Should City End Free Lunch For Deer Inside City Limits?

P-J file photo by Eric Tichy

Should the free lunch for Jamestown’s urban deer population come to an end?

That’s the question posed to the City Council earlier this week — and it’s a question for which the city hasn’t been able to find a good answer. Judging from the 7-2 vote Monday against a proposed volunteer bowhunting program inside the city’s limits, the city still doesn’t have a good answer.

After years of complaints from taxpayers, city officials had proposed permitting 8 experienced, licensed volunteer hunters with archery equipment to hunt in isolated areas on property owned by the city near Jones and Gifford and Allen parks.

There are many who are tired of the deer eating freshly planted flowers or vegetable gardens or of cleaning deer feces out of their yard. Others hate the idea of hunting in the first place, are concerned about the safety of deer hunting in an urban area and who frankly enjoy the bit of country living the deer bring to the city.

It’s entirely possible the hunt would limit the numbers of deer in the city, but let’s not think approving the deer hunt would mean gardeners can take the fences down around their shrubs and flowers. There are more deer in and around Jamestown than eight hunters are going to remove from the population in a year. Removing 60 deer is a drop in the bucket when one considers the regional deer population.

But, it’s hard to argue that the deer population in Jamestown isn’t becoming a problem. It’s surprising that there aren’t more car accidents involving deer inside the city’s boundaries given the number of deer one can see on an evening drive. And the fact that many deer aren’t remotely skittish around humans anymore can also be a problem for people who really don’t want deer in their yard.

After Monday’s vote, Anthony Dolce, R-Ward 2 and council president, and council members Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russelll all said the city’s deer population is a problem that needs a solution. Once the city’s budget 2022 budget is finalized, the city should take a fresh look at the deer issue. There are a ton of cities across the country that have created programs to limit the number of deer in urban areas — perhaps one of those programs can be a blueprint for Jamestown to follow.


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