Wednesday, January 16, 2013

State likes Mentor's deer-feeding ban, hunter protection laws

Ohio’s wildlife officials say they both understand and applaud the city of Mentor’s efforts to reduce the community’s swelling deer herd.

Likewise, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is encouraged by the city father’s actions to help ensure that properly permitted archery hunters there are not being harassed by those persons opposed to Mentor’s controlled archery-only deer hunt.

On Tuesday - Jan. 15 - Mentor’s city council approved a city ordinance that prohibits the feeding of deer.

In a related vote, the council members also passed a law that prohibits hunter harassment.

Last fall at the start of the statewide archery deer-hunting season Mentor approved a tightly controlled, regulated bow-only deer hunt.

Participants had to first pass a proficiency test, secure permission from one to three property owners with an aggregate minimum of five acres to hunt, hunt from an elevated stand only, have the site inspected, along with a number of other hoops to jump through.

In spite of some intense opposition the measure was largely supported by the community, as noted from the frequent comments posted on The News-Herald’s web site.

And the hunt has proven successful, too. At least 113 deer have been shot by approved hunters in the city. This figure is twice as many as one Mentor official believed would have been killed for the entire season.

Mentor also is engaged in a Wildlife Division-approved culling operation. This program employs sharpshooters from Mentors police SWAT team.

It is being conducted only on a few select city-owned properties where the controlled hunt was deemed impractical. Figures on the number of deer taken through this culling operation are not yet available.

Both aspects have earned high marks and praise from Scott Zody, the Wildlife Division’s chief.

“We are always willing to work with communities experiencing nuisance wildlife issues,” Zody says.
“It can be a challenge in urban/suburban areas where citizen perception of what constitutes a nuisance can vary widely.”

In Mentor’s case, also says Zody, ”it appears the city is taking reasonable steps to try to prevent well-meaning residents from artificially feeding deer and thereby encouraging rather than discouraging their over-abundance.”

“At the same time Mentor is also trying to ensure that legal hunting can continue as an approved method of deer control within the city limits,” Zody says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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