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In the News September 15, 2010 – Deer Issues
Council looks into archery deer hunt to help combat deer population
Louisiana residents may soon get a reprieve from those pesky deer that are decimating their gardens.
On Monday, Sept. 13, the city council told city officials to begin exploring an idea for an archery hunt for deer inside the city limits.
Mayor Tom Wallace asked Board of Adjustment Chairman Porter Elliott to handle the situation.
Elliott will meet with Police Chief Rich Hughes, Animal Control Officer Rich Bland and Pike County Conservation Agent Mike Christensen.
Elliott told the council that an ordinance already exists for an in-town bow hunt for deer on agriculturally zoned lands.
However, any such hunt has to be done with Hughes’ consent and oversight, Elliott said.
The unofficial committee will look at the existing ordinance and make recommendations back to the council.
The idea for the bow hunt came from city limits farmer Ray Goss, who lost $15,000 in crops and seed plants to deer this year.
Goss said he was going to ask for the hunt Monday, but did not show up at the meeting.
The farmer was represented by Christensen, who endorsed the idea.
“In the last five years, four different (Louisiana) landowners complained about deer, but we couldn’t give them any relief,” Christensen said. “I’d like to see the city look into it.”
Whether Goss gets full relief from the deer remains to be seen. The person who owns the land he farms must agree to a hunt. Elliott said there might also be a question of how much of the farmland at the edge of town is actually in the city limits.
For Goss, just about anything would help. “My crops were almost a total loss this year because of the deer,” Goss said. “They literally ate everything except the hot peppers and radishes. It just was seed and labor wasted.”
“We’ve got to get this deer saturation under control. It’s not just farmers and Stark Bros. It’s also people who have gardens, and shrubs eaten by deer.
Goss did not want to shoot the deer out of season and had to unplug an electric fence he erected because they are not allowed within the city limits.
Goss has the problem arrested with a high fence he has resurrected around the property.
He also figures the deer have stopped bothering him because they saw one of their own die in his fence.
Christensen came out to put the deer down and sympathizes with Goss’ fate.
“It’s fairly common in this to have crop damage from deer,” Christensen said. “The problem is that within the city limits of Louisiana, we can’t harvest those deer.
“Large landowners who grow pumpkins out here have problems.
“I’ve authorized some of them to harvest deer out of season, but they have to let me know about it and we have regulations on how many we can take.”
Goss is “not the only guy complaining,” Christensen said. “We need to eliminate some of these deer and archery would be a good way to do it.”
Stark Bros. hit hard
Elmer Kidd is the production manager at Stark Bros. Nurseries and Orchards Co. just outside of Louisiana and has been battling deer for years.
“We probably spend $50,000 to $60,000 per year just fighting the things,” Kidd said.
“I used to use dogs, but we had too many complaints. If we don’t put up a structure or an electric fence, they’ll decimate it.”
Trees are susceptible to hungry deer eight to nine years after planting, Kidd said.
The problem is deer eat young shoots and then continuously come back, never allowing the trees to mature and flourish.
The deer are particularly thick on a 200-acre plot of Stark Bros.’ land in Illinois that is too large to fence.
“I have a night watchman over there who does nothing but run them off,” on a quad-runner, Kidd said. “He sees 30 and 40 at a time.
“We hunt them at Starks and they stay away for a month but when the season’s over, they just move back in.”
“Even with guns, the deer population is out of hand. In my view, the bow and arrow falls short of what needs to be done.”