Attitudes towards deer hunting shifts in D.C., while some still scream for Bambi birth control

Perhaps it is merely my personal experience, but the anti-hunters I’ve met tend to be people who have lived in cities and densely packed suburbs their entire lives, who have little to no real grasp of conservation or ecological balance.


Many have grown up (if they can claim to have grown up) with a cartoonish view of nature, in a Disneyfied world where natural predators are good only when they somehow become vegetarian, and hunters of any species are evil, and not a needed part of the ecological world.

Many of the suburbanites around the nation’s capitol seemed to harbor this naive view until the exploding deer population became a serious ecological and safety problem. Now that deer are being struck by cars in much great frequency and tearing up their carefully manicured yards, many suburbanites have decided that deer aren’t quite so cute, but are pests to be exterminated.

Early next year, if all goes according to plan, six cops armed with high-powered rifles will take up positions inside Cabin John Regional Park and begin killing the sweetest looking of creatures: white-tailed deer.

The park sits seven miles northwest of the District, on the edges of Bethesda and Potomac — not exactly hot spots of hunting culture.

“They can’t get here fast enough,” said Ty Tydings, an area resident who ran over a deer last year, has had to slow down to avoid four more this year and is tired of seeing his shrubs get eaten. “Everyone is pretty sick of deer.”

Tydings’s views underscore a continuing shift in public mood as governments in the area — faced with alarming deer populations — have organized deer kills and opened up hunting closer to suburban neighborhoods. In many of these places, the debate often centers not on whether to shoot, but on how best to shoot.


There are still plenty of anti-hunters, of course, who think that harvesting the excess population is not the answer. I’m betting that even their tolerance will start to wear quite thin when it is their shrubs and trees to be nibbled to death by starving deer, and their relatives injured and killed by deer in accidents on local roadways.

But even then, there will be those delusional souls that think harvesting deer is never the answer (and if you read the second and third pages of the article, you’ll encounter some of these). They’re rather engage in flights of fancy, suggesting deer birth control and other ludicrous “solutions.”

As human beings, we have a responsibility for the lands we shape and the ecological impact we’ve made. When we’ve hunted predators to extinction or driven them out of their natural range, we’ve interrupted nature’s balance.  It is our responsibility to then make up for the lack of predators, and harvest those prey species that now run amok.  Some suburbanites are now changing their attitudes towards that needed culling now that they’ve experienced the result of an unbalanced ecosystem firsthand.


I hope that those ignorant souls who still think culling isn’t the best solution have steady hands, strong lungs, and great running shoes.

Putting condoms on all those deer is going to be a lot of work.

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