May 21, 2008

Shoot or Sterilize: New York Deer Boom

Shoot or sterilize? The New York Deer Boom

The deer herd in NY is reaching high levels and the hunters aren't keeping it in check. The problem is so bad that officials are considering alternative methods, such as deer contraception. This problem has happened in my native Wisconsin as well.

The real enemy to animal habitat is urban development. I wonder how many anti-hunting animal rightists are willing to give up their house or apartment for the good of the animals. “Save the planet. Kill yourself.”

Unless we are willing to ban human population growth in this country, hunting is the most effective and least expensive means of controlling deer populations. Hunters should be tasked with culling the herd. This provides revenue for the Fish and Wildlife department and is beneficial to the hunter.

But the reason New York is having this is because hunters haven't done enough. If the New York hunters were completely effective, officials wouldn't be discussing alternatives.

The solution to anything is found by correcting the problems. So what's the problem? Quoting from the article,
"Hunting activity fell 18 percent in the Northeast from 1980-1995, according to federal figures ... A common lament from hunters is that young people are more interested in video games than the outdoors."

The solution to this problem should be obvious: Make hunting appealing, exciting and available all year long. Anyone who has studied basic marketing knows and understands the “rule of seven.” It takes at least seven exposures to a given product before the person is persuaded to buy, assuming they are inclined to buy at all. Two-thirds of the time the prospect likely isn’t paying attention. So 21 or more exposures may be necessary to push someone to buy.

One of our main problems in promoting hunting is the fact that hunting seasons are only a few days a year. Using two states as examples, Wisconsin has a nine-day season and Illinois has six days. In these two states there are over 355 days of NON-hunting days each year. Consider what would happen to the National Football League if the football season were limited to a single 9-day season by the government? What if video games could only be played 9 days all year?

We can understand why seasons were established, so let’s substitute hunting-type events for the non-season days. If hunters started running weekly or monthly events all year long we could compete with other activities.

Problem number two is the skill and fitness levels of our hunters.
"I'm afraid hunters are getting older,' said Charles Mowatt, who encourages hunting on his woods in Cattaraugus County. '[Hunters] don't get out of their cars that far any more and if they're like me, they don't shoot so straight."

Solution: We need to give hunters a reason to push to excel beyond the hunting season. Competition is an excellent motivator, as any serious athlete will attest. Providing a sporting contest for the hunter, giving them a reason to want to exceed standards.

Current hunters aren't skilled enough and they aren't building their ranks. We need to fix that. And we can. We've had organized hunter education in this country for over five decades, but we're in a slump. It is time for a change.

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