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Hudson Valley News
Tue November 27, 2012
Vassar to Cull Deer Herd
Vassar College is once again holding a winter cull of the deer herd: Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
News of the January cull, to be held over the college’s 2012-2013 Winter Break, came in an email Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources Marianne Begemann sent to the Vassar community - saying College has procured a team sharpshooters to kill deer at the colleges' suburban Poughkeepsie Farm and Ecological Preserve, off Hooker Avenue.
Begemann defends the cull: calling it a preventive measure to keep the herd from overpoprulating to the point that it harms trees and native plants, and hampers the environmental research done on the land. The college first authorized a deer cull in 2010, when shooters killed 64 deer over two nights. Begemann says the school looked into non-lethal options. Officials found problems with re-location programs.
The cull weathered objections of protestors: one very vocal group, Save Our Deer, did not respond to requests for comment. Begemann admits it is difficult for some to understand why the cull must be carried out. Venison from the cull will be donated to local food pantries. Since 1993, Hunters Helping the Hungry has been a project of the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs. Bill Conners explains what happens to the culled animals. Conners says it is an understatement to say the meat is vitally needed by food programs across the region, many of which are struggling to feed families and individuals in record numbers in this recession-economy.