RA Will Allow Deer Hunt on Sourwood Lane

by Karen Goff June 27, 2014 at 11:00 am 44 Comments

Deer in Reston/Credit: Linda Thomas via FlickrThe Reston Association Board of Directors voted on Thursday to allow residents of Sourwood Lane to hire a deer hunting service to help control the deer population on their property.

The motion passed unanimously, with at-large director Rachel Muir abstaining.

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.

At Thursday’s meeting, the directors heard pleas from neighbors of the Sourwood families, as well as residents of Buckthorn Lane, where RA has allowed a deer hunt since 2010 after a Buckthorn homeowner has a similar request approved by RA. Four members of that homeowner’s family have Lyme Disease, which is carried by deer ticks.

There were also three speakers who asked the board not to allow the hunt.

“It is amazing there are people who suggest the compassionate response to this is to do nothing,” said one resident of Triple Crown Road. “It is exactly the opposite — Doing nothing is in fact not really possible. Good stewardship requires difficult choices. A vote to deny is to vote in favor of more disease and more starving deer.”

Sourwood resident Larry Gsellman, who filed the initial request, said 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, will 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.

Suburban Whitetail Management says the hunt is done from treestands at least 12 feet hight. Arrows are shot at a downward angle, making it safe for neighbors and other animals.

Photo: Deer in Reston/file photo

  • animallover

    Well, enjoy your murder fest. Sick.

    • ticked

      kill all those disease carrying hoofed rats !

      • LOL

        If that covers a description of you then I’m all for it.

      • Ha

        Each deer is a $1,000 car repair bill on the hoof. Die, vermin, die die die!

  • preservereston

    Disgusted…what about those of us who value the quality of life those deer provide to us. Disturbing and selfish.

    • Um

      What about those of us who think deer SUBTRACT from our quality of life? Stop being so selfish and think about that for a change.

      • duh

        If you hate wildlife you should move to DC. Why in the world would you choose to live in Reston…

        • LM

          Not sure why Um chose to live in Reston, but I chose it because it was a nice community, well planned to preserve nature while optimizing the suburban experience. I think deer are beautiful, peaceful, and delicious creatures; that does not mean however that I want their ticks giving my daughter Lyme disease, jumping in front of my wife’s car, or even eating the flowers off my hosta. I mean really, I’d rather have beautifully groomed front yards in Reston than some illusion of harmony with nature that some might claim comes from these homeless bum deers scraping a living off our scraps. I’d guess most people chose to live in Reston after driving around and looking at all the beautiful homes and lakes and paths, and not because they knew families of deer were hidden crammed between backyards throughout town. Honestly, if I could I would shoot the deer just for eating my plants, I can hardly believe there are those opposed to doing so after reading about this family who has 4 members suffering from Lyme disease. You are likely the same people in support of the vermin coming across our Country’s border with other diseases not seen here since the industrial revolution. I wonder if you will change your mind when it’s your family suffering?
          Anyways duh, this is Reston, not Wyoming, if you love wildlife so much move there. Get eaten by a bear, now THAT’s quality of life.

    • LM

      Lyme disease, some quality of life that brings.

  • AnimalLOVERintherightplaces

    Last year my cousin was seriously injured (his collar bone was broken) when a deer slammed into him while he was rollerskating through our Reston neighborhood. He spooked the a herd, and in the scramble one of the larger deer ran him over.

    Overpopulation of deer in our areas is a serious issue that needs to be resolved in a manner that may not seem humane to all. Overpopulation will only lead to more incidents like this. I assure you, as an Environmental Scientist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, that this is the only way to cure our affliction!

    • animallover

      I’ve suggested the spay program they used in Fairfax. I understand the overpopulation issue but I’m not sure they found the right answer to the problem. Those deer follow people like puppies, it is sick what we’re about to do to them.

      • Ha

        Spaying them isn’t going to stop them from crashing into cars, people, and houses.

        • duh

          actually it would as it reduces the numbers.

        • People are animals

          Fewer people die from deer car collisions than from dog bites every year. This was not even raised as an issue by these people. The problem is that the deer were eating their tulips.

    • People are animals

      Then you should know that the problem is not overpopulation (no deer are starving) but overabundance. If you read the Fairfax Deer Management Plan, you would learn this.

  • Cathie Gorman Freeman

    I too hate the idea of killing the deer. What I hate more is driving down Soapstone and finding the bodies of the recently frolicking Bambi’s dead by the side of the road. Do what must be done to manage the ever-growing herd. At least someone will benefit from the donated meat.

    • pc

      If drivers followed the posted speed on Soapstone and Glade, these incidents would be rare. I’ve had to dodge cars while walking my dogs there and I am not Bambi….I am looking out for cars. Many of us who object to this hunt do not necessarily object to reducing the population. We object to the lack of a comprehensive look at the problem and the lack of a comprehensive plan to deal with it. It is reckless to let a few homeowners take matters into their own hands.

      • No

        Can a decision like this by RA be appealed in any way? What if enough members of the community oppose this decision?

        I live right in that area and think it’s wrong that my neighbors can have the 75 ft restriction waived just because they asked. We all live so close together. There are dozens and dozens of homes within 200 yards of those three properties. If overpopulation is a problem then it is our community’s problem, and perhaps those of us who are interested could all work together to find a solution so that a handful of our neighbors don’t have to play vigilante deer patrol. Seems like most people would want to know if back yard hunting is going on in their neighborhood, or in an area where they commute to work, or run, or bike, or do any of the things we are in Reston to do, but not that many people seem to have been notified.

        I don’t want a deer hunt in my neighborhood. So what can I do?

        • Frank Lane


        • pc

          I do not know if an appeal is possible. Many of us feel pretty powerless and frustrated at an inability to do something about it. Perhaps HSUS, ASPCA or some other org might have ideas. Regardless, you should spread the word so folks know what is happening around them. If enough people are aware, perhaps we can prevent it from happening again. It would also be interesting to talk with someone in Fairfax City, where they implemented a humane sterilization program. If you think of any ideas, please reach out. I would definitely be willing to help.

          • No

            Thanks, I will look into it. And if all else fails, I’ll take Frank Lane’s advice. With neighbors like that, who needs enemies?

          • No

            According to Ffx Co., there is no minimum parcel or property size for bow hunting. This means that anybody in a townhouse has as much of a right to hunt in their 12 sq. ft. back yard as those with larger properties. Perhaps those of us with smaller properties should flood the RA with hunting applications.

            I can’t paint my house the color I want, or make other cosmetic changes without a pile of paperwork and the whim of whichever person’s desk those papers cross, but it’s cool if arrows whiz by my head because my next door neighbor has a right to do as he pleases on his own property.

            Ok then. Time to move on I guess.

        • pc

          another thought is to call Ffx County. I am not sure if the 75 foot restriction is set by the county, Reston or VA law. One would think that you (collective we) could indeed object to the waiver being lifted.

      • Ha

        Killing them all is a comprehensive plan to deal with the deer problem.

        Let’s move forward with that ASAP.

    • animallover

      ..so let’s kill them all & you won’t have to see them anymore? This is a reckless policy to allow individuals hunting rights on community property.

      • Yup

        “Kill them all” works just fine for me. Two thumbs up!

        • duh

          you have no soul..remember that on your day of reckoning.

  • thebratwurstking

    well, you should have been there like I was. only 3 spoke out against it, hardly enough to show any decent opposition. crying over the decision now is useless

    • redrum

      I wish I could have been there, thanks for trying.

    • Juli Vermillion

      Two of us spoke against it at 6:30, don’t know if we are part of your three or not. But the short notice for those of us who haven’t been planning it for probably months did not help to present a united front.

      • pc

        We need to gather support and plan to be at the Sept 25 board meeting. Per yesterdays Washington Post Local article: http://wapo.st/1kd2keI , the board is going to look at tying Reston’s deer management efforts to larger efforts undertaken by Fairfax County, eg deer hunts. This could mean deer hunts on Reston common area. There are many comments on the WPost article. Interesting reading.

  • Billy Smith

    I was really impressed with the very thoughtful response of the community that I watched on YouTube on this topic. That there is a population problem is not up for debate and I have to agree with the speaker that said, doing nothing was not an option. There are more than 1.5 million deer/car collisions each year in the US with over 1 billion dollars a year in damage, 150 fatalities and more than 10,000 people are injured. VA is number 7 in the country in deer/car accidents.

  • Frank Lane

    I had Lyme disease and the infection was bad – to include Bells palsy, a heart arrhythmia, bad headaches, and nerve damage. Deer carry the Lyme tick and only 50% of people infected will have a bulls-eye rash. The nymph tick drops off on its own after a day or two so you may never know it was there. There are excessive deer in and around the area, and transmission of a potentially deadly disease is another reason to conduct the hunt. Use the meat to feed the homeless

    • duh

      umm, yeah..the homeless don’t want raw deer meat or most people in general, it’s quite gamey.

      • LM

        you tell em duh! homeless people, AND deer deserve only the best medium rare filet roasts!

  • Steward of Animals

    It seems to me that birth control is a reasonable alternative to killing the deer. On another note, killing by bow and arrow is cruel because when the arrow misses the mark the animal is exposed to hours of a slow death. If we must kill the deer resort to shooting the animals.

  • TheKingJAK

    Wildlife must always be managed, and when you take human hunting out of the equation with reference to wild animals you then suffer the consequences of disturbing the natural order of our ecosystem ever since mankind first arose. We do need to be careful with over-development, though, and constantly building more structures while neglecting open space is also a wrong which must be addressed as well.

    • why

      so speaks the head of the chain of monkeys. Who are you to decide what happens to the “lower forms of life”.

    • People are animals

      It is why we are in the 6th mass extinction. Rhinos and elephants will be lost due to the idiots who still like to put animal heads on their walls.

  • Savethedeer

    I can hardly believe Reston is supporting “The Hunger Games.” Who are we to reduce the population of deer? I agree, lyme disease is tragic. But it’s one of the consequences of living outside of the city. Move out of the woods. We also have poision ivy, poisonous mushrooms, poisonous toads and other offending and dangerous species. We can’t go killing everything. The deer will come back. Are we just going to keep on killing and killing? It’s barbaric, and something I can’t even wrap my head around. Seriously, move into one of those high rises if you don’t like the wildlife. With wildlife comes consequences. We should not be messing with it. This is a mistake, and I don’t support this.

    • LM

      Barbaric? I’m guessing you don’t use bug spray either.. We do things all the time to separate and protect ourselves from nature, and when we don’t do so well enough, it’s us who get killed. For people that claim such support for nature, there’s little acknowledgement of it’s golden rule, survival of the fittest. Get over yourself.

  • Join The Discussion
  • pc

    If you oppose this, plan to be at the Sept 25 board meeting. Per yesterdays Washington Post Local article: http://wapo.st/1kd2keI , the board is going to look at tying Reston’s deer management efforts to larger efforts undertaken by Fairfax County, eg deer hunts. This could mean deer hunts in Reston common areas. With the current thinking of the board, it is really not an option to stay home. The deer hunting groups are highly organized.

  • LM

    First off thank you for your suggestions. Not a big fan of lariope although we do have much of it lining our walkway. We also have daffodils but their flowers don’t last as long as we’d like. We have a ton of pachysandra that is lush and green and uninteresting to deer but would love something more colorful. We’ve resigned to moving our hosta and other deer attracting plants to the back yard, where I can tempt the deer and shoot them with my suppressed 22cal rifle under the protection of the wooded surroundings, so nobody knows! (Just kidding.. maybe) I’m personally not very concerned about Lyme’s disease or ticks. I accept that it’s part of living anywhere there are animals and trees. It’s not that I’m really pissed about my plants, more just annoyed at the cost in both money and time it takes to remedy; but that said I don’t think after reading over my post again that it was whining. Perhaps you just put more value on a deer’s life than I do, which I accept. I would just rather have hosta in my front yard than deer that I only observe with a degree of melancholy as to me they represent the opposite of your interpretation of their proficiency in Reston –“natural”. There is not much natural to me about deer and humans cohabitating in the suburbs. Reston was designed to preserve much land and the animals that come with it, but seeing deer in plain daylight attempting to cross busy roads is depressing to me. As natural prey, they prefer to feed under the cover of darkness. Except in fall when they are attempting to fatten up for the winter (they are slower and easier targets then too!), they rarely feed during the daylight, unless their food supplies are scarce and grazing areas limited –in nature. To me, it is less beautiful than sad, because I see hungry animals with not enough habitat to live safely for them or us. Obviously they are attempting to adapt to all the houses and buildings and roads and cars, and also they are adapting to the lack of predators. Predators, are –natural. In Reston, this beautiful ADAPTATION of nature, the deer have no predators and therefore the harmony found in the cycle of life is broken. I’m not suggesting we play God or mother nature by attempting to take the place of their natural predators, but I am saying, get a grip. Killing a few or a dozen or a hundred deer really won’t make that much of a difference. They will still flourish, for better or worse, for either side of the issue. I just find it amusing there are so many people who think that their ideals should be reality. These people seem to be the same ones that think their emotions should be treated as reality. Do you really not want the deer killed because you think they look beautiful grazing on the side of lawyers road? Or, is your feelings that are effected by the thought of their glazed eyes staring blankly out of a lifeless corpse?
    And with regard to educating myself, and I’m going to ask this out of curiosity and with sincerity not sarcasm, where can I learn more about how removing deer can actually have the perhaps reverse effect of propagating ticks and Lyme’s disease?


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