New York Times comes out in favor of hunting

The gun-hating, anti-hunting liberals at the New York Times editorial board are all in favor of hunting as long as the targets are deer whose exploding population is making life miserable for the rich and famous in the Hamptons. In a year-end editorial, the Gray Lady opined:

In eastern Long Island, especially in and around the town of East Hampton, the privet hedges, gentle dunes and white-seashell paths present a vision of a natural world tamed and tailored to the high aesthetic standards of the finest fashion and home-décor magazines. It's a bit of English countryside, but with bigger cars.

It certainly does sound like members of the editorial board enjoy their weekends in the Hamptons. So civilized! But there is trouble in this paradise

Yet even here, wild nature is not fully subdued. For evidence, one can visit the area's auto body shops and doctor's offices to see what happens when too many whitetail deer occupy too small a human-dominated habitat. Suburban deer in huge numbers have denuded farm fields and garden plots, caused thousands of car collisions and contributed to the spread of Lyme disease, a debilitating illness borne by ticks that live on deer. Years of mounting agricultural losses and the threat to human health and safety have finally led East Enders to drastic measures - to cull the deer with hired marksmen.

"Marksmen" sounds so much more professional than "hunters."  Almost clinical. Certainly nobody clad in dayglo organge vests or plaids in terrible taste.

Deer fanciers have sued to block the hunt, calling it barbaric, but they should acknowledge that other things are deplorable, too, like emaciated deer from overabundant herds, and humans sickened by Lyme disease. The predators that would control this situation are gone, and unless Long Islanders want to live with wolves, coyotes, bears and mountain lions, they will have to assume responsibility for their place atop the food chain. Nonlethal solutions, like deer contraception, are expensive, slow and unreliable. "When a population is this far out of balance," says Allen Gosser of the Agriculture Department, referring to deer, "you need a cull before you can implement other measures," like birth control.

Oh my goodness! We're getting uncomfortably close to justifying hunting in general, especially deer hunting. After all, deer hunters in particular like to point out that they serve the same function of culling, and that other predators, potentially harmful to humans, would have a population explosion if they didn't enjoy their sport. But to make sure nobody draws that sort of conclusion, the Times concludes its op-ed:

But in a confined island space overrun with deer, a targeted, professional cull to get these animals finally under control - and to supply large amounts of venison for the poor - seems like a reasonable option to help resolve a great unnatural imbalance. (emphasis added)

Yes, keep it professional. No blood sport!

David Paulin sums up the underlying reality:

The gun-hating and anti-hunting liberals at the New York Times have seen the light -- guns can be good, at least when they're taking out thousands of pesky deer that are making life miserable for the rich and famous in East Hampton, Long Island.

Readers responded to the editorial with the expected divide of opinion between sentumentalists and those with gardens.

Hat tip: David Paulin

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