Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bucking the Odds: The Head Shot, the Lead Bullet, and the High-Cost Contract to Kill Deer in Bloomington, Indiana

Frida Kahlo "The Wounded Deer"

 In the "progressive" town of Bloomington, Indiana, the City Council passed an ordinance, despite the Mayor's veto,  and then the Parks Board  signed a contract for a company of sharp shooters to come kill deer at our local nature preserve.

Let's stop with the euphemisms of "a tool for deer management" and "reducing the population." Let's stop calling it a "harvest" or a "cull." 

Hard as it may be, please LOOK, READ,  and WITNESS.

This is what killing a deer looks like:

The  other night at Science Cafe, Dr. Angie Shelton, the plant biology  author of the study done at IURTP on which public policy to kill deer has been based,  assured us  that the sharp shooters  the City has contracted to kill  up to 100 deer at Griffy  don't miss (never?) because they use "head shots," and that they've called their tactics "very humane."

Dr. Shelton  also dismissed citizens' concerns raised about their using lead bullets, despite the fact that California has already banned them, and other states are looking into doing the same for environmental reasons. 


Quote from a hunter: "A deer's brain is under the size of a tennis ball .. so as long as you can guarantee that you can hit a swinging tennis ball on a string every time .. knock  on wood..."

 So much for head-shot accuracy.

Another caveat about head and neck shots  from an experienced  hunter writing on Whitetail Heaven:

 So, where on an animal should we try to place our bullet to ensure a one-shot, clean kill? There's no denying the surest fatal shot is to the brain or spinal column. Either will put an animal down almost instantly, and result in very little ruined meat. Under most circumstances, however, this is not a shot I would recommend. For starters, the brain is a relatively small target, and even a narrow miss can result in a broken jaw, lost eye or other similar wound that condemns an animal to a most unpleasant, slow death. I once shot an antelope sporting a fresh bullet wound through the bridge of its nose. Whether the hunter who first hit it was aiming for the brain, I can't say for sure, but the buck was clearly laboring, almost choking on blood, and would have suffered considerably had I not come across it.

Neck shots are equally uncertain, as the spinal cord must be severed to ensure instant death. Miss by even a little bit, and you've probably got an animal with a muscular wound from which it will likely recover, but not without considerable agony. In the worst-case scenario, you may sever the trachea-the animal will likely escape, but suffer a lingering demise. When neck shots don't connect directly with the spinal column, an animal will often drop to the ground almost immediately but quickly recover and run off. If you shoot an animal in the neck whether by design or by accident-it's therefore important to keep a close eye on it until you've confirmed it's down for keeps.

Head and neck shots do have their place in the right circumstances, but they should only be taken at close range by capable shooters who know their quarry's anatomy. They're also acceptable in the rare event of an emergency, when a dangerous animal needs to be brought down in a hurry. "

And this from a hunter's blog in Field and Stream on  why head shots on deer are "contemptible":

"The most damning testimony against headshots is readily available. Anecdotal evidence is everywhere, and a quick Internet search will produce all manner of gory photos of deer without jaws or those otherwise disfigured by errant headshots. The lung shot, on the other hand, provides the same lethality and conservation of meat, while affording a much greater margin of error. Even a heart shot, slightly off, will strike the lungs". (

All these photos are from the sites of proud hunters. This one, titled "Deer Face Blown Off," was taken by a  proud father whose little son took the shot, and  who gloats that you can see the bullet hanging off the jaw:

Oh, and by the way, the $31,000 the City claims the sharp shooting of deer in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve will cost, may not be the whole story.  Solon, OH, ended up spending  about $160,000 their first year of killing deer---with added costs of security, meat processing, etc.

Indiana University, on whose property Dr. Shelton's studies were done (a property abutting the IU Golf Course, which everyone knows is "deer salad bar"), is not allowing hunting on their land, nor are they helping to foot the bill. Bad publicity? 

Here's how you process a deer:  BE FOREWARNED: A dozen graphic images, but very telling. This is image number one:



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