Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's time, Lake Metroparks, it's time

With Mentor thinking about making the plunge into establishing a controlled deer hunt in that city, Lake Metroparks should do likewise.

If anything, the parks system is at least one of the tap roots to Mentor's over-abundant deer population. Just as the agency is in other parts of Lake County.

The agency's Veteran's Park in Mentor is as close to Ground Zero for the city's deer herd as can be found in Lake County's largest city. It is a place where the deer have decimated the park's former trillium glory and are now munching on just about every speck of available forage.

These deer are now panhandling by visiting park neighbor's backyards where the critters are pretty much doing the same thing.

Of course, the Mentor Marsh is the leading candidate for supplying the city with all the deer. No doubt as well it would be at the top of the list for allowing a controlled hunt; likely in the form of archery hunting.

And that's just how Kirtland Hills and Waite Hills villages do it just as Kirtland City organizes its own controlled archery-only hunts.

Consider as well that both the Holden Arboretum and the Geauga Park District have for several years each offered controlled and very structured archery deer hunts and the question remains as to why Lake Metroparks remains so reluctant goes begging for an answer.

Lake Metroparks has long gone past the exit for organizing such a hunt. Its reserves in several outposts of Lake County are serving as sanctuary reservoirs for deer.

Thus, such locales as Girdled Road Reservation in Concord Township, and Hogback Ridge and River Road - both in Madison Township - are fueling a deer herd that is contributing to vegetative damage to adjacent private property. Not to mention providing fodder for motorists to strike as the deer race across highways.

By defying logic as it relates to wildlife management, Lake Metroparks' on-going refusal to conduct deer-reduction hunts is also stymieing efforts by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to keep Lake County's white-tail herd in check.

With the Wildlife Division declaring all of Lake County a part of an Urban Deer Zone the agency is saying that the county's herd is out of control and needs reducing. That's why bag limits and the use of antlerless-only deer permits in such declared units are more liberal than they are for the rest of the state.

Clearly it is time for the park district's three park board members to seriously take up allowing carefully crafted, by-permit-only, restricted deer hunting. Yes, even if that means that hunters can use only archery tackle.

It is now time for Lake Metroparks to step up and address this issue. Just as Kirtland, Kirtland Hills, Waite Hills, The Holden Arboretum, and the Geauga Park Districts have done. And as Mentor is now considering.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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