Deer Task Force’s Lethal Options Get Mixed Reception

Many residents protested lethal methods recommended for deer population control at the Bloomington City Council's meeting Wednesday.

deer

Photo: Indiana Public Media file

The task force has worked on the issues of affected gardens, driving safety, and the health of Monroe County deer.

The Bloomington Deer Task Force, formed two years ago to provide recommendations for management of the city’s deer population, made an official recommendation to city council members Wednesday.

The methods of population control proposed by the Deer Task Force include sharp-shooting, trap-and-kill, and bow hunting. The guidance also included non-lethal methods such as public education and raising the allowable fence height in the city.

But council member Marty Spechler says he opposes the lethal options of the plan.

“Ok, it’s cheap and attractive to certain people. But I am protesting. I believe that hunting is immoral, and creates pain and suffering for animals.”

Spechler was not alone. More than an hour of public comment followed, with some speakers even moved to song. Travis Puntarelli played his guitar during public comment and says the idea for the tune came to him while he was walking in the woods.

“I feel like to immediately jump to killing things as the solution is taking a leap.”

Members of the public opposed to the task force called for a focus on the non-lethal options only and more independent research.

Others at the meeting commended the task force on their scientific approach and urged that lethal options also be considered. Supportive of the task force’s plan, some residents described their gardens destroyed by deer and others recalled car accidents caused by the animals wandering in the road.

The majority of the council members’ questions to the Task Force focused on clarifications. The city council will vote Dec. 5 whether to adopt the Deer Task Force’s recommendations.

Correction:

On December 5, Council Member Marty Spechler clarified that he did not oppose all lethal options and issued the following statement:

“I regret that the Task Force compromised its own criteria by endorsing some non-lethal approaches that are ineffective and bow-hunting, which in my opinion is inhumane because of the pain and suffering the animals feel before they expire. Sharpshooting may also be inhumane. Thus, I conclude that ‘trap and shoot’ is the only effective, humane, safe, and reasonably inexpensive way to deal with the deer overpopulation.”

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