Environmental Research Associates

Research & Consulting Ecologists


Deer22 Oct 2008 02:53 am

by: Michael H. Levin, Ph.D.   www.EnvironResearchAssoc.com                                        

Deer are neither predators nor parasites. Deer are not devouring the township. The presence of deer are not the source of invasive species. Deer don’t come up on porches in our area; they are kept on their toes by constant contact with humans who they view as threats within a physiological distance in their space. These statements have been made to stir emotions by proponents of deer elimination without either documentation or proof.  Deer eat some ornamental plantings, that’s what they do for a living; deer are like most animals - curious foragers - some even feel so comfortable around people they look in windows; that’s their natural instinct; in return they offer us the opportunity to have some wild nature in the suburbs necessary for pleasure and study. As an area is more heavily utilized, urbanized, or disturbed the deer population is reduced and will decline in numbers naturally.

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Deer08 Sep 2008 07:24 pm
  1. No legal opinion, with thorough substantiation, has been received from legal counsel regarding municipal liability for incompletely eliminating deer as potential hazards to safety and health or that township employees are not individually and/or severally liable either for killing or not killing deer as well as planning such a deer kill, however, it is the solicitor’s opinion (7/14 and 8/11/08) there is immunity if nothing is done and potential liability after attempt to kill has been initiated but not completed,  
  2. A scientifically proven method of habitat description has not been completed and a deer population census has not been performed and will not be performed before or after a deer kill has been undertaken, 
  3. The proposed deer kill would be undertaken without oversight or experience of a wildlife ecologist but by  amateur deer hunters whose livelihood professions as police and paramedics are not of skilled deer hunter guides. 
  4.  No scientifically accepted census method has been adopted, either before or after such a deer hunt, to determine numbers, ages, sex, condition, including weight which are data important to bona fide deer management. An informal deer census by driving a motor vehicle “with screaming kids in the car” is not a valid deer census that can be used or is used as a “baseline” survey for deer numbers, 
  5.  A single pre-kill or post-deer kill count either by spotlighting or fixed camera with a trip-wire or field of view beam is not an accepted method of determining deer numbers in a population, 
  6.  Just voting to approve planning for a deer to kill because, “There are deer there” is insufficient reason to approve a deer kill in the absence of other information as given in numbers 1 - 5 above,
  7. It is flawed logic to provide and transfer information, photographs and digital images from other municipalities or states in the eastern United States - not specifically from Haverford as well as surrounding municipalities — as reason for and to make a case for killing deer in Haverford,   
  8.  A deer kill “from tree stands with shotgun slugs shooting down toward the ground” does not completely explain that hunters must quickly exit down from deer stands to immediately kill wounded deer, which may require a chase with additional shots fired in any direction across the ground from an inaccurate weapon — the shotgun — as well as individually tagging, gutting and field dressing such a deer thus killed,. or as may be killed, before resuming the deer stand to kill the next animal.
  9. An incompletely planned and managed deer hunt by volunteers is deeply flawed and should not be undertaken.   
  10.  As a consequence of the foregoing, such a “planned” (sic) deer kill is in fact, unplanned, chaotic, not undertaken according to professional standards for such an undertaking and, therefore, is not in the public interest.
Deer09 Aug 2008 05:10 pm

by Michael H. Levin, Ph.D

Introduction. I attended a meeting in the fall of 2007, emailed on short notice of less than 8-hours - with an agenda - by State Representative Greg Vitali, of the ad hoc Haverford State Citizen’s Advisory Committee chaired by Jan Marie Rushforth.   Others present at the meeting included: Peter Hickman, Diane D’Amico, Jane Hall, Lucetta Alderfer, Mike Levitsky, Larry Abel, Bob Stump and myself.  I doubt whether more than two men at the meeting had ever hunted or been faced with the daunting prospect of field-dressing (i.e., slitting the abdomen from stem to stern and removing the digestive tract, liver, bladder and heart and lungs as intactly as possible) from a large bloody dead ungulate game animal like a deer and dragging all of it out of the woods. Then, work to butcher it only begins; deer meat is dry and strangely greasy; it is marginally edible, cooks fast like most wild game, with a generous dose of sweetened hunter’s fruit sauce laced with brandy. Some, on the other hand, would have a personal preference for a piece of aged beef that could be presented without the hunter’s sauce.     

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Deer08 Aug 2008 02:50 pm

by Michael H. Levin, Ph.D.

With the tabling of an agenda item after a voice vote and subsequent buck-passing to the elected state representative for help completing a deer management report that the state requires, mainly  a count or inventory of the deer within an area, local commissioners (6:3) sidestepped voting for a deer kill in the area where preservation has been dominant for over 40 years.  One wildly speculative estimate blurted out the deer population is “a hundred;” where another stated there should be “just six.”  The area is a combination of forest, meadow and riparian land; a deer population of 100, or a little better than 1 deer/acre couldn’t be sustained on 129 acres and have much quality vegetation left; an “infestation” like this couldn’t exist because any animal population requires at least there very basic ingredients to maintain itself; food, space and a place in which to live. If any of these is missing or in short supply, the population rises to a sustainable level and no more then stabilizes and gradually declines; a combination of these forces would lead to an inevitable deer population reduction or crash and may random walk to extinction if and when fawn birth rate declines.  

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Deer19 Nov 2007 01:48 pm

By Lois Puglionesi, Times Correspondent

HAVERFORD — Commissioners voted 6-3 Tuesday to table a controversial plan that would have spelled doom for deer roaming the Haverford State Hospital site.

Commissioners Larry Holmes, Carol McDonald, Mario Oliva, Fred Moran, Tom Broido and board president Stephen D’Emilio voted to put the brakes on preparations for a controlled deer hunt by police SWAT team sharpshooters during deer hunting season, Nov. 26-Dec. 7.

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