Mill Creek Metro Parks board approves reduction of deer population amid opposition
The Mill Creek Park board voted to allow hunters into the park to handle the deer population issue. The idea has drawn criticism and opposition by hundreds of members of the community.
Monday, April 10th 2023, 11:48 PM EDT
The Mill Creek Park board voted to allow hunters into the park to handle the deer overpopulation issue.
The idea has drawn criticism and opposition from hundreds of members of the community.
Prior to a vote, there were jeers as a packed room held signs stating Save the Mill Creel Park deer.
People are upset with the park's plan to kill deer to thin the population. Most folks here say the parks board should not be in the business of killing animals but preserving wildlife.
Several people got up to tell board members they love the deer and wildlife.
A vote to cull the deer population during Ohio's hunting season passed unanimously.
The plan would take place this fall during archery season, deer gun season, and through USDA marksmen.
People voiced fear for their safety due to a ricochet, a bad aim or an arrow, or a bad shot of a bullet.
Each year in the United States there are an estimated 700 non-fatal hunting-related injuries and 75 people killed in fatal hunting accidents. They ask to know who will be liable.
People want to know how someone will be selected to take part in this hunt in the park and how the park's board will guarantee their safety.
Others don't buy the parks board survey showing an average of 387 deer per square mile in the park.
Some people said the numbers the parks board provided seem inflated.
One person asked the board members why the company that did the study didn't take pictures of deer in the daytime, and explained that one should be able to see 300 deer gathered in the daytime.
Others criticize the 30 thousand dollar price paid with their tax dollars.
The price tag for the culling, and processing of meat once the deer are killed is not known at this time.
People question how much taxpayers will pay for the gun and longbow/crossbow hunts, liability insurance, and the USDA marksmen.
The Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks, Aaron Young said "We don't know how much that will cost. That will be our next step to find out those details."
Young says the culling is needed to preserve the microbiome of the park and emphasized hunting areas will be limited to certain areas of the park.
"The next step will be to notify ODNR that the board has approved the management plan in the Metro Parks. We will then coordinate with them about entering our properties into their control-type lottery system. So when the hunting season does start people can apply for those permits including people in Mahoning County.
The hunts will take place from September through February during the winter.
"The bottom line is there will be no controlled hunting opportunities within the Mill Creek proper. That's the area of targeted removals," Young emphasized.
The hunters who are selected by a lottery system will be allowed to hunt in areas that are more remote, not on Mill Creek Metro Parks proper.
There are 14 different parcels. US 224 and North there will be no hunting open to hunters, this area will be handled by the USDA.
Albino deer and some other deer will be off-limits. The deer will be processed, the venison donated to the community through local food banks.