Controlling the deer population as a tick-breeding tactic


While many of the recommendations found in the commission's report surrounded education on ways to treat and prevent Lyme disease, the commission also focuses on ways to control the growth of the deer population, which provides a hotbed for increass in tick numbers.

The commission recommends that the state's Division of Fish and Wildlife explore changing current archery safety zone restrictions near inhabited dwellings to better control the deer population. Currently, individuals cannot hunt deer within 500 feet of an inhabited structure. The report suggests lowering that threshold to 150 feet.

It is a recommendation that David Stainbrook, the deer and moose project leader at the Division of Fish and Wildlife, said could only be changed through legislative action.

"Those are not our agency's regulations. We don't have the authority to change it," Stainbrook said.

The challenge that comes from not doing anything to limit some of these deer populations is that it makes for a thriving tick environment.

"We are trying to keep that balance between having high enough deer densities that are valuable to the deer species, while making sure we limit Lyme disease exposure," Stainbrook said. "There are some instances where deer on some of this land can go without any mortality factors in their lifetimes, which leads to more tick abundance."


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