Published: Feb 09, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Feb 09, 2013 05:29 PM
Sometimes the best ideas arent invented here. It just seems that way.
An Efland resident is petitioning the Durham City Council to allow archers to harvest deer here to help control their overpopulation and overpopulated the white-tailed eating machines are.
If Chapel Hill, one of North Carolinas most politically correct burgs, could summon the will for archery deer control three years ago, the Bull City can certainly follow suit. And it should.
Yes, some people will object to an unavoidably bloody enterprise think Bambis mother, dispatched by a hunter or the doomed fawn adopted by a Florida boy in The Yearling and you can recite the arguments against an urban deer season. Hard-core animal-rights supporters denounce it as an example of unbridled speciesism, rejecting any suggestion that humans are superior to other forms of life and thus have no moral license to kill them.
But if you have ever had a close encounter of the worst kind with a deer, and many are those in Durham who have along dark roads, you might think of Odocoileus virginianus as more nuisance than co-equal.
Not to mention what they do to flower and vegetable gardens.
There was a time in the early 1970s when state wildlife officers fretted about the paucity of white-tails in North Carolina. Not today. The states deer population, by some estimates, is well over a million and still growing.
As the state becomes more urbanized and their romper room shrinks, deer do what they must to survive and reproduce. Those that cant find enough browse or other edibles to make it, die. And those that die early do so in particularly horrible ways, usually by disease, starvation or motor vehicle.
Deer are by any judgment a graceful and elegant species. They just dont mix well with people.
We dont like to think of them as disease vectors, but as hosts of the tiny deer tick that transmits Lyme disease, they are. Three seasons out of the year, a walk in the woods becomes an invitation to deer ticks, which like their much larger more easily detected cousins that transmit other ills, crave blood.
Deer are not without predators. We humans are their deadliest stalkers in eastern North America, but we are a poor substitute for their Darwinian natural controls cougars and wolves that once dominated our forests.
Now that Durham and other cities are virtually overrun by deer, we have to take measures to reduce their breeding population. Urban archery isnt an encompassing solution there probably isnt one but in places where rifles and shotguns arent allowed, its the most humane method.
Yes, humane: Urban archers use powerful compound bows you know, the ones with all the strings and pulleys that propel arrows at 250 to 320 feet per second. Compared to a firearm, thats a snails speed, but then its not velocity but mass that kills.
In the service of a skilled archer, the heavy, razor-like bodkin on a modern arrow kills swiftly. The venison helps feed the needy.
In all the decades that urban archery has been permitted in North Carolina, no person has ever been killed by an arrow. Thats because archers shoot downward from tree perches.
Go for it, City Council. No dead deer ever produced another one.