Archive for Thursday, November 20, 2003

Effort to cull deer sound management

November 20, 2003

Eudora drivers have an added reason to be cautious this time of year. The reason is all-too visible on the shoulders of Kansas Highway 10 and less-traveled roads. When driving at dawn, dusk or night, it's a good idea to be watchful of deer and slow down from normal speeds.
According to a graph published last year by the Kansas Department of Transportation, we are now in the peak period of vehicle/deer accidents. The graph used data gathered in a 10-year period to chart the average number of vehicle/deer accidents per day of the year. The resulting graph resembled a mountain with steep slopes.
The highlands start on Oct. 10, when the average number of such accidents first exceeds 200. The mountain's peak is Nov. 17, when 700 vehicle/deer accidents are reported. The rate then declines as sharply as it increased, dropping back below the 200-per-day average again the last week of December.
The Kaw Valley is a near-perfect environment for deer. The Kansas River and its many tributaries provide the timber they seek. Pastures and crops of corn, soybeans and milo provide an overabundance of food. Despite the reports of cougars returning to the area, deer thrive in this environment with few predators to cull their number other than hunters and, unfortunately, vehicles.
The result is an overpopulation that causes economic loss to farmers, an ever-increasing risk of epidemic diseases that could spread to other species, property damage to vehicles, and sometimes injury or fatal accidents.
To address the overpopulation near the Kansas River east of Lawrence, the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department is allowing hunters to take additional deer in a region that includes Eudora. The effort should be applauded. It's our expectation the department will closely monitor deer population for the possibility other measures could be added to keep it within acceptable limits.

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