BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Spaying to control the population of domesticated animals is being given a try in the wild. As Alex DeMetrick reports, the target are deer who share space with people.
From bows to bullets, hunters target deer for meat and sport, but National Resources managers rely on hunters to control a massive deer population.
“Without question, hunting remains the most effective management tool,” said Paul Peditto, director of DNR Wildlife & Heritage.
But those looking for non-lethal population control turned to tranquilizer darts in an experiment near Loch Raven Reservoir, where 32 female deer were spayed. It was a 20-minute procedure that released deer back into the wild who cannot reproduce.
“Even if they only had one fawn each, that’s 32 fawn that won’t be born,” said Enid Feinberg, Wildlife Rescue Inc.
Contraceptive darts have been tried before in Maryland but they must be administered once a year. It takes money and time to control reproduction.
“It certainly has its practical limitations,” Peditto said.
“We really wanted to bring something to suburban communities where weapons and guns and bows and arrows aren’t appropriate in neighborhoods,” Feinberg said.
DNR agrees hunting is not always an option, especially when deer live so close to people, so spaying will be studied.
The spaying research is being paid for with private money on private land.