Maryland to Use Deer Birth Control

Maryland has become the first state to get approval for a new, non-lethal option to control its deer population. The state will use the FDA-approved chemical Gonacon to curb deer numbers in urban areas.

“This is the only immuno-contraceptive for deer that has federal approval,” Paul Peditto, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service told the Baltimore Sun. "It was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency."

A single shot is said to be 80 percent effective the first time, and the deer could become infertile for several years if it is able to be injected again the next year. But this is a costly ordeal. It will put the state back $1,000 for every deer that gets injected.


As my state moves to spend tax payer dollars to fund birth control efforts, hunters continue to make significant contributions to Maryland’s economy. According to a 2001 national wildlife survey, the estimated annual economic impact of deer, squirrel, turkey and grouse hunting statewide was about $301 million. That number has leveled off over the last decade.

In 2008-09 Maryland reached a new harvest milestone of 100,437 deer taken, which is a nine percent increase over the previous season. Some 65 percent of the total harvest consisted of antlerless deer. The DNR is firm in its belief that a "harvest of this magnitude is necessary to achieve management goals for a stable or decreasing deer population in most parts of the State."

“We feel good about being the first jurisdiction to approve its use,” Peditto told The Sun. “It shows we have an open mind, but is not a magic bullet for deer control. It is an option in very limited circumstances and will have virtually no consequence in terms of day-to-day deer management and deer hunting. It won’t be used in 98 percent of the state."



The numbers (and common sense) would suggest that any move to use any method other than responsible conservation through hunting is a mistake.

And, of course, HSUS loves the option.

HSUS Scientist Stephanie Boyles told a local Fox News station that it's "a step along the way to better deer population control short of shooting and killing the animals."

If we don't move to oppose these efforts the anti-hunters will help swing the flood gates wide open.

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17 Responses to Maryland to Use Deer Birth Control

Deer Fence wrote:
February 14, 2014

Thanks for sharing. I found this site while searching on more information on Gonacon. I'm trying to create an article to highlight different methods of Deer Control.

Larry wrote:
June 08, 2011

I can take care of their deer population control for about $800 per deer----that will save them $200 per deer, and will feed a lot of people

Gary wrote:
May 31, 2011

A total joke. And a waste of tax payer dollars

Gene wrote:
May 27, 2011

These people should be nominated for the next Darwin Award!

Dave M wrote:
May 27, 2011

This is the best way Maryland has to spend scarce dollars? I'm curious to find out how many deer they are planning to spend $1,000 on. As others have said, a smart hunting program will go much further than this $1,000/deer will. This would be an excellent opportunity for hunters to provide meat to the various homeless shelters, churches, and jails at much less cost than $1,000/deer. I can imagine that HSUS is salivating at hearing this. Hopefully, the voters in Maryland can immediately contact their elected officials and express their displeasure. I know our elected representatives don't always work, but let's try.

Craig wrote:
May 27, 2011

How will the drug affect the people that eat meat from a vaccinated deer?

Wayne wrote:
May 26, 2011

What kind of drug costs a thousand dollars per dose and is only eighty percent effective? I don't understand why this would even be considered a worthy project. Maryland must have some dedicated wasters of tax revenue to come up with this one. The state problally generates close to a thousand dollars in revenue per deer when you consider licences, food and lodging (for out of staters), ammo, guns, bows, and the rest of our "needs" for hunting. Why would Maryland want to throw this away and then spend a grand to "maybe" keep a doe from having fawns? So much for pure organic meat when they start shooting up the deer. This is just plain lunacy.

John h wrote:
May 26, 2011

CA did this for buffalo on catilina island. 1.2 million later there had the numbers down 6 percent. Hum mm. A nice hunt would have made money and a hunt of a life time!

Chuck wrote:
May 26, 2011

Here in the Peepuls Republik some county in the SF Bay Area spent $10,000 a deer moving them by helicopter from the city garden where they were eating the veggies -- whodda thunk? They radio collared them and within 90 days they were all dead. So $300 large down the drain and it could have been accomplished by SELLING PERMITS to bow hunters. No cost to taxpayers. Bow hunters have a good hunt close to home. No more deer munching on the citizens veggies. State makes money instead of spening it. Now that IS a novel thought.

Ronadd Hill wrote:
May 26, 2011

This is the first I heard of this and I live inMD> . Hunting was taught to me by my father and I am dumbfonded by this. Let the HUNTERS of MD take cotroll and the problem can be solved .

Dick Whittaker wrote:
May 26, 2011

The contraceptive should have been given to the parents of the one that suggested this insane idea!

Jimmy Young wrote:
May 26, 2011

As a sorry to say "Marylander" this just another attempt at limiting law abiding Maryland residents their 2nd Admendment rights as eventually the end of dear hunting in the state. We live in one of the most restricted states there is due to the politics such as Mulcowski and others. it is not right to change the way hunters have kept the population under control for many years. Maryland has limited hunting areas which have large populations of dear that can not be hunted. If these areas were to be open to bow hunters the problem could be controled.

Jimbee Smith wrote:
May 26, 2011

If the herd is controlled by this method then the next step would be to cut hunting back because of non reproduction. The tax payers are loosing~ the hunters are loosing & the deer are loosing. I'm in agreement with Mr R Jones allow the hunting to control the herd populations. Even special hunts by Tax paying & Hunting Licensed persons for use in the Jails/Soup Kitchens & the like would be better than a bunch of non-producing deer running around causing the same problem they are now … feeding on peoples plants, causing vehicle safety problems and not benifiting the Tax payers of the state as would "special hunts". Special hunts would also allow those wishing to hunt to contribute both through (hunting) license fees and deferring the cost of food provided by tax payers ~ this would be in contrast to raising co$ of taxes to all for Ø benifits return to them.

Dick Perra wrote:
May 26, 2011

I believe it is a viable and well thought out idea to be used on those IDIOTS who came up with such a ridiculous idea in the first place! VOTE 2012

Art Brick wrote:
May 26, 2011

Surprising that "excess" deer can't be utilized to feed an ever increasing population in need of food assistance. Classic case of tripping over dollars to pick up nickels.

Randy Jones wrote:
May 26, 2011

Has the State of Maryland gone completely NUTS! I am shocked that any sane taxpayer or sportsman would think this is even a remote option. With more and more people eating non-processed meat, why not let hunters cull the herd for their own sustenance ans to help feed the poor. No wasted tax dollars and people actually benefit from the wonderful healthy protein the deer provide. T the State of Maryland, I will NEVER spend another dime in your State!

David Munn wrote:
May 24, 2011

At $1000 per deer treated with the sterilent this will be a very expensive program. Will the hunting license revenue and excise tax on sales of firearms and ammunition be the source of the money? It would seem the auto insurance companies and homeowners whose shrubs and trees feed the deer in Winter are the ones who will benefit from reducing deer numbers in urban areas.