Photo: Indiana Public Media file
The Bloomington City Council voted late last night to amend the prohibition of firearm discharge in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve as a way to combat the overpopulation of deer.
The lift on the prohibition will apply only to sharpshooters contracted by the city of Bloomington to restore ecological balance by eliminating part of the deer population.
The measure passed with a 4-3 vote with two city council members abstaining.
Opponents of allowing sharpshooters in the forest expressed concern about mass killing of the animals, as well as concern over allowing weapon discharge within city limits.
“It’s disappointing that the city council tonight has gone ahead with the same old approach of basically equating deer management with hunting, in this case sharp shooting, but going with the lethal solution before non-lethal options had truly been tried,” said Bloomington resident Sandra Shapshay.
Deer contraception was among the non-lethal methods recommended by the opposition.
The council was reluctant to endorse the idea because of its lack of expediency along with minimal study results proving its effectiveness and safety within the ecosystem.
“Which is worse? One shot, one kill or to let them malinger and die slowly because there’s no food?” said Scott Wells, owner of Environmental Enterprises and proponent of the sharpshooting.
The city has set aside a budget of $30,000 to address the overpopulation, which officials say is reducing wildlife diversity in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.