Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

October 26, 2013

Turn bad idea into good one

Let’s do something we haven’t done for a while.

Let’s reach into the Bad-Idea File and see what we come up with.

Reaching now. Feeling around. There’s one. Got it.

Well, look at this. The Frederick News-Post is reporting that the Maryland State Police wants to help farmers get rid of crop-eating deer.

In essence, the program would link a willing trooper with a landowner who wants deer killed.

The News-Post article said MSP representative Michael J. Brady is coordinating the effort and attributes this to Brady:

The farmer benefits by reducing deer population on their land; the police officers enjoy a recreational activity and provide venison for their familes, the farmer or the Hunters Feeding the Hungry program, and the public gains by reduction in the number of deer accidents.

In addition, Frederick County Farm Bureau President Charles Brault is quoted as saying:

If you have, or know of someone who has concerns about letting inexperienced shooters or people you don’t know, hunt your farm, Maryland State Police has proposed a solution.

I have two concerns about this idea. I don’t think it draws from a large enough hunter pool to get the job done and it eliminates license buying hunters.

Four percent of Marylanders hunt. I would think that means that 4 percent of troopers hunt. How many troopers are in or near Frederick County who would be the pool for this effort?

If it is 100 troopers, that means four are hunters. If it is 200 troopers, that means eight are hunters. If it is 400 troopers, that means that 16 are hunters.

That doesn’t seem like many hunters to take on the task of removing the number of cuds needed to make a dent in the problem.

Anyway, the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service already has a system in place that allocates deer killing authority to farmers and allows them or those they designate to remove a certain number of deer after crop damage has been proven.

If you really want deer removed from your corn or soybean fields, here is an idea.

Maryland has in place a system of managed deer hunts. To participate, hunters must show that they have a certain level of skill using the bow or muzzleloader or shotgun or rifle. Use that same qualification system to certify hunters and make a list of them to be perused by farmers with crop damage.

If some of those people happen to be state troopers, that’s fine. In any event, it will put more qualified hunters a phone call away than just relying on police officers.

The wildlife agency has also addressed the deer/crop problem in that part of the state by allowing bowhunters to take an unlimited number of antlerless deer.

Killing deer and caring for the carcass is not an effortless task, especially if you do the processing yourself. It can get old after a while and, really, how many deer can one family eat, whether it is a trooper’s family or not.

The MSP idea is on the right track, it just needs to have a wider vision.

I can envision Allegany County families taking advantage of such a program, even in Frederick County.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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