Unintended consequences: Tying does’ (deer) tubes on Cornell U. campus

Unintended consequences: Tying does’ (deer) tubes on Cornell U. campus

[Ed. – Funniest thing I’ve seen all day. Any uneddicated meat hunter coulda toldja that.  Bonus observation: it would have been kinder to the deer to hunt them with rifles rather than arrows.  Typical Ivy League thinking, presumably: that guns are the most horrible thing there is and must be avoided at all costs.]

I was not aware that Cornell had its own sterilization program.  I was aware that deer are all over campus.

The Cornell sterilization program combined on-campus sterilization with off-campus/regional hunting.

What possibly could go wrong? As the Washington Post reports (via Ithaca Voice), just about everything. …

Cornell’s administrators…chose to experiment with sterilizing many of the wild deer on campus while allowing periodic hunting on nearby land — and the result was something that nobody anticipated. …

The method of contraception chosen by Cornell was tubal ligation, in which a doe’s fallopian tubes are either blocked or severed. … At a cost of roughly $1,200 per deer, 77 does were captured and sterilized though tubal ligation. (Without the help of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the costs would have been higher.) …

“Sterilization definitely did decrease fawn numbers, and doe numbers also declined,” Curtis said. “However, these population reductions were offset by increasing buck numbers. There were about 100 deer on campus when we started, and there were still about 100 deer [five years later].”

Something was attracting an abnormal number of mature bucks. Cornell’s biologists realized that the reproductive cycle of the ligated does was to blame.

Under normal conditions, all female whitetails go into heat within several weeks of each other and become pregnant at around the same time. This annual event is called the rut. However, if a doe is not impregnated during the rut, it will enter heat again the following month and again the month after that. Because the ligated does were unable to become pregnant, they continued to produce chemical signals of readiness to reproduce — signals that can attract bucks from miles away.


Cornell found a quick solution. The one that every single Legal Insurrection reader would have suggested at the get-go, without any cost:

After examining Curtis’s data, Cornell’s administration rethought its nonviolent approach to deer population control. The tubal ligation program was halted, replaced by a program of nuisance deer removal using a combination of professional trapping and hunting by volunteer archers.

Continue reading →


Commenting Policy

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

You may use HTML in your comments. Feel free to review the full list of allowed HTML here.