Bulletin letter to the editor: Control the Newport deer herdA recent letter to the editor.
Newport needs to control its deer herds
Living in the suburbs means living with wildlife, and as a family who appreciates nature’s beauty, we have learned to respect the balance that comes with living so close to birds, squirrels, coyotes and especially white-tailed deer.
Many people love seeing deer grazing peacefully in the woods. Historically, deer populations numbered no more than six to nine deer per square mile, managed naturally through predation, fluctuating food availability and habitat. Today, the presence of humans have made the deer population skyrocket. Suburban communities generally permit little or no hunting, and are not a preferred habitat for deer predators such as wolves.
Too many deer devastate the health of our forests. Deer graze on anything without thorns. Take a walk in the woods. How many tree seedlings do you see? If the forest looks dense, chances are the only seedlings coming up are buckthorn, an aggressive exotic invader that has little to no value for wildlife. Animals that depend on native plant life, such as songbirds, also leave the area.
Gardeners know that deer wreak havoc on veggies, hostas and countless other landscaping plants for which they’ve paid good money. Epidemiologists point to the rising incidence of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme’s that are spread indirectly by deer. Insurers are well aware that the number one predator of deer is motor vehicles.
Research biologists have found that deer fed by homeowners have higher incidences of twins and triplets, only adding to the overpopulation. Feeding sites also create large gatherings of deer, which may spread diseases such as chronic wasting disease.
As more and more areas become developed, deer have flocked to the wooded areas of Newport stressing our forests, gardens, and drivers. Many nearby communities, including Maplewood, Oakdale, and Lake Elmo, manage their deer herds in some measure through controlled hunting and/or feeding bans. Newport does not.
There are several ways to control deer, many of which are on the Minnesota DNR website. Two of the best are feeding bans and controlled archery hunting. For the sake of our community, woods, yards and gardens, let’s adopt these sensible practices in Newport.