Ed – I think if you follow the other link in my piece, to the Deer Forum Report, you’ll get answers to many of your questions. I’d be the last person to claim that the deer are the only problem facing our woods. But an overpopulation of deer does exacerbate most of the other problems – that’s quite clear.
In regards to our gamelands, shouldn’t the habitat be managed to support wildlife and not the other way around?
This sounds clever, but presumes a zero-sum game which does not obtain in nature. And in fact the gamelands are heavily managed for game species.
How do we control predator numbers from growing to the point of being too great a deterrent to our deer herd?
Geez, where to start? The likelihood of our ever getting to that point in PA seems slim, but in brief, populations of top carnivores are self-regulating. The main reason why human intervention is so critical now is to try to correct for the severe imbalances created by the elimination of top carnivores.
I don’t know who this “we” is who doesn’t acknowledge the impact of acid deposition on forest soils, but I’m not among them. However, the floral mix seen inside older deer exclosures, and in natural refugia such as the tops of large boulders or steep slopes of ravines, does strongly suggest that the impact of deer overgrazing is at least as important as changes in soil chemistry from acid rain and the introduction of invasive species (to name yet another important factor). Getting deer numbers down is key, but it is far from the only thing.
John – I see no need to “do” anything about the USP; it’s basically a marginal and increasingly irrelevant group. By linking to it, I probably gave you all more attention than you deserve. I do see the group as pandering to the laziest and most ignorant members of the hunting fraternity, you bet. I’m sure that doesn’t describe every dues-paying member of the group, though, and if doesn’t doesn’t describe you and Ed, maybe you should start thinking seriously about the company you keep.