Council Hears Proposed Controlled Deer Hunt Plan

Left, Tom Nelson, Ward 6 councilman, discussing the proposed plan for a controlled hunt in the city to decrease the alleged overabundance in the deer population. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The possibility of a controlled deer hunt being held in the city later this year might be decided next week.

On Monday, Tom Nelson, Ward 6 councilman and Jamestown Deer Ad Hoc Committee chairman, discussed for the first time with the full council the proposed plan the committee created to hopefully decrease the alleged overabundance of deer in the city.

The proposed plan is to select 15 experienced licensed volunteer hunters with archery equipment to hunt in isolated areas on property owned by the city. The five proposed areas would be Jones Memorial Park, Jackson-Taylor Park, Bergman Park, Allen Park and the stormwater management pond on Buffalo Street.

The hunters would be in the woods and not near the open areas of the parks. They will be using archery equipment and will shoot from elevated positions so the arrow will go straight into the ground on a misfire. The hunters would only be allowed to kill antlerless deer, with each allowed to kill up to four deer, with half of the meat going to the Food Bank of Western New York.

Nelson said there would be warning signs installed in the designated areas when the hunt is happening, which is proposed to take place from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.

Nelson said controlled deer hunts have worked in other Western New York municipalities and communities across the country. He said the damage deer do to plants, bushes and landscaping is the complaint he hears the most from his constituents.

“It’s a problem I think we can’t ignore,” he said.

Nelson, along with other members of the committee, has been working since February to create the best plan to try and curtail the population of deer in the city. He said the options of sterilization and moving the deer aren’t feasible because of the expense and work involved.

“We’ve tried to be as careful as possible. As safety conscious as possible,” he said about the proposed pilot program.

Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, and Marie Carrubba, Ward 4 councilwoman, both said they have been contacted by more people against a controlled hunt in the city than those in favor of the proposal.

“People don’t want hunting in their backyard,” Ecklund said. “Call it what you want – it’s hunting.”

Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, said he is worried about the liability for the city if something would go wrong. He also suggested that possibly the hunt should only take place in Ward 6 if that is where the biggest problem is in the city.

Grant Olson, Ward 5 councilman, said he has also received several complaints about deer in his ward.

Tamu Graham-Reinhardt added that the deer population in the city seems to be an ongoing problem that has become worse in recent years.

Tony Dolce, council president, said this is a heated issue, with strong feelings on both sides. He isn’t opposed to trying a controlled hunt, but is concerned about safety.

During the public speaking portion of the meeting, two city residents spoke out against allowing a controlled hunt in the city while one person spoke in favor of the proposal.

Now that the controlled deer hunt proposal has been presented to the council, the group could vote on the plan as early as Monday at its September voting session meeting.


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