Saturday, January 23, 2010

NORTH CAROLINA NEWS: Deer Culled at Biltmore Estate

Despite the opinion of a biologist that the killing of deer in this town is not necessary from a population-management standpoint, town leaders are again trying to cull the herd.

Town workers have killed 15 white-tailed deer under a state permit issued for 2009 and extended into 2010.

The number of bagged deer is way down from previous hunts. Hunters shot 150 deer in 2003 and 90 in 2005, trying to keep the deer from overrunning the heavily wooded town next to sprawling Biltmore Estate.

But a local wildlife biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Commission says in his opinion the town doesn't need to shoot any deer. “I don't think they have any problem with deer right now,” Mike Carraway said. Some residents of the town also have misgivings about the culling scheme.

Still, in the opinion of town leaders: “Every year we want to try to take a small harvest so we can control the population. We don't want to get back up to the 400 or 500 deer we had a few years ago,” said Mayor George Goosmann.

The meat doesn't go to waste. It is donated through Hunters for the Hungry, and about 4,000 pounds of venison has gone to Asheville's MANNA Food Bank since the hunts began in 2003, Goosmann said.

Town officials applied directly to Raleigh for the depredation permit, bypassing Carraway, who can issue permits locally. Carraway typically issues those permits to farmers who can show damage to their property with deer eating soybeans or bear eating corn.

Residential property owners can also apply for depredation permits to kill deer if they can show the animals are eating their shrubbery and landscaping.

Full story at: Asheville Citizen-Times

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