To the Editor:
It seems ironic that the RA approved bow hunting of deer less than a 1/2 mile away from Reston’s prized multi-million dollar Nature Center [“Bow Hunting to Help Deer Management,” Reston Connection, July 2-8, 2014]. The mission of the Nature Center is “to provide good environmental stewardship.” ”Does that not include stewardship to the inhabitants of our environment? Bow hunting can result in a slow painful death. Why choose that when humane alternatives exist?
Suburban Whitetail Management, a professional hunting organization, presented a compelling case to the RA board. However, they have their own agenda: hunting. Has a deer count been conducted in Reston by an impartial party? If there is indeed a population problem, why not follow Fairfax City’s forward-thinking lead and implement a sterilization program? Hunting has been shown to be an ineffective way to reduce deer population because the deer compensate in the following years through multiple births. Sterilization eliminates this possibility.
Deer are also blamed for the loss of our forest understory. On my daily walks through the Reston woods, I see plenty of oak saplings but most of them are being choked by invasive plants. Why not implement a summer job program where the sole job is to remove invasive species? It would help our natural areas while teaching young people about native and invasive plants and their effect on our environment.
Killing deer is the “easy” answer to a very complex problem. On Sept. 25, the RA board is going to be taking a wider look at “the deer issue,” such as tying it to bigger efforts being made elsewhere (e.g., the deer hunts in Fairfax County). This could mean an expansion of hunts to Reston common grounds. I hope Restonians will attend the Sept. 25 board meeting to learn more about what is being considered. If you have an opinion, write to your board members (see www.Reston.org). Many of us moved to Reston for nature and the wildlife. A decision to expand hunting would, in our view, contradict Reston’s values.