Friday, October 13, 2006

IOWA NEWS: Hunting on Campus-University of Iowa

For the first time, sharpshooting will be allowed on the University of Iowa campus this winter.

Last year, UI officials did not allow sharpshooting anterless deer on their west campus, the area west of Finkbine Golf Course along Melrose Avenue, because authorization by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources didn't coincide with UI's winter break schedule, said Kathryn Johansen, administrative assistant to the city manager.

"They were concerned that the students would be on campus," said Johansen, who also assists the city's Deer Task Force.

The last day of UI's fall semester is Dec. 15 and spring classes reconvene Jan. 16, 2007.

"We were assured that there was no danger related to people in the area," UI director of campus and facilities management Rod Lehnertz said. "I know that the city, in working with this program, is exceptionally careful about the planning. There's no doubt to the UI that the situation will be completely ... one, organized, and two, safe."

The sharpshooting will de done by Tony DeNicola of White Buffalo Inc. The Hamden, Conn.-based non-profit wildlife management firm has been working with the city since 1999. Iowa City became the first and only community in the state in 1999 to manage its deer population through sharpshooting.

City manager Steve Atkins said efforts to keep the city's deer population down have been limited until now.

"The issue has been that we had received a number of requests from residents, but we weren't able to accommodate them because we couldn't shoot on UI property," Atkins said.

As in previous years, sharpshooting will take place within city limits, including North Dubuque Street, North Dodge Street, Rochester Avenue, the Peninsula area near Foster Road and Scott Boulevard. Areas west of Finkbine Golf Course and areas east of Clear Creek, which has portions falling under UI and Coralville jurisdictions, had been forbidden in the past.

However, Southgate Development does not allow sharpshooting west of the Walnut Ridge subdivision, which is west of Camp Cardinal Boulevard.

"That greatly hampers our ability to remove deer in the Walnut Ridge area, but hopefully UI access will cover some of that," DeNicola said.

DeNicola said he didn't know how many deer would be killed on UI property.

Last year, the DNR recommended that 192 anterless deer be killed to meet the goal of having less than 30 deer per square mile in one year.

Unless given permission, DeNicola and his crew cannot be any closer than 150 feet of an occupied structure -- a home or garage -- when they shoot.

Meat from the deer kill will be processed and distributed to charitable groups and the public.

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