Latest Benjamin Center discussion brief addresses deer overabundance

benjamin-balanceThe Benjamin Center for Public Policy Initiatives at SUNY New Paltz has released its latest discussion brief, “The Hunt for Balance,” an examination of techniques for managing overabundant white-tailed deer populations in the Hudson Valley region.

[Click here to view and download “The Hunt for Balance”]

While hunting and animal population control are subjects of important, often passionate debate in contemporary social and political discourses, this paper is a purposeful and focused effort to compare and contrast the efficacy of various methods of deer population control, including: contraception and sterilization, the introduction of large predators and hunting (particularly archery hunting).

“This issue both elicits strong emotional reactions and raises very important lifestyle and economic issues for our region,” said Benjamin Center Director Gerald Benjamin. “We are pleased to offer this thorough consideration of its multiple dimensions to the people and decision makers of our region.”

The brief is authored by Brent Miller ’08 (Sociology), Northeast States Director of the Congressional Sportsman Foundation, avid hunter, lifelong Hudson Valley resident and SUNY New Paltz alumnus.

Miller concludes that hunting remains the most effective and efficient method for controlling free-ranging deer populations, especially in and around suburban communities where hunting access has historically been limited. His research indicates that recent state policy changes will likely improve the ability of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to manage suburban deer populations.

However, the report also calls for several additional policy changes to improve efficacy in the years ahead, including: expanding the current archery and crossbow seasons, reducing the crossbow discharge distance to align with vertical bows, and implementing a science-driven public education campaign to incentivize landowners in areas impacted by overabundant deer to allow hunting access on their property.

“The Hunt for Balance,” the 15th discussion brief to be released by the Benjamin Center since its inception, can be read in its entirety via this link.

About the Benjamin Center                                               
The Benjamin Center (formerly CRREO) was established in 2007 to further engage SUNY New Paltz with communities, governments, not-for-profits and businesses across our region. The center conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific areas of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement.

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