Article Comment 

The buck stops here: Why deer farms are a bad idea




We have farm-raised catfish. Why not farm-raised deer?  


A bill that would have allowed genetically enhanced deer to be raised on farms in Mississippi bounded out of a state Senate committee this week, only to get shot down Tuesday when it didn''t find enough votes for passage.  


The bill, introduced by Sen. Tommy Gollott, a Republican from Biloxi, ostensibly would have allowed farmers to grow bucks and does next to their cotton and corn. Deer could be bred and sold, and of course, hunted. 


The actual goal of deer breeding can be summed up in two words: monster bucks. Deer breeding is, indeed, big business in other states. Hunting camps in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and elsewhere lure visitors with the promise of bagging a trophy deer bred from champion lineage. 


There might be money in this, but there were concerns about the bill. One, raised by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, was that sicknesses deer might catch on farms could spread to Mississippi''s native deer population. If you''re keeping score: Healthy, wild deer -- good. Diseased, mutant deer -- bad. 


Fears of mutant deer aside, we''re happy this bill didn''t pass, for a more practical reason. We can assume that with this genetic inbreeding, the deer wouldn''t be getting any smarter, which would inevitably have meant more monster bucks smashing through Mississippians'' windshields. 


We all have at least one deer-vs.-car story that immediately comes to mind. It''s starring us, a family member or a friend. The story typically ends with a totaled car and a couple dozen pounds of venison on the highway. Hopefully, it doesn''t end with a death or serious injury to a person. 


Deer breeding might be big business, but fixing cars that hit deer is much bigger. A State Farm study reported 2.4 million deer-vs.-car accidents nationwide between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2009. Insurer USAA said its average claim for such accidents was $2,886 in 2009.  


Mississippi is No. 10 on USAA''s list of states with the highest number of deer-related collisions -- the only Southern state on the list.  


Human deaths have also increased, by nearly 20 percent in a decade''s time, according to USAA. A Mayo Clinic study on deer-vs.-car accidents termed the animals a "rural menace." Bambi has a dark side, and that''s without knowing how to work a rifle. 


Mississippi already has enough monster bucks, on and off our roads. We''re glad the Legislature did the sporting thing Tuesday.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment zenreaper commented at 1/26/2011 4:47:00 PM:

I am against deer farms as well, but for a whole different reason. They seem to merely reinforce the idea that the purpose of hunting is to bag a "trophy" buck. Now, what does a "trophy" buck state to the world? Well, an Olympic gold medal says, "On this day, I was the VERY BEST that the world had to offer in this particular sport." A Superbowl ring states, "I was part of the VERY BEST football team in the United States during that year. A trophy buck? "I happened to be sitting in a deer stand when this animal happened to wander past the place I have been feeding it for the last six months..."

Lets get away from the mentality that the PURPOSE of hunting is to bag a trophy buck, and understand that the TRUE purpose of hunting is to eat the meat and thin the herd. Lets all take a vow to ONLY take does, and lets get the buck to doe ratio back down where it should be.


Article Comment bigmontana commented at 1/26/2011 4:59:00 PM:

I agree with you zenreaper. The other thing that was briefly mentioned in the article is disease. This became a huge problem in my home state of Montana, which is why they shut down the game farms statewide. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is the deer variant of Mad Cow Disease in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans. It is a horrible disease on all counts, and having game farms increases the likelihood disease taking hold in new areas of the country. THANK YOU for shooting this one down Mississippi!!


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