Steve came up with a marvelous idea for the deer in our back yard. Well, more for the ticks that accompany the deer. Set out a salt lick, hit the deer with something to knock them out, apply tick repellant solution, let the deer wake up. The only problems? Adult deer can weigh up to 400 pounds. This could get tedious on a monthly basis (not to mention expensive). You'd think that the deer would figure it out after a while.
On a similar but related idea one of our neighbors had expressed interest in the idea of a salt lick laced with birth control. Apparently this is not a new idea as the following information from Deer Facts shows:
- They are experimental
- They don't affect the current population size
- Have potential impacts on the gene pool
- Costly and impractical ($150-$500 per deer)
- Have problems with dosage control and ingestion of anti-fertility agents by non-targeted animals and humans.
According to a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the cost of administering contraceptives exceeds $500 per deer treated. This study assumed:
- No deer left or entered the herd being treated.
- The contraceptive was administered with a single shot and was 100% effective.
- The efficiency of autumn darting was similar to winter sharpshooting over bait with a high-power rifle.
- All deer were infertile with a single treatment. (Not possible with contraceptives available today).
- No deer were accidentally darted twice.
- It was possible to distinguish between male and female fawns before darting.
Since it is doubtful that any of these assumptions would hold true, the actual cost would far exceed the estimate of $500 per deer treated.
They're cute it's true. Just destructive, overbreeding, and carry ticks. We're looking into making some changes in the yard to try to reduce the conditions for ticks (such as possibly putting in a tick barrier between the lawn and the woods) but given where we live we'll just have to continue to live with it like everyone else does.