Getting Answers on mass deer killing in Northeast Ohio

NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) - More and more deer are showing up in suburban and urban areas across Northeast Ohio.

Some cities and parks are now turning to a system of population management, known as deer culling, to control the herd and how big it gets.

We're Getting Answers on how it works and why some people oppose it:

What is deer culling?

  • Deer culling is a system used to reduce the number of deer in a population, specifically to prevent too many animals being born into a herd. This can be done with sharpshooters or bow hunting, and some cities use a combination of both.

How is it regulated?

  • There are strict rules most cities must pass and follow to enact a deer culling program. In most of them, deer hunters must be licensed, prove proficiency with their weapon, and stick to designated hunting areas.

Is there any opposition?

  • Yes. Many animal rights advocates publicly campaign against deer culling. When Lyndhurst began debating a deer culling ordinance in 2016, protest erupted outside City Hall. It's one of many such demonstrations from opponents to culling, who say it's inhumane, ineffective, and could lead do deadly hunting accidents.

What do supporters say?

  • Supporters cite statistics like the car-deer collision rate, which is dropping across Northeast Ohio. In Cuyahoga County, there were nearly 20 fewer such crashes in 2017, compared to 2015.

How do experts determine how many deer should be in a wild population?

  • Wildlife experts study the numbers carefully, and use previous data sets to figure out how many deer hunters will be allowed to bag. Hunters must follow proper reporting procedure to let municipalities and park systems know how many deer have been removed from the population.

What happens to the deer meat?

  • Most cities and park systems will donate deer meat to food banks. The Cleveland Metroparks, which began culling nearly 20 years ago, has donated 250,000 pounds to area food banks since the program began.

What other methods can be used to control deer populations?

  • There is some interest in birth control for deer, which would prevent widespread reproduction. This is done through an injection, and female deer need a booster shot approximately one year after the initial shot. However, it is still very expensive, ranging between $300 and thousands of dollars, keeping many urban and suburban areas from trying this method.

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