Friday, August 07, 2009

DELAWARE NEWS: Some Residents Not Receptive to Deer Hunt in Wilmington

The feedback from the public was both pro and con Thursday at a forum to consider permitting bow hunting of deer within the city limits of Wilmington. But more residents spoke against the idea than in favor.

Wilmington Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Mike Wallace, at the close of the forum, said he thinks city officials need to keep the issue on the table. He proposed holding a Parks and Recreation Committee meeting to discuss the matter further, but added he doesn’t know when the committee would have some sort of deer control program to present to the full council for consideration.

Larry Reinsmith, who lives in the Timber Glen subdivision in the southern part of town, said the key to success for residents who are unhappy about deer feeding on flowers and other plants in their yards is “to understand deer are here to stay and property owners have a responsibility to take steps that will ease conflicts with them.”

Last year, there were eight deer crashes in the city, said Reinsmith, down from 16 the year before.

He also said there has been material distributed regarding Lyme disease and deer “trying to instill fear into the public.” But he said Lyme disease is easily treatable and moreover, there has been no reported case in Clinton County since 2004, when there was one reported incident, citing data from the Clinton County Health Department.

Barb Wells said her family is not opposed to hunting but is opposed to hunting within the city limits.

She feels hunting should stay outside the city limits “where it has traditionally been for years.”

“After living in the south end of town for more than 40 years, I haven’t noticed an increase in deer problems,” Wells said.

Hunting “domesticated” deer that have become accustomed to humans “doesn’t seem like much of a sport to me,” Wells said.

Bob Thobaben, who is not a resident of Wilmington, said, “If you allow nature to take its course, there is no control.”

Nick Babb, who is safety director for Wilmington, said “you can’t legislate where arrows go.”

Greg Keeton said staff at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are the wildlife population management professionals. Other residential communities have utilized bow hunting of deer within town “with great success.”

Bob Schaeffing said he has planted flowers that deer aren’t supposed to eat, but they did.

Deer will multiply, said Schaeffing, adding he is “really concerned” about the issue. Permitting bow hunting would help, at least in part, because “deer will move away from pressure.”

Cathie Spilker said she takes her dog out to the woods on walks and she doesn’t want it to be struck by an arrow. Deer move, she said, but an arrow continues on its same trajectory.

Wilmington City Council needs to be concerned that it could be opening itself up to liability and a lawsuit if there were an accident, Spilker said.

Scott Kirchner said he is “not even sure” the deer population in town is a problem. He said he has lived on South Mulberry Street near the bike path and Sugar Grove Cemetery and he hasn’t seen a “grand increase in deer.”

But Kirchner said he’s aware people need to be cognizant of managing the deer herd.

There are no safe answers in addressing the deer population growth, said Kim Hilderbrand of Wilmington.

At the conclusion of the forum, Wilmington Mayor David Raizk said the administration’s number one concern will be the health and safety of the citizens, and that this concern will come before property concerns.

Source: Wilmington News Journal

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