Don’t Allow Your Town to Participate in a Bait and Shoot Program

By Joe Miele

Studies have shown that hunting will increase deer reproduction and spread diseases, and wildlife managers themselves have credited hunting with increasing deer populations.  Also, the Town of Amherst, New York has been talking about Bait and Shoot for over a decade, and the fact that they are still touting it is proof that it is not effective at reducing deer populations.  After nearly 1,200 deer were killed by “sharpshooters” in a Bait and Shoot program in three years ending March, 2008, deer-vehicle collisions remained a problem. (The Amherst Bee – March 19, 2008)

Is Bait and Shoot a danger to the public?  In an article in the Buffalo News of February 6, 2005, the author wrote: “Amherst Police suspended the town’s controversial Bait and Shoot deer management program after an errant shot by a police officer passed through a bedroom window of an East Amherst home and lodged in a wall.” If a police officer – someone who has had extensive training in the use of weapons and ammunition of various types – can put the lives of the public in danger while hunting, imagine what Joe Six-Pack can do while out on a drunken hunting trip.

The only thing accomplished by Bait and Shoot is that hunters are given the opportunity to kill thousands of deer without having to show that their efforts are addressing any of the community’s concerns about deer.  Humane methods can and will address those concerns if given the chance.
Deer/car collisions can be reduced by the installation of Strieter-Lite or Swareflex reflectors, and better road lighting.

Swareflex optical warning fence

Lowering speed limits and strictly enforcing the lower speed limits in areas heavily trafficked by deer will reduce collisions.  Installing speed bumps in low vehicular traffic but high deer traffic areas will help.  Ornamental plants can be protected using repellent sprays and deer-proof fencing.

Another thing that will reduce deer populations would be the elimination of hunting altogether. When deer and other hunted species are no longer manipulated to benefit sport hunters and the agencies that serve them, the number of deer will decline until it meets the biological carrying capacity of the area.

The following information supports the points made above:

“Notebook: Citizen advisory impacts deer regs” Sunday, April 27, 2008 By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Game Commission’s vote last week to increase deer populations in parts of central and south-central Pennsylvania (Wildlife Management Units 4E and 5A), and to continue increasing the population trend in WMU 4B, was based on scientific measurements and the recommendations of a citizen advisory committee, said an agency spokesman.

University of Florida researchers have shown in their report “Reproductive Dynamics Among Disjunct White-tailed Deer Herds in Florida” that deer reproduction increases once the herd is hunted.

Wildlife biologist Rawley Cogan was quoted in the Buffalo News saying,  “One square mile of elk habitat can support one to one and a half elk. The same area might support 20 whitetail deer, and my job is to show the public that hunting is a tool that can actually improve the herd’s size and health,” he said.  “It’s hard to make people see that, because say ‘hunting’ and people think of reducing the herd, not helping it to increase.” 9/16/01 Buffalo News
Wildlife biologist Gary Alt said that NYS wildlife agencies have responded to hunters who ask for more deer to kill, but the overpopulated deer herds have caused the forests to suffer (Central New York Outdoor Journal, December, 2005).

North American Hunter magazine (October, 1995) reports the experience of a former Texas biologist who “managed” deer on a ranch: “After shooting 100 does, the ranch actually had more fawns than it did the year before.  Because of the significant doe harvest, the fawn survival rate increased from 25 percent (four does to rear one fawn to weaning age) to 120 percent (1.2 fawns per doe).”

The Union County (NJ) Parks Department report titled “Deer Management Program for Watchung Reservation” concluded that before being hunted, female deer living in the Reservation gave birth to only one fawn.

Afterwards, the birthrate doubled or tripled.

Frank Miniter, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Hunting” states: “Every animal in this country that has a hunting season on it has increased in number after a hunting season is placed on it.”

Another quote to prove that game agencies purposely have increased herds:

“New York State has rapidly seen its whitetail deer herd grow from modest thousands to more than an estimated million animals today.  Every county in the state has a good population of deer, and many have too many.  Management techniques by DEC have changed from how to increase our herd to how to keep it under control and successfully manage it for future sportsmen.”   (Bow Season Bounty by Craig Robbins, New York Sportsman, 9/2001)

The bullet points below come from the report “Reproductive Dynamics among Disjunct White-Tailed Deer Herds in Florida,” by Andreas R. Richter and Ronald F. Labisky published in The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 49, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 964-971. Both Richter and Labisky were with the Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida in Gainesville.

•…Productivity was higher on hunted than on non-hunted sites. Incidence of twinning was 38% on hunted and 14% on non-hunted sites.  The fetal sex ratio was 56% and 39% males on hunted and non-hunted sites, respectively.
•… Mean number of fetuses per pregnant doe was greater on hunted (Camp Blanding WMA, Rotenberger WMA, Eglin AFB/Hunted) than on non-hunted sites (Tosohatchee State Preserve, Eglin FB/Nonhunted), l.38 and 1.14, respectively (P < 0.001).
•… No twinning was observed among pregnant fawns or yearlings from non-hunted areas, whereas 6 of 33 (18%) of the pregnant yearlings and 1 of 3 (33%) pregnant fawns from hunted areas carried twins.
•… Productivity was higher for hunted than non-hunted herds (table 3) Although the pregnancy rate, fawns excluded, did not differ between hunted and non-hunted herds (P > 0.2) nor among age-classes (P > (J.05), the number of fetuses per pregnant doe for each age-class was greater in hunted than in non-hunted herds (P < 0.05). Productivity also increased as doe age increased. Thus, the younger age structure of hunted herds tended to depress productivity, whereas the older age structure of non-hunted herds tended to favor productivity. The net reproductive gain of non-hunted herds was depressed more by the low productivity per pregnant doe than it was enhanced by advanced age structure.
•…Although pregnancy rates did not differ significantly between hunted and non-hunted sites in Florida, the number of fetuses per pregnant doe was greater on hunted than on non-hunted sites. The index of net reproductive gain, fawns excluded, was 1.240 in hunted herds and 1.075 in non-hunted herds…
Joe Miele is the President of C.A.S.H.  Adapted from Joe’s response to an inquiring student.

For more on culling:
Visit Peter Muller’s great website:


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561