November 22, 2014

Rain and snow

Avon Lake Council considers deer kills on private property

Deer are shown in Kopf Family Reservation in Avon Lake last September. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Deer are shown in Kopf Family Reservation in Avon Lake last September. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

AVON LAKE — The city is considering new legislation that would allow landowners to have deer killed on their property.

Under the new proposal, landowners could apply for a permit and tags through the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The landowner would have to prove that the deer have damaged their plants or yard, said Mayor Greg Zilka.

Zilka said residents who receive a permit could then contract a qualified bow hunter to kill the deer on their property. City Council would have the option of vetoing any landowner’s permit, and the city’s Police Department could review the proposals.

Zilka said there also is some land — an area between Moore and Miller roads — that might be available for hunting, with permission from the landowner.

Councilman John Shondel, who chairs the Environmental Committee, said the legislation is in its infancy. Shondel said the committee still has to talk with the Ohio Division of Wildlife to draft the legislation, and the process could take two to three months to reach City Council for a vote.

Shondel said it’s evident, however, that something needs to be done. Until recently, the state has been hesitant to issue permits for damage made by deer, he said.

“There’s more and more deer, which is becoming more and more of a safety hazard,” he said. “We have to do something proactive about it. It doesn’t take care of itself.”

Shondel referred to a recent incident in November when a deer crashed through a Westwind Drive condominium. The deer had to be removed by police after it damaged the resident’s belongings.

The city has been working on a solution to the growing deer problem but has been continually meeting roadblocks.

Legislation requiring a 250-foot setback and hunting restrictions near city schools and churches have made culling an ineffective option. The city also missed out on a deer birth-control study because officials would be unable to isolate immunized deer.

Geoff Westerfield, assistant wildlife management supervisor at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the Ohio Division of Wildlife issues damage permits to other communities that have experienced problems with deer.

“I really like this kind of program,” he said. “It’s not the city deciding on what the appropriate level is. It’s the residents determining their tolerance level.”

Westerfield, who has been working with the city to examine the issue of deer overpopulation, said it’s a misconception that the city hasn’t been doing anything to address the issue.

“The mayor has taken some flack from people who say he’s not doing anything, but from being in the meetings, I can tell you that we’ve actually accomplished quite a bit,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    Next it will be the geese, raccoons, squirrels, birds,………………………

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      When those animals become a nuisance, there are already “qualified” people who dispatch them. Licensed animal trappers and exterminators already trap and kill those animals.

      • stillsleepyeyes

        Yes you are correct, and when the animals are all the gone at least we will have goggle to remember them by……………..

        • Brian_Reinhardt

          The only time a trapper can trap an animal is in season and the only time an exterminator can kill an animal is if they’re labeled a nuisance. Trappers use the fur and exterminators will only trap an animal when there’s a proven need.

          Lighten up already…

          • Matthew Jackson

            Stillsleepy, wake up, the state and city officials would not let it go that far. They plan what’s called conservation, and one of the best ways is through hunting and trapping. It’s because of us hunters and trappers that you even get to see these animals in the first place. Do some reading to educate yourself on the advantages of conservation.

  • William

    Who is going to kill Mother Nature? She kills your yards and plants every winter :0

    • William

      I should add that I was only half serious. (before the people who comment on here so much you would think it was their job start commenting)

      • stillsleepyeyes

        which half…………the plants or yards…………lmao