Birth Control for Deer?

A contraceptive vaccine for deer, which lasts for five years, has been developed by researchers in the United States. One of the researchers says it isn’t a comprehensive solution to the problem of growing deer populations, “This alone can’t bring a population down in a reasonable amount of time; it can manage the population that’s there.” (Source: BBC)  Only Maryland and New Jersey have licensed the vaccine so far.  The contraceptive vaccine might also work on squirrels, wild horses, and animals like stray cats and dogs.

One of the main ways large deer populations are controlled is through annual hunts. New Jersey has increased the duration of its deer hunts, and bag limits. They have also tried chemical fertility control, but it is labor-intensive and not practical for very large free-roaming populations.  A study in New Jersey found $13 million in damages were caused by deer overpopulation. Other research has found large deer populations can eat so many plants, there aren’t many left for other animals, so they can’t live. Last year in Maryland, about 99,000 deer taken in the hunt. The total population has been estimated to be about 231,000. About 8,000 died in vehicle accidents last year. A survey of the Maryland public found about 61% were in favor of using hunting as a deer population control. Chronic wasting disease has been found in deer in states near Maryland, such as West Virginia, and Virginia.  In 2005 Ohio deer-car collisions caused an estimated $71 million in damages.

One of the reasons there are so many deer is the removal of natural predators from habitats where deer live. Mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves no longer occupy their once-natural ranges, and are often killed deliberately when they do, or are killed by accidents with vehicles.

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Marianne Good
Past Member 2 years ago


Vita Pagh
Vita P.2 years ago

Choosing between "pest" and "cholera" I think professional controlled hunting could be the most humane solution .....and then the meat should be used in some way!!.....

Tanya W.
Tanya W.2 years ago

Birth control beat shooting, hunting and slaughtering innocents.

Doug M.
Gina M.3 years ago

I say, birth control for HUMANS!!!!

Janice P.
Janice P.3 years ago

The only problem I see is the one where humans keep stealing the roaming space and food spaces of those deer, and by initiating this population "control", it just means humans get to keep stealing property the deer should be entitled to.

jane d.
Sarah M.3 years ago

Oh please waste your research money on something more important...

paula eaton
paula eaton3 years ago

I would rather see birth control than the cruel slaughter of any animal. People need to give wildlife space to live. Not every inch of land needs to be destroyed for humans.

Hilary E.
Hilary E.3 years ago

Thats stupid, go hunting...snakes hunt mice, lions hunt antelope, its perfectly acceptable for humans to hunt deer as long as they use the animal.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers3 years ago

Messing with the balance of nature again!