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Deer in Urban, Suburban or Rural Environments

More than 40 people attended the kick-off event for the C-OFOKLA Speaker Series on Monday, March 16th at Tully Elementary School.  From 6 until 7 students from SUNY ESF, under the direction of Dr. Kimberly L. Schultz, presented research posters from their recent work in the region.  Topics included “Effects on Macrophyte & Macroinvertebrate Abundance Due to Eurasian Milfoil Treatments in Cazenovia Lake” and “The influence of recreational boat traffic on non-native macrophyte biomass and native diversity”.  IMG_2124

Justin Gansowski, a wildlife disease biologist with USDA, then presented an informative talk titled Deer Management in Urban, Suburban or Rural Environments: The Need for Intensive Commitment. In the last 50 years the deer harvest in New York has more than quadrupled, implying a similar growth in the overall deer herd. This growth has resulted in significant damage to agriculture, the environment, property and human health.  Justin identified 4 management options:

  • Exclusion
  • Fertility Control
  • Volunteer Hunters
  • Cull

IMG_2157Each of these options have various pros and cons, but they all require significant investment and commitment. Unfortunately, the option of not doing anything doesn’t seem to be viable.

While hunting or culling the deer herd may be distasteful for some, there are some additional benefits besides controlling the population. Peter Ricardo, Product Donations Manager with the Food Bank of Central New York (FB-CNY), discussed their program for collecting and distributing the deer harvest.

FB-CNY is part of the Feeding America network of 210 food banks and serves 11 counties in Central New York. It distributes food through pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and additional programs.

The Venison Donation Coalition is a sportsman/woman initiated organization since 1999 wisely utilizing New York’s deer resource to help those in need. It is an independent, incorporated, not for profit organization (501-C3). It has average 38 tons per year of donated venison. Hunters simply have to leave their properly field dressed deer at a participating processor for donation. Approved processors produced ground meat for use by the food banks, all at no cost to the hunter.IMG_2158

Venison is health, versatile and extremely popular. It is an excellent source of animal protein and, delivered in frozen packages of ground meat, is easy to transport and useful in a wide variety of cuisines.

You can download introductory comments from Tarki here,  Justin’s presentation here and Peter’s presentation here. All are PowerPoint presentations. Be sure to check out our photo gallery here.

The next event in our Speaker Series is Monday, April 27th: Transforming to a Fossil Free Future. Be sure to register now!