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Perspective on deer

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May I clarify three points regarding the deer problem in Bountiful? The first is the mistaken assumption that the "deer were here first". When the first pioneers settled in the Bountiful/Centerville region, there were no deer living in this area. It was not the deer's natural habitat. The predominant vegetation was wild grass which deer do not eat. The diaries and journals of the early settlers, including six of my great grandparents, bemoaned that they had to "go into the mountains" in search of deer to sustain them those first hard winters.

The second point is the economic toll deer cause. I'm not only speaking of the damage deer do to my yard, but the appalling cost in dollars and human lives as a result of deer-vehicle accidents. The Washington Post quotes State Farm Insurance that there were 1.1 million such accidents in the U. S. last year, resulting in $3.8 billion in insurance claims. This dollar amount does not include the costs and suffering associated with the 140 human deaths from deer-vehicle accidents as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nor that of the medical costs of those injured or paralyzed.

The third point is liability. Bountiful City officials estimate the size of the deer population there to be 500. If only half are capable of reproducing, within five years the number could exceed 2,000. In 10 years it could exceed 15,000. Unless culling is significantly increased and/or other means are employed, this problem will quickly become unmanageable.

Jon Bouwhuis