As a native western Washingtonian, I have to say I am picking up what you were putting down in your editorial, “Local control for predators.”
I read along and suddenly realized you were talking about a policy only dreamt about over here, why I almost spat out my latte! I didn’t, of course, but was led to put pen to paper to wholeheartedly agree with you.
Now, goodness knows I don’t live on Fifth Avenue but I do live in North Bend, Wash. We do see bears and cougars quite regularly and wolves only occasionally. We lose livestock and our fair share of small dogs and cats but, I’ll agree, predators aren’t our biggest problem. Still if local control is now going to be a statewide policy, I’m on board.
I’m ready to “manage” what some of us Westerners see as our biggest foes: deer, elk and cattle. I know, right? These are the very things Eastern Washingtonians are trying to protect from the big bad wolf but hear me out.
If we’re talking danger to humans in our state; bears, wolves and cougars barely figure into the equation. Shockingly, cattle and horses come out on top in the “danger to humans” category. I say take them out! If those hoofed hooligans can’t respect me and my yoga mat, we just don’t need them around.
Would you believe deer are deadlier than sharks, alligators, bears and rattlesnakes combined? The WSDOT tracks deer-car collisions and numbers suggest that a minimum of 5,000 collisions with deer and 200 collisions with elk occur each year. Nationally the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are about 1 million car crashes annually that involve deer, killing about 200 people in the process. The average property damage is about $3,305 per accident. It seems to me that eliminating our western Washington deer would save us a lot of money. Sure, the hunting opportunities would plummet but since hunters are a graying population, we need to get creative with our bloodthirsty hooved wild things.
After all, not only are they killing us and making us crash our cars, they devour plantings, saplings and crops. They cause nearly $1 billion in farm, garden and timber damage. One deer can consume up to a ton and a half of greenery per year. Which, by over browsing, threatens bird habitats.
Lastly, these marauding herbivores are carriers for Lyme and Chronic Wasting Disease. Which some researchers say might soon be a threat to the human population. So, yeah, kill all the predators who might help control the deer and elk populations. We’ll return the favor by getting all hooved animals who may cause us harm. Do it for the cattle because they love us and would never hurt us. Wait….