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The HSUS Urges Westchester County to Cancel Bow Hunt of Deer

The Humane Society of the United States

In a letter to Westchester County, N.Y., Executive Andrew Spano, The Humane Society of the United States voiced disappointment over plans to allow bow-hunting of deer in two county parks beginning Saturday. The county executive approved the hunting plan based on the recommendation of the county's Deer Task Force — a recommendation with which The HSUS sharply disagreed.

Laura Simon, field director for The HSUS Urban Wildlife program, was a member of the task force and the only representative of an animal protection organization to participate. Simon submitted a minority report outlining The HSUS' concerns. The minority report was not included in the task force report, despite Simon's request that it be appended.

"While The Humane Society of the United States agrees that there is a need to mitigate conflicts with deer and find ways to enhance native biodiversity, hunting on county property is not an efficient, humane or justifiable way to achieve these goals," said Simon. "Westchester officials should seriously reconsider opening public land to an inhumane hunting program of dubious value."

While deer often get blamed for forest regeneration problems, ecosystems are complex. Factors such as acid rain, plant diseases and insect damage have detrimental yet less visible impacts on northeastern forests. The HSUS questions the assumption that allowing some public deer hunting would bring back a high level of biodiversity to Westchester's forests.


  • Bow hunting is one of the most inhumane forms of hunting. Studies show that 20 percent to 60 percent of the struck deer are crippled, not killed, by arrows. Since archery hunting equipment is meant to kill by hemorrhage, it causes a slow, painful death.
  • Deer confound lethal control efforts by reproducing quickly. They can quickly compensate for declines in their population by breeding at an earlier age, having twins and triplets and a higher survival rate. Hunting creates a bounce-back effect by stimulating increases in the deer population, which can negate any population reduction attempt.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.