That sound you just heard was the sound of my jaw hitting the ground over the waste of time and resources in this cockamamie scheme:
As the District and its highly populated suburbs grapple with their expanding deer populations, Fairfax City is planning a new approach: tranquilize and capture all the female deer in the six-square-mile city, take them to a surgical table and sterilize them to keep them from reproducing. The entire process, from “darting” to release, takes about 90 minutes. If Fairfax City receives clearance from the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, officials said it will be the first jurisdiction in Virginia to try the sterilization approach.
The process begins with shooting female deer (does) with tranquilizer darts, which are equipped with tracking chips so the deer can be found after they are shot. DeNicola said it will be him, a graduate student and a veterinarian to handle the deer, with a police officer assisting with security. A tranquilized deer will then be taken to the Fairfax police headquarters sallyport, where a surgical table will be set up. DeNicola showed the council a slide show of how the deer are opened up, its ovaries removed, and then sewed back up. DeNicola said the deer typically come out of the anesthesia after about an hour, and after a short period to get its bearings, it is taken back to where it was found and released.
Supporters of the effort claim that the program is effectively “free” for the city, because the effort will be financed privately, police and the veterinarian will volunteer their time, etc., and the cost of transporting the deer and their makeshift surgical facility is minimal.
The simple fact of the matter that supporters of the program refuse to talk about is that sterilizing a small sub-population is a very temporary solution and a fiscal waste, regardless of who is picking up the costs.
Odocoileus virginianus has an average lifespan in the wild of less than five years. This means that even if 100% of does in the area are captured and their ovariectomies are successful, then this population will die out and be replaced by other does migrating in from areas around Fairfax City in no time at all. Arguments from supporters of this program claim that deer don’t “migrate.” In the context that deer don’t move hundreds or thousands of miles in a seasonal cycle they are correct, but they are being dishonest if they are suggesting that deer will not move from areas of high population densities to areas of low population densities, and rapidly. Deer can move at speeds in excess of 35 miles-per-hour, clear vertical obstacles of 6 feet with ease, and easily ford rivers and streams. This program will have to be continuous, just as hunting is, uses more resources, and returns nothing to the community.
Deer harvested in a more traditional manner by either amateur or professional hunters can be processed into meat to feed starving people. Virginia’s Hunters for the Hungry have a goal of supplying 370,000 pounds of lean, high-protein venison to help feed the fortunate humans this year, and has donated more than 20.9 million quarter-pound servings since 1991.
Which option uses less resources, and gives more back to the community?
The answer seems quite obvious to me, but then, I’ve always valued people more than shrubbery-eating pests.