MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - The city of Mentor has an urgent need to curb their urban deer population.
They lead the state in car vs. deer collisions. But they've put a deer management plan into place and in it's first year, it's already exceeding expectations.
"We've got two parks in the area and we got a lot of deer. I saw a big stag this morning," said concerned resident Ron Rippin.
There are three times the number of deer per square mile in Mentor than there should be. So the city initiated a public hunt this year, allowing archers on city-placed tree stands. They must hunt on private property that's at least five acres.
"I said we'd get probably get 25 deer in our public hunt. We right now have 97 deer that we've harvested this year," said Parks and Recreation Director, Bob Martin.
Their plan is working. Fifty-eight archers are hunting on 35 permitted areas, and Lake County's harvest is up 25 percent this season.
"Property owners that we know have allowed it, have been enthusiastically endorsing the program because their bushes are still in their back yard," Martin said.
"They eat stuff in the yard. If you put something nice in, pretty soon it's gone," said Rippin.
Martin says residents like Rippin, can not only expect a reduction in property damage, but also accidents.
"I think we'll see a considerable, immediately drop in that number," he said.
The second part of the comprehensive management plan: police department sharp shooters will hunt on city-owned property to reduce the deer population by an additional 120.
The program is going so well, city leaders think they can get the population under control in as few as three years instead of the originally estimate 10 years.