Ethical Hunter

Maryland Deer Hunters Need Not Worry

Hunting blogs across the country have been abuzz with news that Maryland recently became the first state to approve use of a deer contraceptive. On the surface, this seems like a bad thing for deer hunters.

Contraceptives are a  poor idea for managing wild deer populations, yet they have been championed by anti-hunting groups for obvious reasons. Why not use contraceptives?

First, they aren’t reliable. The contraceptive GonaCon shows about a 30 percent failure rate, which increases substantially in year 2. Second, it is extremely expensive to administer —  about $1,000 per deer. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, contraceptives remove hunters as managers (you know, those folks who actually pay money out of their own pockets for the opportunity to manage game populations and thus fund the majority of wildlife and conservation projects in this country.)

However, as Candus Thomson points out in her Baltimore Sun Blog Outdoors Girl, Maryland’s move is not doomsday for deer hunters in the state. In fact, it’s not even new news. The DNR adopted its policy after a March meeting of Wildlife Advisory Commission because of the EPA’s approval of the drug last year. 

Thomson writes "the limitations on its use are so daunting, the expertise required to administer it so limited and the expense so high that it is unlikely GonaCon will ever be used by Maryland’s biologists. Hunters need not worry about GonaCon making them obsolete."

"For the record, Maryland never said it was going to use GonaCon. NEVER. It merely set strict standards for its use, which is a responsible thing to do … In fact, state wildlife managers have made it clear that they have no intention of injecting deer at a cost to taxpayers of up to $1,000 per animal as a means to control the population."

In fact, Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service told ll "have virtually no consequence in terms of day-to-day deer management and deer hunting. It won’t be used in 98 percent of the state."

So, although hunters should rightly be wary of deer contraceptive programs, it appears hunters in Maryland shouldn’t worry about replacement just yet. And while antihunting groups such as PETA might use this news for political posturing, the proper response from ethical hunters is to place trust in state wildlife managers and engage them in constructive dialogue. Meanwhile, we can all use this as an opportunity to remind everyone of the positive benefits of hunting. Oh … and offer our expertise and freezer space this coming fall.

20 thoughts on “Maryland Deer Hunters Need Not Worry

  1. lone survivor

    Make the mentally unstable person who came up with this idea use the drug themselves! We can’t have anymore people like this having kids!
    If you can’t get women to use birth control, what makes you think a deer will?
    I’m pretty sure that a hunter eating the meat of infected, oops, birth control injected deer, will end up pretty much like what happened to the townsfolk in the movie "The Crazies".

  2. terry horel

    i am a canadian and plan to bowhunt this coming fall in MD,we will never go there if the deer population is too low, we will spend our money in an other state or province.PETA is a big business,their president earn about half a million a year, the more people crying when seeing a white seal or a fawn deer killed by a hunter,(even with false picture) the more money they can raised and the business goes,MD is better to pay hunters and processing and give the meat to people in needs, it will be cheaper and be a win-win situation on a natural ressource. .

  3. jon

    I just wonder what this country is coming to when some moron thinks it is a good idea to spend a $1000 a deer to stop them from breeding when there are plenty of hunters willing to pay for it. It’s not even a garrenty it will work. I Know my bullet will!

  4. Greg

    Well the state has told us that the deer must be tagged, let me back up…1st the deer is located, then it is SHOT with a tranquilizer, then injected with the contraceptive,( if they can find the deer when it passes out) then tag the deer NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION! the meat is contaminated once injected!

  5. guy somerville

    I really think that hunters, conservationists, wildlife agencies, state managed wildlife administrators should start a collection program…..tag another $5.00 to each deer tag. Then, we can finance the Administration of GonaCon to the PETA and Humane Society morons that think they can control nature "nicely". These people do not understand and do not WANT to understand that the only way to control/balance/fund the wildlife programs of our country is to let us hunters fulfill our God given instinct/right to hunt and harvest. These mislead morons are more worried and probably spend more time with their "cause" than they do with their children. I truly hope that our men and women fighting a war in the Middle East do not hear about the GonaCon program. They would truly be disheartened!

  6. Sean

    Do the does continue to come into heat even when they can’t get pregnant? If that is the case, the bucks will literally kill themselves trying to breed. I believe this was the case on Fire Island. The anti’s will love the animals to death and believe they did the right thing. You think hunting is cruel? You should see what mother nature does to the weak and malnourished animals.

  7. mike petty

    his is stupid! they are taking the rights away from men and women who love the sport of deer hunting and peoples lively hood look at what was distroyed at lock raven i havent seen many deer at all sence the snipers took them out!

  8. Jody Stomper

    Suppose it works… then a few years down the road, when hunters are all going out of state because there’s nothing left in MD but inbred animals who’ve dodged contraception… then from where does MD suppose it’ll get its wildlife money? And let’s face it, where animals cannot be legally hunted, they have no real fiscal value to the human culture of that area. Only poachers will know what MD deer taste like, and with no fiscal incentive to protect the deer, who’s really going to care enough to enforce poaching laws? Remember, this is the state that thought limiting lawful gun owners to 10 rounds in a magazine, and making them put fired casings on file with the police upon purchasing any handgun, would somehow cut down on gun violence by the criminal element. The State government must have a lot of extra money on its hands over there in MD to waste so much of it on so many junk programs. Why don’t they start fixing some bridges & potholes instead?

  9. Walt

    Why, are they spending OUR money to do something that the MAJORITY of people I know, would absolutely say NO too??? Open up more Urban area deer hunts ( controlled of course ), this will raise more money, not watse it. Sportsmen & women need to stand up , and say NO!!!!

  10. Jake Edson

    Buck,
    This is an excellent point that I didn’t even mention. There are a ton of studies out right now that indicated residual hormones from birth control pills are have an enormous impact on fish in rivers and lakes around major cities in the U.S. I haven’t seen one directly related to GonaCon and deer, but I’ll do some digging. (I guess you wouldn’t be able to call a treated wild deer herd organic anymore.)

  11. Dalboat

    This sounds like another way for the super liberals to waste our Wildlife $$ to make a political ally rich on a plan that would only contaminate the meat and would be no more effective than condom for the deer

  12. George Kondrick

    What they dont seem to understand with this program is that the are attacking the very nature of the whitetail deer.It is this ability to rapidly propagate that gives them the ability to adapt to the rapidly changing environments and continue to survive,With out this ability they would become a weak and stagnant species.

  13. Carl Helman

    One of the last forms of pure, untainted red meat on the planet and bureaucrats want to pump drugs into them. What a bunch of whack jobs. Use your head people – $1000 per deer!!!! Imagine the result of paying archers $100 per deer per harvest. Keep messing with mother nature and see what it gets ya.
    Who would want to eat that?
    We all know who should be injected with the GonaCon; The same whack job that thinks its a good idea to inject the whitetail. Then let him enjoy a couple of deer roasts pumped full of GonaCon. These freaks make me sick.

  14. Buck

    i am a hunter in the great state of MD. This may seem like a dumb question, but, here it goes. if i happen to harvest a deer that has been "FIXED" , will i not be ingesting the contraceptive ? if so, what will the affects be on me and my children who eat the meat?

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