You Said It: RA OKs Deer Hunt on Sourwood Lane

by RestonNow.com June 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm 14 Comments

Deer in Reston/Credit: Linda Thomas via FlickrThe Reston Association Board of Directors last week approved a request for three homeowners on Sourwood Lane to hold a controlled deer hunt on their property.

The homeowners say their properties are overrun with deer, who eat the ground cover (which will lead to erosion) and may harbor Lyme Disease-carrying ticks.

RA’s board voted to allow the deer hunt. The homeowners will hire Suburban Whitetail Management, a professional wildlife management firm, to use crossbows and hunt the deer from 12-foot high tree stands in order to avoid hitting other wildlife and people.

Reston Now readers have many opinions on this development. Here is what some of you had to say in the article comments:

Animal LOVER in the right places:  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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. …  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.

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?

  • Mike M

    Interesting discussion. I agree with the person who posted that this hunt would only be a temporary solution. I also believe that the hunt makes the overall herd stronger and healthier because it cuts down on the demand for their food supply. But yep, they are a problem.

  • Debra J. Fidler

    This is ridiculous and will alert Peta. If they do not shot correctly these deer will get peritonitis and suffer a slow horrifying death. http://animalrightscoalition.com/doc/bowhunting_report.pdf

    • Mike M

      No worries, Deb. They’ll read them their animal rights before they shoot them, and again before they eat them!

      • I’mback

        go ahead and stir the pot, hopefully we can get more animal lover’s fired up & get this stupid decision overturned..

  • LH

    Birth control would be most humane. If you kill the deer that living here, others will simply move right in to claim the forage. You will have an ongoing hunt. Deer have been in the forests for thousands of years, but are forced into ever-shrinking habitats by human invasion/development. People, not deer, created this problem. Deer fill a niche in nature’s grand plan, & we disrupt it at our peril.

    • Thomas

      People also removed the predators of deer. Reston does not have an intact ecosystem.

    • Kent

      Humans have increased deer habitat, not reduced it. The deer population in Virginia is larger than ever, especially so in suburban areas like Reston, and in suburban areas there are no predators, except automobiles.

  • pc

    Here is a link about the humane sterilization effort in Fairfax City. To those of you who are opposed to the recent decision: please consider reaching out to them (I am going to) and lets see how we might expand it to Reston when the trial is complete. http://www.humanedeermanagement.org/#!projects/c10d6

    • animallover

      Should we reach out to the RA for another hearing on this matter? Can we petition?

      • pc

        RA has a board/community liaison that can tell you if an appeal is possible and if so, how. Any appeal would need to be well organized. Only 3 of us spoke against the hunt (perhaps because few people knew about it and those who did thought it would not be approved). Suburban Whitetail Management amassed support and was very well prepared because they make this argument every day. They said all of the “right” things to convince RA to approve it. There are humane groups who can likely assist in a counterargument or appeal. I’ve reached out to Wildlife Rescue, Inc. If we cannot stop this, we can lend our support to organizations that are working hard to do so.

        • Concerned neighbor

          Actually, I suspect more than 3 parties opposed the hunt, PC. I live on Sourwood Lane and, although I could not attend the board meeting, I sent in a letter of opposition to the Senior Director for Parks & Rec, per the RA announcement about the hunt proposal. Unfortunately, he failed to provide my letter of opposition in the materials the Board considered. I wonder how many other letters of opposition were overlooked. I’m disturbed by the biased media coverage of this issue, which appears to simply be parroting the proposing homeowners’ skewed analysis of their neighborhood poll. The proposing homeowners claimed that 72 percent of respondents to their poll were in support of the hunt. Of course, they only had about a 62 percent response to the poll. Another way to characterize the numbers would be to say that less than half of the neighborhood supported the hunt, if you divide the number of positive responses by the total number of houses on the block–but that tells a much different story.

          I am disturbed by the precedent that the RA Board’s favorable decision on the hunt sets. I am more disturbed, however, that the RA Board chose to wave the requirement that the hunt take place more than 75 yards away from a road–a key element of the regulations designed to ensure Reston residents’ safety in the event of an approved residential hunt.

          • pc

            Agree. I know of others who wrote to the board expressing opposition (prior to the meeting); however, I think RA is influenced more by attendees. It must be very frustrating to live in the neighborhood and have this happen. I hope you will attend the Sept 25th meeting (where the larger issue of “Deer Mgt” will be discussed) and encourage other neighbors to attend. I still do not understand how RA can waive the 75 yard rule, as it certainly seems unsafe. Since you are directly impacted, RA needs to hear your concerns.

  • Juli Vermillion

    I bet the deer are just as upset about the overpopulation of humans in their home!

    • Ha

      Then you should remind them that we eliminated all their predators and provided them with an abundant supply of food.


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