City targets no-feeding order to reduce deer population

In response to a large deer population that has settled in Worthington over the years, the city is considering an ordinance that would prohibit residents from feeding the animals.

City management assistant Ethan Barnhardt prepared a report on the city’s deer population in October that focuses on strategies the city could adopt to help mitigate the growth of the herd.

He said intentional deer feeding would be prohibited under the order in an effort to deter deer from taking up residence in the area.

After discussing its report on March 14, Worthington City Council plans to write draft text for a no-feeding order within the next two weeks. This would be a first step towards solving the problem of deer encroaching on city roads, properties and public spaces.

“Most Worthington residents admire, appreciate and even love deer,” said council chairman David Robinson. have all seen.

“This will likely only be the beginning of further study, community discussion, and decisions about how to live in harmony with our deer in the long term,” he said.

Barnhardt said the city plans to present a draft text to council within about a month.

Barnhardt said in his presentation to council that while no-feeding orders are a common first step for municipalities when dealing with deer issues, the laws could be ineffective if feeding other animals was not done. also not prohibited. He said a no-feeding law may not be effective in reducing deer populations and such ordinances may be difficult to enforce.

However, he said, a no-feeding policy could have other benefits, including in terms of the health of local deer herds and discouraging them from becoming comfortable converging on populated areas.

Intentionally feeding wild deer is “probably one of the worst things you can do,” he said. “Not only does this get deer used to feeling comfortable in human environments, but many of the things that humans feed deer can actually be harmful to their health and can even cause different types of digestive issues and even lead to dead.”

Barnhardt briefed the board on some other possible lethal and non-lethal deer mitigation strategies at the March 14 meeting, including implementing a sniper program and using control methods. births and sterilization. But nothing else is planned at the moment other than a restraining order, he said.

Worthington’s deer population has grown over time on par with the rest of the state.

According to Barnhardt’s report, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates that around 680,000 deer are found in Ohio, which has led to a significant increase in complaints about them in recent years.

According to Barnhardt’s presentation, deer-related complaints in Worthington increased by around 400% in 2021, from around 10 in 2020 to around 45 last year.

Additionally, 22 documented vehicle collisions with deer have been reported in Worthington between 2017 and 2021, resulting in property damage.

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