Wow… Let me first say that I was prepared for the worst and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought for sure the meeting was going to be full of anti-hunters looking to prove a point. My concern is that they would not acknowledge that we have a deer population issue in Silver City and we would just end up going in circles. To my surprise just about everybody in the meeting were truly concerned and admitted that there is a problem. I would say that out of the 50 people that showed up there were probably 10 hunters. The rest were concerned landowners. Personally, I think this is key because this way it doesn’t look like this is being pushed by hunters.
SOOO… What happened? Well, Game and Fish basically layed out the problem, too many deer. At a high-level here are some points they made.
- -They think there are 300-600 deer in the city limits
- -Officers are picking up twice as many roadkill this year than last. They have numbers that support this statement
- -Fawn recruitment looks like it is going to be exceptionaly high again this year
- -People are still feeding deer. I guess the law/rule that the Game Dept made making it illegal to feed deer was deemed unconstitutional and unenforceable.
- -They went over the disease and predator issues.
- -They talk about the different techniques that could be used to control the deer. They talk about everything from snipers to birth control darts.
After the Game and Fish gave their presentation they broke the room up into 4 groups and had officers answer questions. I light of the recent health care demonstrations that was probably a good idea because it kept confrontations down.
If I have any concerns over the meeting it was that there were no officials from the formal Silver City government. I have a very strong feeling that there is going to be a ton of push back.
The way I see it there are few things that need to be addressed or things that I would like to point out.
- – I think it should be a doe only hunt. Lets face it, Indian Hills has some of the biggest bucks in NM. We can’t let competition bring the worst out in hunters. If we eliminate the “trophy” issue from the equation then we will not have to worry about having “gangs” of “hunters” chasing down trophy animals in the neighborhoods.
- – This needs to be marketed as archery hunters being used to manage a deer population issue. We need to stress that this is NOT hunting. These deer have no fear, you can walk right up to them. There is nothing sporting, challenging or traditional about it.
- If hunters are allowed to manage the deer I don’t think it should count against there one buck deer a year allocation. The way our current draw system works, most archery hunters will get a tag thru the system, either thru the draw or by purchasing a leftover tag. Most archery hunters are not going to give up the opportunity to go on a buck hunt to help manage deer in the city limits.
- – There needs to be some sort of qualifing criteria. As sportsman know hunting is not an absolute sometimes animals are hit poorly and sometimes they are just hellbent on not dying. These deer are not all get shot take two steps then lay down in the road for the archer to pick them up. We need to do whatever we can to show to the community that we are taking this seriously and are just not blood thirsty people trying to kill everything that walks.
- – Okay, now this one might get me in trouble or be controversial. I am not totally convinced that this should have a youth or mobility impaired component. We need to minimize all possibilities for drama. Managing these deer is NOT a game. These animals need to be dropped quickly, humanely and then removed as quickly as possible. We can’t give anti-hunters any reason to try and stop these hunts.
- – Oh yah…. and landowners should be given preference in managing the game.. that would be me…
- – I am sure I forgot a few things or haven’t thought about a few things but as soon as I think about them I will let you know.
Anyway, this is a long way from being a done deal. I will try and stay on top of the issue and report on it on my blog. I am going to write another blog of people that you will need to contact to express your concerns over the issue. If you have any comments please email me or make the comments on this entry. I want to make sure that I have thought everything out before I really start to push the issue.