BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A task force's recommendations for controlling Bloomington's urban deer population is drawing fire from an advocacy group, which says a proposal to kill the animals is ineffective and inhumane.
The Bloomington-Monroe County Deer Task Force has spent two years coming up with a nearly 200-page report that includes recommendations to use government-sponsored sharpshooting, hunting and trap-and-kill programs to curb the deer population in Bloomington and Griffy Woods.
Bloomington United for Common-Sense Urban Planning, or BUCK UP, has launched an online petition opposing the plan. Group spokeswoman Alyce Miller told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/QWpZ8h ) that managing the deer herd this way will lead to "a never-ending cycle of hunting and killing deer, with no attainable big-picture goal."
"If we just come in with guns blazing, we may address a symptom, but we're not looking at the larger picture," Miller said.
The coalition is questioning whether alternatives to hunting the deer were fully considered, and it is raising concerns about the safety of the hunting proposal. The group notes in a statement that "dogs are often mistaken for deer, and humans can be accidentally shot."
The deer task force report says members rejected the idea of trapping and re-releasing the deer elsewhere because many captured deer die from stress. The panel says it also rejected sterilization because it carries a high cost and is considered ineffective.
The report includes recommendations for nonlethal solutions such as feeding bans and allowing homeowners to have higher fences, but it also recommends hunting, especially at Griffy Woods, where excessive numbers of deer are harming the area's biodiversity. The meat would be donated to a local food bank.
The Bloomington City Council could vote on the task force report at the end of the month. Implementation is still a ways off, however. The council must draft and approve ordinances that would implement the recommendations.
Task Force Chairman Dave Rollo said the changes proposed in the report will likely be brought forth in in 2013.
The number of deer killed in Monroe County has been relatively stable over the last dozen years, with 1,368 killed in 2000 and 1,480 in 2009.
Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com