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Staten Island, with its forested areas and absence of predators, is the perfect home for deer and the population has thrived over the last ten years. Even New Jersey deer want on the Island, swimming across the Arthur Kill, as documented by this video. The population has been reduced, largely due to the state-sponsored Deer Vasectomy Program. Despite significant effort and money, Staten Island’s deer population is a still a problem and officials believe the reduction is not happening fast enough. Deer-related traffic accidents and Lyme disease contraction rates are still too high. Could bow-hunting be the answer?
Deer vs. Automobile
Based on insurance claims data, there are approximately 65,000 deer-related vehicle collisions in New York state annually. This translates to a deer-vehicle collision once about every eight minutes. The collisions escalate in the fall due to movements of the deer population related to the breeding activity. (timesunion.com, Nov., 2018)
Deer-related collisions can cause more damage to your vehicle than you may expect, especially if you’re driving a compact car or sedan. Larger SUVs and trucks fare better in these types of accidents but even then, the costs can add up with issues such as shattered headlights, cracked bumpers, and front-end dents.
Deer-vehicle collisions in NYC numbered 103 in 2018, a 5 percent increase from 2017 and a 232% increase from 2015. While none of the 103 collisions in 2018 related in human fatalities, the danger exists. As of November 1, 2018, the Department of Sanitation has removed 201 deer carcasses from NYC. City Hall claims the uptick in deer strikes is due to an increase in reporting and the way accidents are classified. Regardless, the deer population in NYC, Staten Island, in particular, is a public safety concern. (autobodynews.com, Jan., 2019)
Public Health Issue
With an increased deer population comes ticks and tick-related illnesses, especially Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick, a poppyseed-sized insect. Deer don’t infect the ticks with the bacteria, their bodies just provide ticks with a place to breed and grow. Birds and small mammals are the culprits. The symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and rash. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. (healthday.com, May, 2019)
Grab a Bow
Staten Island officials hired a Virginia firm, White Buffalo, to run the vasectomy program at a cost of $4.1 million over a three-year period. White Buffalo reports that it has sterilized 98% of the borough’s buck population. A new contract to continue the sterilization is currently being finalized. Many residents believe the progress reported by White Buffalo isn’t enough, including State Island Borough President, James Oddo. (gunsamerica.com, Aug., 2019)
The statistics report a 15%-20% drop in the overall deer population as a result of the vasectomy program. Cornell University wildlife specialist, Paul Curtis, consulted with the city and is skeptical about how the progress is measured. Additionally, the reported drop will probably have very little effect on the number of deer collisions. Officials, including Mr. Oddo, believe a cull is called for.
Permitted and controlled bow hunting has its issues, as well. Because Staten Island is so heavily populated, there are few places, if any, for hunters to safely cull the population. Should the proposed program become a reality, hunters would need to obtain a permit and pass a test. (The Wall Street Journal, Aug, 2019)
Deer Collision Checklist
If you are unsure about the extent of damage done to your vehicle after a collision, arrange to have the vehicle towed to Straightline Collision, Staten Island’s premier provider. Our vehicle transport partner, Skyview Towing & Recovery, can be reached at 718.966.8900.
Straightline Collision is dedicated to you and focuses on providing the best customer service regarding your auto body needs during what can be a stressful time. Our team strives to make your visit as seamless and hassle-free as possible. Should you find yourself in need of collision repair services, stop by for a free estimate at 2912 Arthur Kill Rd, Staten Island, NY 10309 or call us at 718.966.8900 Monday through Friday from 7:30am-5:00pm to speak to our expertly trained staff.