Avon Lake continues to work to find answers to growing deer population

AVON LAKE, Ohio - Avon Lake will host a joint meeting of their Safety and Environmental Committees Thursday in an effort to come up with a game plan for attacking the city's growing deer problem.

It's been estimated the city is home to between 250 and 300 deer in a geographical area that should have around 40 or 50. That's almost equal to the number of car-deer collisions they had last year, which was around 35.

A quick drive north of Route 83 Wednesday night found any number of deer not far from the busy road.

What they're learning is that each potential solution carries with it its own set of controversies, said Mayor Greg Zilka of the problem that has his town split.

"Some people view them as a very attractive element of nature and other people view them as a nuisance," he said.

The city's Environmental Affairs Advisory Board is considering a number of options ranging from a ban on feeding the deer, solar powered flashing deer crossing signs to deer birth control.

"Which makes a lot of sense until you try to implement it," said Zilka.

The most controversial is a concept under consideration that has prompted "no hunting" lawn signs to pop up around town.  It involves culling using crossbows, an issue the mayor said many people don't fully understand.

"Unfortunately, people think we're considering letting hunting go on in traditional, regular neighborhoods, which will not happen. It can only occur if approved in acreage of more than 5 acres and you have to have approval of the property owner," he said.

They've talked with officials in Solon about what has and hasn't worked for them the mayor says but the communities are different.

"They do back up to more of a wilderness area where as here in Avon Lake, our neighborhoods are pretty much hemming in any type of greenery we have."

The hope is to have some consensus on a potential solution to present to city council in May.

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