First Round of Deer Cull Completed

Illustration by Cindy Lin.

Thirty-seven deer were culled in the first round of sharpshooting in the Crum Woods completed over break. The status of the cull was announced in the official news release on the subject provided by Jeff Jabco who supervised the sharpshooting as the Co-Chair of the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee and the College’s Head of Grounds. Hunters licensed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) used bow and arrows, Jabco stated in an e-mail. This hunt was in accordance with new regulations passed by the PGC in the spring of 2009 which requires “all private landholders and municipalities to allow hunting in conjunction with any cull.” The meat from the hunt was donated to Chester City Team Ministries.

There was no “target number” of deer to cull this year, Jabco stated in the same e-mail. “The Crum Woods Stewardship Committee is now embarking on a program of monitoring in the woods to evaluate deer pressure on the revegetation and growth of native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The results of this monitoring process will inform the committee about future deer culls,” he said.

The completion of this first cull comes after a lengthy process to address concerns about an overabundance of deer in the Crum inspired by a 2003 report commissioned by the Committee that identified deer as a “profound” threat to the sustainability of the woods, according to the Commission’s website. The Board of Managers accepted the CWSC’s recommendation that a cull be carried out in April 2008. But the process was delayed by the PGC’s reviewed of the College’s application to carry out the cull their new regulations last spring.

While the Committee has stressed that the decision to use a cull to address deer overpopulation was the best solution possible, some students and members of the community felt that not all possibilities were given due consideration. Ethan Bogdan ‘13 wrote an editorial for the Daily Gazette in November 2008 in which he argued for using a contraceptive approach as a more ethical means of managing the Crum’s deer. Bogdan reemphasized his preference for the use of contraceptives to sharpshooters.

Bogdan also raised questions about the number of deer culled based on the difference between the recommended number of deer to be culled and the actual number that was culled. “Particularly in light of the fact that National Lands Trust and Continental Conservation rated the ‘forest health and integrity’ of the Crum Woods ‘fair to very good’ in 2003, with Natural Resource Consultants adding that it might take only a few years for the Woods to recover, this apparent disparity [between the number of deer culled and the number of deer Shissler recommended culling] could cast significant doubt as to the immediacy of the threat posed by overpopulation – an immediacy upon which many of the justifications for hunting were originally premised,” Bogdan stated in an e-mail.

However, Allegra Black ‘11, who has both conducted research on deer herbivory in the Crum and was a vocal participant in the online debate following Bogdan’s November 2008 editorial, said that she was glad the cull had finally been carried out, “…because our ecosystem was in dire need of it…” Black added, “Culls are a routine part of game management in both metropolitan and rural areas, and the debate just got way too ridiculous because of [Bogdan’s editorial].”

Two seasons of culls were planned originally, according to Jabco. Plans for additional culls will be determined by the results of the monitoring process of the Crum conducted by the Committee.


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22 comments

  1. 0
    Jack Keefe ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    Curtis–I'm going to copy verbatim what I said the last time this idea came up.

    "I'm afraid that's not precisely how the rating system for comments functions. Anyone visiting the site can rate comments up or down with the arrows at the top of each individual comment. Anonymous commenters without accounts have the lowest power, followed by anyone with a logged-on account, followed by staff/eds at the Gazette. Unless there's an editorial decision as a group to wholly remove a comment, there's no distinctly "editorial" action that takes place here. While it's within the realm of _possibility_ that a Gazette staffer or editor was the one to place the negative vote that hid your comment, it's just as likely (if not more, given the ratio of staffers-to-non-staffers visiting the site) that someone else or a group of people downgraded your comment enough for it to be hidden." Hence the phraseology, "this comment has been deemed inappropriate or irrelevant by the _community_" in the message now showing up in your two comments. You could likely vote the comment back into automatic visibility by clicking once on the up-arrow, if you have not done so already.

  2. 0
    Samantha (a doche) says:

    Unimportant as this is, I am quite aware of the spelling of "douchebag" (a term I use quite ). As a matter or fact, I noticed my typo the second I reread my comment and cursed the Gods because I knew someone (you) would call me on it. Geez Louise, I thought I was nitpicky about writing!

    And yes, it does feel good to sign my name in order to not be condescended by a grown man who graduated from Swarthmore 35 years ago but feels the need to pick arguments with 18-year-olds.

    Plus, probably every regular DG reader knows Argos's (actually quite probable) real name. She has written it in the past as well as, I believe, her room number so we all know where to go should we feel the need to get physical.

  3. 0
    James Robinson says:

    Okay Curtis, sometimes the DG's comments sections are sewer-like (mostly, I might add, because the comment censoring policy is extremely lenient.) but right now, Curtis, right at this moment you are the biggest turd in the sewer. Argos, far from commenting as you've described, is one of the people who knows a lot about why the deer cull was actually for the benefit of the Crum Woods as a whole (she also notes that you've not been consistent on your stance on censorship). Sometimes she says her opinions bluntly, but I never recall her making light of genocide. Sam is right to point out that even if it was meant as hyperbole, comparing the DG comments censoring to the Khmer Rouge pretty much makes you a douchebag (The term refers to a person with a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions), and obviously so (Easily perceived or understood; quite apparent). So, I hope you feel free to comment on the DG in the future, and understand that the more courteous your comments are, the less flack you'll get from the DG trolls.

  4. 0
    Will Hopkins '11 says:

    As for the deer cull, great. I'm glad to see some action is being taken. Time to reassess now, which is exactly what the stewards are doing.

    As for Curtis, I assure you Quakerism isn't extinct at Swarthmore (being one myself, I would know) and I invite you to actually visit campus and talk with students before being so quick to judge us. I think you'll find, as I have, that Swarthmore's future is secure. Contentious, perhaps, but secure.

  5. 0
    Curtis Roberts says:

    Dear Samantha:

    Newspapers run the disclaimer, "these are not the opinions of our staff", in order to make it clear that they are not endorsing certain content. To condone and endorse are entirely different things. Please see the dictionary definition of condone below if this isn't already clear to you.

    con•done
    Pronunciation: kən-ˈdōn
    Function: transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s): con•doned; con•don•ing
    Etymology: Latin condonare to absolve, from com- + donare to give — more at donation
    Date: 1805

    : to regard or treat (something bad or blameworthy) as acceptable, forgivable, or harmless <a government accused of condoning racism> <condone corruption in politics>
    synonyms see excuse

    If you feel the need to accuse me of "obvious dochebaggery", why don't you at least spell it correctly? It's not a term I use, but wouldn't it be "douchebaggery"? And why add the modifier "obvious"?

    The bottom line is that I wrote a very short letter to your paper (or posted a comment or whatever) criticizing a cartoon and you guys (including the improbably named Argos, who seems a little petulant, which is a nice break from his/her usual nasty/snide/laughing hysterically at his/her own jokes affect) chose to suppress it through your "community" screen and then accused me of being unable to handle "free expression among the student body", as if having ability to suppress other people's free expression is the crux and apex of your own right to free expression. Good grief. Are the only “good” letters to the editor ones that everyone agrees with?

    As Miles Skorpen suggested, my reference to Pol Pot was intended to be hyperbole and not to be taken literally. I thought that would be obvious. Nonetheless, as you are probably aware, the Khmer Rouge regime wasn't noted for its emphasis on free speech and expression.

    The college's decision to proceed with the deer cull (a subject I actually know a lot about from living in Tuxedo Park, NY, where it was an issue that dominated our local politics for at least 20 years) and the ridiculous sandbox shenanigans in the Daily Gazette's "comment sewer" really have me concerned for Swarthmore's present and future.

    But didn't it feel good to sign your name to your response? Anonymity and hiding behind pseudonyms is so wimpy. Isn't the Swarthmore campus still a safe and friendly place?

    Curtis Roberts '75

  6. 0
    Samantha says:

    Seriously? Khmer Rouge??? Even without going into the obvious dochebaggery of comparing an online campus publication's comment-hiding policy to genocide, have you never seen an editorial or op-ed column in a newspaper? Ever? Every single one includes the little "these are not the opinions of our staff" disclaimer. "The Gazette does not condone its content" fits that bill. Oh noooo, thought police at my college!

  7. 0
    Argos says:

    Also, Curtis, I remember you referring to the work of at least two of our sex columnists as "distasteful" and "idiotic" and noting that you found buttplugs etc. quite offensive as well. However, given that you are also offended by censorship, I don't understand why you cannot handle free expression among the student body. Although the Gazette exists as a publication that anyone can read, it has come to serve primarily as a forum for student opinions and issues.

  8. 0
    Argos says:

    I too am a bit puzzled by this…a silly cartoon of a deer, plus the community rating system, and then censorship of said deer…sigh. Curtis, how was Swarthmore less like the Khmer Rouge in your day?

  9. 0
    Miles Skorpen ( User Karma: 6 ) says:

    Curtis,

    Honestly, the Gazette's policy is far more liberal than most of the internet. The Gazette almost never deletes a comment, and even when the comments are voted down, they are still visible on the website.

    Just like Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, and any number of other community-moderated websites, our system helps make 'up-voted' comments more visible, because not all comments *are* created equally. Sometime this system isn't perfect, but it is hardly as if the Gazette *censors* content–legally, the Gazette is not liable for any comments on its system, and the 'does not condone' notice only helps other people understand that–and almost nothing is removed.

    Your comparisons to Pol Pot is rather hyperbolic, all things said.

  10. 0
    Curtis Roberts says:

    Thank you, Jack. I think I sort of understand your unusual "community" mechanics. As for "The Gazette does not condone its content" standard, I'm still mystified/on the edge of being horrified. Please give my regards to the various campus Pol Pots policing "community" thought. I expect they're passing the snowstorm under their various rocks agreeing enthusiastically with themselves. Curtis Roberts '75

  11. 0
    Jack Keefe ( User Karma: 1 ) says:

    Curtis–I'm going to copy verbatim what I said the last time this idea came up.

    "I'm afraid that's not precisely how the rating system for comments functions. Anyone visiting the site can rate comments up or down with the arrows at the top of each individual comment. Anonymous commenters without accounts have the lowest power, followed by anyone with a logged-on account, followed by staff/eds at the Gazette. Unless there's an editorial decision as a group to wholly remove a comment, there's no distinctly "editorial" action that takes place here. While it's within the realm of _possibility_ that a Gazette staffer or editor was the one to place the negative vote that hid your comment, it's just as likely (if not more, given the ratio of staffers-to-non-staffers visiting the site) that someone else or a group of people downgraded your comment enough for it to be hidden." Hence the phraseology, "this comment has been deemed inappropriate or irrelevant by the _community_" in the message now showing up in your two comments. You could likely vote the comment back into automatic visibility by clicking once on the up-arrow, if you have not done so already.

  12. 0
    Curtis Roberts says:

    Wow. The "community" acts fast! I'll be sure to mention the Gazette's editorial policy (i.e., censor disagreement) when the the Development Office next approaches me to discuss my views about Swarthmore and to donate money. By the way, you guys should learn to sign your names to the things you write. You'll find that it's part of being a responsible adult and no one decent will respect you if you don't. Curtis Roberts '75

  13. 0
    ccjroberts says:

    I think it's a sad reflection on the current state of Swarthmore College and the Daily Gazette that a two sentence criticism regarding a silly, but inhumane, cartoon would be censored and called "inappropriate" and "irrelevant" by the "community" and "not condone(d)" by the Gazette, which nonetheless chooses to publish (and presumably condone) a witless riposte reading "Tough" by a person lacking the courage and integrity to sign their name to their posting. I guess Quakerism is well and truly dead at Swarthmore. Curtis Roberts '75

  14. 0
    Curtis Roberts says:

    The cartoon accompanying this piece showing an apparently clueless staring deer adjacent to a "no deer crossing" road sign makes me sick. What on earth is wrong with you people? Curtis Roberts '75

  15. 0
    Stephanie Appiah says:

    yay! Now the population can be controlled, and we won't see random deer starving to death near the academic buildings!

Comments are closed.