News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mark Your Calendars: Deerpocalypse Now Begins Sept. 4

TheDeerHunter.jpgHey, did you know that "urban archery season" begins Sept. 4? Thanks to all those namby-pamby liberals in the gummint, that doesn't mean you can bring your crossbow on the West Falls Church Metro shuttle, but if you live in Reston and get an application approved by the RA Board, you can hire a company to slaughter manage the deer population in your yard.

That's exactly what a Buckthorn Lane resident plans to do, though in his defense, he's got a pretty good reason.

The Reston Association Board of Directors recently approved the request of homeowner Dan Grove, who lives on Buckthorn Lane, to conduct the hunt using the services of a professional bowhunting company, Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia.

Grove put in the request last May, after four members of his family contracted Lyme disease and other methods of deer control failed to work on his three-quarter-acre property.

"Why take the lives of deer?" the letter continues. "We live in Reston, a great place to work, live, play. But my children cannot go out and play freely, and we cannot freely garden as we would like, because the deer are browsing the yard freely and leaving ticks behind."
Regardless of what you think of Grove's plans, you've got to give him credit for incorporating the "live, work, play" tagline into his request. (PS for future applications -- the RA has added "get involved" to the ur-sentence.) And Lyme disease really sucks, and is on the rise in the region. Apparently, a recent population study of the area between Reston and Great Falls showed 185 deer per square mile. Using our eighth-grade math skills and our slide rule, that means there would be .2175 deer on this 3/4 acre lot. They're not going to need a whole lot of arrows.

In case you've secretly harbored a dream of turning your yard into an archery, here's the criteria:
Lot size of more than one-half acre; hunting only from before sunrise to about 8 a.m. and only on weekdays; hunt will be held no less than 50 yards away from an occupied residence and 75 yards away from a street, path or bus stop, playground or other public place. Most importantly, only bowhunting from a stand 15 feet off the ground - no guns.

"The property owners are using a company that certifies and trains hunters," said Butler. "It is different than someone who says ' I am going to start shooting.' There is no way we would ever allow someone to use a gun."
Good to know.


  1. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonAugust 26, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Well, you knew I was going to comment on this subject, didn't you?

    Yes, God bless the Reston Association for magnanimously allowing Dan Grove to have professional hunters reduce the deer herd that gave his family Lyme Disease. I'm glad for him, but please note the restrictions RA puts on having such a hunt, particularly the half-acre minimum lot size and the requirements to be more than 50 yards from another house and 75 yards from a street. How many detached houses in Reston meet those criteria? I could have a perfectly safe hunt on my humble 1/3 acre lot (which also does not meet the 50 yard/75 yard requirement), but thanks to RA micro-managing I can't. Suburban Whitetail Management bowhunters must meet stringent shooting accuracy requirements, and they shoot down from stands, not laterally across open ground.

    Moral of the story: if you're just a peasant, you have no right, according to the RA, to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of protecting youself and your family from Lyme disease by thinning out the local deer population. Classism and elitism at its very best right here in the People's Banana Republic of Reston.

  2. Had you thought about pouring a gallon of rat poison on a salt block and leaving it for the deer? Admittedly hunters would be a bit more selective in the vermin that are killed than leaving a salt block out.

  3. If you trim back the brush, there's less for the deer to come into your yard to eat, thereby leaving fewer ticks. And while fences don't deter them completely, they do choose the path of least resistance.

    Personally, I'd get rid of my .2175 and about 10 others and donate the carcasses to Hunters for the Hungry. Then I'd educate the deer about birth control, provide it to them free, and give them day care at school when the lessons were wasted on them.

    Oops...drifted off into another soapbox.

  4. What about other RA activities now that Lyme is a accepted problem?

  5. Is the meat getting sold at the Reston Farmers Market?

  6. Getting rid of a few deer who are around this house on the days of the hunt won't have any effect, IMHO. Other deer will fill in the gap left by those who are removed. There are other more effective steps that can be taken to reduce tick numbers in yards, with rodent control and landscape management being the most effective. If you're curious check out some CDC info -

  7. I've heard from wildlife officials a lesser known fact: that while deer have a lot of ticks in Northern Virginia that's not the situation further south. That's one reason state officials don't want to transport them.

  8. The vector for the ticks are the mice . . . so Anon 9:23 is right on the button...

  9. Anon 6:45 - you are exactly right. Yes, the deer do carry them in to our yards, but they're not the only ones. It's the mouse that's required in the spread of Lyme disease.

  10. They've neglected to include that this property probably borders on the W&OD Regional Park which serves as one of the transportation corridor for wildlife. If not, it's in its very close proximity. Many of the properties near the park have fences. That's probably going to be ineffective in this case since Deerthorn Ln appears to run through the park. They probably have all kinds of disease-bearing wildlife tracking through their yard while they sleep --- deer, foxes, coyote, rats, raccoons, etc.

  11. >>Using our eighth-grade math skills and our slide rule, that means there would be .2175 deer on this 3/4 acre lot. They're not going to need a whole lot of arrows.
    I didn't know that deer lived on top of houses and in the street. Maybe you should upgrade your math to college level and exclude the areas they don't live?