Mill Creek Park deer plan shot down

Nick Derico, natural resources manager for the Mill Creek MetroParks, told about 70 people attending Monday’s MetroParks Board meeting that he is proposing the park board carry out a deer removal program under the Ohio Department of Natural Resource Division of Wildlife.

One part would be “controlled hunting” and would involve hunting at “select MetroParks regional facilities throughout the county where it is deemed safe and appropriate.”

That type of deer reduction would involve “select hunters through a random lottery system conducted by the ODNR Division of Wildlife,” the MetroParks said in a press release given to reporters Monday.

Another part would be a “targeted removal program” that would happen at “select MetroParks facilities where controlled hunting is not deemed feasible due to safety concerns,” the MetroParks statement said.

That type of deer reduction would involve “professional marksmen” in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The more than two-hour meeting included 40 minutes of information on the proposed deer reduction program and about 90 minutes of public participation with each person getting three minutes to speak.

The statements during the public-comment period suggested that most of the public does not want to see the number of deer reduced. Many said they believe the park has far fewer than 387 deer per square mile.

Lee Frey, MetroParks Board president, said the board will vote on whether to implement the program at the 6 p.m. April 10 board meeting at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield, where Monday’s meeting took place.

The goal of the program would be to reduce the deer populations to within recommended densities and to restore plant life previously damaged by the “over browsing and other negative impacts associated with an overabundance of white-tailed deer,” the parks system states.

Derico and Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director, have said that the park district has an average of 387 white-tailed deer per square mile in the park system. The number is 355 deer per square mile in Mill Creek Park, which occupies land from Fellows Riverside Gardens to U.S. Route 224.

They have said the data came from an aerial survey carried out in on two dates in early January 2022.

Among the most passionate speakers was Pearl Sinistro, who told the park board members to “listen to the taxpayers. We pay you, our tax dollars.”

“We love the animals. They’re harmless. They’re timid. They don’t do anything. They come in the yard. We feed them.”

She said people who complain that the deer eat their flowers should move to the city.

She said it’s wrong to “blacktop everything” because it shows no respect for nature.

Kathy Maine spoke with emotion about her attachment to specific deer and the deer in general.

“With the ugliness in this world, the wars, the killings, the bombings, why can’t we have something God given that is so beautiful and so heavenly,” she said. “Life is so short. We don’t need to make it shorter for those beautiful deer.”

Michael Colyer said he has gone to Mill Creek Park after work to spend time in nature.

“We need to preserve the whole fauna and protect the trees that protect the birds and everything else. The deer eat all of our gum trees,” he said.


Read the original article at The Vindicator.