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Lethal methods favored for deer control
Lethal methods favored for deer control
By SUE REID
Deer parks will not be included in a deer management program in the City of Solon.
Following a presentation on a deer management program, which included both nonlethal and lethal methods of controlling deer, City Council's safety and public properties committee asked that deer parks be removed from any future plan and that a less expensive culling program be explored.
Public Works Commissioner James S. Stanek said he will return to the committee's next meeting with further information.
A presentation on deer parks was made to the committee at a previous meeting by Chuck Naegle, of Urban Deer Solutions out of Hinkley. A nonlethal and relatively new approach, deer parks would be areas designated to draw the deer to feed, thus keeping them from the roadways, he said.
In researching the deer parks, Mr. Stanek said, they are in more open, less-populated areas. "To try to apply that technology to the city would be very limited," he said. "You can't plant food to attract deer and then get a nuisance permit to remove them."
"In putting this plan together, I was uncomfortable with the presentation on deer parks," Councilman William I. Russo said. "A number of questions were asked by this committee, and there were no answers." He said he has heard feedback from residents asking why the city could even consider such a thing.
"I would not feel comfortable moving forward with this plan with deer parks in it," Mr. Russo said.
Councilman Richard A. Bell asked Mr. Stanek if the data that the committee had requested on the deer parks and the claim that they reduce deer-vehicle accidents had been provided to him.
Mr. Stanek said no.
"The information he provided us on deer parks was hypothetical and experimental at best," Mr. Bell said, referring to Mr. Naegle. "I don't want to experiment with taxpayers' dollars."
Councilman Edward H. Kraus said deer parks would cause more problems.
Mr. Stanek shared statistics on the rising number of deer in the city, as well as deer-vehicle accidents, especially since culling was stopped due to budgetary concerns in 2009.
"The purpose of this plan is to put forth a program that will maintain the deer population at a level which is acceptable from a safety and nuisance perspective," according to the plan Mr. Stanek presented.
Options presented in the plan to the committee included a pilot bowhunting program, previously tabled by City Council, and such nonlethal forms of deer management as Strieter-Lites, fencing and unpalatable landscape plantings and repellents.
A bowhunting program would use large areas of city-owned property and would be heavily regulated, Mr. Stanek said. If the city would go with that type of program, it could begin when deer season opens in late September, he said.
Mr. Kraus said he would not be comfortable with a bowhunting program due to safety concerns. "If bowhunting is done in remote areas, how can we correlate it to public safety?" he asked. Culling was done in residential areas near major intersections, which led to a reduction in deer-vehicle accidents, he said.
Mr. Russo said remote areas are still important to handle. Deer come out of those remote areas and cause accidents, he said.
The plan also noted the costs associated with sharpshooting, which the city undertook back in 2005. In the four years the city had the program, it spent approximately $500,000.
"Nobody can say it hasn't been effective," Mr. Stanek said of sharpshooting, "but, unfortunately, it was expensive." Solon went with the "Cadillac" version of the sharpshooting program, he said.
"There's irrefutable evidence that culling works," Mr. Kraus said. "The numbers speak for themselves."
Of the information that Mr. Stanek compiled in the program, he included the fact that most experts suggest that the property density level for deer is 20 to 25 per square mile in a rural setting. That ratio should be closer to 10 to 15 in a suburban setting, the report said.
Based on Solon's 20.6 square miles, that number should be managed between 206 and 309 deer citywide. Solon's count in 2010 was upwards of 700.
Mr. Kraus said public education is a critical component of the plan, and it was not focused on enough in the past.
"I don't think we can cull our way out of it," Mr. Kraus said of the deer situation. "It would be cost prohibitive to do that."
He said he would favor looking into limited culling to manage the deer population.
Mr. Russo said, if the city would go with a complete nonlethal approach to deer management, "it does not do anything to control the population." He noted that, in the report from Mr. Stanek, white-tailed deer numbered 17,000 in 1970 and today, in the state of Ohio, there are 750,000.
"There is no logic in saying we will do anything to rectify the problem" with only nonlethal means, Mr. Russo said. "It will only get worse," he said. "We have got to go from emotion to facts, and the facts speak for themselves."
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