MEDINA, Ohio — Deer are a common sight in the city, and they can be considered a nuisance by residents because the animals can cause damage and often eat plants in people’s gardens.
City council, residents and other officials met last week to discuss legislation and the deer population at a meeting of the council’s special legislation committee.
“The main population of deer in a deer habitat, in general…a number equates to 20 deer per square mile,” said Geoff Westerfield, assistant supervisor of wildlife management at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR ).
Westerfield shared that Medina far exceeded that amount.
“The way we deal with deer in Ohio is that we’re looking at two investigations. We’re interviewing hunters and we’re interviewing farmers, and we’re asking them the exact same question: ‘Do you want to see more deer, less deer, or about the same thing?’” Westerfield said.
He shared that in general, farmers want fewer deer and hunters want more.
There are several ways to control a city’s deer population. Two of the most commonly talked about are deer birth control and urban culling or archery.
Westerfield explained that birth control may not be the most effective way because deer can travel and it can be difficult to track.
“There is no big fence around Medina; there is no great wall around Medina. Deer come and go,” Westerfield said.
Culling, also known as urban archery, has been discussed as an option to control the deer population in the city.
Westerfield has expressed concerns about how safety can be guaranteed if such a cull is carried out.
“Urban deer hunting is very different,” Westerfield said of culling in a city versus hunting deer in the wild.
He explained that deer living in cities are often not too bothered by humans because they are used to people, unlike wild deer. Hunters will be able to get a little closer to deer in a town, and when shot, these deer tend to fall right away, unlike wild deer which are prone to running.
Urban archery can be practiced by residents on their own property, so this option would be inexpensive for the city. If the city were to go ahead with this type of culling, residents could apply for hunting permits. After that, their property would be assessed to see if it is safe to hunt there.
The committee will have two more meetings to discuss this. Their third meeting will result in a vote on the matter.
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