Tuesday, June 20, 2006

IOWA NEWS: Too many deer in Ames

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Ames homeowners said they want the City Council to allow deer hunting within the city limits. An aerial count earlier this year found large numbers of deer in residential areas. Homeowners said they are getting tired of watching the animals destroy their back yards.

Debbie Gitchell said she watched deer eat away all the shrubs and plants in her back yard. Now, she fills her flowerbeds with plants that deer won't find tempting to eat.
"One in particular is bleeding heart. It's a native woodland plant in Iowa and it's poison to the deer, so I just keep planting bleeding heart," Gitchell said.

Gitchell said deer generally find plenty to eat in a nearby park during the summer and don't venture into her neighborhood. Deer can still be spotted early in the morning or late evening hours and especially in the winter.

"I think when you first see these specimens of wildlife in your yard it's, 'Oh, is that wonderful,' but they do bring with them some definite negatives," Gitchell said.
Gitchell and other residents are recommending a bow-hunting season within the city to bring the deep population down.

She said the population has grown so large it's becoming dangerous to people in the community. "We have a few deer that had … entered into homes when they were spooked or startled and broke into deck windows, so again, that's a human health and safety issue," Lavender said.

The Ames City Council is not expected to take any action on this issue Tuesday night.
Several other Iowa communities have similar bow-hunting seasons and that's helped get the population under control.

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