Late-breaking news...really late breaking
So every media outlet from here to Conneticut got its underwear in a knot over the weekend about the supposed news that Maryland just became the first state to embrace the deer contraceptive GonaCon.
Except it didn't just happen. For the record the pesticide was approved for use on deer by the Environmental Protection Agency last year. The Department of Natural Resources adopted its policy on GonaCon after it was reviewed by the Wildlife Advisory Commission at its March meeting.
The policy contained nothing new. Anti-hunting organizations and animal rights groups barely blinked an eye.
In fact, the limitations on its use are so daunting, the expertise required to administer it so limited and the expense so high that it is unlikely GonaCon will ever be used by Maryland's biologists. Hunters need not worry about GonaCon making them obsolete.
The Sun mentioned the approval on May 8, as part of a column on hunting in Baltimore County parks. Then, the media munchkins with nothing else on their plate got busy and the folks who will dump on government for any reason found a new dumpee.
For the record, Maryland never said it was going to use GonaCon. NEVER. It merely set strict standards for its use, which is a responsible thing to do. I mean, you don't want the guy in the stained T-shirt at the end of the block running around accidently shooting neighborhood pets do you?
In fact, state wildlife managers have made it clear that they have no intention of injecting deer at a cost to taxpayers of up to $1,000 per animal as a means to control the population. So all you knee-jerk Tea Party types who didn't read the fine print in any of the stories, put your tri-cornered hats away for the moment.
Where could GonaCon be used? Fenced-in land, islands or peninsulas--places where you have an insular doe population and can't rely on hunting. That rules out most state-owned land.
The pesticide is 80 percent effective the first year, but drops off to 50 percent the second year. Licensed experts would have to locate the deer for a booster shot on a regular basis. That counts out DNR, which is a little low in the manpower department.
So what really happened? Maryland wildlife managers set standards two months ago for a substance that might be used by private landowners willing to shell out big money to make their deer go away.
Where's the news in that?