As the city of Ashland continues to consider ideas from its recent “Deer Summit”, hunting season goes into its second phase and some believe it may be helpful to thinning the large population of deer which we see walking urban streets and neighborhoods. The second hunting season begins shortly on October 24th and goes through November 6th.
While deer hunters are certainly itching to get out there, caution and awareness are key essentials during a hunting trip according to hunter and Southern Oregon University graduate student, David Sherman, “You always have to be aware of your surroundings. Whether it’s dangers that come with the environment (weather, cliffs, falling trees) or other humans.”
When asked if the influx of deer in urban areas has affected the number of deer in the wild, Sherman said, “I feel like it has … I haven’t see as many deer up in the mountains for sure.”
Deer are a big deal here in Ashland, so much so that Mayor John Stromberg held a “Deer Summit” recently and the discussion of urban deer is often on city council and planning agendas as well as on the lips of gardeners trying to protect their roses and tomatoes. The summit was an open forum where the citizens of Ashland were given the chance to speak, and voice their opinion on the issue of the deer.
Deer are in abundance in-town. They are nearly everywhere; the streets, backyards, and alleyways. At the summit, numerous citizens recalled stories of deer terrorizing them and their pets. Some residents of Ashland called for a culling of the deer, a controversy which sparked strong emotions on both sides.
David Sherman echoed the stance of the Wildlife Committee when asked if a culling would be a feasible option, “It’s an idea. I don’t know if it would solve the problem though. Too many people look at deer in Ashland as pets and feed them… The deer keep moving down to where the water is, that happens to be in Ashland.”
Alex Goldman, an employee in the archery department of Medford’s Sportsman’s Warehouse begged to differ on the idea of a culling, “There’s not much else you can do about it, either than fencing an entire city in … I think thinning them out would be a good idea … I could see how that could probably be a smart move.”
Clearly the issue of the deer is a very dividing one and opinions vary on what solution to implement. As of right now, the city has yet to enforce a plan-of-action regarding the droves of deer and hunting in city limits is not legal.
So as hunters prepare to get out there its important to make sure you’re fully licensed and hunting in only approved areas. Doing otherwise is poaching which carries a heavy penalty…up to twenty thousand dollars depending on the severity of the violation.
For more information check out the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.