Why is Bowhunting a Better Solution?
Suburban Whitetail Management of North Georgia
While other population control options such as fencing, repellents, trap and transfer, fertility agents, sharpshooters,
and controlled public hunts have been studied and restudied, bowhunting consistently proves to be the most cost
effective option for deer management in suburban areas. Fencing is expensive; repellants require frequent
applications and are less effective at high population densities. Trap and transfer is not only labor intensive and
expensive (costs average $261-$567 per deer), but also has a high mortality rate after relocation, sometimes as
high as 75-80%.
Some relocated deer may also spread disease. Fertility agents are experimental, costly, (averaging $150-$500 per
deer), impractical, and ineffective on the current population size. Dosage control and ingestion of anti-fertility agents
by non-target animals and humans as well as the potential negative impacts on deer genetics are also a concern.
Sharpshooting programs are expensive and inappropriate for small urban properties. Some programs have cost
taxpayers as much as $40-$60,000. Finally, public hunts are not only controversial, but also expensive (averaging
$40-$65,000 per hunt).
Bowhunting is a sound management tool and has been used for years in areas such as Quantico Marine Corps
Reservation and Fort Gillem, GA. Bowhunting offers a low profile method of managing deer herd numbers, and is
effective in small areas close to houses, farms, and roads. Bowhunting provides an immediate population reduction.
It closely resembles, and in fact is part of natural predation. In North Georgia, such natural predators as mountain
lions and wolves no longer threaten deer. So hunting with bow and arrow or gun is the most practical and economic
method of reducing herd size to an acceptable level. In a populated suburban area, however, the sound of gunfire
can be quite unsettling, and the potential for damage to property and humans, while small, is present.Bowhunting is
silent, effective, and safe..
Furthermore, bowhunting opens areas to wildlife management that would otherwise be closed. In populated areas of
North Georgia, human habitation prevents the use of firearms for hunting overpopulated deer herds. This can result
in destruction of habitat, increased human/deer conflicts and negative effects on human life, health and property.
Using bowhunting, deer can be removed in a selective fashion with a specific age and sex group being targeted in
overpopulated areas. Typically more does need to be removed. By targeting adult does, maximum population
reduction can be achieved more quickly. This helps keep the herd to a size compatible with the carrying capacity of
the habitat and within human tolerance levels, or Cultural Carrying Capacity.
As development continues to increase, and whitetail habitat continues to decrease, the need for organizations such
as SWMNGA is becoming greater with each passing year.