, that’s why we have so many. It’s a lucrative business! What is called wildlife management is in fact game management – eliminating/managing certain species in order to propagate more desirable game species for recreational hunting.
            Perhaps you could do a quick search on someone who has been shot with an arrow and find out if that experience merely tickled them into oblivion……

          • Israeli4Peace

            I find what you state very hard to believe. A long term study contradicts what you are saying. Whitetail deer are the primary carriers of the tick – not squirrels. This convinced me against your arguments:
            found here ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25118409 )
            Abstract

            White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman), serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis Say), the vector for Lyme disease, human babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis. Our objective was to evaluate the degree of association between deer density, tick abundance, and human cases of Lyme disease in one Connecticut community over a 13-yr period. We surveyed 90-98% of all permanent residents in the community six times from 1995 to 2008 to document resident’s exposure to tick-related disease and frequency and abundance of deer observations. After hunts were initiated, number and frequency of deer observations in the community were greatly reduced as were resident-reported cases of Lyme disease. Number of resident-reported cases of Lyme disease per 100 households was strongly correlated to deer density in the community. Reducing deer density to 5.1 deer per square kilometer resulted in a 76% reduction in tick abundance, 70% reduction in the entomological risk index, and 80% reduction in resident-reported cases of Lyme disease in the community from before to after a hunt was initiated.

            =============>
            let the hunt begin!

    • Natalie Jarnstedt

      The starvation theory is so lame! If deer look thinner in cold weather, it’s because their metabolisms are controlled/slowed down by thyroxin, a calcium-rich hormone! Even if more browse were available, they may not be able to assimilate more than they need to just survive in winter weather. Unless you find skin-and-bones dead deer (unless killed a predator – unlikely), you don’t have a starvation problem. Wildlife management is really quite easy, but states practice game management which is the preference of one species over another, a species that can be lucrative to the state!

  • Dexter Scott

    They are vermin. EXTERMINATE!

  • Rob Norwood

    I question the wisdom of a controlled hunt – gun or bow – on three lots within a hundred yards of Glade Drive, even at dawn.

    • Frank Angel

      The hunters are professionals who shoot from elevated platforms. Such hunts have been conducted countless times in similar situations without incident.

      • Natalie Jarnstedt

        Frank – Those professional hunters just so happen to wound/maim over 50% of deer according to over 20 studies performed by state wildlife agencies and universities. In fact, state wildlife agencies claim that un-retrieved deer are under-reported; unlike fishermen, hunters don’t brag about “the one that got away”. This means that for every deer that is retrieved, another one is never tracked/found, whether through laziness or inability of hunters or capacity of wounded deer to “lay low” due to their injuries. Hunting from deer stands does not improve marksmanship! It also depends what you consider an “incident”….onset of tracking time depends on where a deer was shot which could be anywhere from minutes, to hours. In the meantime, deer will run through neighborhoods impaled with arrows – those deer could end up on anyone’s property to die, could run onto roads and cause DVAs, or never be retrieved, dying of starvation, infection soon after or live as long as up to a year. See this short video on YouTube about just one such deer, presented by someone who cared for Braveheart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLGF9pOUV10

        • Frank Angel

          Well, the highest “wound to kill” ratio that I could find was 35%, according to “A Controlled Deer Hunt on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge” (The Journal of Wildlife Management, ISSN 0022-541X, 10/1969, Volume 33, Issue
          4, pp. 791 – 795.)

          “A total of 3,232 Illinois residents…harvested 1,073 deer. …a crippling loss of 350 deer was estimated from post-hunt sampling..”

          Bear in mind that these were not pros, but any yahoo who could afford a hunting license. The circumstances under which these hunts are conducted are significantly different. In fact, it isn’t really fair to compare the two activities. “Hunt” implies actively seeking and pursuing prey. In our suburban setting, the archers simply wait, perched in a tree, and they draw their bow only when they have a clear shot. And they don’t miss, because they don’t aim at anything further away than twenty yards. So if the “20 studies” you mention (but don’t cite) refer to the sort of amateur hunts discussed in the Crab Orchard study, I’d have to say that such statistics are not really relevant.

          • Juli Vermillion

            You might want to look further, the highest I found was 50%.

          • Frank Angel

            Where?

          • Natalie Jarnstedt

            Seek and ye shall find…..

  • Juli Vermillion

    I am very against this hunt. I live about a block away from the proposed hunt and have lived here for over 10 years. The deer population has remained constant. I suggest if people don’t like deer doing what deer do, then perhaps they should move back into town. The deer have a right to live too and people have so many more options. I for one moved to Reston precisely because I can live in peace with nature. I do NOT want to worry about flying arrows or injured animals dying in my yard. I wonder if I will be allowed to shoot hunters trespassing on my property to finish a kill…hmmmm….

  • Kristen

    If the deer population is a real problem, I believe Fairfax County or RA should come up with a master plan to deal with it, not allow residents to hold hunts in their yards. Being an early morning runner, I know I would be very nervous at the prospect of any hunting in residential areas. Yes, Lyme disease is an issue, but the reality is killing a family of 10 deer won’t solve it. Check for ticks every day, it’s the most effective way to prevent the illness. Kill this family, and next year there may be another one taking up residence, it doesn’t solve the problem. Plus, you live in the woods, you going to also exterminate all the birds who carry the infected ticks as well, all the Mosquitos who carry West Nile, all the snakes who may be venomous, the fox who could be rabid, the dogs and cats, who pick up and transport ticks from place to place?

    • sub40 10k

      I see tons of deer along my morning runs along the W&OD we could hunt them and then donate the meat to the homeless shelter next to the library; maybe we could go with the “born to run” method and run down one of the deer and exhaust it then kill it with a spear (wanted to do this with antelope in Texas but this could do) alternatively we could release mountain lions as a natural predator.

      • Rob Norwood

        I don’t think it would be much of a challenge to run down one of the Reston deer…

      • Juli Vermillion

        Please, define “tons”. 10, 50, 150? I seriously doubt you see more than 10-15…and I would not define that as “tons”. I think you city folk overreact to seeing what the rest of us call nature. I sure wish people could learn to appreciate their wildlife neighbors rather than think the worst of them all the time.

      • Natalie Jarnstedt

        Don’t be so quick to be altruistic with the flesh of killed deer! Donated venison is not required to be inspected, whereas venison that is sold to the public or served in restaurants MUST be inspected. Venison that is sold comes from deer farms, NOT wild deer! Imagine, with supposedly so many deer, deer farms purposely breed them. “Wild” deer ingest pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and anything mankind throws at Mother Nature, whether harmful or not. When donated to soup kitchens, the indigent segment of our society already suffers from compromised immune systems due to hunger, lack of medical care, etc. – do you really want to add toxins?

        • That Guy

          You are quick to ask for citations elsewhere. Can you back this claim up with references?

          • Natalie Jarnstedt

            References to what, exactly?
            What are disputing? The fact that donated venison doesn’t require inspection? That venison that is sold must be inspected? That “wild” deer ingest toxins?That poor and homeless people’s immune systems are not like those of well-fed people?

        • Frank Angel

          That is an argument for good inspection, not an argument against hunting. I don’t know what rules or regulations apply in VA, but I found this site that serves as an information source for NY hunters. http://www.venisondonation.org

          It seems to rely on the services of multiple organizations, both government and non-gov including food processors who, I assume are licensed and whose facilities are no doubt subject to inspection. According to the site:

          Since then [1993] an average of 38 tons of venison have been processed each year and more that 3.3 million servings of highly nutritious meat was served to individuals and children in need. In 2010, 81,228 lbs of venison was processed and distributed to those in need. You imply that hunted venison poses some sort of danger. Can you cite any documentation for that opinion?

  • JR

    Urban deer populations are out of control and without proper management the forested areas that make Reston a special place will be lost. Between the overpopulated white-tailed deer and the continued expansion of non-native invasive plants natural forest regeneration no longer occurs. The amazing oaks and hickories of our RA natural areas look great and are special today, but there are no young trees able to grow to replace them. The deer eat all of the young trees and in their place invasive plants replace them. Over time this will lead to a “forest” that is merely a thicket of multiflora-rose, bush honeysuckle and English ivy (just to name a few) with no beautiful trees remaining. At that point it will be decades before the forest can return to its formerly glory, if at all.

    Not only should we be encouraging this deer management activity but also we should be requesting that our RA dues be spent to maintain our natural areas. Similar to how we maintain our pools and tennis courts, we must maintain our natural areas. Without a comprehensive plan to significantly reduce the white-tailed deer popular, remove non-native invasive plants and begin to replant native species our children and their children will not be able to experience the beautiful natural areas that make Reston
    a special place to live.

  • PL

    I am strongly against this and I have lyme disease. If these deer are killed, then others will move into the area and then what? Just keep killing them? One of the things I enjoy about Reston is all the wildlife. Also, the proposed area is much to close to other people to be considered safe. Mice are also carriers of the ticks that carry lyme so deer are not the only problem. The deer were here first so if people don’t like that, I think the people should move.

  • annebarton

    The discussion of Lyme disease in this context is false and misleading. Deer have little to do with Lyme disease and killing them will not reduce the risk. The Montgomery County Deer report says it well:
    “While Lyme disease is often linked to deer management in the mind of the public because it is transferred through the bite of the so-called deer tick (the new accepted name is the black-legged tick), it is widely accepted that reducing deer numbers cannot effectively control the spread of the disease. Black-legged ticks feed on many species of mammals and birds and most often pick up the disease by feeding on infected mice and chipmunks, not deer. For these reasons, Lyme disease is best viewed as a public health issue.”
    http://www.montgomeryparks.org/PPSD/Natural_Resources_Stewardship/Living_with_wildlife/deer/documents/2013_deer-report.pdf The quote is on page 8 near the top.
    Even if there were no deer, the ticks would pick up Lyme disease from the mice and chipmunks which inhabit many suburban yards and would be amply fed by squirrels, possums, racoons, foxes, other mammals and birds. So please do not use false information about Lyme to support a deer slaughter.
    There are also safe and humane methods of deer population control, including some used in Fairfax City VA, National Institute of Science and Technology in Maryland and many other areas.

    • BBurns

      Ann, so well put. Emotion and hysteria overrides logic and science. I hope you will be at the RA meeting Thursday night.

  • seagrl

    Unless the person is an EXPERT bow hunter, this is the least humane and most painful way for these beautiful animals to die….. unless the person using the bow is skilled enough to make it a “kill shot” the deer dies very slowly and suffers horribly. Some shots don’t even result in death at all and leave the deer with an arrow protruding from their body parts/eyes and they are in agony. Humans disgust me…we take away their habitat and then want to kill them when they use it as nature intended.

    • Frank Angel

      Nature did not intend deer to live in concentrations of 100+ per square mile, which is now common in several northeastern states. Deer die slow painful deaths when they are struck by a car and maimed. Search on “State farm deer collision study” if you are really interested in facts. The hunters, are indeed experts, rigorously certified, It is not deer habitat we have “taken away”, but their natural predators. We could, of course, reintroduce wolves and mountain lions, but that’s not my idea of a humane approach.

      • Natalie Jarnstedt

        Kindly cite one case of 100+ deer per sq/mi!!!!!
        I bet you don’t know what would lead to lower deer numbers…

        • That Guy

          This winter, 92 deer were removed from Elenor C Lawrence Park which is 644 acres. (640 acres = 1 square mile) Surveys showed atleast 20 more remaining.
          The famed National Institute of Standard and Technology contraception study has been ongong since 1995. As of 2012 there were still ober 200 deer/sq mi.
          The Manassas Battlefield EIS for deer population reduction as the density over 100. the list goes on and on in the DC area,

          • Natalie Jarnstedt

            Hearsay! Where’s the beef?

          • Frank Angel

            Nowhere. But the venison is all over the place!

          • Natalie Jarnstedt

            Thanks so much for caring – but I’m quite aware of the info that this contains, and I also know which is correct info and which is not….

          • Frank Angel

            OK, let’s assume that you have inside info and valid reason to believe that the public affairs office of NIST is lying about the deer population on its property. Consider this statement:

            In densely populated suburbs of New York and New Jersey, where yards and gardens provide excellent forage and winters are mild, deer have multiplied to as many as 100 per square mile.

            That assertion comes from the Humane Society website. (http://goo.gl/Nkhtuy) An accompanying graphic of a discussion of a study done on Fripp island shows that in 2005 the density there was 180 per sq. mi. Do you still claim that concentrations in excess of 100/Sq.mi are unheard of?

    • Natalie Jarnstedt

      There is no such thing as an “expert” bowhunter – the 50+% injury rate applies to all bowhunters! A clean kill is rare!

  • BBurns

    Here’s the link to the RA Board of Directors and their emails. I hope people will write to them and/or go to the meeting. Some of the board members don’t give a hoot about Reston’s wildlife.

    https://www.reston.org/InsideRA/Governance/BoardofDirectors/MeettheBoardOfficers/Default.aspx?qenc=HzT9ACzZbNs%3d&fqenc=LqyucvXZMe4jO72rEK27KQ%3d%3d

  • pc

    I run on those trails too and cannot believe this would be seriously considered from a safety perspective or from a humane perspective; and, it will not solve the problem. If these folks are seriously concerned about their health, they should move to the Town Center. There are plenty of us who would pay premium dollar to live in a natural setting where we can enjoy the deer. I think this is more about their prized hostas.

    • DD

      It’s not the hostas. It’s the young oaks and hickories that are no longer growing to replace the old ones as they die. Deer overpopulation is known to destroy native species and spread some invasive species. The floor of our woods is being taken over by stilt grass.

      • Malka

        ·
        We’ve learned a lot from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute “enclosure” experiment in Front Royal, VA, Started in 1990, areas where deer were allowed to roam showed significantly less diversity in the ages and types of trees and foliage, fewer native plants and birds, and more invasive species (stilt grass). Conversely,
        Inside restricted areas, where deer could not enter, researches noted a more complete profile of trees and foliage, birds, mice and chipmunks, and many more native species.[1]

        [1] WAMU Interview with Bill McShea, Wildlife Ecologist,
        Conservation Biology Institute, Smithsonian.
        May 23, 2011. Available at: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/evaluation-of-deer-management-options.pdf

        • pc

          This will not prevent deer from roaming.. If there is a major issue, the county or state should be involved. Killing a few deer on 3 properties does not make sense.

          • Frank Angel

            That is a compelling argument for expansion of such hunts. If the Board approves this hunt, it may encourage other to sponsor similar efforts. Think globally, act locally

      • pc

        There are many wonderful hickories in the stream valley now as a result of the planting during the stream restoration. I take young oaks that are on my property and plant them in the woods. I also pull invasives when on my daily walks and runs and have volunteered with Reston’s “Habitat Heroes.” If we all did our part, we would accomplish much more than the killing of a few deer in 3 yards.

  • BBurns

    The RA board meeting is tonight (Thursday). I was told there will be two public comment periods. The first is at 6:30 and is part of every board meeting for comments about any agenda item, I believe.

    The deer hunt for the three homeowners is scheduled as a public hearing at 8:45 and there will be another comment period for that one item.

    You can register to comment here: http://www.reston.org/default.aspx?qenc=HzT9ACzZbNs%3d&fqenc=HzT9ACzZbNs%3d You can also sign up to comment when you’re at the meeting.

    Pre-registering will guarantee that you can comment, though I’m told the board tries to allow anyone to comment even if they have not pre-registered.

    I think RA may be looking at the deer issue as a larger issue aside from tonight, so hope would table any talk of killing deer until after further study and input from experts about humane methods; homeowners planting native, deer-resistant plants (there are MANY); etc. Otherwise it could be a ready, shoot, aim scenario:

    1. Let the 3 homeowners kill deer.
    2. Study the problem.
    3. Decide killing the deer is not the solution. Oops about #1.

    I hope many people attend the meeting.

  • BBurns

    The board okayed the hunt. They wouldn’t even defer it until September, when they hope to have a study done, although Richard Chew proposed that and Rachel Muir seconded it.

    Almost everyone who spoke at the board meeting was for it. They were the people proposing the hunt and people on another street who had a hunt, plus the sharpshooters. THEY were prepared.

    Only three people spoke against it, or at least for deferral. Posting comments here can be a good way to get information across, and it’s a way to vent, but RA staff and board members aren’t going to be influenced one iota by comments here.

    • Juli Vermillion

      Just know that two of us spoke against the hunt at 6:30, as we could not stay that late.

  • Pearld2

    I live in the woods near Sourwood and am not crazy about the RA Board allowing hunters to go all Game of Thrones in my neighborhood. While two members of my family have contracted Lyme Disease I don’t believe that getting rid of a few deer in a manner that seems barbaric is going to make a big difference and it certainly is not going to cure those already afflicted. Since it is known that many other inhabitants of our woods carry this disease it just seems like they are going after the ones that are easiest to shoot.

    • Natalie Jarnstedt

      Studies have shown that even when the majority of deer are removed (killed), ticks can and do use medium-sized mammals instead of deer. When deer are killed, the displaced ticks merely attach themselves to the remaining deer! Contrary to some strange beliefs that killing deer gets rid of ticks is quite outrageous – ticks don’t die with the deer! You are absolutely correct, killing some or all deer will NOT get rid of black-legged ticks!

  • Israeli4Peace
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