The Potomac Highlands Watershed School
Oh Deer! 2006 Environmental Forum
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Consensus papers are in:
Hampshire High School
1st Block Environmental Science
November 27, 2006
Consensus Deer Management Plan
In our Environmental Science class we had groups of students representing Farmers, Hunters, Homeowners and the Forest. Although we had different opinions about how to manage the deer population in Hampshire county we have come to agreement on a single ingenious plan that is satisfactory to us all.
Our hunters are willing to reduce the overall number of animals if the remaining deer are larger with more weight and bigger antlers. The farmers will be willing to donate some animal feed that they grow if the homeowners will create and maintain feeding stations away from the farms and house plantings. These plantings will be away from high speed roads to reduce accidents between deer and traffic. The farmers who donate the crops will be provided fencing materials to keep deer away from their most valuable produce.
More does will be harvested at first to reduce the overall population. Hunters will not be allowed to shoot bucks without a minimum number of points on their antlers.
Wildlife conservation officers and research scientists and technicians will be hired to monitor the health of the forest ecosystems and demographics of deer population.
The many values of a healthy deer herd will cost and benefit everyone. Hunters will be paying license fees, homeowners will be giving up time and space on their land for the feeding stations and farmers will give up time to put up and maintain fences. Everyone pays taxes that fund the government supervisors and workers. The Forest has already paid enough . Its time for it to benefit from a controlled deer population.
Our second block environmental science class has found a way to develop a management plan for the deer in Hampshire county.
We have hunters who want Quality Deer Management for bigger bucks. They are willing to shoot does for points on their license to get a permit for big bucks. They won’t be allowed to shoot any bucks till they get a minimum number of points.
Our landowners and hunters will be willing to fence off tracts of land for up to 5 years to let the forest regenerate itself with seeds and small plants. After that amount of time fences can be taken down and the deer can be allowed access to the wooded area again. It will be a smaller number of deer and we hope they wont be able to cause so much damage. Landowners participating will get a tax break for the years their land is fenced against deer. If more people want to do this than is needed a lottery will be held to select participating landowners who get the tax break. Farmers will get a tax break too if they fence out productive or non productive land. These exclusion zones will be changed after 5 years to improve forest areas all across Hampshire county.
Environmental science class
Group Consensus on Deer Management
We want to see the deer brought down to the magic number of no more than 16 animals per square mile in Hampshire county. If that will allow the forest to come back to healthy condition and allow deer to get to be really big we are willing to do several things.
Use the license fees for hunting to pay for deer fences. Give farmers more permits to give to hunters for use on farmlands. Let the farmers charge for hunting or leasing their land to hunt those extra animals.
These are our ideas for how to make things better.
OH DEER CONSENSUS
We have come to a consensus to help control the deer population that will satisfy the interests of each of our stakeholding groups. The plan consists of the following:
1. An immediate extension of the gun hunting season including an increase in doe bag limits. This is a concession to the hunters and we believe it would help to alleviate some of the pressure on the forest floor ecosystem over time.
2. As a concession to the animal- rights/environmentalist people, a 5 year plan to educate the public about the importance of keystone predators to natural ecosystems. After a public disclosure period, a timeline would be included to project the gradual introduction of predators. Returning predators to an ecosystem has been proven to restore ecosystems (Science Daily 2003). Given enough time to educate, people may become accepting of the plan to reintroduce predators.
This plan is a compromise that combines the concerns of each group and should be a successful solution.