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Deer hunting?

Portlanders give mixed views on potential foreign hunters

Observer staff reporter

Monday, February 04, 2019

REPORTS of a proposal from United States (US) hunters seeking permission to pursue the white-tailed deer in Portland have received mixed reviews by farmers and residents, some directly affected by the animals.

The wild deer, native to the Americas, have populated the hills of the eastern parish, destroying the crops of small farmers.

“Although the deer don't really affect my crops, I am concerned about the persons who are affected, and for that reason I am in agreement with the suggestion made by the Americans,” said Clinton Lammie.

Errol Campbell, who plants pumpkins, dasheen and yams, was also in agreement with his colleague.

Campbell told the Jamaica Observe North & East that the deer eats his pumpkin vines and corns, causing him to “dislike” the Odocoileus virginianus, also known as the Virginia deer.

“My livelihood is being affected. Get rid of them,” he stressed.

Orville Stewart: “I am fortunate to see the deer regularly and to not be affected by them anymore.”

But despite his good fortune, Stewart expressed concern about other farmers being affected, and so believes the animals should be hunted.

Kenneth McKenzie believes that deer are far too elusive for hunters to catch.

“I don't even know how to feel about the people who want to hunt the deer, because how them going to catch them? But if you can catch them, then kill them — because them a mash up the people plants” McKenzie said.

Farmer Sedley Roper told North & East last Wednesday during a visit to the parish that there are times when the animals eat his crops, especially his carrots.

“Sometimes I don't see them, but I can tell when a deer eats my crops. Goats don't really eat carrots, they don't root them up, but a deer most definitely will,” he said.

Despite this, Roper does not believe in harming the animals and is hoping that they will not be hunted.

While Peter Douglas is in agreement with the proposal, he wants hunting by US citizens to be thoroughly regulated.

“Just like how you have a season to hunt birds, they should ensure that the deer can only be hunted at a particular time. We have to remember is a rare species in Jamaica, so they can't be hunted on a regular basis. Have a deer-hunting season. I feel is the best way that,” he said.

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) last year gave permission to game bird hunters to legally hunt the white-tailed deer.

Farmer Sylvester Howard mentioned that the meat of the animals, mostly seen in the wee hours of the morning and late evening, is in high demand.

“Dem mostly come out early mornings and inna di evenings. Dem nuh really affect my crops. We nuh want nobody come from foreign and hunt them, 'cause is like they belong to us. Is we and dem deh here, we must be the ones to hunt them,” Howard said, adding that persons are more than willing to pay at least $700 per lb for the meat.

He also explained how the animals are captured.

“We use what is called a 'fly up' to catch them, but first we look to see where they are walking. They always use the same tracks, no matter what. We take a small rope and tie it on something firm so that when the deer enters the 'fly up' and is trapped, it can't escape,” Howard concluded.

The white-tail deer is able to survive in a variety of terrestrial habitats. They inhabit farmlands and bushy areas.