EPA gives thumbs up on vaccine to manage deer populations humanely

By on July 11, 2017 with 176 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

For years, when community residents became agitated about the presence of deer in their neighborhoods, government leaders and residents often defaulted to shooting or even killing the animals with arrows as a way to reduce their densities. Now, in a move that will help communities interested in considering a different and humane response to conflicts with wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency has approved the registration of the immunocontraceptive vaccine, Zonastat- D, for the management of deer populations.

Similar to the Zonastat-H vaccine, whose use in the humane control of wild horse populations is well established and effective, Zonastat-D is the trade name for the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine, adapted for deer. PZP blocks fertilization by triggering the production of antibodies that bind to the protein envelope surrounding the egg.

Adding this vaccine to the management toolbox enables wildlife managers to reduce populations gradually, often without resorting to lethal methods. Sport hunting or sharpshooting management options are often considered unsafe, impractical, and unpalatable in many urban and suburban communities.

The HSUS has traveled a long road with its partners to reach this point. Field studies on deer that provided the foundation for this registration stretch back to 1993, when scientists from the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, and the University of Toledo joined HSUS staffers to administer the first PZP-filled darts to deer at Fire Island National Seashore in New York. Subsequent HSUS field studies at the National Institute of Standards and Technology – our neighbors in Gaithersburg, Maryland – and a collaboration with Tufts University at Fripp Island, South Carolina, provided more validation. These were experimental programs, and the authorization for the use of the vaccine had only been made at these select locations.

Having treated many hundreds of deer with PZP, HSUS scientists and other researchers who have experience with the vaccine have abundant evidence to demonstrate that it’s safe for the animals, doesn’t pass through the food chain, and is effective in reducing reproductive success. When used properly, PZP reduces fawning rates by 85 to 90 percent. The EPA’s approval of the vaccine affirms those conclusions, and I’m pleased to see this piece of good news for animals coming out of the Trump administration.

But there’s still work to be done. The HSUS will need to work with state wildlife agencies and legislatures to ensure that the use of PZP — where appropriate — is sanctioned. And now that Zonastat-D is federally registered, The HSUS is looking forward to working with communities whose residents want to embrace non-lethal programs and build comprehensive, humane solutions that will encourage all of us to better understand and celebrate our wild neighbors.

When it comes to 21st century wildlife management, we need more options than mass killing. PZP is one revolutionary option that can help remake our relationship with deer, wild horses, elephants, and other species where localized overabundance is a social and even an ecological concern.

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about non-lethal wildlife management, I recommend checking out the Botstiber Institute’s 8th International Conference on Wildlife Fertility Control, which The HSUS is co-hosting next week in Washington D.C. The use of fertility control for deer populations, as well as many other species, will be discussed by experts from around the world. Register here for the conference.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Rallyn Tucker says:

    How do you administer?

  2. nancy says:

    Oh my gosh .this is wonderful news …..We must stop killing animals as we do and this method will really be a plus in being able to make sure the herds don’t get out of control and more importantly they are not murdered ……..This is good news indeed . Lets hope no one tears it apart and goes back to the killings.

    • Matt Bowen says:

      This program has already been tried in city’s before. It was an epic failure, as deer from outside the city still migrates into the city.

    • Fred smidlap says:

      I’m.glad.you think toxic vaccinations that can cause other issues is safer than other means, think before your vaccinate, but I bet you poison your children with vaccinations also

      • Linda says:

        I agree. Vaccines have unavoidable risks for humans and animals. This idea is so unethical. =< Some people still don’t understand how to respect animals. Where is the independent proof that it doesn’t effect the meat? I hope my child will be able to see deer throughout their lifetime and not just behind the bars of a zoo or photos on the Internet. =<

        • Zachary says:

          So you’d rather put a bullet through their bodies, Linda? Billions of people have paid and willingly take contraceptives. Please stop thinking of how their flesh will taste, and consider the actual victim here.

      • April says:

        Yes, it concerns me that if these deer are consumed by humans what affect it will have on their reproductive system. As well as other affects.

    • Sarah says:

      Nancy, not everyone is like you, activist or vegan. Many people eat deer because it is supposed to be more clean than garbage beef from a grocery store. Plus, many still live off the land. Shocker for you I know. Also, shame you can’t tolerate others and the way they choose to live.

        • Dave says:

          Sad thing is you people who hunt don’t respect anyone else’s view point! Poor angry meat hunters.

          • Randy says:

            The reality is that store bought and CAFO food operations are a very recent phenomenon and only a generation or two old. It was normal for people to hunt wild game for thousands of generations prior and is still normal.

          • Steve says:

            How well has this worked for the wild horse population. Their almost extinct becouse of this practice. So go ahead and jump on it your grand kids will only see deer in a zoo.

            • Marc S says:

              Without apex predators, deer will always remain highly prevalent. They are only increasing in numbers. Suburban yards are free food for them, and lack of predators (or hunters, due to proximity of homes) means there will only be more and more, creating more environmental degradation.

              • Lucy M McKernan says:

                True deer cannot out reproduce their environment. The only animal in living history on earth that could exceed its own habitat were dinosaurs who were able to grow Unlimited 2 size.

            • Leslie says:

              The horses are being rounded up and killed to make room for grass fed beef leases on state land

          • Danny McGlaughlin Sr says:

            Well think of it this way,you live in a house on land that deer and other animals use to live on.now they got pushed out so you can have a home and land.now for the ringer take your ass to a slaughter house and see how those animals are treated to feed your ass.oh I know what your going to say I don’t eat meat well now you take land to grow your vegetables that these animals use to graze on.and for your information you are still killing something so you can eat.

          • Tara says:

            I hunt but i am far from angry. So they vaccinate. Great until there are no deer born and they go extinct. Hunters aren’t the problem. Environmentalists without education are the problem

            • Kathleen says:

              Having deer in NJ go “extinct” from birth control PZP injections is unlikely. The Farm Bureau is working on studies using drones to estimate the deer population in NJ. It says about 15 to 20 deer per square mile is considered sustainable but that parts of New Jersey now (as of 12/2018) have between 120 and 140 deer per square mile. The injections may last as long as two years or as little as 6 months, and reduce fawning for those injected about 80%. It was developed 30 years ago and has been successfully used around the US and the world. Birth control is not contagious. Even if EVERY deer received it every year or two the deer could still produce 20% of their fawns and double/replace their adult populations every 5 years. If populations declined more than desired the program could be stopped.

            • Carri says:

              I’m a little late in the topic…but so true…Conservationist respect and use the land wisely and environmentalist do nothing for the land and wildlife…rather just the opposite.

          • Barbara says:

            Listen here before you spew hatred against hunters get this through your head, some people depend on that extra food to to put on their table to feed their familes!. Mant depend on the fall hunt to put in their freezers and venison is one of the leanest, cleanest sources of meat you can eat, because the deer live off the vegetation.
            Exercise some common sense before you speak next time.

        • Blair says:

          I hope this is not true. Please dont poison us! Leave nature alone. Stop tring to play God. Just let us eat the unwanted meat.

        • Barry MacDonald says:

          Nothing was said about how the drug would be given to the doe deer. How will the animal be marked so a 2nd dose does not occur. What will be the cost to the humane society for their administration of this .?

      • Lucy M McKernan says:

        It’s not a choice for the deer, now is it, for others to kill and eat them? If you are going to make the choice argument, you’re going to lose. Every point you make is pointless because, BEHOLD, there is now a solution. You just can’t comprehend nonhuman animals as sentient beings, and THAT is the problem, your problem.

        • FFS says:

          Ever seen a sentient mountain lion tear into a sentient deer? What’s your solution to that – ask the lions to eat lettuce? Because BEHOLD – lettuce is alive! How do you know it isn’t sentient? To sum up: all food was at one point alive, or came from something living upon this earth. Unless you’re surviving on milk and unfertilized eggs, you end life by eating to continue yours. By the way, vaccine manufacture uses the cells from sentient cows, monkeys, pigs, and human fetuses, so there’s that.

          • Sharon says:

            A head of lettuce doesn’t mourn the death of it’s spouse or child, nor do cells.

          • Dee says:

            So what do the predatory animals eat once their native food sources are reduced by 85%?

            • Channing says:

              Predatory animals in cities and suburbs?
              They would be…..?

              Then there’s this:
              “A new survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows that today, only about 5 percent of Americans, 16 years old and older, actually hunt.”
              And the majority of the money raised by licensing goes to preserving “game” animals, not wildlife at large.

      • Patricia Randolph says:

        Since wildlife and nature state agencies have been funded 90% on killing our wildlife – the 90% of us who do not kill anybody have been TOTALLY excluded from protecting our public lands from trapping, hounding , killing contests and the other horrors that people ENJOY in KILLING KILLING KILLING who we are all supposed to have a stake in honoring. We who have had ZERO power to protect our fast disappearing wildlife – skewed to PRODUCE and FARM for deer in the wild for killing – who know that animal agriculture is HALF of climate chaos that has passed tipping points sure to destroy life on earth – we do not want more killing for gluttony, heart disease, and FUN! It is the killers who have not tolerated the majority of us who do not kill anybody – especially us who choose not to contribute more to climate horrors and obesity by EATING ANIMALS AND DAIRY – we demand our rights to PROTECT OUR COMMONS!

        As a wildlife journalist who write the Madravenspeak LIVING wildlife column, the appalling fact that 60% of mammals on earth are now livestock for slaughter as very young animals raised only to kill , 36% humans still breeding and only 4% all the wild mammals left on earth – 70% of birds are poultry for slaughter and only 30% all the WILD birds left – we have to stop killing the wild to kill the tame – it WILL kill us all.

      • Tasa says:

        I totally agree. I o nm ly eat wild deer and wild hog because d tore bou g ht meat makes me sick from all the additives.

      • Deanna says:

        Yay!!! What you said Sarah!!! ❤️❤️

      • Channing says:

        Which suburbs and cities are people harvesting deer from? Sounds rather dangerous. I do know that hunting is allowed in state parks, wildlife areas, etc. in many places, which means they are pretty much shut down for the majority of populations during hunting season. Yes, the parks those same citizens pay taxes for upkeep.

    • Mike says:

      I am guessing that a woman’s right to control her own reproductive decisions does not migrate down to animals?

      • lucy says:

        On a scale of ghoulishness, birth control on deer is far more humane than slaughter. What a pedestrian point, anyway. Come on!

        • Kate says:

          Can we not let the deer live?. What gives humans the audacity to think that we have the right to control other populations? We can’t even regulate our insanity and over population that is destroying the world.

          • Dave says:

            We are at the top of the food chain!! That gives us the right to harvest and protect animals as we see fit. Just ask God. He said it’s ok.

      • Annie says:

        Ha ha ha that’s awesome

    • Abraham says:

      Murdered. !? Murder is between two or more human beings… Hunting and Harvest for food us Not Murder.. Sorry not sorry… Animals are in everyway a form of food from a frog to any prey a Large predator may take as a meal should remain naturally! No Drugs in Nature… The animals deserve to live as they do… There is nothing wrong with controlling the herds the way we already do… But Birth Control for Bambi…!!? Now I have seen it All… Its an amazingly slippery slope once we get started with the deer populations they will begin to want to control everything else that they have no idea how to control instead of using their heads they’re just using drugs available from mainstream big Pharma. My opinion is that we should leave it alone meaning scientist shouldnt be messing with all sorts of other things they shouldnt be doing… Herd management is needed in some species and I think the way we traditionally do it is Humane… To me I believe it is Rouge science just edging its way in little by little and nothing good will come from it in the long term. Leave the animals alone in the Animal Kingdom!!

    • True blood says:

      This will never happen and it’s a joke to even think it would work

    • Jeff pierce says:

      Morons! Interference with wild game has always been illegal!!! Food yes!!! Right to sterilize no!!! Socialist control

    • Lauren says:

      Are you vegan? Asking out of curiousity

    • Deer killer says:

      This has to be the gayest thing I’ve read yet today. We kill to feed the families not for the fun

    • Luenna Wright says:

      Murder?! They are ànimàls… what part of that escapes you. They are meant to be eaten. Is it murder when a wolf or a bear eats a deer? They should be culled and given to homeless establishments to feed them. Or open up hunting licenses so people can feed their families. Instead we sterilize them and contaminate their meat for the whole food chain. Utterly insane.

    • Bill says:

      The idea is insane to all but Hitler Nazis.

    • John Denses says:

      Killings? You mean hunting to put food on families tables?

    • Buck says:

      It won’t work. Life always finds a way then disease will ensure population control on over populated species. People like you are responsible for more animal’s deaths than those of us that actually pull the trigger.

    • Mike says:

      Haha haha

    • Jeff pierce says:

      This is idiotic

    • Rick D says:

      If they are born at least they have a chance. As a hunter I like seeing more deer.

    • Mike Fitzsimmons: says:

      Venison being much better protein source than the crap one can buy in grocery stores, his is very bad news for a large portion of the population that depends on it.

    • Harry says:

      I can understand that you don’t want deer to be “murdered” …..but only if you are vegan and don’t contribute the the murder of cows, pigs, chickens, etc. by buying those products for your diet. If you are a consistent vegan you have my respect for your dedication (whether or not I agree on the issue). If you are not vegan, that would make you a rather large hypocrite.

    • Nuna says:

      Yes because releasing chemicals into the environment is a great idea cause there’s never been any issues with that before, let’s not forget about the side effects to the people who may consume them. Let’s also not realize that it’s about controlling people’s self reliance.

    • Andrew says:

      Let’s hope that you can stop the mutilation of animals in factory farms where they never see the light of day first. That would be a much better focus since these animals are wild and happy in their environment giving people a food source that is not subject to the tortures and hormones of commercial meats.

    • Jeff says:

      Dear Nancy: are you going to prevent me an extremely lean meat that has no antibiotics, the meat I consume from an animal left to live a free, unobstructed life as compared to the chickens, pigs, cattle and fish that are from the moment to death kept in constrainment and who’s sole purpose is to be killed and butchered? They are also subject to the hours or even days put to extreme anxiety being transported to the butcher shop and then their disenboweled body put on display at the market and hopefully sold before they rot.
      Are you against women’s reproductive rights? Isn’t this what would happen to the deer?
      You are probably the kind of person that like to keep your dog or cat or fish in containment and only can eat what YOU give it to eat. You probably also take away the reproductive rights of pets, FORCING them to an elective surgery to remove parts of their bodies.
      THAT is sickening!
      The average death of a deer in hunting is less than 16 seconds after being shot. The defense system of body ( shock)
      also blocks pain in a serious injury. I know this because I experienced it when my hand got mutulated in an accident. I had fingers just dangling by skin and because of shock, I felt absolutely no pain for over 1/2 an hour!

      Go bury your head back in the sand.

    • jack says:

      bc deer herds are really destroying the city and the mall *eyeroll*

    • Minnesota Man says:

      We don’t need more vaccines to kill off our deer supply. The EPA is evil, just like the FDA. They just want to kill off our food supply.

  3. Lizz L says:

    Why can’t they be surgically sterilized instead of darted with a vaccine ? But either way at least the numbers will go down over time in urban/suburban areas unlike deer-killing programs that don’t result in long-term population reduction.

    • Lucy McKernan says:

      Surg results in stillbirths infections and mortality. And does continue to emit pheromones causing bucks to chase. PZP is not surg but chem.its time has come.

      • Lizz L says:

        I haven’t researched the issue in depth, just remember hearing a few years ago about GonaCon which is also EPA registered and was supposed to be different than PZP in that PZP-vaccinated animals still exhibit mating behaviors while GonaCon vaccinated deer don’t try to mate.

      • Sandy Porter says:

        There was a Cornell University study in which they performed tubal ligation (tying off the ovarian tubes) on a number of does in the local deer population, and concluded ‘This doesn’t work, you get a “buck magnet” as the ovaries are left intact and still release hormones. That was, shall we say, stupid. I can’t believe they didn’t realize that beforehand. The form of sterilization that my group has recommended before this point has been surgical sterilization of does by removal of the ovaries. The approval of PZP in the form of Zonastat-D is a game-changer since removing the ovaries is very expensive (~$1,000/doe, generally) and much more invasive a process. We have a community meeting to discuss a deer management plan, and you can bet that Zonastat-D will be a big part of the conversation.

        • Bob says:

          In Ann Arbor we sterilize does using surgical ovariectomy. In the past two years, we sterilized 72 deer with no fatalities. PZP is not practical in open herds.

          Congrats to HSUS for getting this approved! All non lethal means should be tried.

        • Amy Felts says:

          Sandy Porter, just curious, is the goal to reduce the deer population or to reduce mating? Is there a downside to a “buck magnet” that can’t procreate?

          • Doug Hesson says:

            Bucks dying from exhaustion as they wear themselves out in wintertime trying to breed barren does is a good thing to you?

        • Kate says:

          I know let’s give a sterilization vaccine to humans that bread humans that think it’s their job to control deer populations.

        • Al says:

          This is not conservation or preservation it’s extinction once the deer die of old age or by other means there will be no deer left 😠

    • Mary says:

      Because they know vaccines given to our kids are causing sterilization. Why make a specific shot when they already know what the ones they have do?
      Also it’s NOT a good thing to vaccinate the meat people eat. This is SO disturbing. They need to leave the wildlife alone either way. We built our homes in THEIR HOMES not the other way around. Man thinks their gods and infant their not! Doing this will do nothing but make those who eat deer meats sick.

      • Jade says:

        AGREED entirely. People in many areas of the US actually eat the deer meat, and depend on it every year as sustenance throughout the winter months. I have a couple pounds left over in my freezer as I write this.

        Regardless of how urbanites see it, deer are a necessary part of the food chain- and play a critical role in the ecosystem. Remove or substantially reduce their populations, and many other aspects of the ecosystem will be disrupted, not to mention the fact that they will be directly interfering with some people’s food source.

        Shooting deer is more effective, is usually instantaneous, and the meat could actually be donated to food pantries and other facilities that serve underprivileged people. Disrupting their hormonal balances could cause larger problems, not least of which could very likely affect their bodies’ ability to fight off other diseases.

        I am troubled by this development.

        • Patricia Randolph says:

          RIGHT _ all of this deer killing by 10 year olds is “instantaneous.” I live in the country – I know the suffering of the does when their babies are killed – of the babies when their mothers are killed – their confusion and innocence and loss and suffering.

        • Leslie says:

          I don’t think they’re ever going to vaccinate deer in places where people want the deer for meat, or in state wildlife areas where people go to hunt. I think this is more targeted to urban areas where there’s to many deer and people don’t want hunters close to there homes.

      • Carol Keith says:

        Humans will forever feel they can be a “stand-in” for the Great Creator…and usually with devastating results.They seem to forget that animals are formed with other bodily functions that are interlaced with the reproductive process.I don’t know but. I am ashamed of our development in this “civilized society.”Keep in mind that we know next to nothing when it comes to how many animals reproduce, yet we kill them by the millions annually.

    • Yo says:

      We need to sterilize and control human populations not the wildlife lol we are the problem.

    • Lucy M McKernan says:

      Case in point: Cincy. They did surg. steril. there, and it was a disaster. Stillbirths. Infections. More bucks chasing does due to remaining pheromones emitted by them. Ghoulish, barbaric, MORE EXPENSIVE.

    • Patricia Randolph says:

      Too expensive and traumatic for a wild being.

  4. Dave says:

    This product does not make any claims about preventing females from going into- or STAYING in an estrous cycle. These cycles are well documented to cause male deer to actually rut themselves to death! So long as female deer are producing eggs regardless of weather they are receptive to sperm, males will chase them in an attempt to mate.
    As usual humans playing God will result in un-natural biological response from animals.
    Human harvest is a natural way to provide high quality protein. Harvest is most often fast and effective and results in 100% perfect termination of reproductive success.

    • Lucy McKernan says:

      Include at least 3 links with metadata definitive studies demonstrating that having used this EPA approved BC bucks “rut themselves to death.”

    • John says:

      Bow hunting results in a 50% wounding rate how is that humane??

      • Alexis Foxx says:

        You’ve got that right. There is nothing humane about hunting at all, and bow hunting causes much more prolonged suffering and lingering death on average than bullets.

        • John says:

          First, the last deer I shot with an arrow was dead within 10 seconds. What is the source of your 50% wounding statistic?

          Second, the point made above about creating a population of “hot does” needs to be carefully considered.. It could have the effect of drawing more deer into the community that is trying to reduce numbers, while taking deer out of areas where they are controlled by hunting.

          I’m skeptical of this “Better living through chemistry” approach to wildlife management.

          • n says:

            What if this animal is eaten by a human ?? Obviously ingesting the drug ?

          • Lucy mckernan says:

            we’re not stupid. ppl now know hunters chide ea other to lie about deer getting away injured. stop lying.

          • Patricia Randolph says:

            Sure you are skeptical because hunters want to continue to kill serially this and that species and TAKE TAKE TAKE and have all the power over our wildlife for killing and our public lands for killing because they like the POWER that is denied to those of us who love our deer and want to protect them.
            Why shouldn’t I, an equal tax-paying citizen have the right to PROTECT with the license fee FOREVER as many deer as hunters KILL FOREVER with a license fee?

        • A Huntress says:

          That’s ridiculous! Would you rather them get hit by a car or Kill someone by running across a road ! People live off deer meat ! Where did you get your facts from? People who bow hunt take it seriously, and will track a deer till they find it, so it doesn’t suffer!

          • Leslie says:

            People hunt now and deer still get hit by cars, your choosing the deer’s death for them, not even giving them a chance to maybe not get hit by a car. Given the choice between birth control and going through the stress and horror of being hunted year after year by someone I can’t understand-I would choose the birth control every time

      • Meatlover says:

        Deer aren’t humans…..

        • Patricia Randolph says:

          Thank GOD they are not humans – it is not animals that are killing the climate, destroying the oceans, attacking every other creature for their “GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO KILL EVERY BODY ELSE” and animals are not out of balance, breeding billions of themselves and dropping bombs on whole nations because they are of a different color or belief system. Damned right they are not hubris humans.

      • Joe says:

        Show me the data.

    • John says:

      Bow hunting in a 50% wounding rate how is that humane??

    • Jade says:

      I am in complete agreement with your statements, Dave. This is a bad idea.

    • Lucy M McKernan says:

      stupid. isn’t that how men try to make women feel? and that’s when we’re actually more intelligent. knock if off, daaaaave.

  5. Lucy McKernan says:

    I have researched urban deer, seer vehicle crash stats, politics a d economics of hunting and cultural vs biological carrying capacity of deer for 10 years. I have conversed w many leading wildlife biologists and — having once been a believer in thinning herds — I know factually that ALL, repeat ALL lethal measures to control deer fail and that they are at best misguided and, unfortunately, more often, deliberately driven by profit power and control- – based ln humans’ species-centric dominion complex. I would prefer no interference whatsoever but this complex HUMAN CAUSED modern dilemma may best be served at least for a while by PZP chemical birth control. I am currently in appeals in a lawsuit against my city govt for illegal passage of bow hunting. I encourage everyone to rethink this issue based on sweeping metadata NO LETHAL MEASURES CONTROL DEER. Ohio Div Wildlife deliberately maintains via maximum sustainable yield pops between 50 and 75 % to guarantee rebound and future harvest to continue $$ and all these agencies violate Public Trust Doctrine. We are taking back control and revealing truth that hunting as conservation is outdated profit driven catering to shrinking minority of backyard Fudds and conflicted public park and property stewards.

    • Barton Carey says:

      Your criticisms of “fudds” reveals your true motives.

      • Lucy M McKernan says:

        OMG, you got me. I’m actually compassionate. SHAME ON ME.

      • Patricia Randolph says:

        Yes – THAT GREAT MOTIVE of respect for the lives of other sentient beings born just like us and doing FAR less harm to the earth – in fact, living in harmony and peace with each other and the earth…lessons to be learned.

    • Jeff says:

      So true on all accounts Lucy. Thank you for summing up all these previous failures and the reasons why killing is still the default method.

    • Alexis Foxx says:

      WOW! Beautifully stated. I find it very heartening that the truth is coming out slowly. Years ago, no one talked about it and it was the wildlife agency’s dirty little secret that deer are in effect bred for the bullet. Habitat modifications still abound to increase so-called “game” species for profit and to keep hunters satisfied, much to the detriment of the environment, the ecosystem, and the (on average) 94% of us that do not hunt. Wild animals have changed the way they live in response to being hunted by humans, many formerly diurnal species becoming nocturnal. Those of us that appreciate and want to view wildlife are unable to enjoy them because of the selfishness of hunters and their wildlife agencies.

      • Cody says:

        Wild animals have been hunted by man since the beginning of time. It’s not new thing silly

        • Patricia Randolph says:

          We are out of time to change and respect life on earth. Millions of years of abuse of other species have left us with 60% of mammals on earth livestock hoarded to be sent through slaughterhouses for human obesity, heart disease ( how appropriate) and diabetes. 36% of mammals us breeding breeding breeding and full of hubris. 4% all the wild mammals left – and then skewing it to farming the wild for deer for hunters to kill and have that satisfaction of the GROSS BIG BUCKS – UGH – how disgusting trophy killing is!

    • Just Commenting says:

      Unless you are a complete vegetarian and never eat an egg, butter, chicken, beef or pork, you’re nothing but hypocrites. The majority of hunters who kill deer do it humanely and the meat is consumed by our families just like you eat your ribeye steak on Saturday night — only venison isn’t poisoned with antibiotics and growth hormones. Plus it’s lean and healthy for you compared to beef.

      • Patricia Randolph says:

        It is not healthy for the environment and intelligent people who respect life do not want or need to eat carcasses, blood and cow mucous.

    • Werbell says:

      For the record – didn’t we hunt various species to extinction?

      You’re a liar. I’m sorry that deer season hurts your feelings, but every deer I kill feeds more families than your tax dollars do. People like you, of course, would pollute that food with chemicals to see people like me dead. Go figure.

    • Bob Fowler says:

      Horse manure

    • Bill says:

      Hey lucy,since bowhunting is legal in your city,i was wondering if you have seen any nice bucks ? heck, ya never know, a nice buck might be worth a road trip.

    • Joe says:

      Game management is based on biology, not some fuzzy feel good opinion. Deer populations are threaten by new diseases and you want to give them birth control. The logistics and the cost of this type of program would be a waste of time and energy on a non-existing problem.

    • Eric P says:

      If hunting methods fail it’s only because not enough people are hunting deer to control the population in a certain area. Only 5% of the population hunts and the hunting community as a whole brings in billions of dollars for conservation imagine what we could bring in if 50% of our population hunts. All this liberal “deer have feelings“ BS Needs to stop! Humans are Omnivores. We eat vegetables and MEAT! Venison is the leanest form of antibiotic free, hormone free, free range, grass fed, and organic red meat that money CAN NOT buy! I harvested a large doe this season 130-140# and got 80-90# of meat back from the butcher. It cost me $75 to butcher. If I was to buy the same quality organic grass fed etc. beef I’d be spending 3-5x that $75. And if I had a place to butcher it myself it would be free!!! I’m new to hunting only my second season and I think if more people tried it they would actually enjoy it. There is no better feeling than sitting in a tree, bush or ground blind & and having a deer walk out of the woods that you’ve been watching for months trying to pattern it’s movements everyday and here it is 20 yards away from you! All your hard work comes together. You draw back, your heart races and for that split second, which feels like an eternity, everything else around you stops. Nothing else matters. You don’t have a care in the world all you problems fade and you focus so hard on that perfect shot to take that animal as humanely as possible. Than you see that little fawn walk out behind that doe and in that moment you decide not to harvest that doe because another life is dependent on her more so than feeding your family. So you pass and wait for another day and just sit and watch as they go about their business. But that whole time you’re sitting there, still, nothing else matters. You just lose yourself in the moment. You feel so connected to the animals you are harvesting when archery hunting because you are so close and personal with them. Shooting a deer with a high power scope at long range takes that connection away. When your are that close with a bow and literally everything goes silent around you and you do take that perfect shot. You know, that perfect shot with all the anchor points you work on repeating every day for months doing target practice in your back yard. You hit the deer perfect and your heart feels like it’s going to jump out of your chest. You watch the deer run off and now you have to track that deer, find it, field dress it and literally go up to your elbows inside to the deer to clean it as steam rises out on a freezing cold day. Again you will never have that connection with your food bought in a supermarket. That’s why we hunt, not for the trophies but for the memories and the connection with where our food comes from. I enjoy knowing that I put the time and effort to legally harvest an animal, track it, clean it, cook it, and put it on the plates for my family to enjoy. It all goes full circle the deer provide nutrients for me and my family then one day my body will provide nutrients for the earth. In actuality again only 5% of the population hunts. So, shoot the animal or not shoot the animal when hunting, archery hunting in particular, provides a level of connection with the surrounding world and nature that 95% of the population will never experience and to me that is a tragedy. There truly is no bigger joy then knowing you fully Invested every inch of your soul and every hour of your time to harvest food for your family from literally the wild to their plate.

  6. Barton Carey says:

    Realistically it’s very simple.
    If you don’t like wildlife, then do us all a favor who do, and stay in the city where you belong.

    • JB says:

      We actually do live in the city. However, we have such an abundance of deer in our neighborhood that it’s become a problem. On any given day there can be up to 20 deer just in our front yard. When we first moved in there, over 25 years ago, you might see one or two in the neighborhood and never in our front yard. I love the wildlife but can’t imagine what it will be like in a few more years.

      • Sue says:

        Enjoy them because a vaccine will wipe them out for good. Think about. They don’t reproduce, the species dies out.

  7. Mary W says:

    We have deer in our backyard almost every day – they eat so many of my flowers and vegetable and fruit trees. I do not hunt. I do love venison to eat. My son and grandson’s hunt and bring me venison which is very good. How do I know that the meat will NOT harm me or my granddaughters with the vaccine? I’m not sure I do approve this. Wild horses are not hunted for meat but deer are and hunters usually do a better job than factories do while humanely shooting a deer causing instant death. Factories are well known to be horror houses for killing the meat we buy in the grocery store. Chicken, pigs, steers, etc. are turned into soup, pork and hamburger but each time we buy meat, we don’t think about how it got to the store. I would rather take pictures than take lives of animals but certainly think most hunters value the life they take and love to eat the meat they provide. Most hunters are NOT trophy hunters!

    • Alexis Foxx says:

      Deer meat may not be as safe as you think. Besides being possibly contaminated from lead poisoning which is rampant in the environment because of hunters, now we have the very real threat of chronic wasting disease.


      • Stan says:

        That Chronic Wasting Disease, is the end result of people feeding deer things they shouldn’t be eating. Bread, and suet, are just two items that are responsible for this disease. Hell, they can’t even digest bread, and it effectively binds up their intestines, causing a slow, painful death. Ironically, the ones who are knocking hunting, are the ones responsible for CWD, and many slow deaths in deer. Go figure!

      • Jameson says:

        Based on your comment you believe that every leaf is covering up lead displaced by a hunter? And this lead is then contaminating the meat of wild game? So I’m curious as to your suggestion for venison substitute? Is it farmed meat? If so, what about the chemicals used for raising this meat? What about the high presence of Omega 6 in farm raised meat? If you take away the amount of venison consumed by hunters and the persons in which they share they’re bounty, then you would need to make up that amount of meat in some way. Here we have larger farms, more domestic animals, increased wildlife displacement, more chemicals, increased fuel costs which results then in an increase of fuel usage and we all know the trickle effect from there. Or do you suggest a non-meat diet? If so, what about the wildlife displacement to supply mankind with enough greens to eat? The carbon footprint alone to farm such a mass quantity of plant based nutrition would have huge negative impact on earth. So it seems to me that hunters are choosing to provide their families, friends, and themselves with the most viable and safe option. Safest not only to themselves but also to the rest of the country. If you’re really worried about contamination of our environment I will happily fight beside you to minimize the impact of oil, natural gas, and various corporate greed minded explorations in our beautiful world…. as a hunter.

      • Donald Trump says:

        Fake News!

  8. BJ says:

    Great, so now the females will die off from cancer of the uterus or some other internal organ

    At least maybe the inhumane murder by “BOLT” will stop.

    • Alexis Foxx says:

      That’s about as weak as the argument that we have to kill the deer otherwise they will die from starvation. Give it a rest.

  9. EC says:

    Hunting is not a problem. It never has been with these overly abundant deer (Mulies, White-tail, various subspecies). Most of us behind the project don’t have any issues with hunting, especially for your own sustenance! I personally think that’s great that that is how you provide for yourself. The problem here is that the deer cannot be hunted in these areas (completely urban-suburban areas) because we obviously cannot use firearms in these environments. To do any kind of lethal management, they had to be bolt gunned and had their throats slit (which I’m sure as a hunter who respects wildlife you would frown upon). We are simply trying to find a solution that is humane and can be completed in an urban environment. This is an exciting development for many communities that have extremely large populations of certain species like the ones mentioned in the article.

    • Eric P says:

      Ummm… I Archery hunt on a 1 acre property surrounded buy neighborhoods and houses. Heck I’m literally in my buddies back yard. Most if not all archery hunters hunt in populated neighborhoods and city environments. You just don’t know they are there because bows are silent and Camo today is really good. Not to mention we are going into the woods when most people are either asleep or at work. But archery hunting is perfect in city environments because most if not all archery hunters, hunt from an elevated position, ie a tree stand, and shoot downward towards the ground and their prey. I know people who have hunted on golf courses while people are enjoying a round of golf right next to their tree stand! I’ve hunted public hunting land in Maryland and had random hikers and bikers, wander into the hunting portion and walk ten feet from me and not even know I am there. You are correct that rifles and shotguns may not work in those areas but archery hunting clearly will. I can 100% attest to that!!!

  10. Millie P. Schafer, PhD says:

    Thank you HSUS! It’s interesting to see how hunters feel threatened by this humane effort to stabilize and reduce our urban deer population. There will always be those people who get a “thrill in the kill” but many of us do not want this approach. Bow hunting is clearly inhumane and inefficient in regard to stabilizing and reducing urban deer populations. Both birth control vaccines have been extensively studied and proven to be safe. Yes, you can eat these proteins and they won’t hurt you. Like other proteins, these protein products are degraded in the deer’s body. It’s the deer’s own immune response to this protein that prevents pregnancy. It should also be noted that the purpose of our urban/suburban parks has nothing to do with putting food on the table. To shut the taxpaying residents out so bow hunters can use them for a violent blood sport in upsetting and a “slap” in the faces of all of us who want peace and tranquility in our urban parks – and want free access to them all year.

    • Lucy McKernan says:

      Ditto, Millie😌

    • Seamus Mulvihill says:

      I don’t feel threatened, but I will have something to say about contamination of our local deer herds. As soon as Dr. Millie is snacking on meat that was exposed to this compound, I’ll reconsider what you propose to do to a food source.

      • Kevin says:

        This natural protein is already present in every pig you’ve ever eaten. It creates an antigen in deer that latches on to its own egg to prevent fertilization and conception. There’s nothing in this that will “contaminate” the herds. But if you want to discuss contamination of venison, I’m sure you only either bow hunt or use copper ammunition to prevent the very real possibility of heavy metal toxicity from lead ammunition that fragments inside a deer?

  11. Lucy McKernan says:

    Perhaps I should have made myself perfectly clear by stating the obvious: Uh, yeah, my motive is to reduce suffering. Like that’s a bad thing. Reminder, this is a HUMANE society article. Wow.

  12. Cynthia Fain says:

    The idea that we as humans have the right to kill animals in some insane attempt to manage and control them – is ethically abhorrent. There is way too much violence permitted to wildlife and sport hunting does nothing to respect wildlife at all. Killing animals for sport and management degrades all life forms. I don’t agree with the idea that deer are so over populated. I think our species is way out of control with over population and lacks fundamental respect for other forms of life. This deer birth control could be a major humane option when intolerant people want to have mass deer kills.

  13. American Hunter says:

    The only reason you liberals want to sterilize deer instead of letting the hunters control the populations is so you can advance your anti-gun agenda. If hunters no longer get to use there guns for hunting, the federal government will ban the guns. Then the liberal government will be able to force upon whatever ideology they will to. Then freedom will be gone. America was founded on the right to bear arms, and hunting was and still is an accepted way to put food on the table. Let hunters hunt, if you ban hunting, hunters will hunt illegally instead, but will not be controllled.

    • Alexis Foxx says:

      Hunters already hunt illegally. Take a look at the law enforcement reports of all the state wildlife agencies. This is just a drop in the bucket, because only a very small percentage of the lawbreakers are caught. Even fewer are punished. Legal hunting actually INCREASES illegal hunting. Hunters and state wildlife agencies DO “control the populations,” which is how the problem started to begin with. Deer populations are managed for maximum sustainable yield so that hunters have a high success rate, kill more deer, and state wildlife agencies get more revenue from the sale of licenses and tags. Habitat is modified to keep preferred “game” species at high levels so that hunters can kill more. It’s a blood sport, a reality that is finally coming to light. Sorry, but none of this has anything to do with your “right to bear arms.”

      • M. Venison says:

        You’re right. Hunting has nothing to do with the 2A.

      • Phil Grant says:

        I am a hunter and this is just crazy to me. With that being said, I hunt on my family’s private property where every deer we harvest, we have on the dinner table. Sure a bow and arrow can become inhumane if a mistake is made during the shot but that can be said about many things in our world today. There are more legal, law abiding hunters out there than poachers. Poachers are not hunters..they are scum on this Earth. Killing of a species is a proven way to reduce population size throughout the course of history. Humans have killed wild animals for food since the beginning of our race and to anybody it makes sense why. I see somebody mentioned about CWD and that venison may not be good as we think. CWD has been around as long as deer have been on this planet and goes through herds naturally and then diminishes in that area. Not effecting every deer in a county or state. Legal hunting does not promote illegal hunting or poaching. That person does it based on their own biase morals and principles. Buying harvest tags does support your states DNR and they help out to best maintain deer populations that suit the city people who fear deer and to help hunters be more successful. The DNR is not about making sure every hunter gets a so called trophy buck but that the average joe who enjoys hunting has the opportunity to maybe get himself a harvest. To say that hunting is inhumane is the same as me saying people who put vaccines in a wild animal to make it not reproduce is inhumane. Who are we to control nature in this way. People may not like hunting, but its better than playing God with the animals. How would any female here feel if somebody came up to you and said the human race is over populating and we are controlling it and gave you a shot. Boom, not able to reproduce, and no say in it, but people somehow feel they have the right to do this with animals. Lets just take wild animals and inject them with vaccines because it never ever harms anything later down the road.. Selfish and stubborn are we.

        • Nuna says:

          Definitely right on the money, we expect the part about them giving a women a shot and telling them why. Cause they have been doing it for years to both men and women but not telling them that it’s known to have that effect.

  14. Alexis Foxx says:

    Your last sentence made sense!

  15. TA says:

    This is horrible and sick and lacking in long term wisdom. Chemical mechanisms to sterilize a species? Science makes mistakes, and how do we know the long term impact on deer without studies that span centuries not decades. Sick. I’m sure some folks who lack real wisdom would love to bring this to the human species one day.

    • Merlin says:

      Duh…they already have brought this idea upon us. As a matter of fact, it’s called vaccines. Imagine that!

  16. Meatlover says:

    You are completely right!

  17. Chris says:

    Why not just extend the hunting season? Venison is way healthier for you than beef. We don’t know what kind of effects that drug will have. Deer are a very sustainable form of protein. Allow them to populate normally, extend the season and just enjoy eating the meat!

  18. John Wolfe says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to sterilize the male deer? Since they can impregnate many doe.

  19. Ken says:

    Only the humane society could think that forced sterilization of another creature is humane. I understand the problem with over populating in urban environments, but this is not the solution. Since when was chemical sterilization considered a “vaccine.” it seems like live trapping and relocation in a rural location – especially a location where natural predators like wolves, mountain lions, and humans–would be far more beneficial. Relocation would not introduce even more chemicals into the food supply. Another possibility is allowing nature to take its course as it has for eras gone by and do like the rest of the animals – learn to live with, and off of the eco-system around you. Go ahead, keep up the self-righteous god act, I can’t wait to see what you people can screw up next.

  20. Jade says:

    Absolutely. Hunting is actually quite humane when compared with the way packaged meat producing animals are treated throughout their lives and then slaughtered.

  21. Pagnozzi says:

    This is a really bad idea. If you don’t want deer in your area tranq them and move them other wise extend hunting ability. One deer can feed me and my family for a long time and it will only cost the price of a bullet or arrow. Two deer will stock my deep freezer and I will be able to eat for almost a year

  22. Comment says:

    If the problem is only in certain areas then the most humane course of action would be capture where the population is too high and release to areas that can support added population. Reducing fertility rate could destroy a population that faces an overly harsh winter or other challenge to survival.

  23. Alesia says:

    I am very sickened by this news. How can we be so consumed with power that we will go to such extremes to control a wild population? Wow sucks that deer are found in the city and you might hit one with a car, SO WHAT!? That wouldn’t be a problem if humans didn’t move in and constantly push them out of their natural habitat in the first place! There are safer alternatives to making sure we don’t hit deer or wild animals in the city such as creating tunnels and “wildlife highways” that go below and over roads to ensure safe crossing. It’s used in other countries with a great success because if given the opportunity, wildlife would much rather not risk their lives. To go as far as a vaccine to depopulate is disgusting and cruel to mother nature. We are not GODS stop acting like we are. I’m not a hunter nor do I condone trophy hunting but hunting for food is far more beneficial and safer than this. At least then we can eat the meat which is better than factory farmed meat, and donate it to families. This is just as bad as introducing the gardisil vaccine to kids which in turn has a higher chance of infertility. This has to stop, and I’m quite upset that this was never even brought to the public. I live in a city, we love our deer, they’re beautiful and such a blessing, we use caution and rarely hit them because we respect and love them. We feed them fruit, we rescue them when they are in need, rehabilitate them and release them. We charish our wildlife. This is so heartbreaking. We will fight this! Scott Pruit doesn’t know anything about our wildlife and doesn’t care! He approved dumping waste into our water! We need to stand together and fight for our animals rights, otherwise we are going to see their numbers dwindle fast like the white rhino, the puma, the wolves, and the giraffe.

    • Kara says:

      Alesia, I’m with you. I love deer and stop for them if they are crossing a street. Humans are not above wildlife and if it weren’t for very stupid humans, who could care less about our brothers and sisters, there would not be a problem. Who are these muggle-humans who think they are above Mother Nature? Let nature take its course; no wonder wildlife is afraid of us.

  24. Donna Spangler says:

    Would someone enlighten me on the presence of the deer. The deer were there first given the name Deerfield. Now the humans who moved in on their territory have a problem. The solution……. MOVE

  25. Dana says:

    Hey, did you know that a lot of these culling programs are set up so that the venison they harvest (this is where venison comes from) is distributed through food banks? This may come as a shock to you, but not everyone is vegetarian and not everyone WANTS to be. Also, how are we ever going to recover wolf and cougar populations if we take away one of their favorite prey animals? And do you have any idea what the long-term consequences might be? Of course not. It makes you feel yucky that someone might hunt a deer and all you care about is your feelings. There’s a lot more at stake than that, quite a bit of it far more important.

  26. Dan says:

    This is a short sighted, foolish, profit driven idea being sold as a compassionate solution to over population. I don’t agree with it at all. The EPA did yet another favor for their corporate masters.

  27. Howard says:

    Why not just raise the limit up one. Then people could eat the meat or maybe even donate the meat to someone that needs food or a homeless shelter.

  28. Ryan says:

    After reading some of these comments I have come to realize who is the real issue here. Animals are animals they are not sentient beings they do not feel like we do. Just because you can train an animal to act caring or see wildlife doing things that you perceive to be caring doesn’t make them caring and loving. Until animals can talk I will not belive all your bullshit. You live in a fairytale land it’s time to grow up, fairytales are for children. And no your pets do not love you, they depend on you.

  29. Steve says:

    Have you all lost your minds !!!!! Do the research they used this to control the mass wild horse population… and were are the wild horses now?? Just about gone is were they are. So go ahead and jump on this.. if it gets streamlined you are basically guaranteeing that your grand kids or great grandchildren only see deer in a zoo. You all love the animals so much as long as it’s not a gun or a bow & arrow doing the killing it’s ok. You people know absolutely nothing about wildlife Conservation.

  30. Billie says:

    Omg, the animals coming out of the Trump administration….. you ignoramus people need this “vaccine”

  31. Christina says:

    I wouldn’t really call this a “vaccine”. It doesn’t prevent a disease. But that’s totally beside the point I’m about to make.

    Apparently the creators of this drug believe humans need more methods to controll and subvert mother nature?

    Due to the inability to know exactly how much effect we’ve had on any individual animal population, we’ve very likely saved animals that should have naturally faced extinction, DEFINITELY caused extinctions that should not have occurred, moved animals to climates that they cannot survive in without human assistance; or in which they’ve become a pest due to lack of natural predators (i.e. rabbits in Australia), and prevented them from migrating when climate change dictates they should (the blue crabs recently found, and which local government is trying to remove, in the Puget Sound may very well be an example of this).

    In other words, nature can’t adapt and control the population of deer, because humans keep screwing it up. This attempt is very likely to backfire, because nature is, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, attempting to reduce the overpopulation naturally, by reducing their food supply and increasing the population of their predators, but by the time nature makes these slow and natural adjustments, this human intervention will have reduced the deer population so much that it could cause extinction. Not only that, the “reduced food supply” will change the vegetation natural to the area, and the increase in predators will become a higher danger to humans and pets with less deer available.

  32. Frances Doyle says:

    I live in a community that is over populated with deer. If everyone who is on this website and is against sterilization of does would think differently if they see what we see. Herds of very sick, diseased, mamed, deformed, malnourished, new born fawns left to die cause the does get shot and hit by cars. I see this day in and day out. What doesn,t anyone get that were over populated. To see this sad and horrific situation continuing day in and day out its horrible. Please lets start sterilization on these doe,s. Doe,s are being made pregnant while nursing there fawn,s. horrible to watch……please do somthing about this taking place in Toms River, New Jersey…

  33. Mustafa ÖZEL says:

    I think people used to hunt to feed their bellies in the old history, and then was normal. Now we are hunting endangered animals with their bellies, but we are hunting for a murderous situation http://www.evinyol.com We serve people by making wallpapers of nature animals.

  34. Yasemin Caka says:

    The best part of life; The nature is that animals are in their natural habitat. I believe that they have the right to their animals, and I am defending the animal rights to the end as http://www.duvka.com. We stand for the protection of all animals. I believe in protecting their lives and respecting them.

  35. Ssaylor says:

    What happens when humans ingest their meat, I wonder?

  36. Heather says:

    1. Have they tracked what happens to humans who eat the meat? Probably not.
    2. Why not allow for more hunting instead? Deer could provide a major source of meat for many families if restrictions were lifted where there are high populations. Seems like a more economical and environmentally friendly option.

  37. Craig griff says:

    TRUMP 2020 !!!!!!

  38. Jeffery Grochowski says:

    You got to be kidding me, open up more doe hunting. A buck can breed with many does by harvesting more does you have less fawns. With buck only hunting there’s to many antler hunters not meat hunters. Yes it’s nice to get a trophy but a real deer hunter is in it for the food.

  39. Jeremiah says:

    My issue with this method is that people destroyed/eliminate the forest to build houses and create the areas they now want to eliminate the deer from. Those deer lived there before the humans took over, so explain to me how eliminating their natural reproduction is humane.

  40. Emily says:

    Just give them the HPV shot. They’ll never have babies again!

  41. Josh says:

    My issue with this is tax payers dollars will be used to put this into place, and it will fail. And ethical!? Give me a break. A perfectly placed arrow will harvest any deer within seconds. And the population is controlled. And The taxpayers who actually hunt will pay for the control of the deer. Let’s be honest and quit whining about how the population is controlled. Hunting has always been the way to control populations and it also goes to feed families, homeless people, and people that have trouble buying food. You want to use tax payers dollars to help, bring about ways to distribute the meat from these animals to the hungry. In the state of Georgia they have programs, but not in every county. We need it in every county. I would love to donate meat. But I don’t have time to drive 2 hours just to donate it. That’s a smart way to control populations. Let all get it together and quit getting our feelings hurt when someone talks of hunting to control populations.

  42. jack says:

    What happens tot he humans that ingest this drug through eating the animal? Have studies been done?

  43. Phillip B Holmes says:

    Yeah.. this is not okay.
    This is why we hunt them. If there are too many, extend hunting season.

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.