Metroparks consult feds about deer overpopulation

Metroparks consult feds about deer overpopulation

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's hunting season and for the third year, Lucas County is working with experts at the US Department of Agriculture to keep our area safe from the dangers of being overpopulated by deer.

A lot of research has been done to figure out the best way to handle this growing problem.

During bow season, qualified, licensed hunters can enter a lottery to be a part of a special purpose hunt that happens on property meant for future Metropark locations. Public hunting is not allowed in the parks.

"The suburbs really make great breeding grounds for deer. They're really healthy and well fed in the suburbs. So a lot of people think it's an issue of habitat. We certainly do see habitat issues," said Scott Carpenter, spokesperson for the Metroparks. "This isn't one of them though because even as people have spread out the numbers of deer have shot way up."

The process being put into place is called culling. It is not considered a sport like hunting.

Expert marksmen come into the designated areas, at night so they don't impact peoples' use of the Metroparks, with safety and efficiency as their priorities.

This is the third year for this beneficial program. Metroparks has already approved it for next year as well.

"We like to see, optimally, about fifteen to twenty deer per square mile. We always want there to be deer, but when we get up over 25 deer per square mile, it's just not sustainable. They damage the habitat of the parks for all of the wildlife that live here, including deer. And in some of our surveys we see two, three even four times that number of deer," said Carpenter.

Safety is not the only benefit that comes from culling. Last year, the Cherry Street mission received thousands of pounds of venison to help feed those in need here in Lucas County. In turn, this helps the Metroparks who process and donate all of the meat, to be sure that nothing goes to waste.

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